Choosing a personal scent is not something that should be done on a whim or a whiff!

Jeffrey Hamilton/Photodisc/Getty Images

The sense of smell is critically important to human beings. We may not have the same olfactory senses that animals do, but we often tie experiences and emotions to particular scents, which is why a simple whiff of baking cookies can make you feel as though you've been transported back in time to childhood visits at Grandma's house. Some people take scent association a step further by selecting a signature fragrance.

But before you permanently cause people to associate you with Chanel No. 5 or Britney Spears' personalized scent, there are a couple of tidbits to take under advisement when choosing a fragrance. First, whatever you do, apply your scent with a light hand! Quantity varies by person, but typically, a dab or small spray to your pulse points (throat, wrists, temple and anywhere else you can feel your heartbeat) is enough for anyone. You don't want to be the cause of other people's watery eyes, do you?

Second, it's important to know the various types of signature fragrances, which include cologne, perfume, oils, aftershave, eau de toilette and really anything else that changes your scent.

To find your ideal fragrance, first consider the following factors:

  • Personality type: If you're outdoorsy by nature, for example, pick a woodsy scent!
  • Body chemistry: The same brand of perfume may not smell the same on every person, thanks to our own natural scents.
  • Lifestyle: Consider your day-to-day activities. For example, boardroom professionals probably don't want overly fruity fragrances wafting off of them.
  • Time of year and location: You might want one signature fragrance for hot, humid summer months and another for cool winter days.
  • Cost: Obviously, certain fragrances are going to cost more than others (Chanel versus Britney Spears' line of perfumes, for example). A scent doesn't necessarily have to be designer to suit you and your expectations, but don't sell yourself short, either.

If you're overwhelmed by the sheer number of options out there, just take a deep breath and have fun with the selection process! You know those people who are always waving scent cards in your face at the mall? Walk around and get a few small sample bottles to take home. Then, use one for a few days in varying circumstances (at work, out with friends, around the house) and quantities. Switch to a new sample, and be sure to get input from others. If you're feeling extra adventurous, you might even try your hand at layering a couple of different colognes or perfumes to create a completely unique scent. Just make sure you don't have anywhere important to be right away, in case the experiment bombs and a shower becomes necessary.