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How to Pick a Fragrance for Your Girl

Don't let the the task scare you. This can actually be fun!
Don't let the the task scare you. This can actually be fun!
iStockphoto/Thinkstock

The sense of smell is one of the brain's best mechanisms for adding context to recollection. It's the reason many people associate the aroma of fresh-baked cookies with the holidays. The science at work may still be somewhat mysterious, but the big lesson is that you can use fragrance to your advantage if you know a few useful tricks.

If you give the gift of a distinctive fragrance, it will almost always ensure that on some far-off anniversary, she'll uncork that distilled essence of a long-ago evening or weekend and remember how wonderful it felt to spend special moments in your company. Drop for drop, that's good value at any price.

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This might sound fanciful, but fragrance has power -- whether it's the noxious odor of rotten cabbage or the sweet smell of night-blooming jasmine at sunset. Smell can be a time capsule. Giving her a wonderful fragrance she loves has a couple of other advantages, too. You'll earn important relationship points for discriminating taste and romantic savoir-faire. You'll also net extra points (not that anyone is actually keeping score) for going with a difficult choice when candy or flowers would have been a safer bet. She'll love the fact that you're a risk taker.

If you thought you could get away with selecting a fragrance you happen to like and using that as a handy explanation for your choice (wrapped with a pretty bow), guess again. There are no easy outs when it comes to picking a perfume or cologne she'll wear and enjoy. If she isn't drawn to the scent, it will eventually end up at the back of her lingerie drawer -- never to be used again.

This ups the ante on a task that may seem pretty complicated anyway. Your lady may already have some pronounced preferences, and even if she doesn't, there's a good chance she'll feel drawn to some fragrances over others. A little careful sleuthing will give you useful clues, though, and if all else fails, we have a foolproof option to offer.

Fragrance is a little like color -- the perfect option is in the eye (or nose) of the beholder. Choosing the right fragrance for your girl is about picking up on the subtle signs.

What scents does she enjoy -- Check her toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion and other perfumes she has to see if you can detect a pattern. If you see flowery scents like lavender or tea rose repeated in a number of products, it'll give you valuable direction. Perfumes, colognes and other scents are typically broken into categories like floral, woodsy, earthy, fruity and exotic (oriental). Armed with some of her preferences, you can ask a sales expert to help narrow the selection for you.

Take your time -- By all means, get out to the mall and explore the popular fragrance options on the market. Don't just sniff a "tester" fragrance and make an instant choice based on the "bottle" smell, though. Fragrances are built in layers of many ingredients that change over time and exposure to the air. Spritz a little on a tissue (or your wrist if you're brave), and wait a half hour to see if you still think the product will work for her. All scents morph over hours of wear.

Hedge your bets -- You may want to go all out with a nice bottle of French perfume. Choosing a less intense fragrance might be a better choice if you're not sure what she'll like. Essential oils are what give fragrances their aromatic punch. Perfume is the most concentrated and expensive option with 22 percent essential oil content or more. Eau de cologne comes in as the least concentrated choice at about 4 percent, with eau de toilette somewhere in the middle at between 8 and 15 percent. If you start with a less concentrated fragrance, you'll spend less and can always follow up with a more concentrated and expensive product once you know she likes the scent.

Take her with you -- This may sound like a cheat, but it's actually an inspired idea. How better to decide on a fragrance than by taking her on a perfume testing date? Make an afternoon of it. She'll love the romantic attention. This approach makes good science sense, too. All fragrances alter somewhat based on the wearer. Some call it chemistry while others call it the alchemy of personality. However you care to define it, any fragrance product you decide on will smell slightly different once she's wearing it. Bringing the object of your affection along will just about guarantee that you'll make the right fragrance choice -- and enjoy an afternoon to remember.

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Sources

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  • Futurescopes.com. "How to Buy a Perfume for your Partner - Buying Tips." (8/7/12). http://www.futurescopes.com/perfumes-and-fragrances/1057/how-buy-perfume-your-partner-buying-tips
  • Horn, Paul. "How to Choose a New Perfume For Your Girlfriend." (8/7/12). http://paulhorne821466.webs.com/apps/blog/show/12999813
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  • Reineke, Robin. "It's Right Under Our Noses: The Importance of Smell to Science and our Lives." Serendip - Bryn Mawr College. 1/8/08. (8/7/12). The Woman Life. "9 tips help you choose the right perfume." 6/8/11. (8/7/12). http://thewomanlife.info/perfume/9-tips-help-you-choose-the-right-perfume
  • Weston, Bill. "Choosing the Right Perfume For The Woman In Your Life." Blogz. (8/7/12). http://blogz.org/Blog779831-Choosing-The-Right-Perfume-For-The-Woman-In-Your-Life.htm
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