Am I too old for my fragrance?

essential oils
Some women choose to concoct a signature scent with essential oils.
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From the time you're a tween through to your golden years, you'll try out many different scents that make you feel joyful, unique and memorable. Most of us change our perfume selections over time, leaving behind the fruity, sweet fragrances of our youth for more sultry and sophisticated scents as we age. But do some women cling for too long to perfumes that are too youthful?

Perfumes are grouped as florals, oceanics and orientals, and are described with words like "light," "heavy," "grassy" and "fresh," or "fruity," "flowery," "woodsy" and "warm." But which are right for your age?


There are a few factors that come into play regarding which perfume is right for your age. First is your skin composition. A young girl's skin is like a blank slate; most perfumes will smell much the same on one girl as it does on her best friends. As we age, our skin composition changes, though, and changes uniquely, so how a perfume smells on one person will not necessarily be how it smells on another. Therefore, you need to work a little harder to find scents that suit you. The other factor is the message you want to send with the scents you wear. In your youth, you want to have fresh, bright aromas. As you mature, you're likely to identify more with sophisticated and even sexy scents.

There are no actual rules about age-appropriate perfumes. There are, however, some tips. For example, if the perfume is labeled Paris Hilton, Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber or Britney Spears, the fragrance is likely formulated for the very young. If you're over, say, 21, you'll want to avoid those, as well as anything that smells like something you'd buy at a movie theater candy counter (chocolate, lemon, orange and otherwise sweet and fruity or too citrusy) or a carnival (just say "no" to a cotton candy scent!).

In general, popular sweet and fruity scents are ideal for young girls. As we enter our 20s we tend toward more complex and more expensive perfumes, but those that are still fairly light and fresh that may mix a citrus base with vanilla or caramel, for example. In our 30s, we still lean toward complex scents and often find fresh florals to yield just the right balance of young yet sophisticated. In our 40s and 50s, we've come to know what suits us best, so we're apt to venture from known brand names in search of a truly personal scent. At this age, heavier woodsy, musk-type, spicy and oriental aromas can make us feel sultry and sexy. Also, experiment with perfumes that have woody and green bases for bringing fresh outdoor scents inside. In our 60s and up, we often choose a powdery tone that retains the heavier, complex and intriguing floral and musk mixtures.

Perfume is personal, though, so don't let anyone tell you what you can and can't wear. If the scent makes you feel happy, confident, pretty or posh, wear it!


Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • Beauty in the Bag. "Age Appropriate Fragrances -- What's Your Olfactory Age?" (Aug. 15, 2012)
  • Los Angeles Times. "The right perfume for your age." November 2009.
  • Birchbox. "The Best Fragrance For Every Age." (Aug. 16, 2012.)
  • Sweeney, Tanya. "Floral or fruity? welcome to the perfume jungle." July 2012.
  • Rosenbloom, Stephanie. "Pumpkin Pie: Provocative or Just Tasty?" The New York Times. July, 2011.
  • Weir, Kirsten. "Scents and sensibility." American Psychological Association. February 2011.