Am I too young for my fragrance?

How do you pick a fragrance that's right for your age?
How do you pick a fragrance that's right for your age?

Perfume is often the finishing touch to a well-planned outfit and makeup. You sometimes change your choice of fragrance for day or evening, for seasons and even adjust for the weather. But how do you decide on a perfume that's right for your age? Is it possible to smell older than you are?

While mature women can sometimes get away with wearing fragrances designed for younger gals, young women should steer clear of scents meant for mature women. When you're young, perfumes that are light and fresh match your age and experience. The older you get, the more you'll lean toward heavier, richer and more complex perfumes. On a young woman, a heavy perfume will be overpowering. Here's a primer on fragrances for ages:

  • Age 14 to 20 -- pure, fruity and sweet scents that remind you of things you'd eat -- like lemons, bubble gum and cotton candy
  • In your 20s -- slightly more complex scents -- one that layers citrus with vanilla or caramel, for example -- that are still light and fresh enough to seem youthful
  • In your 30s -- perfumes with floral bases and layers of scents like jasmine, mandarin and pear
  • In your 40s and 50s -- heavier perfumes with flowery, spicy or oriental tones
  • In your 60s, 70s and up -- complex florals with powdery aromas

But how do you know if you're too young for your perfume? If a friend tells you the perfume is too strong, you may be too young for it. If a scent reminds you of your great aunt, and you're in your 20s, that's a sure sign you're too young for it. A typical professional girl in her 20s shouldn't wear a heavy, spicy scent, and likewise, a woman in her 40s shouldn't wear a powdery scent. When in doubt, consult with the cosmetician behind the perfume counter to find the right perfume to match your time of life.

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.