I have never been a fragrance kind of gal. While my peers were happily spritzing Clinique Happy on themselves in middle school, I never had a bottle for myself. In high school Abercrombie & Fitch fragrances took force and although spritzing the store may have been part of my job description while I worked there, I never wore their perfumes myself (although I still to this day love the smell of their male fragrance Fierce! Oh the memories…). Fast forward to my late twenties and the idea of finding my signature scent sparked my curiosity. But where to even begin?
I’m notoriously an online only shopper, which doesn’t quite work when it comes to fragrance. Scent profiles and fragrance notes basically mean nothing for the rookie perfume shopper so I knew I had to bite the bullet and head in-store to sniff some out for myself. I circled Sephora smelling bottle after bottle and not only left the store smelling like a terrible mix of perfumes, but more confused than ever.
Several months later I was at an event and met a girl wearing whose perfume smelled so good. It was woody and spicy and so different than anything I had smelled during my failed trip to Sephora. After a few glasses of wine I finally bit the bullet and asked her what it was – Le Labo’s cult favorite, Santal 33.
I hopped online immediately after to learn more about Le Labo and their fragrances – they were founded in New York City and each bottle is freshly made by hand and finished with a personalized label (such a good gift!). Each fragrance is named for its heaviest note, with the corresponding number representing how many other fragrance notes are also in the mix. AND they sell fragrance Discovery Kits with sample sized bottles of all of their scents, perfect for finding your signature scent.
It was like Christmas morning when my Discovery Kit arrived and I carefully unpacked the 15 little vials of Le Labo fragrance, picking my early favorites and deciding on my plan of attack for figuring out which one was for me. I started with a few spritzes of the fragrance that started it all for me, Santal 33, and could not get over just how good I smelled all throughout the day. Instead of being overbearing or giving me a headache, the fragrance just became part of my look for that day as the ultimate accessory. I was hooked.
As time went on (we’re talking months here, people), I narrowed the field of 15 to three key finalists: Santal 33 (duh), Thé Noir 29, with notes of tea leaf, tobacco and fig, and Rose 31, a really non-traditional take on a rose scent with cumin cedarwood and vetiver. I was in the final stages of my quest for a signature scent so I headed to San Francisco’s gorgeous Le Labo fragrance lab on Fillmore to make the final cut. The store is absolute heaven with Le Labo’s candles burning and delicious smells a plenty, with a staff that know their shit and will gladly school you all day on fragrance notes and insider secrets (one employee wears the Santal 26 home fragrance as her perfume! It’s just slightly different than the personal fragrance and is so pretty).
Ultimately, I left with two bottles to start my own fragrance collection at home – Rose 31 and Thé Noir 29. They are both so different and yet both feel so me when I wear them. A girl can have more than one signature scent, right? I’m officially hooked on fragrances and never quite feel complete without a few spritzes of whatever suits my mood that day before heading out the door.
Do you have a signature scent? Have you checked out Le Labo yet?