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Jean Paul Gaultier

The Ins and Outs of Selecting a Fragrance


Shopping for a new fragrance can be like exploring uncharted waters.

To help navigate the world of perfumery, OUT's editorial director Bobby Schuessler shares some tips on what to know and what to expect at the fragrance counter.

Know your fragrance types
Stop using the word "cologne" as it doesn't refer to a gender-specific product, but rather describes the concentration of the fragrance. Don't let this misconception prevent you from exploring other products. If the scent feels right, go for it.

Understand fragrance notes
Scents can hit you unexpectedly at at different moments throughout the day. The top note stimulates the nose most immediately after applying a fragrance, the middle notes are the core scent of a fragrance, and the base notes of a fragrance determine how long the scent will last.


Test on your skin
Our unique bodies mean fragrances will smell differently on each of us. Instead of testing a perfume on a paper strip, gently spray it directly onto your skin. At most, you can test up to four different fragrances at a time: one on each wrist and each elbow.

Apply it correctly
To apply a fragrance correctly, the perfume should be sprayed lightly onto dry skin at pulse points and heat areas. Don't kill the notes by rubbing it into your skin. A light spray should suffice. Always remember that less is more. Watch this video from Jean Paul Gaultier to learn how to apply a fragrance from Spanish actress Rossy de Palma:

Consider your first impression
A visceral reaction to a scent is a good indication whether it's actually the right choice or not. Because at the end of the day, once you find your dream fragrance, you'll ultimately be one step closer to leaving that perfect, lasting impression on those you meet. And who doesn't want that?

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