7 Perfume Scents That Age You, Experts Say
Try to avoid these particular aromas when you're choosing a fragrance.
When you lean in for a hug or walk into a room, those around you may catch different notes of your perfume—and then come to associate you with those scents. Perhaps you've always leaned toward sweeter fragrances, or maybe you've gone with something a bit spicier that people now remember you by. It's wonderful to be recognized in this way, especially when others always tell you that you smell nice or ask what you're wearing. However, what you don't want is a scent that could age you as opposed to highlighting your style.
"When it comes to personal branding, how we smell is equally important to how we look," Elizabeth Kosich, certified image stylist and founder of Elizabeth Kosich Styling, tells Best Life. "In fact, some would argue more so since scents are quick to trigger memories. Personal fragrance has the ability to linger, too, making a last impression that's either good or bad. That's a pretty powerful tool anyone can leverage, so it's important to pick a fragrance that reflects who you are and reinforces your personal image."
Petite style coach Angela Foster also points out that like fashion trends, scents rotate in and out of style, meaning one of your favorites could now be considered a bit outdated.
"Technology has made new synthetic scents and fragrance combinations possible and extremely affordable, inevitably forcing certain perfumes into the old-fashioned category," she says.
So, if you're looking for a perfume that will define your style without making you seem older than you are, stylists have a few suggestions. Read on to find out which scents they recommend staying away from.
According to Foster, when it comes to florals, steer clear of carnations. She describes them as the "cilantro of flowers," meaning you either love them or hate them—and right now, this scent is not en vogue.
"While a modern version of carnation will surely come back in style, today is not that day," she says.
Two perfumes with notes of carnation include Eternity by Calvin Klein and Poison by Dior, per Foster.
Another floral that could be aging you is rose, Kosich says.
"Glycerin rose water is a nostalgic scent that often conjures up images of grandma, especially when powdery," she explains. "Yardley London English Rose Eau de Toilet is a classic example of an old-fashioned scent that takes you back in time."
Anything that is a little bit "woody" is another to avoid, with Kosich specifically citing Yves St. Laurent's River Gauche.
"Woodsy scents can be considered more complex and exotic, which are often associated with maturity," she says. "Older women with more life experience are better suited for these types of fragrances: YSL's Rive Gauche is known for its woody florals and sandalwood and oak moss base notes."
Yet another flowery scent stylists highlight is patchouli, which Foster says can smell like "'60s stick incense."
If this is your typical vibe, she recommends going for a fragrance with a citrus fruit note like lime or grapefruit instead.
"This will [have a] brighter, fresher result," Foster says.
A powdery smell is another to skip, as these kinds of fragrances "tend to appear old-fashioned," Kosich says.
"Violet and lilac floral notes in particular can skew powdery, conjuring up images of yesteryear. Known as a particularly 'powdery' fragrance, Chanel No. 5 is known to many as the classic 'old lady' scent," she notes.
More musky scents could also suggest you're a few years older than you are—and they're sometimes even "perceived as old lady smells," per Kosich.
"Musks are often paired with earthy, woodsy notes, making them a scent of the past," she says. "Jovan is the quintessential musky fragrance popularized in the 1970s."
Your long-time signature scent
If you have a scent that is literally synonymous with your persona and hasn't been changed in some time, it might not be fitting for you anymore.
"Some famous signature scents are stuck in a time capsule, transporting us to a moment in time of yesteryear," Kosich says. "Top examples of nostalgic signature scents are Elizabeth Taylor's White Diamonds and Giorgio Beverly Hills for women, and Drakkar Noir for men. These fragrances communicate a lot about personal image, though may not be the message you want to send!"
Stylists have some tips for when you're ready to switch it up.
According to Foster, there are a few things to consider when you're looking for a new fragrance, aside from—of course—what smells good to you.
Instead of picking one scent and buying all of the products in that line, try "mixing and matching," with different scents for your shower gel and body lotion "to create your own custom blend," she says.
You also don't have to wear one perfume all year round: Go for a summer and a winter staple.
"Besides a bit of variety, your skin changes in hot and cold weather, so often a fragrance won't smell the same on your skin when the temperature changes," Foster explains.
Lastly, grab something that makes you feel good, as it will help you feel happy and pass that vivacious vibe onto others.
"Whether it's eliminating stress (vanilla and rosemary), increasing relaxation (jasmine), or improving energy (lemon), your perfume can be good for your mental health," Foster says.
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