Your Fragrance Questions Answered

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Mixing Scents

Q. I have two scents I love, and they are both sort of musky. I thought it might be fun to wear them together -- is that weird?

A. Do-it-yourself fragrance combining is a great way to express your originality, and, in fact, many perfume lines are designed with mixing and matching in mind. "There's no rhyme or reason to what works," says Cord Coen, president of Zents, a small fragrance company in Arizona. "It's simply a matter of trial and error to find a blend that strikes your fragrance fancy. If your two favorite scents are in the same fragrance family, they're likely to be a great match." Since there are several categories of scent to choose from (citrus, green, marine, floral, oriental, woody, and aromatic), try mixing perfumes from different families as well. Coen recommends putting the scent you like best on top, since that is what will be the most potent.

Q. If I smell a scent on a little stick in the store, is that a good way to know its true essence?

A. "Scent strips are a good method for finding out what type of fragrance you find interesting," says Paul Seplowitz, vice president of product development for Celine Dion parfum. If that first whiff grabs you, then rub the strip on your inner arm to allow it to interact with your own skin chemistry, which will provide you with a more natural version of the fragrance. But to truly test-drive a fragrance, visit the fragrance counter, as spritzing the real deal on your skin is the only way to know if it's a good match for your body chemistry. "Begin smelling the area you sprayed after a minute or so," advises Seplowitz, "and remember to sniff the same spot throughout the day and notice how the fragrance transitions as the hours pass. You should enjoy the fragrance's whole run, not just the first moment, or the last."


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