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Finding Your Perfect Scent

02/15/2013 11:31 am ET | Updated Apr 17, 2013

What better way to begin the New Year than with a new fragrance? There's nothing like a fresh start, and a new scent is the easiest way to achieve an instant lift. The most important thing to remember when shopping for a fragrance is that it is you who brings a fragrance to life, not the other way around. Here are some tips to ensure that you wear your signature scent and that it doesn't wear you.

Avoid spicy foods the night before. Spicy foods, particularly garlic, curry, and colorful spices in general, evaporate through your pores leaving a lingering scent on your skin that can interfere with a fragrance.

Go fragrance-free in the shower. Try not to use highly scented soaps or fragrant lotions the morning of fragrance shopping so that they don't overpower the scents you end up testing later.

Wear cotton. Leather, wool, suede, and other fine textiles have an odor to them, which can overwhelm your olfactory senses.

Articulate what you want in a scent. Think about what type of fragrance you're attracted to. Is it something floral and sensual? Or maybe fruity and luscious? Perhaps a fresh citrus that feels very clean? Or a woodsy scent with an air of mystery to it? Just knowing which of these categories speaks to you most will be helpful once you get to the store.

Reach for the blotters. Test up to five fragrances -- each on its own blotter -- before narrowing it down to your two favorites. Only test the two fragrances you like best on your skin (one on each wrist).

Refrain from wrist-rubbing post-spritz. A fragrance should naturally evolve on your skin and this action rubs off the top notes of the scent, so you don't get its full effect.

Walk away. A fragrance works differently with everyone's body chemistry, so allow it to settle on your skin for 30 minutes in order to experience its true essence. Peruse other stores in the area or even come back the next day to purchase.

Make a lasting impression. Once you purchase your signature scent, apply it before getting dressed on your décolleté, on each shoulder, and behind your neck. This will make the fragrance last longer as it works to scent both your skin and your clothes as it filtrates through the fabric. And the back-of-the-neck spritz will also transfer to your hair, constantly reviving the scent with every hair flip.

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