The Ultimate Holiday Fragrance Guide According To An Expert

‘Tis the season and the holidays are in full swing. If you’re looking to scent your body with the smells of the season, you’re in the right place! Whether you’re a fragrance enthusiast or you’re new to fragrances in general, finding a signature scent is not an easy task. Personally, I enjoy smelling good and receiving compliments on my perfume, but I don’t always know where to begin when it comes to deciding on fragrances. Approaching the fragrance counter is out because you’re either left with only a few selections to sniff from or have to judge your purchase off of the bottle appearance alone. 

No fear, College Fashionista gathered the best fragrance advice from an expert to navigate the scents of this holiday season. Sterling J., beauty and lifestyle marketer and founder of The Beauté Study, an online beauty resource, shares her fragrance recommendations for this season’s festivities. From your holiday office party, to socializing with friends, Sterling has extended her guidance to land you a scent that’s sure to make this holiday all the more memorable. 

For your holiday office party

Sterling: Holiday office parties require a scent that is sophisticated but not too loud for those with sensitive smell. For fragrance etiquette, you would want to avoid fragrances with heavy florals like white flowers and jasmine and avoid heavier fragrance concentrations like parfums. I have two recommendations: Versace Dylan Blue Pour Femme with Black Currant, Apples, Musk, and Wild Blooms for a light floral with a fruity scent that is layerable and Versace Eros Pour Homme gives you the fresh scent with notes like mint leaves, orange blossom and vanilla without the strong florals like Versace Eros pour femme.

Image via Sephora

Versace Dylan Blue Pour Femme

Top: Blackcurrant, granny smith, clover accord, forget-me-not accord, shisolia

Middle: Eglantine Rose, pétalia, rosyfolia, jasmine, icy infusion of peach

Base: Styrax, white smooth, woods, musk, patchouli coeur

Image via Sephora

Versace Eros Pour Homme

Top: Italian lemon and mandarin, mint oil, candied apple

Middle: Geranium flower, Clary sage essence, mbermax

Base: Cedarwood Atlas and Virginia, vetiver orpur essence, patchouli coeur orpour essence, sandalwood, vanilla

For your family gatherings

The holidays are a time to settle in with your relatives and remember the simpler things. Your fragrances should remind you of something too. 

Sterling: Family gatherings should remind you of something warm with notes like vetiver and woods. My recommendation is Maison Louis Marie’s No. 4 Bois de Balincount (either in perfume oil or Eau de Parfum spray) with notes like sandalwood, cedarwood, vetiver, nutmeg, cinnamon, and amber wood.

Image via Sephora

Maison Louis Marie’s No. 4 Bois de Balincount

Top: Sandalwood, Cedarwood

Middle: Vetiver, Nutmeg, Cinnamon

Base: Amber Wood

For your formal occasions

Stand out from the crowd during this year’s holiday festivities. 

Sterling: Formal occasions require a scent that helps you stand out from the crowd and is something you can enjoy. My recommendation is Diptyque’s Orpheon Eau de Parfum which gives you a beautiful mix of woods, florals, and spices all in one.

Image via Nordstrom

Diptyque Orpheon Eau de Parfum 

Top: Juniper berry

 Middle: Cedar, Tonka Bean

Base: Jasmine

For your casual outings

For the more casual holiday outings, like ice skating or a visit to a holiday market, the stronger, the better. 

Sterling: Casual outing is perfect for stronger scents since you may be moving around all day. My recommendation for these casual scents is to go for heavier or warm floral scents like Libre by YSL Beauty with Lavender, Musk, Orange Blossom, or Killian Paris Love, Don’t Be Shy. 

Image via Sephora

Libre by YSL Beauty 

Top: Lavender

Middle: Orange Blossom 

Base: Musk Accord

Image via Sephora

Killian Paris Love, Don’t Be Shy 

Top: Orange Blossom 

Middle: Vanilla Absolute

Base: Luscious Marshmallow

For socializing with your friends

Sterling: Socializing with friends can bring different types of moods for a scent. It depends on how you want your fragrance to stand out in your friends’ scent memories. I have two recommendations: for a fresh scent, the classic Jo Malone London Cologne Lime Basil & Mandarin is the perfect scent for fresh notes like mandarin, basil, and amber. Please note that this is a cologne which is less concentrated than an Eau de Parfum so, it is best to pair it with a lotion to make it last longer. For a floral scent, you cannot go wrong with L’Iris Eau De Parfum by Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella. 

Image via Saks Fifth Avenue

Jo Malone Lime, Basil, & Mandarin London Cologne

Top: Mandarin

Middle: Basil 

Base: Amberwood

Image via Sephora

L’Iris Eau De Parfum by Officina Profumo-Farmaceutica di Santa Maria Novella 

Top: Galbanum, Timur Pepper, Neroli

Middle: Geranium, Magnolia Champaca, Jasmine Sambac

Base: Iris Fiorentina, Musk, Ambergri

Sterling shares, once you are freshly washed, apply your fragrance on damp skin on pressure points and seal it with a lotion, balm, or occlusive (aka your Ceva Healing Ointment). 

If you have scents in your fragrance wardrobe, take a look at the notes to group them into scent categories to find your favorite, she says. My favorite scents include woods, ambers, and flower notes. 

Check the conceration of your perfume spray, Sterling reccomends. From least strong to strongest, cologne, eau de toilette, eau de parfum, and parfum.

If you don’t like sprays, Sterling advises to try the oil versions of perfumes either in a roll-on oil format or body oil format. Sometimes the oil format is less expensive and the payoff is more effective on certain body types.

Reminder, Sterling says, what smells great on someone else may not smell great on you. Your body naturally warms up the fragrance notes based on its personal chemistry. This also includes that your nose may go numb aka you can’t smell it to a scent over time or from first smell. 

Featured Image via @labelleperfumes. Design by Her Campus Media/Francesca Grima of Unsplash.