FRONT/CENTER: ROAD TESTING FRAGRANCE IQ
The smartest way to find a scent.
Choosing a new fragrance can be overwhelming. But now, you can better parse through the countless options with Sephora’s new in-store technology, Fragrance IQ, now available at all Sephora store locations. Similar to Skincare iQ, Fragrance IQ connects you to personalized perfume recommendations, as well as helps sort through fragrance families with similar scent profiles. I was in the market to rotate my fragrance wardrobe for fall. Rather than dousing myself in a thousand sprays and leaving the store with nothing more than a nasty headache, I had beauty expert Meghan walk me through the program to find my next scent for the season. BECKY PEDERSON
STEP ONE: TAKE THE QUIZ
I came to the store wanting a lighter scent to juxtapose the complex, more masculine perfumes I gravitate towards, but all I’d found were scents that smelled way too girly for my tastes. Since I know what I like, I entered my favorite brands into the search bar. Fragrance IQ pulled similar fragrances that shared my favorites’ scent profiles—including matches for a fragrance that Sephora doesn’t even sell!
Though interesting, the search function didn’t yield any results that piqued my curiosity. Meghan suggested I take the quiz, saying it’s great for fragrance newbies as well as people like me who can’t quite pin down what they’re looking for.
First, I was prompted to answer if the scent I was looking for be masculine, feminine, or “anything as long as it smells good.” Being an equal opportunity sniffer, I picked the last option and was taken to a screen that asked to pick my favorite fragrance families—floral, fresh, warm and spicy, or earthy and woody. Since I’d normally pick a musky scent, I selected “floral” to get something different.
Once you’ve selected your preferred fragrance family (you can pick more than one), you’re taken to a screen with a scale that asks you to select how light or how bold you like your scents. I moved the slider all the way to the “rich and bold” side—I’m looking for feminine, but I don’t want to smell like baby powder.
Finally, you’re taken to a screen that asks you a lifestyle question: How do you want your fragrance to make you feel? You’re allowed to choose up to three of the eight options that range from “polished” to “relaxed.” I chose “sexy,” “bold,” and “chic,” because I do not currently embody these things, but I would like to.
Using the info I provided, Fragrance IQ says my top four results are: Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb, Maison Martin Margiela ‘REPLICA’ Promenade in the Gardens, Cartier La Panthère, and Burberry Brit Rhythm for Her.
STEP TWO: TEST YOUR RESULTS AND TAKE HOME THREE SAMPLES
Meghan advised to sample no more than three fragrances—spray any more and they’ll all start to smell the same. I picked up Replica because I liked the bottle best. Meghan instructed me to spritz it on a pressure point, which is any part of your body where you can check your pulse. These areas of the body are warmer; the warmth will intensify and diffuse the scent quickly so you’ll get a better sense of how you’ll smell throughout the day. I sprayed the inside of my left wrist and then, per Meghan’s tip, cupped my right hand over the area to warm it up even faster. (She noted to not rub my wrists together, as this would effectively “crush the petals” of the perfume and distort the scent.)
After about 20 seconds, I took a whiff of my wrist. I was immediately hit with the delicate notes of peony, but I also caught a hint of my standby scents, patchouli and vetiver. The fragrance reminded me of my college years spent in Santa Cruz, walking through the forest to class after a fresh rain. I told Meghan I loved it and didn’t need to try the other scents, but she put together samples of them for me anyway (you get three free samples when you use Fragrance IQ in stores).
STEP THREE: EMAIL YOUR PICK
Settled on Replica and stocked up with samples in case I changed my mind later, I was given the option to email the Sephora.com product page link to buy later. My anniversary is in a few weeks, so instead of sending the information to myself, I casually emailed my perfume pick to my boyfriend. Fragrance IQ: Dropping hints since 2014.
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