My Search For A Signature Scent Is Finally Over

Nubby Twiglet | My Search For A Signature Fragrance Is Finally Over

When it comes to fragrances, I want to smell like I’m on vacation.

Let me explain: maybe it’s asking for a lot but with just one spritz, I want to be transported to a tropical white sand beach.

In the past, as much as I searched, I never quite nailed that feeling so I resorted to keeping things very basic. In the sixth grade, I wore Vanilla by The Body Shop every day. By eighth grade, I’d upgraded to CK One (ah, the 90s).

And beyond that, I’d pick up something here and there every few years. If I was in a perfume shop with friends, I’d grab a few tester vials but never committed — nothing ever really felt like my “signature scent,” the one that I couldn’t live without.

I just resigned myself to thinking that as much as I loved beauty products, I just wasn’t a fragrance kind of girl. My beachy fantasy would have to stay just that — a fantasy.

That just changed, though.

As I was wandering through downtown Portland with my dad over the weekend, I spotted a (new to me) store: Alder & Co. As I walked in, I was met with the most intriguing mix of housewares, flowers, stationery and beauty products (trust me, it all somehow works in this setting).

Nubby Twiglet | My Search For A Signature Fragrance Is Finally Over

Lined up in the corner was Coqui Coqui, a line perfumes from Tulum in the Yucuatan Peninsula. I was intrigued because I’d never seen the line in person before — and that simple labeling with the palm trees? Beautiful. The perfumes are hand-blended in Valladolid, one of the first colonial towns in the Americas and are used at a handful of spas throughout Mexico.

I picked them up one by one and landed on the last bottle: Coco Coco. That was it. Totally it. Eureka! I bought it on the spot. If there ever was a beach-perfect scent, it’s this. It’s like lathering up in Hawaiian Tropic but not gross and greasy — it’s coconuty but cleaner, simpler and very luxurious.

So, my scent search is officially over. I’ve met my match!

Nubby Twiglet | My Search For A Signature Fragrance Is Finally Over

But while we’re on the subject of scents, I have one more thing to share with you: Love + Salt Hair Mist. Once again, it smells like the beach. For ladies like me who don’t wash their hair every single day, this spray is wonderful. It gives your hair that clean, fresh smell with hints of pink salt and coconut oil. With just two spritzes in your tresses, this will also have you feeling like you’re on vacation (and who doesn’t want that?)

Full disclosure: I designed this packaging for Branch client Olivine without ever sniffing the fragrance but my gut told me it needed to be unfussy, golden and beachy. And unlike most hair products which are in plastic bottles, this is housed in glass. It’s pretty enough to leave out on your dresser or vanity! Get yours at Anthropologie — or, try out the tester size.

So, that’s my scent story! It took me until I was 32 to find that special fragrance but I am so glad it finally happened.


I’d love to hear: Do you have a signature scent? How did you discover it? And, how did you know it was the one?

23 Responses to My Search For A Signature Scent Is Finally Over

  1. Melinda says:

    I’m still looking. I like the scent of water and green fresh scents. Basically, I like the scent of fresh cut grass after a warm summer shower. All the ones I have found have been too overpowering for me, I just like a light scent that doesn’t overpower with a bit more of a fresh water scent with a hint of green. I think I’m just too picky :)

    • Shauna says:

      Melinda: I know what you mean! A lot of those scents should be more simple but they lose their simplicity when they become too heavy. The whole point of water or fresh green scents is that they should be realistic and subtle…not like your nose has just been assaulted. ;)

  2. Ghost says:

    I haven’t found a “signature scent” yet, either, but I change scents like I change clothes. They’re part of my ritual every morning: put on makeup, pick out clothing, choose a fragrance. Maybe I don’t need a single signature in that sense–but I do tend to gravitate towards exotic florals. I hand-make a lot of my own fragrances, and depending on my mood I’ll smell like misty forests, or forgotten tombs, or fields of wildflowers. It’s a fun way to put myself together.

  3. Ghost says:

    I haven’t found a “signature scent” yet, either, but I change scents like I change clothes. They’re part of my ritual every morning: put on makeup, pick out clothing, choose a fragrance. Maybe I don’t need a single signature in that sense–but I do tend to gravitate towards exotic florals. I hand-make a lot of my own fragrances, and depending on my mood I’ll smell like misty forests, or forgotten tombs, or fields of wildflowers. It’s a fun way to put myself together.

    • Shauna says:

      kat — rocknrollbride: Oh, you know I can’t get enough of Amongst The Waves, either. I am so glad it’s the base for the hair mist! I am packing along the new scent from Coqui Coqui. It’s much more coconut-y than Amongst The Waves. Heavy on the tropical vacation vibes. Nothing wrong with that. ;)

  4. Nikki says:

    I’m definitely going to have to check out that hair mist, it sounds wonderful!

    I’ve never been able to land on one scent, probably because I love perfume bottles too much and can’t help but drop money on the extra pretty ones! But, my favorite has to be the Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue men’s cologne. Even though it is for dudes, I love the scent and find that it works well on me.

    • Shauna says:

      Nikki: I’m a perfume bottle fanatic, too. Lucky Scent in West Hollywood is the best place to see all the best bottles lined up! It’s like a gallery for perfumes. ;) I’ve never smelled the Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue — will have to check it out!

  5. Crystal says:

    My signature scent is ‘Realism’ by Goest Perfumes! It’s a heady gust of late summer evenings spent romping in the fields. My fragrance to end all fragrances <3

  6. Misaki Shimizu says:

    Somehow I don’t like scented hairsprays and alike, I feel uncomfortable with this.
    My signature scent would be roses, but I am also a big fan of YSL perfumes, especially Parisienne. <3

    That said, I love the simple design on these two bottles and your handwriting is really nice!

  7. Stefi says:

    I have a lot of fragrances, but Chanel’s Chance Eu Fraìche (the green one) has easily become my favorite. It’s super fresh with notes of floral and citrus, but doesn’t hit you over the head with it. The amount of compliments I’ve receive from men and women over the past few years has definitely made the choice to keep it on my shelves very simple :-)

    PS, I love the gold & handwriting touch on the hair spray <3

  8. I used to think perfume was for other people, for girls who wore high heels and make up every day.
    Then I went to France and walked into the Diesel store in San Tropez. And there it was – Diesel Fuel for Life. The perfect, sophisticated, dark but still fun scent that I had always been looking for. It has been the only perfume I wear.

    Until recently when I was all out and strolled through the airport and got over a bottle of CK IN2U for a ridiculous price. And I figured maybe I could try a more summery scent.

    I have never tried hair scents, or mists, I sometimes put chamomile water in it during summer to lighten it a bit, but that’s as far as I want to go.

  9. Ariana says:

    I would say my signature scent is Britney Spears’ Curious. I started wearing it when I was in high school, and I love it so much. It smells like cotton candy, cake, vanilla, sunshine and happiness, lol. I think my fragrance found me instead of the other way around. This fragrance brings back soooo many memories, when I smell it its like a bunch of flashbacks just hit me.

  10. The Premature Burial was a Limited Edition scent made by BPAL that I have a tiny bottle of hoarded and I think it smells like everything I ever want to smell like: old woods after a good rain.

    I’m way into both GREEN and FLORAL,so I am always on the lookout for something that isn’t LIMITED and you know, I can get more than one tiny bottle of (as mine is ancient and I take good care of it not to rot away, haha)

    • Shauna says:

      Melissa Dominic: I remember that line of scents from about 10 years ago. It seemed like all my friends were into them. The fragrances always seemed so unique and a bit mysterious!

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