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Top tips on how to choose your signature scent, from understanding olfactory profiles to how to layer fragrance like a pro, plus where to spritz for maximum impact

Follow your nose: discover the key fragrance profiles

The first step to finding the perfect women’s perfume is to understand its composition. “The world of fragrance is generally divided into ‘families’,” explains Sonia Deary, beauty technologist at M&S. “Often we tend to fall for one family without even realising it, or we may be drawn to fresh fragrances in the summer and warm fragrances in the winter. The fragrance families are categorised using olfactory ‘groups’: floral, fruity, fresh and woody.”

Did you know: M&S stocks perfume and eau de toilette from beauty brands such as Clinique, Estee Lauder and L’Occitane

Shop the Discover rangeShop all women’s fragrance


Pink pepper eau de toilette. Shop now 
Eau de toilette with a hint of pink pepper
Midnight Blossom eau de toilette. Shop now
Lift your mood with warm, sensual jasmine and amber
Soft iris eau de toilette. Shop now
A balance of iris, patchouli and bergamot
Gardenia eau de toilette. Shop 
Discover the new Intense range of fragrances

Create a perfume wardrobe

While some swear by a single does-it-all fragrance, many more prefer the freedom to cater to their mood. Whether your week involves an important meeting, brunch with friends or a dinner date (or all three), tailoring your perfume to the occasion can boost your confidence and leave a lasting impression. Consider a different scent for work, weekend and evening to mark the transition throughout the day – Floral Street’s travel-sized bottles are ideal for this purpose.

How to layer fragrance like a pro

Combining perfumes is a way to create a unique signature scent and express your personality. “Autograph perfumes come in scents specifically designed for layering – enabling you to become your own perfumer if you so wish,” says Hannah Zapala, M&S beauty buyer. “Furthermore, the luxurious ingredients, such as Indonesian patchouli oil, boast enviable provenance without commanding a premium price tag.”

“Our bright and zesty Autograph riviera neroli eau de parfum is perfect for starting off the day,” reveals Sonia. “Layer on plum blossom eau de parfum for extra sparkle and spritz on wild jasmine eau de parfum in the evening for extra intensity.”

Did you know: M&S’s Autograph fragrance is made in England

Shop Autograph fragrance


Florentyna fragrance duo. Shop now
Comes with a mini bottle for taking on the go
Apothecary fragrance trio. Shop now
A soothing set of unisex fragrances
Floral Street Sunflower Pop eau de parfum. Shop now
The perfect size for a stocking filler
Autograph fragrance layering gift set
A fragrance trio designed for layering

Spritz wisely: the best places to apply fragrance

To help your perfume last all day, apply to pulse points (inner wrists, neckline, behind ear lobes) and allow to dry naturally. Do not rub as this can cause the top notes to quickly evaporate. Make fragrance last longer by applying immediately after a pampering bath or shower, when skin is still damp. Even better, layer your fragrance over matching body cream to intensify. Avoid the urge to mist perfume on hair as the alcohol content can be drying; opt for a fragranced dry shampoo instead.

Store carefully to preserve the ingredients

While an array of bottles on your dressing table certainly adds flair to any bedroom, the slightly less glamorous confines of your top drawer might be better suited to perfume storage. “Fluctuating temperatures, humidity and changes in lighting can have undesirable effects on fragrance,” advises Sonia, “so make sure they are stashed away safely to make the most of every precious spritz. I recommend keeping your fragrance stored in its original box in a drawer, away from direct sunlight.”

Did you know? Eau de parfum contains higher levels of fragrance oil than eau de toilettes

Shop all women’s perfume


Shay and Blue oud eau de parfum. Shop now
This oud perfume is an online exclusive
Estee Lauder Beautiful Fragrance Duo. Shop now
Estee Lauder’s timeless fragrance makes the perfect gift
Fragonard l’etoile eau de parfum. Shop now
A seductive scent by Fragonard
Nuxe Prodigieux eau de parfum. Shop now
Contains 88% natural origin ingredients 

Scents of occasion: fragrance gift ideas for men

When it comes to treating your loved ones, a carefully considered fragrance or a perfume gift is guaranteed to please. Eau de parfum is a standout choice for special occasions – the superior complexity of the scent and volume of fragrance oil make it a real treat to receive – whereas an eau de toilette is best suited to everyday wear.

Did you know? All M&S own-brand fragrance is certified cruelty free by Cruelty Free International

Shop men’s groomingShop beauty gifting


 Monotheme Agrumi di Sicilia eau de cologne. Shop now
Uplifting citrus meets soft musk
Aramis eau de toilette spray. Shop now
A classic men’s fragrance
Monte and Wilde eau de toilette gift set. Shop now
A trio of eau de toilette featuring amber, sandalwood and bergamot
Cool and crisp, with a hint of citrus

Words: Dulcie Emerson

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