Your Foofproof Guide to Buying Your Mom a Fragrance She’ll Actually Wear

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Sure, your endless love and adoration are appreciated, but what mom really wants this Mother's Day is a killer new fragrance. But unless she's made a specific request, choosing a scent that's "her" can feel like an impossible test.

So, we tapped Leah Ridge, education manager at luxury fragrance company Interparfums, to share her top tips for shopping scent for friends and family.

1. Scope Out Stores

Before you start searching for the fragrance itself, spend time scouting out the best store to make your purchase. Ridge says knowledgable sales associates can make all the difference in guiding you through the nuances of various scents. Check out the beauty floors of department stores and ask a few questions to get a feel for their approach. And while you're there, inquire about the store's return policy: That way, if you make a "mistake," you can go back with mom and make a swap.

2. Take a Hint

When in doubt, look to the fragrances your mom already owns. You might think that's so you can replicate 'em exactly, but Ridge likes the idea of "creating a fragrance wardrobe" for the recipient. So, if your mom has already got a daytime floral, maybe she'd love a slightly more woodsy verison for night. Oftentimes fragrance brands do the work for you—for example, Jimmy Choo's airy new L'Eau ($98; shares notes with its more full-bodied Eau de Parfum ($108; According to Ridge, it's also wise to look to the giftee's style of dress when it comes to brand and bottle aesthetic.

3. Don't Get Hung Up on Notes

Sure, fragrances billed as vanilla or citrus tend to be more universally-pleasing than their musk and patchouli counterparts, but Ridge warns against getting hung up on those details. Instead, "close your eyes, take a whiff, and consider who you're buying the fragrance for," says Ridge. If your gut instinct says it'll jibe with your mom, go for it. After all, it's the personal aspect of fragrance that makes it such a perfect gift.

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