If one whiff of the department store fragrance counter sends you running or gives you a headache, now you can breathe a little easier. The founders of Pinrose—a San Francisco-based fragrance company—created a fun, visually-stimulating quiz to help determine the scent that’s best for you based on synethesia (how the stimulation of one sense is related to an involuntary reaction in another sense). By offering up cues that engage your eyes and ears, they attempt to figure out what will be most pleasing to your nose.
How it works: Head to pinrose.com, where you’ll be shown 11 image pairings (nature scenes, colors, shapes, textures, and sounds—so grab your headphones). Click on the image you’re most drawn to (don’t over think it). After the quiz is completed, the site generates your fragrance personality (i.e., a “Charmer”) and recommends three scent matches out of a collection of 12. You can purchase, or, if you’re hesitant, they offer Petal Packs ($24 for a 10-pack sampler, pinrose.com)—individually-wrapped, single-use towelettes that allow you to try out the scents without committing to one. Sephora sells a set (Pinrose Parfum a go-go!, 24 for 20 wipes, sephora.com) that come housed in a clear makeup bag. The packs are great for travel—stash a few in your suitcase or purse without worrying about potential spillage.
How accurate is this quiz, really? Yes, there’s a chance you could take the quiz and not love your matches. But the co-founders and Stanford Business School grads Erika Shumate (who has been studying the psychology of scent since college) and Christine Lubby aim to formulate their fragrances by taking color, texture, and sound into account.
A few hero scents: Merry Maker ($55, pinrose.com), which was created by a new mother (and master perfumer) for pregnant women, since many have trouble finding a perfume that doesn’t irritate them. The scent contains qualities to ease the negative side effects of pregnancy (peppermint to soothe headaches and nausea, lemon to curb anxiety, and sage to aid in sleeplessness). Another standout, Pillowtalk Poet ($55, pinrose.com), is a fresh laundry mix of powder and musk.
One last note: These fragrances were created for the person wearing them—not everyone in the elevator, so they’re subtle instead of overpowering. A pop quiz has never been so fun.