Why You Should Buy A New Scent For Your Birthday, According To TikTok

For your next birthday, you might celebrate with a party, quality time with loved ones, maybe some drinks — and perhaps a new perfume? According to one TikToker, an annual birthday scent is the festive, treat-yourself ritual you should adopt. In a viral video with more than 80,000 likes, content creator @elirallo explains that once she reached her 20s, birthdays stopped feeling exciting or momentous. Her mother swooped in with a solution: Buy a new scent every year on your special day. "This can be as inexpensive or expensive as you'd like it to be. It's just about choosing a new scent on your birthday every year," she explains in the video. The point is to commemorate a new year of life and treat it as a fresh chapter, the way you may have done when you were younger.

Buying a new fragrance every year makes sense, given that perfumes don't retain their aroma for long. In fact, Frances Shoemack, founder of fragrance brand Abel, told Makeup.com that the majority of scents last for a minimum of one year. After that, scents can slowly decline in quality, making one year a great marker to invest in a new one while still having your older scents for nostalgic spritzes in the future (assuming they haven't declined too much). But besides that, some psychology may back up the TikTok tip, and changing your perfume with each age could help you manifest your dream year.

New scent, new beginning

If your birthday is starting to feel more like Groundhog Day each year, a fresh scent could be one way to shake things up. "There is some psychological and neurobiological basis for wanting to change your perfume," Julie Walsh-Messinger, a psychologist and assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Dayton, shared with Elle. For instance, if you had a rough year and are ready to turn over a new leaf, Walsh-Messinger suggests replacing familiar smells from last year with new ones this year. "Switching your perfume is easy. It helps you manage your emotions, lets you stay away from old memories, and allows you to create new ones," she added.

Think of the TikTok hack as the antithesis of perfume regression therapy, where you sniff nostalgic scents to mentally time travel to a previous point in your life (and relieve some stress in the process). Purchasing a new birthday scent — and wearing it in the year to come — marks a new phase with new possibilities with zero need to revisit what's already been done. As @elirallo explains in her video, "It really makes you feel like you're welcoming in a new year, and you're purchasing something for yourself that doesn't have to be super pricey. It just feels really metaphorical."

Inspiration for your next birthday scent

If you're buying a scent for the entire year ahead, throw out traditional seasonal scent rules and focus instead on what you want to accomplish and how you want to feel. As Linda G. Levy, president of The Fragrance Foundation, told The New York Times, "Think about mood and lifestyle and what fragrance families lend themselves to it. It's part common sense and part instinct." That means there are no right or wrong scents — go with your gut when sniffing test spritzers at the perfume counter.

It's also a good idea to step outside your comfort zone. The scent that suited you last year probably won't suit you now if you're ready to make big changes in your life. "[A scent] should make them their ideal self — this sense of recognition with a drop of aspiration," Bee Shapiro, founder of beauty and fragrance brand ELLIS Brooklyn, revealed to InStyle. "When you spray on the scent, it should feel not only that this scent is who you are, but who you want to be."

If you need a little guidance, The Perfume Society suggests thinking in terms of fragrance families: Citrus fragrances conjure up summer vibes, florals are feminine and traditional, florientals are sensual, ambrée scents evoke maturity, woody and chypre notes are earthy and grounding, and gourmand perfumes are cozy with a touch of sweetness. From here, you can hone in on what you want to take into your new year.