Want to hear my biggest beauty pet peeve? Smelling my own perfume on a stranger in the street. Nothing is more intimate than your smell, because it attaches itself to memories in a way no other sense can. Honestly, one sniff of your ex's signature scent at a bar can have you tipsy-texting them faster than you can say "toxic." In fact, I'd rather wear no perfume at all than spritz someone else's signature—it's too personal, like borrowing a thong.
That's why I, like the rest of my beauty editor friends, are constantly searching for scents that speak to our personalities, remain elusive enough that the chance of catching a stranger channeling our vibe on the subway platform is low low low, and make sense for the season. Here, our current roster.
Taylore Glynn, Associate Beauty Editor at Marie Claire
Tom Ford Lavender Extreme
"I never thought my buddy Tom could top Tabacco Vanille, but I've never been happier to be mistaken. Lavender is my favorite smell on Earth, and this formula blends three types of the herb with bergamot and tonka bean for a heady, androgynous scent that clings to my neck well into the wee hours. It edges up any outfit I'm wearing—the olfactory equivalent of a leather jacket, if you will. And its seductive powers have been confirmed by perhaps the most attune focus group: The amount of Uber drivers who have turned down the music to ask me why I smell so good is staggering."
By Kilian Rolling in Love
"I get two picks because it's my story and them's the breaks! I've learned that like my fragrance just how I like my coffee: with healthy helping of almond milk because oat wasn't available. The nutty substitute adds an extra lick of creaminess to Kilian Hennessy's newest formula, which boasts seven different types of musk for that 'your skin, but sultrier' effect. Consider it 'fireside sex under a caribou blanket,' atomized."
Maya Allen, Digital Beauty Editor at Marie Claire
Maison Margiela Replica Whispers in the Library
"Let me tell you something: Asking a woman out on a date to the library is essentially a sext all smart women will appreciate. A day surrounded by books inspired this fragrance, and I can confirm this makes me feel like a hot librarian. The woody, warm notes of pepper, tonka bean, cedarwood, and vanilla will make colder months a bit more cozy. Spritzing on its subtle spice feels like a perfect pre-date ritual for a boost of confidence. Even though this scent is unisex, I refuse to share it with bae."
Hannah Baxter, Senior Beauty Editor at Coveteur
D.S. & Durga Notorious Oud
"When temperatures dip into single digits, I switch out my preferred woody floral fragrances for a warm, musky oud. The latest on my roster is Notorious Oud from D.S & Durga. It's vaguely spicy thanks to the saffron and camphor notes, yet perfectly balanced by the lavender and bulgar rose. Ouds can be a little overwhelming for some people, but if you're curious about them this guy is a great place to start—it's gentle enough for the uninitiated, but with enough bite for the veterans. Any scent that grows more delicious throughout the day (to the point that strangers will ask me what I'm wearing in the elevator) gets a hard yes from me."
Faith Xue, Editorial Director at Byrdie
Acqua di Parma Vaniglia
"When the weather gets bone-chillingly cold outside, I want my fragrance to make me feel as warm and cozy as my UNIQLO Heattech. I have a few perfumes I have on rotation during the winter months (like Margiela's By the Fireplace, Byredo Velvet Haze, Atelier Cologne Santal Carmin), but my new favorite is from Acqua di Parma and smells like a sweet, heady rush of Madagascar vanilla. Named Vaniglia, it's part of the brand's new Signatures of the Sun collection—10 potent fragrances, each centered around a single note—and makes other vanilla perfumes pale in comparison (or just seem too complicated, or saccharine sweet). The scent blends its star, vanilla, with notes of bergamot, mandarin, neroli, and jasmine sambac, rounding it out with base notes of cedarwood and musk. If you were to ask me to describe it in word, I'd say 'sunny.' Hence, why I'm spritzing it with abandon these days, hoping its powers will extend to the grey skies outside. Plus, there's the added bonus that every time I wear it, someone tells me how good I smell."
Lauren Valenti, Beauty Writer at Vogue
"Gamine is French-inspired and New York City-based (like me, always!) and tends to fly under the radar. Since it launched a couple of years ago, its namesake scent—a nod to founder Melanie Dir’s surf trips to France’s Reunion Island—has been my signature. It's an earthy, yet spicy unisex blend of Cote D'Azur cypress, vetiver root, chocolate noir, and wild Indonesian patchouli that lives its best life in the cooler months. Melanie encourages misting it in less obvious areas of the body that emit heat, like under the breasts, furthering the sexy French feel."
Margaux Anbouba, Associate Beauty Editor at Elle
"I was first drawn to Audacious by NARS because of the unusual packaging. It looks like some sort of objet d'art that you’d see at your coolest friend’s house and wonder, What’s that? The scent totally matches that vibe. It’s warm, mysterious, and just a little bit witchy—like you’re crushing tropical frangipani flowers for a love potion in a room swirling with incense. I love spraying it in my hair so I leave a faint trail of it when I walk through a room."
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