The 22 Perfumes Beauty Insiders Are Turning to This Year

Shannon Lawlor
·12-min read

You don’t need us to tell you that beauty routines have changed as of late. In fact, virtually everyone we speak to has something to say about the ways in which they have tweaked their daily regimen to fit in with the new normal. Mostly, we have found ourselves waving goodbye to bold lipsticks, colourful eye shadows and full-coverage foundations in favour of low-key formulas suitable for home life. And for the most part, no one seems to be particularly mad about it. In fact, there is actually something quite wholesome about stripping things back to basics.

Except when it comes to perfume. When lockdown hit for the first time at the start of spring last year, many of us found ourselves reaching for perfume less and less. After all, if no one’s smelling it, what’s the point? However, as time went on, people started to realise that actually, perfume is just the sort of spirit-lifting boost we all need in times of despair. Now, more so than ever, we’re using the power of perfume to keep us going.

However, with shops closed and smell-evision yet to be invented, shopping for perfume has never been harder. So, in a bid to help those struggling with fragrance browsing this year, we reached out to some of the most perfume-loving beauty insiders we know to help compile the ultimate scent shopping list. Keep scrolling to discover the most popular perfumes of 2021, according to those who really know.

Mica Ricketts, Beauty Editor, Who What Wear

Byredo Velvet Haze Eau De Parfum (£122)

“To compensate for the fact that I have basically been sat on my sofa for the best part of a year now, I have started wearing Byredo Velvet Haze in a quest to help me feel more like a sophisticated woman with places to go and people to see. It’s done the trick. This perfume is musky, heady with patchouli and beautifully refreshing thanks to an unexpected dash of coconut water in the mix. It lifts my spirits whenever I spray it.”

Ouai Melrose Place Eau De Parfum (£46)

“I recently rediscovered this perfume and boy is it good. Rose perfumes tend to get a bit of a bad rep but this one is fresh and fruity with notes of lychee and bergamot. To me, this is a really modern take on floral fragrances and makes me feel like spring has arrived. Oh, Ouai also recommend spraying it in your hair too—ideal if you’re always looking for ways to extend hair wash day like me.”

India Sehmi, @theindiaedit

Chanel Paris-Biarritz Les Eaux De Chanel Eau De Toilette Spray (£84)

“Inspired by Gabrielle Chanel's favourite coastal escape, this is a wonderfully fresh and vibrant fragrance. It has notes of grapefruit, mandarin and lily of the valley, so it is citrusy and warm, evoking feelings of springtime. I love that it's light enough to spritz liberally and perfect for everyday as it's not overpowering. I always pop it on before heading to my desk, even though no one else is around to enjoy it right now! I'd love to choose some more perfumes when stores open as I miss being able to try them all out. Luckily, Chanel Les Eaux was a successful online find!”

Keeks Reid, Freelance Beauty Journalist and Cosmopolitan UK Contributor

Le Labo Thé Noir 29 Eau De Parfum (£130)

“This has been my go-to, ride-or-die scent for a few years now and it’s one that I can’t smell on myself anymore because it’s so heavily embedded in my wardrobe. I love the black tea mixed with the depths of cedarwood and musk along with hints of tobacco. It reminds me of when I had a life beyond Zoom calls.”

Crabtree & Evelyn Raw Instinct Scent (£72)

“This is a new discovery for me. It really gives me Santal 33 vibes but a little bit lighter and sweeter. I love wearing a little bit of perfume to bed (tell me I’m not alone?) and this is my current favourite. The sweet and fresh notes settle into a woodier vibe on me – warm and comforting.”

Chloe Robertson, @chloejade_story

Jo Malone London Scarlet Poppy Cologne Intense (£134)

“Powdery and comforting, with a fresh oriental twist introducing poppy and tonka bean with hints of vanilla. This is a new one in my fragrance wardrobe but by far a favourite. It's subtle enough to not be overpowering but lingers on your clothing and skin beautifully. It's also such a warming fragrance with a soothing powdery-ness, and right now, anything comforting I'll take. I also enjoy how genderless the scent is and think it’s perfect for pairing and fragrance layering. This is my spring/summer daytime fragrance if I need an extra spring in my step.”

Molton Brown Milk Musk Eau De Parfum (£110)

“This stuff has pear, cedarwood and musk as the top notes, layered with milk and tonka bean. It is hands down my favourite fragrance of all time, and one I didn't expect to love. It's so memorable. It has a scent that transports you to such a familiar time, yet you can't put your finger on it. It's deliciously creamy and luxurious, and the staying power is the longest I've ever experienced. The EDP has the most intense and concentrated notes, so it instantly packs a punch. I can just envision myself strolling around Paris, coffee in hand, book in bag, with all the time in the world when I wear this. I can't get enough and even store some in a vial across my handbags. The scent is so comforting to me if I'm ever feeling slightly anxious.”

Maison Margiela Beach Walk Eau De Toilette (£98)

“This smells like spicy freshness of bergamot and pink pepper, that's smoothed down with ylang ylang and coconut milk. I think by now you can get an overview of the notes I like! This is my perfect escapism fragrance. It really has got that salty-hair, sandy-toes atmosphere within the bottle, and I'm completely transported to somewhere hot and tropical. It's amazing that scent has this power!”

Ava Welsing-Kitcher, Freelance Beauty Journalist

Le Labo AnOther 13 Eau de Parfum (£130)

“Le Labo Another 13 will always be my favourite fragrance - ever. Right before lockdown, I had just under half a bottle left, and I’ve been sneaking sniffs to remind me of better times, but saving the rest for when we can socialise again. Even though I know I’ll be buying this musky, creamy, jasmine scent for the rest of my life, I’m still cherishing the remnants of what I have left - it’s too precious.”

Prada Les Infusion De Prada Mandarine Eau De Parfum (£91)

“As for fragrances I’m actually wearing? It has to be Prada’s sunny Mandarine. The optimistic, uplifting neroli leaps out with every spritz - an essential for beating winter blues.”

Byredo Velvet Haze Eau De Parfum (£122)

“For cosy comfort, Byredo’s Velvet Haze, a scent I’d neglected for years only to now find myself reaching for it night after night. It’s a sultry whirl of coconut, cacao, patchouli and musk, but surprisingly light despite the intense notes.”

Klaudia Kedziora, @klaudiacloud

Clean Reserve Skin [Reserve Blend] Eau De Parfum (£82)

“I’m the worst person to buy perfumes for because my preference changes on a daily. I like to compliment my perfume to my mood, outfit or an event… nowadays it’s just to feel something. Being stuck indoors, I have enjoyed lifting my mood with somewhat expensive scents - it’s a complete psychological thing of making me feel more sexy and put together. This perfume reminds me of summer 2018. I wore it daily (and wasted it on some unfortunate dates). The scent makes me feel super-calm and comforted. In the description of the product, it mentions the unusual salted praline base note, and I have a reall sweet tooth, which is probably why I love this warming aroma!”

Miller Harris Scherzo Eau de Parfum (£100)

“This perfume smells like a sexy, passionate, business woman. It makes me feel super-powerful and it gives me the confidence to send those overdue invoice follow ups…”

L'Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier Extreme Eau De Parfum (£124)

“I really struggle to express how amazing this perfume is. It smells like a luxurious holiday in Provence that I dream of taking some time in the future. I love how delicate this perfume is and the longevity of the scent staying on my skin.”

Grace Day, Freelance Beauty Editor and Personal Shopper

Chanel No 5 Eau De Parfum Spray (£113)

“Scent has always played a comforting role in my life, but in 2020, perfume well and truly became my olfactory comfort blanket – as well as the only means by which to upgrade and accessorise my WFH uniform of sweatpants and hoodies. As a child, my mum would (on special occasions) let me spray my teddy bear with her precious Chanel No5. As an adult I apply it at Duty Free before a flight, and over the past year as the weeks since our last time together have stretched into months, I’ve found the comfort of her hugs in the last dregs of the bottle I keep on my nightstand.”

Byredo Bal D'Afrique Eau de Parfum (£122)

“Of course, fragrance has also offered a welcome escape during a year I’ve spent mostly confined within the four walls of a studio apartment, and so I’ve increasingly found myself reaching for scents that will transport me elsewhere. I wore Byredo Bal d’Afrique on a trip to Australia several years ago – the warm, vibrant scent immediately transports me back to balmy Sydney nights by the ocean. I’m scared to rewear it in case I erase the trigger, but I smell it every so often.”

Ex Nihilo Honoré Delights Eau De Parfum (£240)

“More recently I discovered and fell in love with Ex Nihilo Honore Delights. It’s inspired by French pastries - one sniff and I’m stepping into a Montmartre patisserie.”

Karina Marriott, @styleidealist

Jo Malone London London Scarlet Poppy Cologne Intense (£134)

“This has fast become one of my favourite scents! Scarlet Poppy is the newest cologne intense fragrance by Jo Malone, and I love its versatility. It's soft, sweet and floral but also rich and sensual - the smell of decadence! This will be my go-to this Valentine's Day.”

Valentino Voce Viva Eau De Parfum (£65)

“Not only do I absolutely love the messaging behind this perfume with Lady Gaga as the face (a celebration of individuality and diversity), but I love how radiant and powerful this scent smells after just one spritz. On the days where I decide to dress up and want to feel my best self - this is my favourite.”

Shannon Lawlor, Freelance Beauty Editor and Who What Wear Contributor

Philosophy Amazing Grace Jasmine Eau de Toilette (£39)

“I would say that 95% of my perfume collection comprises of deep, spicy scents. I like my perfumes to be bold and barge into a room like the powerful personalities that they are. However, as the tides start to turn after a truly tumultuous year, I have been reaching for fragrances that sit in the other 5% - light florals, cosy musks and zesty citruses. This new take on Philosophy’s classic Amazing Grace has a spring-like addition of jasmine and rose. It’s light, airy and makes me want to chuck on a linen shirt and throw open the windows.”

Juliette Has a Gun Musc Invisible Eau De Parfum (£85)

“Like so many others, I haven’t spent any quality, in-person time with my family for the best part of a year. I have been having vivid dreams of spending summers, frolicking in the garden of my childhood home, and I think that has something to do with my love for this perfume. With all of the homely, musky goodness reminiscent of my pre-teen go-to, The Body Shop White Musk, it also has a creaminess to it that makes it wonderfully adult. This stuff is the definition of a 'jeans and a white tee' fragrance. I couldn’t be more in love with it if I tried.”

Jo Loves Jo By Jo Loves Eau de Toilette (£70)

“Speaking of missing family… this is a shared favourite between my mum and me. It’s zingy thanks to lemon leaves but also have a powdery, floral dry-down that makes it comforting and warm. Its zesty-ness makes it the perfect pick-me-up, while the delicate floral notes make me think of natters with my mum over chilled glasses of rosé on the patio. It’s one of the most comforting slices of home I have right now.”

Francesca Saffari, @francescasaffari

L'Artisan Parfumeur L'Eau D'Ambre Eau De Toilette (£120)

“I was introduced to L'artisan Parfumeur a couple of years ago and it's been a firm favourite ever since. I have a couple of their fragrances and find they are beautifully balanced, unique scents. I've always loved fragrances which have rich, woody notes, and the ambre scent, which is inspired by the opulence of the 1930s, is just divine. It has waves of amber and gold spices that transport you to an exotic location - just what you need during lockdown!”

Stories Parfums No. 02 Eau De Parfum (£150)

“I love the story behind this brand - the concept of memory being linked to smell. The fragrances are all created to transport the mind and transform the emotions. No02 is musky and warm smelling, with notes of cedarwood, tonka beans and tobacco. It reminds of lazy summer evenings spent outside.”

Next up, 28 of the best candles to make your home smell incredible.

This article originally appeared on Who What Wear

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