I've made no secret of the fact that I'm a perfume obsessive. However, when I call myself a perfume snob, it's less about the price that I'm willing to pay for a decent perfume—I've got expensive scents and affordable ones in my collection, designer and high-street—and more about the artistry and expert noses that have gone into creating a fragrance. One thing that I've learned from amassing such a considerable perfume collection is that you can really tell when a genuine expert has had a hand in creating a scent. For instance, & Other Stories and Zara both stock an array of innovative yet purse-friendly fragrances that smell decidedly expensive. Their secret? The high-street shops teamed up with Byredo's Ben Gorham and Jo Malone CBE respectively to ensure that their high-street scent offerings smelt incredible.
But when it comes to celebrity perfumes, I'm downright dubious about the time, effort and expertise that have gone into creating them—especially in 2021 when celebrities are popping out new beauty brands by the bucketload. However, when Britney Spears's perfumes had a huge resurgence this year, I did a little digging and was surprised at just how many celebrity scents remain in the lists of most popular perfumes—some nearly two decades after they first launched. And if they're still selling at that rate, then at the very least, some of them must smell good, right?
Ahead, I spritzed my way through many, many fragrances to come up with a list of the nine best celebrity perfumes, from J.Lo's to Jennifer Aniston's, that not only smell great but that I'd be genuinely happy to wear. Keep scrolling to see them all.
1. Jennifer Lopez Glow
For me, there is basically only one celebrity perfume, and it's this one: Glow by J.Lo. First launched in 2002, this perfume basically changed the landscape for celebrity scents. It was an instant hit—a fresh, fruity, floral blend of orange blossom, pink grapefruit, rose and musk—and 13-year-old me went wild for it. And I have to say that nearly 20 years later, I think this perfume really holds its own. Okay, it's of course instantly recognisable, but to me, it's still uplifting, warming and (dare I say it) glowy. I rediscovered this during the lockdown last year, and it was just the kind of perfume comfort blanket that I needed. Glow, long may you continue.
2. Britney Spears Fantasy
Britney is the undisputed queen of celebrity perfumes, with well over 20 fragrances under her belt, but her 2005 launch, Fantasy, has to be one of her most iconic. I'll admit it; unlike my devotion to Glow, I had never smelt a Britney fragrance before researching this feature. Fantasy is undeniably sweet and fruity with notes of red lychee, kiwi, white chocolate and musk. If you like sweet scents, then you'll adore this, and it's definitely moreish. Plus, I'm kind of into that Y2K Swarovski-studded bottle.
3. Sarah Jessica Parker Lovely
Clearly, 2005 was a big year for celebrity perfumes, as Sarah Jessica Parker dipping her toe into the fragrance market with Lovely. This is a classic, sparkling floral perfume that smells way more expensive than it is. It has top notes of lavender, bergamot and fresh mandarin; heart notes of patchouli and orchid; and base notes of cedar and white amber. It's sophisticated, feminine and as delightful as SJP herself.
4. Ariana Grande Thank U, Next
It was Who What Wear contributor Vanese who first switched me on to this Ari scent in a roundup of her favourite sweet perfumes—and sweet it certainly is. However, while reading the list of notes might sound like a headache waiting to happen (white pear, wild raspberry, coconut and macaroon sugar, to name a few), this is a pleasingly bright, fizzy perfume with hints of rose and velvet musk preventing it from turning into a sugar crash.
5. Beyoncé Heat
The year is 2010. Beyoncé has just finished a 108-date world tour. You haven't been able to go to a club for the last two years without a hen do screeching "Single Ladies" on the dance floor at the end of the night. It is time for Beyoncé to enter the beauty market. Heat is sultry, spicy and deep—the floral notes are heady (orchid, magnolia and neroli) while amber, tonka bean and almond lend this perfume an unexpected depth.
6. Britney Spears Private Show
Britney Spears's perfumes have always been popular, but as she's dominated headlines this year over her conservatorship, the sales of her fragrances have skyrocketed. Since she announced her engagement last month, Fragrance Direct has reported a 310% increase in the sales of Britney perfumes, with Private Show—a creamy gourmand scent inspired by coffee and dulce de leche—proving most popular. "Since Britney Spears announced her engagement on Instagram, we’ve actually seen increased interest in the Britney fragrances on our site," explained fragrance expert Mia Gardner. "One of our best-selling Britney products since the announcement is the Britney Spears Private Show EDP Spray, which has seen a 200% increase in sales since last week and has since sold out."
7. Rihanna Nude
If you ask me, this Rihanna perfume is seriously underrated in the world of celebrity perfumes. It first launched in 2012—a decade after my beloved Glow by J.Lo—but it delivers the same familiar, skin-like comfort. It's woody, creamy and warm with notes of sandalwood, vanilla orchid and musk, and I'd happily wear this as part of my regular perfume rotation.
8. Kim Kardashian West Nude Lips
Annoyingly, you can still only shop for KKW Fragrances via the brand's own website—which means converting pricing from dollars, hefty shipping fees and the potential for customs charges. However, Kim KW is doing the most to keep celebrity perfumes relevant in the 21st century with her 2019 launch Nude Lips being my favourite yet. I adore vanilla perfumes anyway, but this one smells super expensive. As well as sun-drenched Tahitian vanilla, there's amber, sparkling florals and a sprinkling of spice. It's seriously good.
9. Jennifer Aniston by Jennifer Aniston
This is a summer-ready, beachy scent that instantly evokes the sun, sea and sand that Californian girl Jennifer Aniston loves so much. The eponymous fragrance first launched in 2010 and was Aniston's foray into the world of beauty—and it's a real crowd-pleaser. A mix of citrus notes, rose water, violet and jasmine, it's a light, fresh, breezy perfume that really holds its own.