Beauty editors love to talk about beauty. Obviously. But I’m not sure people fully understand the extent of our love for products. If you were to get a group of us together in a room, we could talk about beauty products for hours without coming up for breath. That’s why, whenever you drop us an email, DM or comment asking for some beauty advice, we’re typically all too pleased to dish the dirt.
There does, however, appear to be one caveat to this statement. Over my many years of partaking in and observing conversations amongst beauty editors, I have come to realise that we tend to get a little flustered when it comes to talking perfume and fragrance. Not because it is a notoriously difficult topic to write about or because we don’t know our stuff but because we get defensively sentimental about it.
Look, the truth is (and I’m being brutally honest here) no one likes smelling like everybody else, but beauty editors really hate it. When long-standing beauty-editor favourite Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 hit the big time last year, we simply didn't know what to do with ourselves. We have access to every perfume under the sun and take great pride in smelling almost totally unique. It’s for this reason that fragrance recommendations often get whispered from ear to ear between intimate groups of editors that can be trusted. Frankly, passing off another beauty editor’s signature scent as your own basically breaks every unspoken rule in the book.
Luckily for you, I’m a total snake. So without further ado, keep scrolling for the 24 best niche fragrances that beauty editors really don’t want you to know about. Some have been shared with full consent, others most definitely not.
1. Chanel Les Exclusifs de Chanel Jersey
One fellow beauty editor, who shall remain unnamed, recently told me that this particular fragrance caused a lot of controversy in a well-known magazine office. One of her colleagues became known for her mysterious signature scent that had people asking after it all day long—but she never gave up her secret. That was until said beauty editor popped by her house one day and spotted Chanel Jersey on her bathroom sink. A soft, creamy floral that symbolises the wearable beauty of cotton jersey, needless to say it's very, very special.
2. Byredo Velvet Haze
Virtually every beauty editor I know is head over heels for Byredo Velvet Haze and I can totally see why. While we all openly praise the likes of Gypsy Water, Mojave Ghost and Blanche, Velvet Haze is the one we keep to ourselves. Coconut water makes it creamy and sweet, while patchouli, musk and cacao make it deeply refreshing.
3. Diptyque Orphéon
I recently posted a picture of my perfume stash on Instagram (controversial, I know), and I was stunned by the amount of editors that messaged me about Diptyque's Orphéon. It's a relatively new fragrance but has clearly already captured the hearts of editors far and wide. I thought it was just me that loved and wore it but at least 10 other editors messaged me in support. It's a subtle and smoky scent that fuses with skin in a way that suggest you just smell that great. It's popularity is a shame to me—I'm not sure I'm prepared to give it up.
4. Trish McEvoy 100
5. Jo Malone London Sea Daffodil Cologne
Considering this launched this week, it means a lot that it's managed to make this list. It only took one sniff for me to know that Jo Malone London Sea Daffodil is destined to be a beauty-editor hit. It's fresh, salty, sunny and floral all at once, lingers on skin and clothes all day long and, most importantly, is limited edition, so is bound to become difficult for everybody else to get their hands on.
6. Abel Odor Nurture
Beauty editor at Fabulous, Tara Ledden, told me that she first spotted this perfume while on holiday in Barbados. She didn't buy it at the time but spent the next six months tracking it down (the lengths we'll go to). A hearty concoction of sweet and dry cedar, it sounds absolutely exquisite.
7. Aerin Rose de Grasse
I have waxed lyrical about Aerin perfumes before, and frankly there isn't a single scent in the line up that I wouldn't recommend purchasing. This one in particular, however, stands out from the rest. Most fragrance-loving beauty editors have it on their shelf thanks to its freshly-picked-rose-petal aroma.
8. Ghost The Fragrance
Shocked to see this one on the list? I don't blame you. You might remember this perfume from the early noughties as being the fragrance that everyone wore. As time has gone on, however, it has become less popular, but its beauty hasn't diminished. "I quite genuinely believe that a spritz of Ghost on skin is heaven. Nobody can ever place it, and I like it that way," says Spencer.
9. Diptyque Tam Dao
As a freelance beauty editor, I have spent a lot of time sat at other editor's desks while they are on holiday, and this stuff is almost always stationed next to their desktops. In fact, I have a bottle on my desk at all times too. It's woody and jungle-like thanks to earthy notes of sandalwood and cypress.
10. Le Labo AnOther 13
11. Ex Nihilo Honoré Delights
If you don't like gourmand scents but like your perfumes to have a warm edge to them, this perfume will tick all of your boxes. It's reminiscent of a French boulangerie but has a depth to it that makes it perfect for evenings. Every beauty editor I know that has tried it absolutely loves it.
12. Jo Loves White Rose & Lemon Leaves
13. Acqua di Parma Colonia Essenza
This fragrance is what I deem to be the most exquisite and wonderful in the entire world. I first bought it as I wanted something different (but not too different) to the brand's iconic citrusy Colonia. This stuff has a deep, soapy base to it that is nothing short of intoxicating. I have worn it for years and years and have been forever reluctant to share. Last year, I saw fragrance extraordinaire Alice du Parcq share her similar love for this stuff on Instagram. And while I was pleased it was getting the love it deserves, I couldn't help but feel a bit miffed that it hadn't been all mine.
14. Glossier You
15. Serge Lutens Fleurs d'Oranger
Serge Lutens is one of those fragrance brands that beauty editors will never tire of. It's luxe, hard to locate if you're not regularly darting in and out of London's high-end department stores and everything the brand creates is liquid gold. This fresh but strong, orange flower fragrance, however, is the crème de la crème.
16. Frédéric Malle Portrait of a Lady
There once was a time when every fashion and beauty editor out there considered this perfume their signature scent. Nowadays, it's proving less popular (purely because of its mammoth success). However, if you're asking me, those that stuck with it came out on top. It contains notes of rose, patchouli, sandalwood, cinnamon and musk, but you'd struggle to put your finger on a single one.
17. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Gentle Fluidity Gold
Fans of Baccarat Rouge 540, rejoice. This more recent launch from Maison Francis Kurkdjian has the same creamy sweetness, but it comes without the risk of smelling like everybody else. Vanilla makes it a distinctly gourmand scent, but woody and earthy notes make it noticably different.
18. Sana Jardin Tiger By Her Side
If you're looking for a perfume that stands out from the rest, Sana Jardin is a great brand to start with. Not only are the fragrances made ethically and sustainably, but they are also beautifully strong and different. Tiger By Her Side is deeply warm and exotic thanks to vanilla, patchouli and bergamot.
19. Penhaligon's Cairo
Penhaligon's is possibly one of the most-loved perfume brands amongst British beauty editors. Its age-old juices and traditional bottles really know how to get us excited. Cairo is strong, head-turning and spicy in all of the right ways. I know several beauty editors that consider it a favourite.
20. Miller Harris Rose Silence
Rose isn't a widely adored note amongst beauty editors. It's not because we don't like it at all, but rather because all too often popular fragrnce houses get it very wrong. Along with Aerin Rose de Grasse, Miller Harris Rose Silence is considered to be one of the (if not the) best examples of a fresh rose perfume done right.
21. Dior Eden-Roc
If you struggle to close your eyes and let your imagination whisk you off the French riviera when you're feeling stressed, this perfume might help. It's balmy, salty and embodies all of the hedonistic bliss of holidaying in the South of France—and that's exactly why beauty editors love it so much.
22. Boy Smells Rose Load
Boy Smells is a favourite brand amongst beauty insiders thanks to its room-filling candles, but this rose perfume is also a hot fave. With pink peppercorn, cardamon, raspberry leaves and rhubarb, it tickles the nose in a wonderfully refreshing sort of way.
23. Juliette Has a Gun Musc Invisible
Remember The Body Shop White Musk from your teenage years? Well, now imagine it got reinvented for adults by one of the most forward-thinking perfume houses out there. Musc Invisible by Juliette Has A Gun should be on every perfume-lover's shelf.
24. Estée Lauder Blushing Sands
With the exception of Aerin fragrances, Estée Lauder isn't known for its ability to create critically-acclaimed perfumes. But when the brand launched its luxury collection last year, beauty editors lost it. The entire collection is a work of art, with each fragrance being blended and created by a different world-famous perfumer. Blushing Sands, however, has proved one of the most loved in the beauty editor circuit. An earthy, woody scent with vetiver and pink pepper, it embodies the heady heat and freedom of the desert in just one spritz.