Skin Scents


AKA Hotness in a bottle: perfumes that heighten your pheromones

Published: Body+Soul

Back in the ’80s, an anonymous financier (I’m getting Jonah Hill in Wolf of Wall Street) paid for a bunch of studies into human pheromones. You can guess what he was hoping for, right? Hotness in a bottle, like, science harnessing the power of biology to drag baes your way, bewitched by your sexy-science-smell. The shopping channel segments would write themselves.

Yeah well, science didn’t exactly come through with the goods back then, but if you’ve ever secretly stashed a crush’s t-shirt because it smelled soooooooo freakin’ good (guilty), you know there’s something about some particular body smells that, for whatever reason, make a person coo-coo.

In the perfume world there is a whole category described as ‘skin scents’, and if you’re devoted to your Urban Decay Naked palette or have a nude lipstick filing system, you probably also need a collection of these skin-but-better scents in your life.

It was Tom Ford that, err, got me going. I had to review his new release at the time (poor me), but it was bloody hot and the perfume was Noir Extreme, which is for dudes, for starters, and dark, intense, spicy, seemingly perfect for cosy fire-sides and hot toddies. I was dreading the spritz, imagining the perfume equivalent of throwing on a fur coat on a 30-degree day. But actually, it was perfect. Along with the spice was a sweetness, and a milky quality from a kulfi accord (that’s Indian ice cream to you). The base was drenched in warm amber. It pretty much purred on my skin and still does when I wear it Every. Single. Date night. I’m like a black cat lounging in the sunny sidewalk when I wear it.

A sex kitten.

Okay I’m old and married and the romance has long gone but let me have my fantasy.

My point is, some fragrances just love to work sweet magic on your skin. While every person’s skin chemistry is different, ‘skin scents’ usually have a base of warm amber and musky, milky or almondy notes, and are composed to be smooth, subtle, like the very best contouring for your skin’s own natural curves.

My current edit?

Yeah, it’s not really a perfume. Because, only one synthetic ingredient, Cetalox. So why am I suggesting you pay $209 for one ingredient? Not only will people run down the street to ask you what you’re wearing, you can layer this warm, earthy beachy note with heaps of your other scents to ‘fix’ them to the skin, making them deeper and longer lasting.

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium, $136 (50ml, EDP)

You know that morning-after-the-night-before moment when a delicious looking someone brings you a coffee in bed and the sun’s streaming in and you both snuggle back down into clean sheets? Yeah Black Opium is that in a bottle.

Rosalind Thomas/The Accords

Rosalind Thomas/The AccordsSource:BodyAndSoul

Tom Ford Soleil Blanc, $325 (50ml, EDP)

This mind-blowing creation from Mr Ford, master of excess, is my pick for the perfect Aussie Valentine. The solar, frangipani-hued, coconut milky concoction sinks into the skin like a dream – the fragrance equivalent of a long, carefree day at the beach, strolling home as the sun goes down. Sultry.

B. Balenciaga Skin, $150 (50ml, EDP)

This is so delicate and subtle, the truest of skin scents – it’s almost undetectable, just creating these lovely wafts of violet leaf and green tea which float around, wrapped up in cashmere and powdery orris root. I wear this layered with Not a Perfume and it is the bomb. Floaty summer frock optional.

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