We Tried Harry Styles’ First-Ever Perfume Collection & It Divided Opinion

Because I am both a devout and long-serving Harry Styles fan and also chronically online, I’ve known about the Pleasing perfume rumours for a while. (If there’s one thing that fangirls are going to keep track of, its trademark registrations.) But that doesn’t mean that they’re any less exciting — who doesn’t want to smell like the man, the myth, the legend that is Harry Edward Styles? In fact, it’s often a question that’s plagued me. What does a teen boy bander turned international rockstar, fashion icon and Hollywood darling (yes, pun intended) smell like? Or at least, what does Pleasing as a brand — the brainchild of Styles, his stylist Harry Lambert and his creative director Molly Hawkins — smell like? Because, you see, even as a HS fan I’m a little mystified by the Pleasing identity. It describes itself as a “life brand that moves to wherever there is something pleasing to be found” and that its mission statement is to “bring joyful experiences and products that excite the senses and blur the boundaries.” Sounds nice, right, if only a little vague and abstract? All I can glean so far from the brand is its emphasis on gender fluidity, a love for all things retro and campy, and packaging that has raised a few eyebrows (I’ll let your imagination run wild on that one…). Not even the brand’s press release gives much away: the three scents, named with equally abstract titles “Closeness”, “Rivulets” and “Bright, Hot”, are designed to “embark on a deliberate exploration of warmth, and specifically, the warmth of a second-skin musk”.
To help me pin Pleasing down, I roped in some of the savviest noses in the biz — the wonderful brains behind Refinery29 UK who are often my willing guinea pigs. Armed with a cup of coffee beans (these help clear your senses btw), we got spritzing and turned the R29 office into a veritable hot house of scent. Spoiler alert: between five R29 editors, not one of us agreed totally. One perfume inspired both a comparison with wet wipes and curry (in a good way!) and a dreamy summer’s day by the pool. Another had some reviewers harken back to iconic ’90s fragrances and others childhood memories of car sickness. It just goes to prove how personal perfumes can be — especially musk-based “skin scents” like these. All in all, though, we did agree on one thing: Harry Styles can certainly stimulate the senses.
Read on for our honest reviews of all three Pleasing perfumes.
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How much are the Pleasing perfumes & where can I buy them?

At £135 per bottle, the Pleasing perfumes sure aren’t cheap. They’re available to shop at Selfridges, along with Pleasing’s own digital shop, though, as expected, they’re already selling like hot cakes and are often in and out of stock. You can also now score candle versions of the perfumes if you would prefer to scent your home (they retail for £65 at Selfridges and £80 on

Team R29’s reviews of the Pleasing perfumes


Photo courtesy of Pleasing.
“First up is the packaging which I both love and hate. On the outside you have the cardboard boxes in various bright, bold and clashing colour combinations with a strong retro energy (the yellow and blue box for Rivulets especially gives me ’70s vibes). These are the kind of boxes you’ll want to keep forever and put on display. Inside these you find the coloured glass bottles of perfume topped with with Pleasing’s signature round, marble-like lids and finished with a rounded bottom so it can rock side to side; balancing like an expensive glass mistake just waiting to happen. For anyone who is clumsy, owns a pet or has small children, or likes to clutter their vanity with many trinkets, I just know that these perfumes won’t work. I tick all three boxes and have already had to save my bottles from my cat’s curious paws. (And that's saying something because these perfumes have a significant weight to them).” — Esther Newman, Affiliate Writer
“In a world where every logo looks the same, it warms my heart to see a brand go rogue with a serif. Pure maverick behaviour — sign me up! The way the packaging combines retro-adjacent block colour is simultaneously unexpected and visually gorgeous, and the bottle design, while treacherous (heavy and a curved base? Harry, you spoil us), is undeniably appealing.” — Jessica Aureli, Associate Copy Editor
“It smells like a posh public place to me. Maybe a fancy sofa shop filled with leather or even a boujee hotel gym or spa? There’s something mechanical about the smell, but in a hot and interesting way that makes me want more.” — Alicia Lansom, Associate Editor
“I can see why this has been the most popular scent of the three — it’s soft and muted, warm and powdery; a ‘your skin but better’ scent. It reminds me of Glossier You (they both have notes of pink peppercorn) and Phlur Missing Person (they both rely heavily on musk). Like these, Closeness feels really comforting. Unlike them, though, Closeness also has something called “clean sheets accord” and salt thrown into the mix, so I can definitely understand where the “fancy cleaning product” comparison comes in. However, I think this is more when sprayed on a tester or in the air. Once all the musky, papery goodness (it also has a base note of papyrus) hits the skin, the real magic happens. It has a lasting power that rivals Glossier, though it did not linger on my skin as long as Phlur.” — Esther Newman, Affiliate Writer
“This capitalises on the major fragrance moment of ‘your scent but better’. Part of the same family as Molecule One and Glossier You, Closeness smells soapy, woody and clean. It’s not my vibe, but I know this will appeal across the genders as a non-invasive easy-to-wear fragrance. It makes me think of crisp shirts and fresh linen.” — Tanyel Mustafa, Senior Writer
“I second Alicia — this smells like a luxury hotel bathroom in the best possible way. However, it’s giving room spray rather than a signature scent. ‘Clean sheets accord’, salted musk and pink pepper make it equal parts fresh and comforting. The bottle threw me off, though. As the base is curved, it feels as though it might topple over at any moment!” — Jacqueline Kilikita, Deputy Beauty Director
“This feels warm and familiar — a slightly nostalgic combination of suncream, sherbet and new car smell (a function of my childhood spent in Australia, perhaps?). It fades to something that reminds me of visiting my aunt’s house in the French countryside when I was little; I’m a firm believer that French fabric softener is elite level, so the clean sheets vibe definitely checks out.” — Jessica Aureli, Associate Copy Editor
“Rivulets opens with bucket loads of energy (that’ll be the notes of zingy lemon and black pepper) but it dries down into something much more soothing, thanks to skin musk and white linen accord; the latter of which is like diving into a pile of fresh laundry. For me, it’s between this and Bright, Hot as my top pick.” — Jacqueline Kilikita, Deputy Beauty Director
“This smells the most familiar to me. Clean, fresh, bright, somewhat citrusy? One that could be worn in the day for sure. It feels the closest to something you would smell in a duty free section and buy before your holiday in the hopes of smelling all expensive by the pool.” — Alicia Lansom, Associate Editor
“There are no water notes in this, but it all smells aquatic to me (so the name checks out). There’s also strong peppery and musky notes going through. This is another soft, skin-like scent, clearly designed to slightly elevate your own natural fragrance. It’s perfectly pleasant — or pleasing, if you will — but it doesn’t stand out against my favourite fragrance (which is Jo Malone Honeysuckle & Davana, if you want to know).” — Tanyel Mustafa, Senior Writer
“There’s no way to elevate this take: for me, Rivulets is giving wet wipes from Red Rooster (an iconic Australian fast food joint), with hints of Cif and the lemongrass curry from my favourite Vietnamese place on London’s Kingsland Road. But that is not to say I don’t like it — quite the opposite in fact, it’s my favourite of the three. It’s really fresh and bright, and I like the way it fades on my skin.” — Jessica Aureli, Associate Copy Editor
“This is definitely my favourite fragrance of the three. It’s light, fresh and airy, with zingy notes of lemon and black pepper playing against the ever present musk base. Remember that warmth mentioned in Pleasing's press release? This reminds me of the heady, sleepy sensation you get post-swim on a hot, summer day — it’s giving Adore You (‘You’re wonder under summer sky/Brown skin and lemon over ice’). I just wish it lasted longer! Even just an hour or so after spritzing, I found myself needing to top up.” — Esther Newman, Affiliate Writer
“This is warm and vanilla-like, but definitely classically masculine. Maybe something someone would wear to dinner in a boujee pub with a roaring fireplace on a cold winter’s night? To be honest though, it smells like something your date would go a bit too heavy handed on after failing to realise its potency.”  — Alicia Lansom, Associate Editor
“This is my least favourite of the bunch, which is surprising since I tend to reach for deeper, spicier scents. For some reason, the combination of a rich, fruity plum with deeper, earthier notes of tobacco, tonka bean, cedar wood and amber just reminds me of being stuck in a hot car with an overly-strong, overly-sweet new car scent air freshener. A bit too heavy handed and sickly for me.” — Esther Newman, Affiliate Writer
“This is the most masculine scent of the bunch, but it’s probably my favourite. It reminds me of Dior’s iconic Farenheit Parfum, which encapsulates the ’90s for me. Bright, Hot occupies a cosy space between sweet and spicy with a dash of punky leather.” — Jacqueline Kilikita, Deputy Beauty Director
“When I was 15, I stuck a Calvin Klein CK Be sample from Dolly Magazine (yet more Australiana for you) in my school diary, and Bright Hot reminds me of how that diary smelt — which is to say that it feels intensely ’90s coded (and in fact, both fragrances share woody notes and touches of vanilla and amber, so maybe it’s not an entirely ridiculous association). I’m not embarrassed — okay, I’m a little embarrassed — to say that I still wear CK Be from time to time, so I was surprised that this one didn’t land for me, but there was a powdery finish that I just couldn’t get on board with.” — Jessica Aureli, Associate Copy Editor
“This is my favourite of the trio — it’s sweet, warm, and feels like it would suit all seasons. The name is spot on: it is bright and hot. This makes me think of a sun drenched, floral-scented, summer’s day. The drawback however, and for me this is pretty big given the steep price tag, is it’s a skin scent — not in that it smells like skin, but in that it sits close to the skin. There’s no projection with this one, so you and those intimately close will enjoy it, but if you like your scent to slightly waft around you, you might prefer something else. If Harry could boost the throw a notch or three, I’d be tempted.” — Tanyel Mustafa, Senior Writer

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