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A new year ushers in a fresh start, which means it’s the ideal time to try something out of the ordinary. You might be thinking along the lines of a new haircut, like a choppy bob or the “baroque" style trending right now. Perhaps you see it as an opportunity to audit your skin-care routine. Or maybe you’re in the market for a new, signature scent — in which case, read on.
So here’s everything you need to be the best-smelling person in the room in 2024, courtesy of a handful of the industry’s coolest fragrance influencers and perfumers.
Prepare to rethink everything you know about a fruity flavor profile. Instead of syrupy Jolly Rancher, the smell is light, like a whisper, and decidedly sexy. Chriselle Lim, the creative director of Phlur, calls this new fruity trend a "cool older sister" of last year's fragrance trends.
Phlur's new Strawberry Letter perfume opens with a strawberry "essence" (super light) and then moves into a sensual amber and tonka bean. It's fruity without being overbearing — you'll want to spray it all over. Another example of sophisticated and fruity perfume is Dare by Brown Girl Hands, which blends cherry with lychee and Italian leather. For a more affordable option, try the Ellis Brooklyn Peaches Body Mist, which is sweet with a hint of musk.
Far from your grandmother’s rose, neon florals encapsulate everything you love about bouquet notes (sweet and fresh) with an added zingy tang. “This trend is all about updating classic floral notes, giving them an edginess and intensity that revolutionizes the fragrance family,” says Nick Gilbert, creative director of Eau de Boujee and Boujee Bougies. “Imagine Victorian roses, stark irises, and white florals from the ’20s shaken up with vivid light: modern fruity notes and unexpected hallucinatory elements, which add modernity to floral fragrances.”
Gilbert recommends Gallivant Los Angeles Eau de Parfum, (rich tuberose, soothing eucalyptus, and creamy guaiac wood), Dries Van Noten Neon Garden Eau de Parfum (musk, spearmint, and iris), and Eau de Boujee Queen Eau de Parfum (rhubarb, rose, and musk). If you’d rather spend less, & Other Stories Neon Rose Eau de Toilette boasts jasmine, orchid, and ruby cherry.
Research shows that aromatherapy is effective for reducing stress and anxiety, so it makes sense that we’re scoping out perfumes with equally soothing and calming elements. According to Eudora Nwasike, a fragrance specialist certified by The Fragrance Foundation UK, so-called “wellness fragrances” can influence our mood throughout the day. “Fragrance brands, such as Le Jardin Retrouvé and Edeniste are at the forefront of this concept, with the common goal of spotlighting fragrance to improve our emotional wellbeing,” says Nwasike. In fact, Edeniste has developed the Feel Good Program, which offers a series of online olfactory “therapies." There’s Emotional Regulation Therapy, which the brand claims improves quality of life and restores balance, as well as Sense of Smell Rehabilitation. If you’re on the hunt for a perfume with calming notes, Nwasike says Edeniste Happiness (musk, mango, and coconut) is a favorite. Also try L'Occitane's Osmanthus (apricot and osmanthus) or Zara Vapeur Blanche Eau de Parfum (eucalyptus, cedar, and musk).
A breath of fresh air
“After an era dominated by sweet and indulgent fragrances, the perfume landscape seems poised for a refreshing change: something crisp, effervescent, and lemony,” predicts Anastasia Gostieva, aka Scent Guide on Instagram. These cooler scents will define winter, says Gostieva. “Notable examples include the uplifting and energetic Goldfield & Banks Ingenious Ginger (vanilla, lemon, and ginger flower), the citrusy, happy, and bright Arquiste L’Or de Louis Eau de Parfum, and the fruity, juicy Kayali Eden Sparkling Lychee 39.”
Vegetal notes like carrot and beetroot took 2023 by storm, and the trend isn’t slowing down. “Fragrances enlivened with fresh, vibrant, bright herbal and green notes are a key trend that will continue as we move into 2024,” says Gilbert. “Newer launches into this category take iconic notes (think eucalyptus, vetiver, wood, and rosemary) and enrich them with incredible complexity.” Eau de Boujee Verdant Eau de Parfum, for example, combines tomato leaf with cactus, sandalwood, and musk, so it occupies a cozy space between sweet and savory. Gilbert also recommends La Montaña First Light Eau de Parfum (herbs and florals), and Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Medea Eau de Parfum (fennel and bergamot). Also, try Discover Intense Fresh Citrus & Moss Eau De Toilette and Aesop Ouranon Eau de Parfum, with frankincense, hay, and myrrh.
“Gourmand” describes a fragrance with sweet or “edible” notes, like vanilla, caramel, honey, and chocolate. Gostieva says that the industry is saturated with such scents, but brands are seeking unconventional ways to capture our attention. Gostieva adds that unique notes such as whipped meringue (think Jean Paul Gaultier Gaultier Divine Eau de Parfum), and cotton candy (Kayali Yum Pistachio Gelato 33 Eau de Parfum) were everywhere in 2023, but that the coming year will bring even more innovative scents. “Perhaps, it’ll explore notes reminiscent of Chupa Chups, Mont Blanc dessert, and boba tea,” says Gostieva.
On the other hand, Nwasike foresees that some perfume houses will tone down the saccharine. “Edible notes will be intertwined with spicy, earthy, woody notes like saffron, patchouli, cardamom, and vetiver to create complexity and sophistication.” Try Ariana Grande Cloud Pink Eau De Parfum (praline, vanilla, and moss), Lancôme La Vie est Belle L’Extrait Eau de Parfum (orange blossom, Damascena rose, and oud wood), and Kayali Oudgasm Vanilla Oud 36 (vanilla, praline, and saffron).
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If rich fragrances such as these are your bag, but yours isn’t lasting as long as you’d hope, Nwasike suggests trying perfume maceration, essentially oxidizing your perfume: “Fragrance brands macerate their perfumes at their factories before the perfumes are sold, and it’s an important step,” says Nwasike. “But some people decide to extend the maceration period at home, especially if the scent has poor longevity and performance.” If you decide to macerate your perfume at home to improve the projection, Nwasike suggests spritzing it once and storing it in a cool, dry place away from heat and direct sunlight for around three months — if you can wait.
Modern golden ambers
Amber, says Gilbert, is a classic perfumery note built around the synergy between labdanum (a sticky, woody resin), benzoin (another resin from tree trunks), warm vanilla, and often patchouli, a flower that is equal parts earthy and sweet. “Modern amber [perfumes] take this theme and marry it with newer aroma materials that are available to perfumers, often reminiscent of salty skin,” says Gilbert, aka “skin scents.” The combination of warm and salty notes takes the concept of “your skin but better” and amplifies it into a statement fragrance, says Gilbert.
The new iris
“Iris [a purple flower with a powdery scent, also referred to as ‘orris’] still carries an antiquated essence, reminiscent of grandma’s old powder puff,” says Gostieva, but don’t let that put you off. “Several brands have introduced fresh interpretations of this note, and now, they exude a modern allure that is spicy and soft.” Gostieva rates Penhaligon’s The Omniscient Mr. Thompson Eau de Parfum (iris, pink pepper, and sesame seeds) and Guerlain Shalimar Millésime Iris Eau de Parfum (iris and vanilla). “While this may be more of a micro trend,” adds Gostieva, “the fact that Guerlain selected this note for its iconic Shalimar flanker this year speaks volumes!”
This story was originally reported on Refinery29UK.