I just want to smell like baby powder and soap.

My never-ending search to recapture the scent of my youth.
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My never-ending search to recapture the scent of my youth.

When I was 11 years old, I went to the States for the first time on holiday. I came home loaded with American bubblegum, a tiny bottle of Loves Baby Soft cologne and a Swatch watch. The Swatch and the perfume became my most coveted possessions. In fact, I loved the Baby Soft so much, I barely used it. I was terrified it would run out! (This was pre ordering online people!). And so began my obsession with smelling clean, soapy or just like baby powder.


Baby Soft: It’s literally like a bottle of baby heads. Not a gross chopped off way. In a sniff, sniff way. 

But let me bridge a wee perfume history gap, from my teen years until now.

Growing up, I was a bit of a sheep, so I bought the trendy perfumes the older girls in school and camp were wearing. I wore Cacharel’s Lou Lou and Anais, Anais. Then there was Nina Ricci L’air Du Temps, and when I was 15, Calvin Klein’s Obsession came out. I used to go clubbing in my mum’s Max Factor charcoal grey eye shadow, my Miss Selfridge Sweet and Flowers lippy, and doused from head to toe smelling like a whore’s boudoir in Obsession.

And then things changed. Calvin Klein launched CK One; the first commercial unisex scent, which I still wear to this day. CK Be followed, again, which I still wear, and to me, these smells are the epitome of clean and bright ‘White T-shirt’ fragrances. But I’m still trying to recapture that Love’s Baby Soft clean and powdery scent.

I’ve done the legwork and found some truly great perfumes. Get your nose around this lot.

JLo Glow Jesus. I hate myself for everything I’m about to write. This was Jennifer Lopez’s first perfume, launched in 2002 which made a staggering $100million in sales during its first year. I do not buy into celebrity fragrances. I do not believe there is one celebrity who wears their own scent. I hate this crappy bottle with the crappy charm hanging off it. I hate most of the fragrance notes like neroli and orange blossom and amber. But man, do I love this juice.


J Lo: Seriously who came up with this bottle design?

Once it has dried down, it smells like you’ve just lathered yourself up with a bar of Dove soap. It’s sweet, but not sickly. It’s clean and pretty. Damn, I love this stuff. Now to just prise that cheap ass JLO thing off the bottle and it’s a keeper (which I’ve done!). JLo Glow, £13.35, amazon.co.uk


JLO off: I pulled that cruddy hanging thing off. Much better.

Bvlgari Petit et Mamans Alcohol-Free Scented Water This stuff is created, and I quote ‘for the shared pleasure of children and their mothers’. Sod the kid, I’m keeping this one for myself. It smells like someone’s taken a great big Johnson’s baby powder puff to me, with a hint of parma violet sweets. If I close my eyes while sniffing this, I imagine myself in a floaty dress running through a meadow of beautiful candy coloured flowers and then I yanked back into reality, because this fragrance has the staying power of a teenage erection: literally minutes.

Ahhh the setbacks of being alcohol-free, thus kind to skin. Still smells damn fine, though I’m sure it’ll make men want to tickle your feet rather than your vagina. NB It’s also worth mentioning I took this scent home and my three-year-old has claimed it as her own. Cow. Bvlgari Petit et Mamans Alcohol Free Scented Water, £19.55, escentual.com


Bvlgari: Warning. Your offspring will steal this from you.

You know that overwhelming cloud of noxiously sweet stench you’re hit with when an old lady sits next to you on the bus? Well, Philosophy are the anti-old lady smell. For them, it’s all about clean freshness. It’s all about capturing that precious White T-shirt cleanliness which they do perfectly with Pure Grace – otherwise known as a soap and water scent. It’s like blue Comfort clothes softener. It’s pretty, slightly floral, and my everyday perfume. It might be teetering on the edge of pot pourri, but other girls always say how nice it smells. Philosophy Pure Grace, £32, philosophy.co.uk


Yes she might look nice and friendly, but she reeks of Oscar De La Renta!


Philosophy Pure Grace: Even the bottle denotes how the fragrance smells. Pure and clean.

Maison Martin Margiela (Untitled)This very exclusive brand have a few perfumes under their belt. They’re all a bit ‘art’. For instance their latest release is called ‘Replica Beach Walk Eau de Toilette’. I’ve not even smelt it, and I already want to own it. But this (Untitled) is a funny one. Cracking bottle, and the scent is green in colour and green in whiff. It’s like you’ve broken a stem of a flower or pulled some bark off a tree and rubbed it on your body. It’s not my favourite by a long shot, but then hey, you can’t please everyone. Maison Martin Margiela (Untitled), £49, selfridges.com


Maison Martin Margiela (Untitled): A funny one with a die-hard fan base. Not for me though.

Other worthy mentions in my ‘smell clean’ perfume collection include CK One and CK Be. Bvlgari Au Thé Blanc, Philosophy Eternal Grace, and No 4711 Nouveau Cologne which has literally just landed on my desk. Some of these are definitely leaning more to the citrus side of perfume, but that’s ok. I can dig that too.


My everyday smells. Good stuff ladies.

And because we love giving you stuff, we have a set of 4711's new range, Nouveau Cologne to give away. The uplifting fragrance is designed to give a moment of calm and inspiration during everyday life. Nouveau Cologne has fresh fruity tops notes and woody base notes and evodia, which is renowned in Chinese medicine for its calming effect, is the heart of the scent. The Eau de Cologne is accompanied by a range of body care products, such as the unique Body Sorbet Lotion and refreshing Shower Gel, a Deodorant and Body Spray.


Do you want to win this set? Of course you do!

So, to win the set, just answer this question:

What is the name of 4711 Nouveau Cologne’s predecessor?

a) Old cologne b) Original Eau De Cologne c) Citrus Cologne

Email your answer, name and address to phoebe@xojane.com. Competition closes at midnight on Friday 29 September.