9 Beauty Products That Smell Better Than Actual Perfume

If I’m using a product, I want it to have a purpose and smell dope.
Publish date:
January 22, 2016
shoppables, fragrance, perfume, hair care, deodorant, body spray

I have a thing about always needing to smell good. I think it started when a boy in my sixth grade science class told me that I smelled weird (I know, so uncool). After that fateful day I kept Green Apple Bath & Body Works body spray in my locker and sprayed myself with copious amounts of it during every class break.

Here's the thing: although I still want to smell good all the time, I sort of hate perfume. There are obviously some outliers — Tom Ford’s Noir can get it any day or night — but the thought of spraying something on my body that doesn’t do anything other than smell good is profoundly against my utilitarian (and lazy) beauty ethos. If I’m using a product, I want it to have a purpose and smell dope.

I tend to gravitate towards products that smell (almost) better than perfume and even though I’ve eschewed perfume for the past five years, I’m still regularly told how good I smell (#humblebrag). In addition to smelling good my hair is softer, my skin is supple, and my hands are clean. As an extra bonus — I've been economical in my beauty product usage to accomplish this feat.

I want all of you guys to be able to cut down on unnecessary products so I’ve listed my absolute favorite beauty products (that smell even better than perfume) below. I don’t necessarily recommend using all of these products at once, so layer at your leisure and you’ll smell phenomenal all day.

Shu Uemura Silk Bloom Restorative Conditioner

Shu Uemura’s hair products smell so good that the brand created perfumes out of them so people would stop slathering hair oils all over their ENTIRE BODIES. My favorite product line for scent is the Silk Bloom line for damaged hair.

The products smell slightly sweet and nutty, but with fresh notes of light citrus and florals that make the smell refreshing — and not like a Yankee Candle interpretation of a Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Redken All Soft Conditioner for Dry Hair

Redken All Soft smells like what you expect a shampoo and conditioner to smell like, but somehow, smells better. The almond, honey, and cream scent combo makes me feel like I’m in sixth grade again and I’m using my mom’s expensive shampoo.

Dove Go Fresh Revive Anti-Perspirant Deodorant, Revive

Deodorant might not be a product that you immediately associate with good smells. (Remember in the early 2000s when all these brands created deodorants that smelled like vanilla and caramel apple and no one bought them because they were horrid except I totally bought them because I was like 14 and super cool? Right, like that.)

Fortunately, this deodorant doesn’t smell like perfume, it just smells really really good. I blame it on the pomegranate, which we all know is a sexy fruit, but when I put on my Revive deodorant I feel clean and fresh, but also kindaaaa sultry.

Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray

Oribe products are blessed with custom fragrances created by Tom Ford so it’s no wonder I use my Texturizing Spray as de facto perfume whenever I need a pick me up. The scent combination smells expensive and opulent. God, Tom Ford, seriously, I just can’t quit you.

Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Souffle Body Crème

Products that smell like baked goods can often toe the line between smelling delicious and smelling like a tragic sugar factory explosion. This soufflé mercifully manages to smell just like a baked almond surprise, while not overpowering you with anything saccharine and the coconut adds a nice spicy kick to the olfactory result as well.

Caudalie Divine Oil

Thank God this spray is made for face, body, and hair. It smells so good, I spray it absolutely everywhere. Once I even sprayed it on my pillowcase so I could literally wake up to the smell. If argan oil had a baby with a sesame seed, it would smell like Caudalie Divine Oil. It’s not overtly sweet, but it’s subtle and invigorating — like the perfume I’d wear on a wine-tasting date with (a young) Robert Redford.

JR Watkins Natural Liquid Hand Soap, Aloe and Green Tea

It’s tough to find hand soap that actually smells good, and doesn’t just smell like, well, hand soap. I guarantee you, JR Watkins is the only hand soap that you will want to wash your whole body in so you can walk around smelling like spicy green tea and aloe for the whole day.

Sake Bomb Shampoo, Dry Bar

First things first — this does not smell anything like an actual sake bomb. Though the name is reminiscent of beer soaked sushi restaurants, the actual product smells like an oaky, rosy cream soda (which basically describes what I want to drink every single day in my personal heaven).

Kiehl’s Calendula Herbal Extract Alcohol Free Toner

All of the toners I’d tried before this one smelled like alcohol, mint, witch hazel, tea tree oil, or chemical nightmare combinations of the aforementioned scents. Kiehl’s solved all of my problems with this perfect toner that actually smells like iced tea on a hot summer day. It tones my skin and keeps summer around all day long. It’s perfect.

What non-perfume beauty products do you enjoy smelling more than the smell of perfume? Or do you love perfume? Or do you scorn all things scented and prefer unscented products? Tell me everything.