Sophia Loren once said that sex appeal is 50% what you’ve got, and 50% what people think you got. Whether or not that’s true is a matter of debate, but with the right perfume, it’s easy to tip public perception of your fine self in your direction. The sexiest perfumes for women work in two ways: They help alert the people around you to the fact that they’re in the presence of hotness, but they also offer up a major confidence boost for you, the wearer. And if there’s anything that’s sexy, it’s confidence.
What one considers to be a sensual perfume may seem fairly subjective, but there is actual science behind the smell of sexiness. One study pointed to scents like jasmine, vanilla, and amber as powerful aphrodisiacs. Most perfumers agree, however, that it really comes down to what you find attractive.
For Matthew Herman, co-founder and creator of Boy Smells, the answer is a little more abstract. “Sex is all about tension,” he says. “If I want something sexy, I want something that holds that tension in it as well. A floral mixed with something smokey, or a fruit with a leathery musk — things like that always turn me on.” David Moltz, co-founder and perfumer of D.S. & DURGA, goes in the opposite direction. “Usually, for me, it’s the interplay of something that is dirty (like dirt or earth) with something that is beautiful,” he says.
All of the perfumers interviewed also agreed that where you place your perfume can add to the sex appeal. “The how and where fragrance is applied can also become an incredibly sensual ritual,” says Givaudan perfumer Caroline Sabas. “An oil applied to the pulse points of the wrists or behind the ear can feel intimate and sexy, while a fragrance sprayed in a woman’s hair can linger with an incredibly sexy trail as she moves.” Bee Shapiro, founder of Ellis Brooklyn, adds that spots like the neck, the crook of the elbow, the décolletage, and behind the knees can add sensuality. “They’re pulse points and they’re warmer on your body so it helps the fragrance diffuse, maximizing sexiness,” Shapiro says. “But the truth is you can put fragrance anywhere you'd like your partner to smell you.”
That seems like a lot, right? But finding your signature sexy fragrance doesn’t have to be difficult. With the help of some of the best perfumers in the biz, it’s a little easy to narrow in on the top sensual smells. Scroll on for the nine of the sexiest perfumes for women.
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