Look, I don’t mean to brag, but I smell great. You don’t have to take my word for it. Ask whomever’s sitting next to me on the 6. Scent is one of my defining physical characteristics, because I love it all. To me it’s about more than spraying perfume on before I leave the house: The process begins before I go to bed at night and continues as an innate part of my daily routine all day every day forever until I die. (Cause of death: Probable fragrance overdose.) Each individual layer of scenting is important on its own, and then contributes to the overall niceness of smelling good. The result is a gently curated blend of aromatic personality which, when paired with my actual personality, leaves a lasting memory in the minds of everybody I rub elbows with in a day. Next time you bump into me, you’re smelling a combination of...
Being clean is the single most important key to not smelling bad. Take it one step further. I like to get the grime off with L’Occitane en Provence Almond Delicious bar soap first, then go in with Le Labo’s Mandarin Shower Gel. It’s fragrant, and lingers subtly on the skin. But it won’t clash with any other scents I’ll be adding later on. I do a final full body once-over right before getting out—for good measure.
A body toner
Next-step options post-shower are diverse, but if you’re committed, try this: Santa Maria Novella’s Acqua Di Gigli is essentially an astringent, highly alcoholic body toner that smells like lilies. With that in mind, wet a Muji cotton pad with the Aqua and run it over every inch of yourself. For the next 24 hours (possibly more, I have yet to test it beyond this time frame) you’ll smell like a fresh baby white lily in June.
A body oil
If I’m going out somewhere, things can get a little more luxe. I like to mix a few drops of body or perfume oil with a lightweight body lotion and slather it all over my limbs. And elsewhere. You’ve probably never heard of Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse (heh) but it’s an amazing smell at a great price.
A scented lotion
At bedtime, I prefer to use a fully fragranced body lotion, as long as it’s one I know won’t keep me from sleeping well. Le Labo’s Hinoki Avocado Body Cream smells soooooo good, but it is about as strong as wearing a perfume, so it’s best worn alone. My favorite part is waking up to its scent still lingering as I make coffee in my pajamas. For everyday, Glossier’s Body Hero Daily Perfecting Cream smells warm and easy to wear—not too strong.
Can’t forget deodorant. (Side note: I just realized I forgot deodorant today.) I’ll wear it to bed if I must. Apply it before and after exercising. If you’re a clinical strength kind of person, I’m a big fan of Dove For Men, because it’s musky and nice but not too scent-y either. I recently switched to an aluminum-free one by Baxter, which has a similar kind of smell and actually works. But Schmidt’s is the forever go-to—so many natural scent options!
Whatever is in my hair
Hair products should not overpower your more intentional scents, but they should smell good in their own right. Windle & Moodie wins for best scent in a shampoo and conditioner (white tea!) and every product in Christophe Robin’s Rosewater line is like a rose at its finest.
Despite my dedication to scent, more is not always more when it comes to smelling good. More can be frightening and headache inducing. Since I already smell incredible (if just delicately so), I really only need a tiny spritz—OK maybe two—of my all time favorite fragrance/eau de parfum/huile de parfum/whatever perfume thing. I have two current favorites, and it pains me to give them away, but what the heck. I’m here for you. Tom Ford’s Jasmine Rouge is a nice, warm blend of jasmine and orange blossom, while Diptyque’s Eau Rose is the most ideal floral that I wear when it’s hot out. Plus, the hair perfume version of that scent just came out, in case you want to do the most. Et voilà.
Photographed by Tom Newton.
Smell good, but don't give it away. Read here for ways to keep your favorite perfume a secret.