Best Women's Fragrances
How should you go about finding the right scent to match your personality, the occasion and complete your style? Find out all about top notes, bottom notes and the difference between EDTs and EDPs below.
Chance by Chanel is a chypre, floral fragrance for women, launched in 2003. Each spray contains a wave of extreme freshness met with flowery notes which finishes with sensual and spicy base notes.
Fresh and floral scent
- Smell4.8 (5)
- Causes Irritation Yes (0) · No (4)
Elizabeth Arden introduced Green Tea in 1999. Its fragrant nature explores the essences of soft green tea and jasmine, blended with notes of rose and moss. Green Tea is recommended for daily daytime use.
Fresh, citrus fragrance
Great value for money
- Smell4.0 (1)
- Causes Irritation Yes (0) · No (1)
Radiant and whimsical, Vera Wang’s Princess is a sheer, fruity floral fragrance rich with vanilla and brimming with exotic flowers and succulent fruits. The fragrance is presented in an elegant heart-shaped bottle.
Great value for money
Sweet, floral scent
Elegant bottle design
- Smell5.0 (2)
- Causes Irritation Yes (1) · No (2)
Dolce & Gabbana Light blue is a casual and breezy, sparkling fruity-floral scent that evokes the spirit of the Sicilian summer. It contains mouth-watering fresh notes of lime and cedar and is a popular summer fragrance.
Accentuating the freshness and sensuality of the most beautiful flowers, its iconic floral bouquet of J'adore is a magnificently balanced and multifaceted perfume – designed as an ode to fearless women.
Latest review: Ahh, Beautiful. It's a "mom smell" for sure-- mature, womanly, comforting, complex-- but that doesn't mean it's without appeal! There's a reason this continues to sell briskly. It's distinctive as
Latest review: Worn this perfume since it came out. I even stopped buying Chanel. strangers would constantly stop me and ask me what perfume I was wearing. It was a beautiful long lasting scent. However it is
Latest review: I love this perfume. It is my signature smell. I layer Chanel No 5 perfume with the Chanel No 5 Body cream and they last most of the day as I still get compliments in the late afternoon, after a
Latest review: The most delightful perfume I’ve brought in awhile, half way through my first bottle will buy another, have to say bye to my Si intense, I can pick it up hours late, if a wear a bit of clothing out f
Latest review: I love DKNY green apple, definitely one of my favorite perfumes, every time i wear it someone stops and asks me what perfume i'm wearing. Its fresh and long
Latest review: I have been wearing Youth Dew since it first came out quite a few years ago it has never lost it’s beautiful fragrance Thank you Feeling Sexy for allowing this perfume to be sold at such a r
Latest review: I received tester via post. At first the smell was strong for me but within a minute the scent turned musky. Something sexy and would be best for nightouts/party. It has a kind of seductive and
Latest review: I love this subtle yet feminine smell. As per the other reviewers, yes it gets compliments and I love the smell and don't get sick of it unlike some other branded perfumes. I've been using this over
Latest review: Avoid at all costs! is the message to The General Public, which shouldn't surprise anybody, seeing who created it! This fragrance, if you can call it that? is an intoxicating blend of shame and
Latest review: It's lovely from the moment you put it on until you wash it away. Fresh fragrance for your skin, lasted long. The name really says it all. This fragrance is like a date night in a bottle. It's bold
Latest review: I had heard rumors about a formula change for Allure so was slightly nervous when my husband spent so much on a bottle for me as an anniversary present - I was not disappointed. It is as stunning as
Latest review: My husband bought this for my birthday and I was concerned i wasn’t going to like it but it’s now one of my favourite fragrances. It has an all outing scent and whenever I wear it people ask me what I
Those after a fresh, simple fragrance might find their noses drawn to Calvin Klein’s CK One. With notes of green tea, nutmeg, and musk, the unisex eau de toilette is worn by many as an everyday scent.
Latest review: I wear this everyday and get so many compliments on it! It’s the perfect scent, soft and feminine but long wearing so I know if I apply the fragrance in the morning it will last all day. Absolutely l
Latest review: This disgusting smelling fragrance, smells a thousand times worse than a dirty lavatory, so avoid at all costs! The opening notes are described as a mouth watering, fresh, fruity blast of citrus,
While there are countless scents, there are four main fragrance families that they fall into. These are floral, oriental, woody and fresh.
The first thing you’re going to want to do is to have a sniff around the fragrances already on your dresser and decide which fragrance family you gravitate towards. It’s unusual that you’ll have accumulated fragrances from all different fragrance families since we naturally tend to prefer scents from one or two families. However, you may decide to branch out to complement different occasions and seasons in the year.
Fun, upbeat and zesty - fresh scents contain notes like lemon, bergamot, orange, grapefruit and mandarin. They are most commonly found in the cologne and eau de toilette concentration strengths, making them ideal for daily daytime wear. This is a good fragrance family for you if you’re into bright, uplifting and sunny scents. They conjure images of the summer seaside and fresh citrus breakfast spreads.
Floral is a very popular fragrance family for women’s fragrances since it is very feminine, delicate and pleasant. It is one of the easiest to recognise since they tend to be filled with notes of jasmine, peony, gardenia, tuberose, lily of the valley, magnolia and rose. They evoke sensations of freshly cut bouquets and spring weddings.
To give floral scents some depth, they are often mixed with a touch of spice or musk in order to create deeper, richer and more invigorating scents.
The term ‘oriental’ in the perfume world refers to a historic fragrance family classification that embraced notes like amber, sandalwood, coumarin, orris, vanilla and gum resins.
Oriental fragrances exude warmth and sensuality and often feel more ‘grown-up’ than the other fragrance families. The heavy and seductive scents are best suited for evening affairs. They use deep base notes which linger on the skin for longer.
Perfumers use a warm palette of woody elements in their fragrances, taking advantage of the aromatic scents of sandalwood, cedar, oud and guaiac wood. They also use roots and leaves such as patchouli and vetiver for their profoundly earthy and woody character.
Woody fragrances can be made more versatile by adding spicy and fruity notes. Both masculine and feminine fragrances belong to the woody family.
There are a whole host of sub families such as chypre (mossy), fruity (exotic fruits, berries), aromatic (herbs), aquatic (lotus, sea salt) and spicy (cinnamon, cloves), just to name a few.
Fragrance life cycle
Fragrances have a three-part life cycle. When you first spray your fragrance, you can initially smell the top notes, which later evaporate to reveal the middle notes and finally, the base notes.
Also known as head notes, this is the initial scent of the fragrance. Top note scents tend to be light, floral, citrus or fruity. Example notes include lemon, peppermint, eucalyptus, pine and blood orange.
The middle note is often called the heart note because it is the main scent that you can smell once the top note evaporates. Fruity and floral scents make an appearance here such as rose and jasmine.
The final part is called the base note and makes its appearance last due to its heavy molecules which evaporate slower. The scents in this note are deeper and richer, containing amber, musk and woody aromas.
Fragrances are made up of a small amount of the actual fragrance such as an essential oil or synthetic fragrance which is then diluted in a solution of alcohol, oil or water to contain the fragrance and make it durable. Fragrance concentration percentages depict how much pure fragrance is in the concoction.
The higher the concentration percentage, the heavier and more fragrant the perfume will be - as well as more expensive.
The same fragrance can be available in multiple concentrations so you can choose how long-lasting you’d like your scent to be.
Eau Fraiche sprays use water instead of alcohol and are the most diluted concentrations between 1-3%, and they can last for up to 2 hours. These are designed to be worn all over the body as opposed to pulse points. These are best known as body mists and sprays. Examples include Body Shop’s Satsuma Mist and Bombshell Body Mist.
Eau de cologne
The next step up in terms of strength is an eau de cologne which uses 2-5% of fragrance. Scents in this range tend to contain herb and citrus notes. It’s a common misconception that eau de colognes are exclusively a type - but this is not the case. It simply refers to the concentration percentage. Examples include Jo Malone’s English Pear & Freesia Cologne and Bulgari’s eau parfumée au thé blanc eau de cologne spray.
Eau de toilette
EDTs are one of the most popular concentrations of fragrance, particularly because they are affordable and come in light, fruity scents with easy top notes. The short lifespan means it’s a great choice for daily daytime wear. They contain a 5-15% fragrance concentration. Many popular fragrances come in both EDTs and EDPs
Eau de parfum
EDPs contain a fragrance concentration of 15-20% which lasts for 5-8 hours. They have dominant middle notes which makes them ideal for evening wear. It’s recommended to apply these types of perfumes directly to the skin on a few pulse points.
Pure perfume has the highest concentration of fragrance per alcohol at 20-30%, making it the most expensive type. Because you only need very small amounts (applied on the pulse points), they come in small bottles. Usually, the scents are rich and complex with strong top, middle and bottom notes which carry on throughout the day.
How to apply perfume
As with anything, it’s best to start with a blank canvas. Apply your fragrance after you have showered and moisturised since the skin will absorb the fragrance better. Dry skin can lead to an acceleration in evaporation.
Contrary to popular belief, you shouldn’t rub your wrists together or rub your wrist on your neck after application since rubbing breaks the molecular bond which removes the top note and makes the scent weaker. Your perfume creates a unique and long-lasting scent when it is left to slowly mix with your skin’s natural oils.
So where should you apply perfume? You should dab a little bit in some or all of your pulse points depending on how strong you want your scent to be. Your pulse points include the inside of your wrists, inner elbows, neck, below your belly button, behind your ear lobes and on the inside of your knees. These points are where your veins sit so close to the skin that your pulse can be felt. They are also warm spots that will help diffuse the scent evenly around your body.
Things to consider
When choosing a perfume, you’ll want to consider its longevity ranging from weak, moderate to long-lasting. You can also look at the concentration of pure perfume as an indicator.
Pronounced “see-yage,” it refers to the trail of scent left behind from a perfume. Depending on how strong you want your trail to be, look out for reviews that mention the word and if the fragrance has an intimate, moderate, strong or enormous sillage.
Consider that different scents may suit different age groups. For instance, fragrances for teenagers and pre-teens tend to come in the form of body mists with very light floral and fruity scents. Mature scents tend to command more attention, coming in higher concentrations and complex, amber tones.
Since a lot of fragrances use musk, honey, milk, ambergris or civet, they are not vegan-friendly. If you’re vegan or an advocate for animal welfare, it’s worth checking the brand’s animal-testing policy as well as the ingredients. Some well-rated vegan fragrance brands include Le Labo, Lush, Floral Street, Hermetica, Stella McCartney and Ellis Brooklyn.
Value for money
Two main elements contribute to a perfume’s price: the concentration percentage and the brand’s reputation. More expensive does not always mean better as designer brands may be priced very highly but may not deliver in terms of quality ingredients or longevity. It’s worth reading reviews to see how others reviewed the fragrance in terms of value for money.
Time of the day
Certain perfumes may be better suited for different times of the day with fresh, fruity and floral scents suiting a daytime event and evening fragrances containing more woody, spicy and oriental tones.
Similarly to the point above, many people change fragrances to suit the seasons. Florals are popular for spring, with fresh notes complementing summer, woody tones pairing well with autumn and oriental, spicy tones suiting winter.
Other perfume products
Perfume oil uses oil as a dilutant instead of water or alcohol. It comes as a small bottle with a roll-on applicator that allows you to apply the fragrance to your pulse points easier. The scent tends to be subtle and only detectable at close distances.
Perfumed powder is a type of perfume that’s not very common but can be a great alternative for those who can’t use alcohol-based perfumes or have sensitive skin. It can be patted anywhere on the body, giving you a nice and subtle smell.
You can read reviews on the best women’s fragrances on our site to help you choose the best scent for you.