Vanilla perfumes are a forever-safe choice for any occasion, be it for a date-night, a day in the office or girls’ night. While some may discount them as too cloying or too basic, let’s not forget, vanilla fragrances are a bona fide aphrodisiac with a proven ability to soothe, seduce and even increase arousal. In fact, as an individual note, vanilla is one of (if not the most) popular one in the world of modern perfumery, and understandably so.
Forget the saccharine body sprays that clouded your high school classrooms, vanilla has grown-up with us and it’s firmly back on the radar with a boom of stunning vanilla scents leading sales. Need proof? At LookFantastic, search demand for vanilla-scented perfumes is up by 65% and multiple retailers have seen YSL’s Libre (a luxurious blend of lavender and vanilla) top the charts.
Looking for more fragrance-related content? Check out our guides on best sweet perfumes, best long-lasting perfumes and best perfumes for women of all time.
Best vanilla perfumes at a glance:
- Best overall: Yves Saint Laurent Libre Eau de Parfum
- Best for layering: Kayali Vanilla 28 Eau de Parfum
- Best affordable: Ariana Grande Cloud Eau de Parfum
- Best unisex: Parfums de Marly Althaïr Eau de Parfum
If you (like us) spend way to much time on #PerfumeTok than you’d care to admit, you don’t need us to tell you that vanilla scents are also of the biggest fragrance trends, and their viral status isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
So, it looks like lots of us are on board. But, not all vanilla perfumes are made equal. Given how tricky the plant is to cultivate, the majority of the vanilla scents and flavourings you’ll come across are synthetic (99% of them, in fact). But just like in nature – where there’s numerous different varieties and species, depending on the soil and climate its grown in – synthetic vanilla can come in a huge array of scents. Effectively, it’s the Goldilocks porridge of perfume. Choose right and it can smell phenomenal – creamy, sweet, smoky, spicy or floral. But first you have to find one that’s not too sickly and not too sweet.
To really hit the jackpot, you have to make sure it’s partnered up with other scents that make you tick and play up the particular facet of the complex vanilla note that you’re most attracted to – whether that’s a candy floss haze that focuses on sweetness, a dark, sultry, earthy number that kicks your dopamine (aka, your love hormone) into gear or a soft, nuzzly number that envelops you in a cashmere-light blanket of scent.
Literally every celebrity says how good Rihanna smells, so we put her secret perfume to the test
By Elle Turner
Still not convinced? Blind-sniffed, vanilla scents repeatedly come out on top for popularity. One of Rihanna’s favourite scents (bar her own, ofc), Love Don’t Be Shy by Killian, reached legendary status after celebs that were close enough to sniff her (Jennifer Lawrence, Cardi B and Nick Jonas) named her the best smelling celebrity hands-down. One of the major notes? A glug of sensual vanilla. It’s ambrosial, warm, sweet, creamy and intoxicating (just like you’d expect our goddess, RiRi, to smell).
This is what choosing a perfume without having a sense of smell is really like
By Steph Easton
Meanwhile, when beauty PR manager, Steph Easton, wrote about her lack of a sense of smell for GLAMOUR, she reported crowd-sourcing her perfumes based on their reactions from others. The surprise smash-hit? Juicy Couture’s Viva La Juicy Gold Couture Eau De Parfum – a golden blend of honeysuckle, amber and – you guessed it – vanilla. Told you it was classic for a reason.
Enter: your definitive guide to all the best vanilla eau de parfums and eau de toilettes to spritz on all year round, according to the beauty editors at GLAMOUR. Below, we’ve compiled a list of tried-and-true scents for every taste: from perfumes with notes of sandalwood, orchid, cardamom, vanilla bean and neroli, to sweeter scents that feature notes of marshmallows and brown sugar.
Find our round up below of the sweetest smelling vanilla-scented perfumes to try now
Read the full article here