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Fragrances I Love (& The One I Don’t)

Whenever I’m bored, one of my favorite pastimes is to watch GRWM videos on YouTube (which is an acronym for the term ‘get ready with me’).  Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to see how flawless curls are achieved, what lip gloss will give you the longest wear, or which jeans will give you the best fit for your shape, but I noticed that people hardly ever talk about what fragrances they’re wearing. Why is that? It seemed odd to me as fragrance is an important part of the ‘getting ready’ process and is a great way to give you that extra boost of confidence. Actually, studies have shown that smells are directly linked to the limbic system—such as the amygdala and the hippocampus (i.e. parts of the brain that deal with our emotional responses and memories). Researchers and experts have also found that scent happens to be our most primal sense; in fact, according to the American Psychological Association or APA, “All living things, from single-celled bacteria to the most accomplished bloodhound, can detect chemicals in their environment. Odors are molecules, after all, and olfaction is just the vertebrate version of chemical sensing”. In simpler terms, our brains make neurological associations with the scents we inhale and connect them to parts of our memory. Hearing this got me thinking about the perfumes I’ve begun collecting over the past couple of months so in this article, I’ll list my favorites and my not-so-favorites. Who knows? Maybe you’ll love what I didn’t. If this interests you then please keep reading!

Saint Eau de Parfum

Out of all the fragrances I’ve collected or smelled in passing, my favorite—since I’ve gone on this journey of olfactory euphoria—is hands down the KVD Vegan Beauty’s Saint Eau de Parfum. Described on Sephora as, “Dreamy, romantic and alluring, this perfume fuses top notes of jasmine and tiaré flower with a delicious heart of mandarin, caramel, and sparkling mirabelle plum. Vanilla, sandalwood, and creamy musk impart a warmth that reminds you of falling in love for the very first time”. What I love about this fragrance is that it offers the perfect balance of floral and warmth that can be worn any time of day, and easily transition into any setting, day or night. I don’t dress up very often these days due to the pandemic but when I’m feeling a bit more glamorous than usual, I like to spritz this on after a nice hot shower. FYI: This scent layers extremely well with warm notes like coffee, so I tend to spray this on top of my skin after cleansing first with the OGX Coconut Coffee Scrub and Wash, and then moisturizing with the Coconut Coffee Body Cream. Can you say ‘yum’?! This fragrance retails for $34 USD at Sephora for a 3.4oz/100 mL bottle. The product is in pretty high demand and is constantly flying off the shelves but whenever it becomes available again, treat yourself to something nice and pick this up! Your nose (and your cuddle buddy) will thank you—trust me. 

Vikor and Rolf's Flowerbomb

When I first compiled this list, I surprised myself because before I’d purchased Saint, Vikor & Rolf’s Flowerbomb was the sure winner. Although Saint edges Flowerbomb out by a few measures, Flowerbomb by no means is of any lesser quality! The iconic perfume is sold across many retailers such as Sephora, Macy’s, Ulta, Nordstom—to name a few. This fragrance sells for about $55 - $175USD depending on the size and where the perfume was purchased. What I love about this product is that it had been on my wishlist for years before I’d finally gotten it as a gift for my 21st birthday this past November. When I finally received it, it was both well worth the wait and absolutely tantalizing. Everything I had previously heard about this perfume turned out to be true. Characterized by its highly floral notes, Flowerbomb is “an ultra-feminine, delicious and sensual fragrance” that encapsulates the scent of a “bouquet of tens of cattleyas, hundreds of sambac jasmine, thousands of freesia, and millions of rose petals enriched by an addictive scent of patchouli and vanilla” (Viktor&Rolf). 

Gia Eau de Parfum by Tocca

Next on this list is the Gia Eau de Parfum by Tocca which you can pick up from Sephora for a reasonable $76USD. Now I know $76 might seem pretty pricey but once you smell it on your skin, you’ll understand why it costs that much. Each of these perfumes smell great in their own way but Gia is pure luxury. It gives bougie rich aunt vibes. I’ve found that the scent of this fragrance lasts for awhile, although the strength of the aroma does begin to fade after two to two and a half hours of moderate movement. In similar fashion to Saint, Gia is also a member of the warm florals fragrance family. Tocca has crafted a scent that is equally bold and sultry as well as feminine and flirty. This is due largely to its key notes of pink peppercorn, tangerine, Turkish rose, amber, and vanilla. Tocca describes it as a fragrance that “honors the art and power of individual creativity” (Sephora). I don’t know about you but I’d love to smell like that 24/7. It also doesn’t hurt that the bottle is visually appealing with its distinctive gradient red bottle and gold lettering inscribed onto the front. This is perfect for anyone who's looking for an aroma that speaks for itself. I’m sure that if you purchase this perfume that you won’t regret splurging on this, either for yourself or for someone special in your life.

Mon Paris Eau de Parfum

Last but certainly not least is Mon Paris Eau de Parfum by the iconic fashion house Yves Saint Laurent. I’d received this in a miniature size as a part of a gift set that also came with Black Opium by YSL for my birthday. For a 1.0oz bottle, customers can grab this for about $75-76USD (give or take, depending on where it was purchased). A floral aroma that features key notes of red berries, white datura flower and white musk embodies this fragrance, giving customers that romantic feeling of a springtime in France. One thing I appreciate about this product is that the packaging is so adorable with its tiny black ribbon bow and chic gold YSL logo imprinted on the front. But that’s where the positivity ends for me. If I had to describe this perfume in one word it’d be: forgettable. I cannot remember what this smells like at all and I lost the bottle after a single use. It’s not very memorable and for the price, I’d like to have something in my purse that stands out from the crowd and can make me feel beautiful. I don’t get that feeling so for that reason, it’s my least favorite of my favorites list. But it’s not a bad perfume, objectively speaking. Check it out for yourself and make your own judgement—maybe you’ll have a better experience with it than me! 

The next time you find yourself window shopping, take a leap of faith and buy yourself something nice. You deserve it! Every once in a while it’s okay to be kinder to yourself than to your wallet because damnit it feels good to feel good! 

Ayanté Hardy

UC Riverside '21

How would I describe myself as a creator, as an individual? I don’t know I just love cynicism and chaos and villainy, color, texture, tenacity and audaciousness, just exhausting every facet of life, nauseating grandeur. I think my strength is that I know how to play it up but also reel that in when needed. I’d like to think I’m quite good at containing this dichotomy within myself and really letting that free in my creative or intellectual expressions. My articles are my interpretation of this notion.
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