8 Powerful Fragrances That Capture Happiness With Every Spritz
Fragrance is powerful, but not in the way that a bold lipstick makes us feel confident or a spa-like skin care routine makes us feel relaxed. Scents are a lot more intricate, and studies have shown sensory cues can trigger powerful and complex emotions and memories. “People love fragrance because of the connection it offers them to a time and place, a person or a feeling,” says Linda Levy, president of The Fragrance Foundation. Whether fragrance brings back recollections of childhood or the presence of a loved one, the emotional connection to happy memories can serve as an instant mood-lifter. Here—in honor of National Fragrance Day—we reveal the powerful fragrances that bring forth happiness for our editors, hoping to inspire others to explore the world of fragrance and find their own scents that capture joy. Read on!
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YSL Black Opium ($91)
"It sounds cheesy, but I started wearing the rich, cozy scent a few weeks after meeting my boyfriend. Fast forward four years and it’s still my favorite scent. Every spritz brings back such great (college) memories and is always a crowd-pleaser!"
—Danielle Fontana, Assistant Editor
"Diane Von Furstenberg’s Tatiana perfume will always hold a special place in my heart. Growing up in the '80s, it was often gifted to me because of my name, so I always had a bottle or two around. The scent was mainly floral with orange blossom and jasmine top notes, but it was probably a little stronger and more sophisticated than I needed in those preteen days. Tatiana was my signature scent and was as much a part of my childhood as my jelly shoes or plastic charm necklaces."
—Tatiana Bido, Special Projects Editor
Pink Sugar ($30)
“I could give you a long list, but if I have to pick one, I’d say Pink Sugar. I was wearing it the night I met my boyfriend (now husband) in college and he said he was really drawn to it. It’s almost sickeningly sweet when you first spray it, but when it dries down, it smells really yummy and the lasting power is incredible. After college, we moved to different states, but maintained a long-distance relationship. When he’d smell another woman wearing it, whether it was in an elevator, at a party or just walking down the street, he’d text me to tell me he missed me and that ‘it didn’t smell right on anyone else.’ Now more than a decade later, I’ve gravitated toward more woody and floral fragrances rather than gourmand ones, but I still keep a bottle of Pink Sugar on my vanity for those times when I’m feeling extra nostalgic. Who doesn’t love a good throwback?”
—Brittany Burhop Fallon, Senior Editor
Demeter Kahala Blue Hawaiian Cologne Spray ($20)
"They don’t make it anymore, but Demeter came out with a whole Kahala line that was inspired by Hawaii about 15 years ago (please bring it back!). I was going on a trip to Maui and I REALLY wanted to buy a bunch of new clothing for it, but my budget didn’t allow. I think the Kahala Hawaiian Vanilla Cologne Spray cost around $20 and it was about as good as I could do for purchasing something special for the trip. I wore it the whole time and rationed it for years after because it reminded me of being in 'relaxation mode' on the islands."
—Liz Ritter, Executive Managing Editor
"I love Charlotte Tilbury Scent of a Dream. I started wearing it about six months or so ago, but it has quickly become my favorite perfume. It’s light and airy yet feminine. There’s no better feeling than catching a whiff of it on my robe when I get out of the shower—it just makes me feel clean."
—Elise Minton, Executive Beauty Editor
"There’s a lyric in a song that I like that goes: “Love is just a summer day.” I would have to say I wholeheartedly agree—from childhood (flying kites with my parents) to adulthood (boozy, carefree brunches and boat rides with my friends and husband) all my happiest memories have a sunny, golden haze to them. The best fragrance that embodies that warm, loving feeling? Maison Margiela Replica Beach Walk, which is at once fresh and a little nostalgic. It radiates notes of bergamot, coconut, lemon, pepper and musk—it smells both like love and a summer day."
—Carolyn Hsu, Site Director
Guerlain Shalimar ($144)
“My grandmother used to go through multiple bottles of Guerlain’s Shalimar perfume each year—that’s how much she loved it. Every time I smell the fragrance, the scent brings back a flood of memories of her, so I keep one on my dresser to spritz every so often when I want to feel a little closer to her.”
—Julie Ricevuto, Digital Beauty Editor
“Growing up on Long Island, the ocean and beach were a big part of my life. My favorite memory is of my mom drying off in the beach club cabana after a swim and shower. The fragrance she splashed on was Jean Nate. That citrus, floral fragrance is a favorite fragrance categories for myself to this day, with a range of new favorites."
—Linda Levy, President of The Fragrance Foundation