V-Day is coming! And so—I will now reveal the fragrances that (in my experience) drive men crazy

Doutzen Kroes -

You know what? Fragrance has to be the most under-utilized category in beauty. Especially if you’re looking to, ahem, attract—or retain the attentions of—a member of the opposite sex. We’re usually so focused on the physical, tangible things, like whether our skin is flawless enough or if our hair is sufficiently shiny. Both good goals to have, obvi, but there is just something about scent that takes everything to the next level. Few words make a girl’s heart sing more than a handsome man uttering: “You smell so good!” AMIRITE?

Of course, not all fragrances are man-friendly. Quite the opposite, in fact. I have an obscene collection of scents, but I’d put a healthy majority of them into the man-repelling category along with the looks we discussed in this post. (In addition to hating yellow nail polish, guys don’t like it when you smell like grandma. Trust.)

Now, don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying you can’t still wear what you like. DUH. But if you’re anything like me, you wear certain scents at certain times… and so here’s what I would choose for any upcoming Valentine’s Day celebrations.

Currently in heavy rotation: Aquolina Pink Sugar

Aquolina Pink Sugar V Day is coming! And so—I will now reveal the fragrances that (in my experience) drive men crazy

I resisted this one for a long time because, well, it looks like something a 12-year-old might wear. I got over it after finding it on sale at Winners (suck it, Sephora!) and the rest is beauty history. (Actually, I liked it so much that I did skulk back to Sephora to buy the rollerball version as well.) Anyway, there’s just something about this one—it’s almost sickly sweet on first application (think cotton candy), but the dry-down is amazing, kind of musky and fruity and vanilla-ish all at once. It lasts like crazy, and it’s currently rivalling Child in terms of garnering compliments from guys. Even ones that aren’t trying to hit on you! (My friend L. exclaimed “You smell like fruit!” the last time I saw him. I think that meant he liked it.)

Guaranteed to leave an impression on him: Child

Child perfume V Day is coming! And so—I will now reveal the fragrances that (in my experience) drive men crazy

I’ve made no secret on this blog of Child’s magical powers. This is one of the cultiest of cult fragrances, and so it’s quite hard to come by—Canadians can order it from beautyhabit.com. So, true story: I am positive that I was asked out on a date once because of this. It’s the only explanation, because I’m sure I was being otherwise borderline obnoxious. Also? More than one cab driver has felt compelled to tell me I smell amazing (one even made me write down the name so he could buy it for his wife). That’s never happened with any other scent. And this is on top of all the multiple females who have asked me what it is so that they could order their own bottles. (Get the oil—it lasts longer.)

Conclusion: I SWEAR they put drugs in this. Note that it is a white floral. (I’m less into florals in the summer, so Child is currently having a time-out from my rotation.)

The perfect mix of “clean” and “sexy”: J.Lo Glow

J. Lo Glow fragrance V Day is coming! And so—I will now reveal the fragrances that (in my experience) drive men crazy

I know, how tacky, right? I’ll never forget the look on one of my editor’s faces when she told me I smelled great, asked me what I was wearing… and then I admitted that it was J.Lo Glow. (Hint: Never do that. Total career-killing move. I was supposed to say something like Hermes.) That said, on this blog I will be completely unapologetic about my love for this fragrance. I adore soapy scents, but they’re so hard to get right. This one nails it: it makes you feel clean, like you just got out of the shower, but there’s that musky note that brings the seksi. It achieves the perfect balance that I was never able to achieve with things like Philosophy Amazing Grace, Bobbi Brown Bath (ugh) or The Body Shop White Musk. Seriously, get over the bottle and just try some.

Honorable mentions

Michael Michael Kors

Michael Michael Kors fragrance V Day is coming! And so—I will now reveal the fragrances that (in my experience) drive men crazy

I used to wear this, but find it a tad too tuberose-y for me… although I know it’s a man-magnet for lots of ladies. Extremely feminine.

Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Abricot

Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Abricot V Day is coming! And so—I will now reveal the fragrances that (in my experience) drive men crazy

Another somewhat juvenile scent, but it’s my favourite of all the CSP’s. You can’t go wrong with vanilla, and the apricot note is really pretty and unique (more so than all the Lavanila varieties, I think).

If by Apothia

If by Apothia V Day is coming! And so—I will now reveal the fragrances that (in my experience) drive men crazy

This one is currently undergoing testing! I ordered it from L.A. based on the description alone—it’s like a muskier, tarter version of Child—and so far, I adore it. It’s not as feminine-floral as Child, nor is it as sexy as J.Lo, but it’s a lovely, cuddly, subtle scent. Maybe something you’d wear on casual weekends instead of hawt dates.

Mackie

Mackie fragrance V Day is coming! And so—I will now reveal the fragrances that (in my experience) drive men crazy

So ’80s-tastic! This is my girlfriend J.’s signature scent, and on her it is simply the most beautiful thing you will ever encounter. (Seriously, at a wedding this summer when I was looking for her, I smelled her before I saw her. And I mean that in the best possible way ever.) Words cannot even describe how delicious this smells… IF you have the right body chemistry. On me? Not so great. Too heavy, and there was some weird patchouli note coming out that I had no idea was there. So… try before you buy, if you can. I see this all the time at Winners.

The scents I save for ME time

I still love my other fragrances like they’re my children… but they definitely don’t meet my V-Day criteria:

  • Anything rose (like Stella McCartney) is waaaay too old lady.
  • Extreme fruitiness, like Jo Malone Nectarine Blossom and Honey, is a bit too overpowering.
  • Powdery is like the kiss of death—I love Chanel No. 19 Poudré, but would never wear it for a man.
  • My citrusy scents like Chloé Eau de Fleurs Neroli or Anna Sui Secret Wish are kinda “meh” for romantic purposes.
  • Same thing with Bobbi Brown Beach… I adore it, but it’s so much like suntan lotion that I don’t think the menz get it.

Anyway, tell me:

Do you wear certain scents for LOVE CONNECTIONS?
Which ones have generated the best reactions?
Have you tried any of my faves? (Just promise we’ll wear them around different guys. There’s nothing worse than discovering you’re wearing the same scent as his ex-girlfriend. Or mother. Ouch.)

36 Comments

Alana
Wednesday, February 8/2012 at 7:13 pm

Loved this post! Will definitely have to try out some of the recommendations. I’m wondering about Child though – it seems to be something people either completely love or completely hate. Would you still say it’s worth a try despite the many negative reviews?

Oddly enough, my husband’s favourite scent is (cringe) “With Love” by Hilary Duff. It is requested for every date night and special occasion without fail or hesitation. I also have a friend with a similar 80s-tastic, “should probably be awful” signature scent which of course smells absolutely ridiculously incredible on her. Must make a note to find out the name! (Maybe it’s Mackie!)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 11:52 am

Oh really? There are negative reviews of Child? Maybe it’s a body chemistry thing but I haven’t had anybody repulsed by it – totally the opposite. I can see some women having an aversion to the white floral-ness of it, though… but men seem to unanimously dig it. It’s just so unabashedly feminine… more natural and less commercial than the Michael Kors.

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Cassandra
Wednesday, February 8/2012 at 8:55 pm

I can’t believe it — I’m going to go and buy JLo Glow. *Shocked*

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ava
Wednesday, February 8/2012 at 10:32 pm

I think I might try JLo, hard to believe;) my absolute favorite is Angel Innocent by Thierry Mugler. Love it!

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Cassandra
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 6:08 pm

I’m still in a state of shock, lol.

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Marisa
Wednesday, February 8/2012 at 10:45 pm

Christian Dior Addict. IMO, the sexiest perfume EVAH.

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 11:54 am

I forgot to add Dior to this list! I just discovered Pure Poison and it’s a super-soft, sexy vanilla… the bottle is awesome too as it’s got that old fashioned atomizer (FUN!).

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Tessa
Monday, February 13/2012 at 10:52 am

That’s definitely a men-attracting scent. It has gotten as worse (or good) that when my boyfriend smells it, he thinks I have a romantic evening planned!

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Jessica
Wednesday, February 8/2012 at 11:44 pm

Such a great post! J Lo smells amazing! Another light floral I LOVE is Narciso Rodriguez- For her. Such a pretty scent that gets a ton of compliments. :)

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 11:55 am

Narciso is one of my mom’s all-time favourites! Very nice.

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Kat
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 3:44 am

Ha! Love what they wrote on Beautyhabit for Child:

“Celebrity fans include: Khloe Kardashian, Maggie Smith, Jennie Garth, (she made the famous statement that child drives men wild!) Sigourney Weaver, LeeAnn Rimes, Madonna, Mandy Moore, Jennifer Aniston, Rebecca Gayheart, Christina Applegate, Ashlee Simpson, Britney Spears, Denise Richards, Lindsey Lohan, Tiffany Amber Thiesen, Tori Spelling and John Mayer.”

Wait what?! Haha, John Mayer.. wait, is that his conquest list? If so, I bow down, I’m impressed.. (Sigourney Weaver! …)

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Jenna
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 3:47 am

Really, I’d find Maggie Smith more impressive than Ms Weaver…

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Kat
Friday, February 10/2012 at 12:54 am

I admit, I didn’t know her by name, so I didn’t make the connection, but now that you mention it… xD

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Lisa
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 4:38 am

Every time I wear Alien by Thierry Mugler I get “ooh what are you wearing”. It is overpowering at first but has a nice dry down after about half an hour. Only a couple of squirts needed! Definitely going to check out J Lo, just hope I don’t find Casper inside the bottle!

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Jaye
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 9:36 am

Any suggestions for natural perfumes?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 11:56 am

I have a lot of natural scents but none that have had these reactions from guys! If I had to pick I’d probably lean toward Lavanila if you want something natural… the pure vanilla one or the vanilla grapefruit.

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Dani
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 10:57 am

I have Child and I love it. But the perfume is so strong and I am always scared of putting too much on. How many sprays would you recommend?

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 11:57 am

Sorry, no idea – I have the oil not the spray (it’s a roll-on).

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Elaine R
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 11:01 am

My man absolutely loves Coco Mademoiselle. Although he knows zero french and therefore called it “madah-moussay”. And he still calls it that, just because it makes me angry, haha!

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Gauri
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 11:06 am

♥ this article..more please!!

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Larissa
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 11:25 am

I totally get what you said about the Glow one… I used to lie all the time about wearing it! My boyfriend loved and, when he asked which one it was, I lied… The next holidays, as a present, he gave the wrong bottle!

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Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 11:58 am

Haha! That’s hilarious. They really need to update that bottle, the “bling” factor is tres embarrassing.

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QuiteLight
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 11:52 am

Oooh, I miss perfume. My guy is somewhat allergic (& therefore doesn’t enjoy them much) and my workplace is fragrance-free (technically).

I love to smell florals, but only feel like myself in warm musks & orientals. I LOVE Youth Dew, but found guys really flipped for their own scents, namely men’s colognes. I used to eke out Obsession for Men samples in university for this.

Now I’m all essential oils; they don’t seem to trigger allergic reactions, but they don’t last too long either.

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Amanda
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 12:06 pm

I’m sure I read once that as a man ages he becomes more attracted to the smell of vanilla.
I agree about the powdery and overtly floral being a bit redolent of what their mothers probably wore.
On the whole though, I think men are definitely less is more when it comes to perfume.
A

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Dana Reinke
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 12:17 pm

I’ve always had good luck with Allure. One guy told me I smelled like cookies, and I was like, “Oh, great.” So he modified it by saying I smelled like Sensual cookies.

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Helen
Friday, February 10/2012 at 2:34 pm

A friend told me she’d had lots of compliments and attention while wearing Allure so I tried it myself – she was 100% right. Lots of “you smell AMAZINGs”. I find it too overpowering these days but I put it on for special occasions and it still gets the same reaction.

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Rosa
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 12:51 pm

Warning with Child perfume (oil), use sparingly!!!! It can be overpowering (especially at the office).

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Rei
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 1:29 pm

I always want Pink Sugar, but when I smell it I get scared. It’s not a ‘me’ scent even though I love it. I just need to take the plunge one day!
My man magnet scent is Dior Hypnotic Poison. My fiance tells me it smells like old lady, but it must mix with my body chemistry perfectly because he LOVES the smell when it’s on me. I kind of think it stinks, but that’s the only perfume I get complimented on.

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Jenna
Thursday, February 9/2012 at 4:27 pm

I picked up a Clean scent when I was in Caanada last year, which I love because the scent is such a normal, natural one. I also grabbed a Lavanilla roller ball (for convenient plane use), and my boyfriend jut loves it! He asks that I wear it all the time, which I don’t because the roller ball supply isn’t huge. Now wish i’d bought 10!

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Rebecca
Saturday, February 11/2012 at 11:12 pm

I think Stella is far from old lady, perfumes like Youth Dew or Chanel No 5 get that bad rap the most. I’d pass on the Pink Sugar, but I do wear the discontinued Chocolovers from the same brand. It’s a spicy chocolate that smells real.

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Pure Jade
Sunday, February 12/2012 at 5:54 am

Hi Michelle, j’adore your Blog <3 your writing style is so funny !! and convincingly i actually went to smell J.LO Glow and it is really nice. i will wear it after shower at the gym. I am very curious about child now !!!!!!
i don’t wear the same smell the whole day long. in the morning i like to wear a lighter sent and after 12 pm i change to a more intense perfume.
I love love scents like Chanel Beige , Dyphtique Vetyver, Juliette has a gun from Lady vengeance and Cologne 68 from Guerlain. For rainy days i love gardenia and flowery scents and in the evening i need a sexy patchouli sent like Etro Vicolo Fiori mixed with Dianthus or La Prairie Ruby. i place it wright behind my ear and in the club, guys and girls who need to get close to speak to me always go crazy :) in the spring, but only in the morning, i love to smell like lily of the valley from Penhaligon’s ore Miller Harris Jasmin Verte.
I hope this is useful for anyone :)

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Emilie
Monday, February 13/2012 at 3:36 pm

Dolce & gabanna L’Impératrice, édition limitée! Got tons of great comments from men on that one :)

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Amberly Charter
Tuesday, February 14/2012 at 4:35 pm

Love this post! I used to be obsessed with Pink Sugar and still think it is one of the greatest scents ever, but for the past year I’ve been in love with “Dead Sexy” by Tokyo Milk.

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Lisa
Wednesday, February 15/2012 at 10:38 am

Not to be a total troll, but I cannot stand the smell of Pink Sugar! I used to work at a place where a few of my coworkers wore it, and the sugary-sweet fragrance always gave me headaches and was way too strong for me. I am very scent sensitive though! I don’t wear anything myself- waiting for the vegan/chemical free scent market to expand a bit more. I will have to give Lavanilla a shot though!

On a side note, I used to wear J-Lo’s Still perfume, many years ago, and I never received more compliments on a perfume ever. I would always be a bit embarrassed to reveal what it was, but I’ll never for get the positive reaction I got from the perfume! I guess that J-Lo’s really got it going on in the scent department!

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Lisa
Sunday, February 19/2012 at 1:35 pm

ANyone who wants to try Glow I found it at Winners today. 30ml $19.99.

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Sara
Monday, November 12/2012 at 10:25 am

My favorite date night perfume (that has also gotten me many complements from men and women alike) is, believe it or not, Viva la Juicy by Juicy Couture. Tease by Victoria’s secret is very similar, but a bit lighter. These are both some of those warm, delicious, sexy scents that I put in the same category as Pink Sugar, and I LOVE them.

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