Monday Question – Do You Have A Favourite Skin Scent?

By Tara

Do you have a fragrance that smells like “your skin but better”?

Is there a cosy, close-wearing perfume you turn to when you want something subtle?

What do you think makes a good skin scent?

Or are you of the opinion that when it comes to perfume, the louder the better?


My Answer:

I have been looking for the perfect skin scent but have yet to hit the jackpot.

One perfume that I had high hopes for recently was Dries Van Noten by Frederic Malle. It has a core of sandalwood and I feel this particular note helps to make a great skin scent because it’s usually warm, creamy and relatively quiet. Although undoubtedly lovely, it didn’t quite work for me on first try, probably because it’s quite nutty to start with.

Another Malle fragrance, Dans Tes Bras, is supposed to mimic the smell of warm skin, but instead of this I get salty violets which put my teeth on edge. It must be said however, that this perfume is notorious for smelling different from person to person and it is worth testing if you haven’t already – like everything in the Editions de Parfums range, really.

At the moment, the two perfumes I turn to for something subtle that stays close to the skin are Equistrius by Parfums d’ Empire and Dior’s Bois d’ Argent. However, neither of these have the sensuous yet soothing smell of skin I’m looking for.

So I’d be very grateful if you would share your favourite skin scents in the comments.

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89 Responses to Monday Question – Do You Have A Favourite Skin Scent?

  1. Dubaiscents says:

    Definitely try Lumiere Blanche by Olfactive Studio for a great skin scent! I am a big scent type of girl so, I am not sure I would ever buy a bottle of this but, it really is a wonderful scent while it lasts – I love the hints of almond and white musk. Mona di Orio’s Musc is another really nice one. And when I want to be extremely subtle I use just a little of Amouage’s Attar – Musk Abyadh which is just a basic white musk – so soft there are days I can’t smell it at all….it is one of those very intriguing scents that seems to work on me only when the stars are properly aligned 🙂 (and unlike a lot of the Amouage line this one is quite affordable).

    • Tara says:

      Thanks for some great recommendations! Vanessa of Bonkers About Perfume has just sent me some Lumiere Blanche so I look forward to trying that one out, also Il Profumo Nuda.

      I have a sample of Mona’s Musc and I love it though need to test again properly when the weather gets cooler. It’s my favourite from the line so far. I’ve also been intrigued by the Amouage attars for ages.

  2. Trish Devine says:

    I tend to wear a scented body lotion when I want a skin scent. La Chasse Aux Papillion by Artisan is really lovely and lasts, quietly, for hours. But on days when I ‘can’t think what to wear’, I wear Caron’s Pour Un Homme.

  3. Olfactoria says:

    I love Il Profumo Nuda if I want something close-wearing, soft and intimate. Histoire de Parfums Blanc Violette is also great.
    A scented body lotion is a great idea, as Trish mentions above. I currently use Noix de Coco from Yves Rocher (there is a lotion or a richer butter) and I adore it!!!

    • Tara says:

      Nuda is really nice and I remember loving the sound of Blanc Violetter from your review. Those cute HdP half bottles are also very tempting!

      I will look up Noix de Coco, for sure.

  4. Ellia says:

    I agree with Lumiere Blanche by Olfactive Studio – that’s the one I usually wear, if I have to go out and I’d like to wear a quite soft skin scent. But if I want it just for myself being at home – I prefer to be embraced by light, intimate and very sensual scent of Arabian Musk by Arabian Oud 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Lumiere Blanche is obviously a winner. I’ve read lots of good things about it.

      You make Arabian Musk sound great!

  5. beautycalyptique says:

    I have several faves but my most recent one is Bosque by Humiecki&Graef. It really clings to my skin, and smells like warm sheets on a Sunday morning, cosy, sexy, clean in a messy way (if you know what I mean), sober, and incredibly intimate.

  6. annemariec says:

    Oh I’m very traditional and boring when it comes to skin scents: Narciso Rodriguez for Her and Kenzo Flower. For me, both wear pretty close to the skin but have just enough heft to keep me interested. I wouldn’t mind trying something a bit saltier than these, though. Any suggestions? Eau des Merveilles does not work, sadly. I can’t really smell it.

    Somehow I never feel like spending a lot of money on skin scents, which is stupid I know because you wear a skin scent quite a bit so why not spend a bit of money on it? And perfecting a subtle ‘my-skin-but-better’ scent is probably quite a lot of work for the perfumer. Simplicity is often much more difficult to do well than complexity.

    • annemariec says:

      Adding: when I ask for suggestions for a salty skin scent, I do so with some dififdence. I have FBs of NR for Her and Flower and really don’t need anything else. Still, it does no harm to know what’s out there, right?

      • Tara says:

        Of course! It’s always good to know what’s out there. Too bad Eau des Merveilles isn’t strong enough for you because it’s the salty skin scent that comes to mind. Have you tried the Elixir and Ambre versions?

        Otherwise there’s Sel de Vetiver by The Different Company of Fleurs de Sel by Miller Harris. I think Eau du Sud by Goutal has a salty note too.

        • annemariec says:

          Thanks for the recs, they all sound terrific, although TDC is normally a bit outside my financial reach …

          I tried Ambre but found it heavy on vanilla (my skin seems to amp up vanilla). Have not tried Elixir.

    • Tara says:

      Hi annemarie

      NR for Her is a classic skin scent. Those soft, musky perfumes really fit the bill. I can’t bring Kenzo Flower to mind so I’ll re-try.

      I totally agree that is probably tougher for a perfumer to come up with an effective skin scent compared to something loud and obvious.

  7. lakimysumami says:

    Dear Tara,

    I love your Monday questions. I don’t know what a skin perfume is…my skin smells great because, and this is the reason, my mothers skin smelled fantastic, never knew how a nude skin could smell so good!

    About me, like you said, I like loud parfums, mostly Chypre family, and lately, amber/Oud/incense all together penetrating my nose, lol, till my brain and back again, lmao.

    I will not mention any brand because don’t know what skin will I choose. Maybe Violet Annick Goutal?
    Love, Silvia

    • Tara says:

      Hi Silvia

      Lucky you for having such naturally great smelling skin! I can see why you therefore wouldn’t bother with skin scents and go for chypres and orientals instead. By Kilian and Amouage probably suit you down to the ground.

      Violet perfumes do seem to be make good skin scents as a few have recommended them.

  8. Bruno Acampora Musc Eau de Parfum, is my favourite “my skin only better” perfume! I cannot find the words to describe how it makes me feel… the longer it lingers (its stays on ALL day), the more I fancy sniffing myself. Very self-indulgent, but really, when I am sprayed with this, I do not wish to smell anything else! Initial notes are very earthy (in the beginning I was a bit afraid of that, as it smelled like earth after the rain), but then it morphs into an elixir of love, the smell of skin after love making. I felt like I was a reclining Aphrodite sipping ambrosia!
    PS. I have a funny story on that; one day, as I was sitting outdoors, a friend was passing by with her cute baby boy, and I took him in my arms, hugging and kissing him. The next day I had to give away the name of the perfume to her mum 🙂 because they couldn’t stop sniffing him. I guess it does not make only me smell that good!

    • Tara says:

      Alexandra, what a cute story! I wouldn’t have thought anything could improve the smell of a baby 🙂

      I have sniffed the Musc oil which I did indeed find rather earthy but perhaps I should test the perfume properly and wait for the dry-down. You certainly sell it with your wonderful description.

  9. Vanessa says:

    I found the perfect combination for me 2 years ago: Honore des Pres – Vamp à NY
    It matches perfectly. Only reason, I don’t use it more often: the scent fades away pretty quickly.

    • Tara says:

      Hi Vanessa

      That’s too bad about the lasting power. I wonder if it comes in a matching body lotion so you could wear the two together to extend its longevity?

  10. Codi says:

    For the summer season I like Elizabeth Arden’s Green Tea and Honeysuckle scent. It reminds me of clean, showered, fresh skin.

    • Tara says:

      Codi, I love many different types of skin scent we have. You’ve named one for freshly showered skin while others have described something more sensual and “lived in”. I guess there’s something for all tastes and all seasons.

  11. Ana says:

    Lumiere Blanche is lovely, but it lasts about 5 minutes on me. This might sound strange, but I think Incense Extreme by Tauer Perfumes stays really close to the skin when applied lightly … I wouldn’t say it smells like warm skin but there’s a smokiness about it that I find really “nature like” or “natural” if this makes some sense

    • Tara says:

      Ana, I do know what you mean about Incense Extreme. It’s a very outdoorsy, woody, incense and I can imagine it working well on skin in low dose.

  12. Tora says:

    I agree with Alexandra. Bruno Acampora’s Musc is a divine skin scent. That and Kiehl’s Original Musc are both skin only better. Bruno’s leans a bit more towards ‘slept in sheets’ and Kiehl’s is more ‘fresh out of the shower’. I am a Nurse Massage Therapist and I work very close to my clients. If I do wear a fragrance, these two are perfect for work.

    • Tara says:

      Tora, I can imagine that with your job, anything more than a skin scent could be too much. Sadly Original Musc was terrible on me but I don’t do well with those “fresh” laundry musks.

  13. masha7 says:

    I like Annick Goutal’s Musc Nomade, it’s a warm musky skin scent, but not a laundry musk, and not too animalic. It’s quite subtle. Funny it’s the same house that makes Mandragore (which I also love)! You can get a small bottle of the musk (1/2 oz or so) for about $15 on Amazon or ebay.

    • Tara says:

      Thanks for the recommendation! I have a very small musk comfort zone which you have described perfectly.

    • Nina Z says:

      I love this one, too. It’s my go-to scent when I can’t think of what else to wear. I don’t think of it as a skin scent, though, but it just feels right to me, especially in warm weather. For me, modern Bois de Iles is more of a skin scent but maybe that’s because I imagine I naturally smell a little spicy rather than musky.

  14. Suzanne says:

    Hi Tara. My favorite skin scents are Hermes Eau des Merveilles Frederic Malle Angeliques Sous la Pluie and Serge Lutens Muscs Koublai Khan. I also think of Yves Saint Laurent Nu (the original edp, not the reformulated version) as a skin scent, even though it has more waft than the Eau des Merveilles, for instance. It’s quietly beautiful and sensual. Must go find my decant so I can put some on – your question has determined my SOTD. 🙂

    • Tara says:

      Hi Suzanne
      I never thought of Angeliques Sous la Pluie as a skin scent, that’s interesting. It’s a beautiful perfume.

      Whenever anyone talks about the original Nu it always sounds so good. I’m pleased I helped pick your SOTD!

  15. Cybele says:

    Hi Tara, this is one of my favorite topics! I guess I am a skin-scent type of girl although I can really appreciate a loud statement too. My preferred skin scents are Osmanthus DC, Outrageous Frederic Malle in humid weather, layering 28, La Pausa and Acca Kappa White Moss, Narciso Rodriguez Musc Oil for Him, Chanel Cuir de Russie applied lightly, and the drydowns of both Gucci Envy and Homage Amouage. I find Narciso Rodriguez for Her and Kiels Musc definitely have a skin-scent like smell but sit more on top of my skin without blending in, therefore to me these are more I am wearing proper perfume scents. I find that Chanel Cristalle EDP has a certain scent quality resembing that of human skin.

    • Tara says:

      Cybele, you make a really good point. A true skin scent should be able to meld with your skin.

      I love all your picks, I wouldn’t have thought of the Chanels but I can imagine Osmanthus making a good skin scent and I’ve heard good things about Narciso Rodriguez Musc Oil.

      • Cybele says:

        Also, I find that Rien by Etat libre Orange is a ampted up skin scent-too strong for me to wear but I like smelling it from time to time.

        • Tara says:

          I’ve never tried Rien but I want to sample Afternoon of a Fawn so I should try that one at the same time.

  16. This is my favourite type of fragrance. I wear powerhouse scents sometimes, but mostly I like something soft. Skin Musk by Parfums de Coeur (formerly by Bonne Bell) is probably my favourite from the category. Also, Narciso Rodriguez Musc (as mentioned earlier) and Alyssa Ashley Musk are two I like a lot.

  17. Tara, my favorite close-to-the-body scent is YSL’s Nu Body Cream. It’s hard to find, might be discontinued, but it is the best body scent that I ever used.

    • Tara says:

      Oh Anita, you and Suzanne make really wish I hadn’t missed out on the original Nu. It does sound like the ulitmate skin scent.

  18. My all time soft skin scent faves (mine you, I like ’em really soft!) are Malin & Goetz Synthesized Lotus Root and Abdul Kareem Egyptian Musk. For a slightly more sultry skin scent, it has to be Miller Harris Un Petit Rien.

    • Cybele says:

      I am so curious about Un Petit Rien, would you mind describing how it smells and differs from the original?

    • Tara says:

      Thanks for those choices, Jane. It’s nice to hear about some I didn’t know anything about before. Skin scents definitely have to be really soft and subtle.

  19. Fumie says:

    I tend not like to spend lots on my skin scents because first the tend to disappear faster then i’d like on me. Secondly, I don’t feel as bad reapplying the less expensive ones. I do still need them to have some floral notes in them to keep me happy. Right now I’m loving Estee Lauder’s seasonal Bronze Goddess. I was fortunate to aquire a bottle of the original Azuree Soleil by Tom Ford. It’s lovely. Some top shelf go to-s are L’Artisan’s Mure et Musc, Chanel’s Beige. Some bottom shelf picks arePhilosophy’s Pure and Summer Grace which are more like body splashes to me.

    • Fumie says:

      Another I just sprayed is Balmain’s Ambre Gris. I use it quite often when I go to the gym.

    • Tara says:

      Why don’t I own Mure et Musc? Why?!

      Bronze Goddess is a perfect summer skin scent and definitely one to apply lavishly and often.

      That’s great you have a bottle of the original Tom Ford Azuree Soleil.111111

  20. Eva S says:

    I don’t think I have consiously used the term skin scents much, but I think the closest example I own is Ambre de Merveille. In an odd way I think of Mitsouko and Bandit as skin scents- when I wear them I don’t feel like I’m wearing perfume-only “me but better” and it seems people around me get the same impression!

    • Tara says:

      Eva, you must have very special skin for Mitsouko and Bandit to smell like your own skin but better! I guess they must really work with your skin chemistry. I know Birgit is a huge fan of Ambre de Merveilles.

  21. fleurdelys says:

    THE LOUDER THE BETTER! Oops, sorry, was I shouting? 😉 I’ve never cared for “skin scents” because I can hardly smell them, and for me that’s the purpose of wearing perfume – to smell and be smelled. However, L’Heure Bleue seems to work in the manner of a skin scent on me, as it settles in comfortably and purrs like a contented kitty.

    • Tara says:

      Ha ha! I totally get where you’re coming from. I’m the same most of the time but occasionally I want something that’s unobtrusive and not “perfume-y”.

      L’Heure Bleue sounds wonderful on you.

  22. shylotus says:

    I love Aftelier’s Ancient Resins body oil. It starts off as a strong, medicinal, resinous Frankincense, but within 15 minutes turns soft and subtle. I can only smell it when I put my nose to my skin and it lasts for 12 hours or more. Sometimes I layer it with a tiny bit of L’Occitane’s Neroli (old version) for a tiny bit of flower essence.

    • Tara says:

      I’ve always liked the sound of Mandy Aftel’s body oils and Ancient Resins sounds great. A bet a lot of them would make great skin scents but there is something about subtle incense which is very appealing. I can imagine layering with Neroli works really well.

    • Stacey says:

      I am definitely trying this layering combo! The old Neroli is one of my favorites, and I have a decant of Aftelier Ancient Resins. I don’t ever really layer, as I usually prefer to experience each perfume as it is, but this sounds like an inspired pairing.

  23. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I guess mines are not the real ones, but these are the nearest I could ever come to a “skin scent”: Nabucco’s Amytis (after ca. 2 hours), Nasomatto’s Silver Musc, or one spritz of Bel Respiro. I seem to be too “robust” for the classic skin scents …
    I almost forgot the one I love and found real “skinny” : Like This (Etat Libre d’O.)

    • Tara says:

      Skin chemistry is definitely a factor as whether subtle scents are a fit for you or not.

      I can imagine the drydown of Amytis making a gorgeous skin scent. I love Bel Respiro and think I’ll get one of the 75ml bottles at some point. I’ll make a note of Silver Musc.

      I’ve only tested Like This a couple of times. It’s great but definitely not real skinny on me!

  24. Vanessa says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading all the suggestions and the first commenter beat me to it as I was going to suggest Lumiere Blanche! Then Birgit mentioned Profumo Nuda! I am most curious to try Bruno Acampora Musc, but meanwhile I recently discovered Musc Nomade which another commenter mentioned, and loved it. Clinique Simply is another skin scent too – in more of a Pond’s Cold Cream way – ages since I tried it so I am not sure what I would think of it now, then there is Kid Mohair by Acqua di Biella, that’s a goody. I’d even say that L’Artisan Mon Numero No 8, also L’Heure Promise and the new Penhaligon’s Iris Prima are in fairly minimalist iris skin scent territory.

    • Tara says:

      V, I’m so lucky that you just sent me a few of the perfumes being discussed in this MQ! I really liked Nuda and looking forward to giving Lumiere Blanche a proper test when it cools down a bit. I know that Les Senteurs do the Bruno Acampora Musc Oil so next time I’m there I’ll check about the perfume.

      I think light iris perfumes could easily be classed as skin scents in some cases. I’m really looking forward to trying Iris Prima.

      • Vanessa says:

        I am giving Denise van Outen another spin today and would venture to say it also qualifies, in a slightly nutty way. 😉

        • Tara says:

          Old Denise Van Outen definitely qualifies. I thought it was the one for me but the nutty facet did bother me somewhat Will try again. Hope your second spin was successful.

  25. Annina says:

    I have many perfumes that feel like skin scents to me, for one reason or another. If I want a skin scent feel, I choose scents that stay close to my skin, smell like “simple” or uncomplicated compositions, and smell soapy/clean or have light musk or sandalwood. Some faves: Chanel Jersey, Kuumba Made Oriental Musk, Memoire Liquid Nudite Absolue, Lauder Sensuous, Demeter Clean Skin, Dior New Look 1947, Strange Invisible Musc Botanique, Viktoria Mints Hedonist, Prada Infusion d’Iris.

    • Annina says:

      I have many perfumes that feel like skin scents to me, for one reason or another. If I want a skin scent feel, I choose scents that stay close to my skin, smell like “simple” or uncomplicated compositions, and smell soapy/clean or have light musk or sandalwood. Some faves: Chanel Jersey, Kuumba Made Oriental Musk, Memoire Liquid Nudite Absolue, Lauder Sensuous, Demeter Clean Skin, Dior New Look 1947, Strange Invisible Musc Botanique, Viktoria Minya Hedonist, Prada Infusion d’Iris.

    • Tara says:

      Really enjoyed reading your skin scent picks, Annina. I agree with your definition too.

      I’ve heard so many wonderful about Hedonist, I can’t wait to try it. Almost tempted to risk it unsniffed.

  26. dkchocoman says:

    For a wonderful skin scent , I like to wear Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker. It’s a soft musky fragrance with a light touch of florals. It almost feels like you’re not wearing perfume at all. Another good one is Eau Des Merveilles. Salty ambergris and pink pepper combined with creamy orange and lemon facets makes for a soft and alluring scent that covers you in a sheer veil of fragrance.

  27. Undina says:

    I’m not a skin-scent person so I’m not sure I can come up with any suggestions -sorry 🙂

  28. Olfactoria says:

    I’m wearing Ramon Monegal White Musk today – a perfect cuddly clean skin scent.

  29. Scentedlife says:

    Meo Fusciuni Nota di Viaggio is a great skin scent I always go with, a beautiful fig/jasmine accord that stays close to your skin and smells truly like southern italy, beutiful blended, but I wish it could have more staying power and just a little more sillage

    • Tara says:

      That sounds gorgeous. Skin scents are necessarily close wearing and often do lack staying power but when you’re in the right mood – and it’s such a beautiful perfume – it doesn’t seem to matter as much.

  30. Axum says:

    Hmm…I would say 06130 Cedre and AP Premier Figuier are my favourite ‘skin enhancers’.

    In a heavier way, I regard Kerosone’s R’Oud Elements as a kind of skin scent…certainly one of the softest ouds around.

  31. louwizo says:

    if youre not into soapy white musk detergent scents you can, try, lartisan mechant loup, SL jeux de paux SL,ambre sultan, hermes ambre des merveilles, SL feminite du bois, SL un bois vanille, givenchy PI for men,lancome la vie est belle, lartizan dzing, hermes santal massona, fracas by r.piguet. estee lauder bronze godess, DK Cashmire mimist ..would be a great start for you also shalimar possibly its pretty skin like ..voila

  32. mike says:

    Molecule 01.

    I’d be patient with the development of it, and if genetics doesn’t allow one to get a whiff of it, rely on the comments of others…

    I have had conversations with strangers from it, inquiries on what it is and what -not.

    It’s wonderful stuff. My primary unisex for all seasons, all occasions.

    • Tara says:

      Thanks Mike. I had kind of dismissed this one as a gimmick and didn’t fancy an Iso E Super heavy fragrance, but your experience does make me more intrigued.

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