Forget working out whether you love light fruity florals or deep musky woods, if you want to guarantee compliments on your next signature scent, you need to invest in a ‘narcissist fragrance’.
I first heard the term ‘narcissist fragrance’ a few weeks ago, while sitting next to a leading perfume expert at a beauty editor dinner. We were discussing some emerging fragrance trends when they shared a story about being frequently approached in the supermarket when wearing a new eau de parfum.
“It was the ultimate narcissist fragrance,” came the phrase; “the perfect type of scent to get you the compliments we all crave, whether we admit it or not.”
But, what is a narcissist fragrance?
It’s a scent that’s specifically designed to get people asking what you are wearing – hence the suggestion that they’re meant to be a little self-centered.
If you are immediately picturing ‘look at me’ fragrances, such as Dior Poison and Mugler Angel, think again. It’s not necessarily a scent that’s deliberately loud and potent. In fact, the true power of a narcissist scent is that you can’t quite put your finger on why you need to question what someone has just sprayed.
Sometimes that means you don’t even smell a narcissist fragrance on your own skin particularly strongly, despite their ability to make others come a little closer (case in point, the classic Escentric Molecule 01 could be described as an original narcissist scent).
The latest generation of narcissist fragrances are even more intriguing. They tend to develop on your skin and contain unusual combinations of notes that mean you can’t quite work out what you are smelling – in a good way. That’s why they tend to invite questions and, when you catch a whiff of them as someone walks by, you can’t help but ask someone what they are wearing.
The CF team have been testing out the concept over the past few weeks, and these are the scents that actually measure up. Is it narcissistic to wear them? Never mind – you’ll certainly love the compliments you receive.
When we sprayed this in the office, heads instantly turned with questions about what it was because it's both so unusual and light on the skin. Green and fresh without being sharp, with a fruitiness that's not too sweet, it unexpectedly layers notes that wrap you up in warmth, including creamy sandalwood and vanilla, with the juicy coolness of fig and cassis.
This is rose, but not as you know it. The modern scent fizzes with energy and isn't defined by rose's often feminine characteristics. In fact, the bouquet of flowers at its heart are kept alive on the skin with a hefty helping of pepper and a bed of ambery woods. The result: a floral that's not at all powdery, with a clean, crisp aroma that actually lasts.
We don't quite know how, but this scent just smells better in the middle of a crowd – preferably at the heart of an urban metropolis – so make a note of it for your next city break. Crisp and cool like a freshly-washed white shirt, it oozes confidence and sensuality without having to raise its voice at all. That means it's the perfect unexpected scent to choose for your next business meeting.
As a vegetarian, I never imagined it would be the smell of pepperoni that made my heart skip a beat, but that's what gives this niche fragrance an extra special intrigue; so much so I chased someone down at an event to ask them what they were wearing. It's the slightly more gourmand take on smokiness that makes it really moreish on your skin, although the slightly unusual mossy and forest-inspired notes are equally compliment-worthy.
This fragrance has 'cool girl energy' in droves –perfect for your next late night dinner party. With a sweet smokiness that hangs just long enough in the air to capture your attention, you'll find both men and women will be asking what you are wearing. Banish all thoughts of heavy, overtly masculine ouds and tobacco, one sprtiz envelops you in a spicy, warm and rich cloud of fragrance, but without being heady enough to overwhelm anyone who steps into the office lift with you.
There are some fragrances you want to keep a secret because they are that good, and CF's founder has a signature scent just like that. Luckily, I've convinced her to share the details and it's this fragrance from Capri. The ultimate escapism scent, it will have anyone who smells it dreaming of holidays, especially romantic trips out on a boat on the bright blue sea. The floral aroma is as unique as it is wearable – the kind of fragrance that people will quickly come to recognise as yours.
One thing is sure, Jo Malone CBE really knows how to create a beautiful fragrance, and her most recent one for Jo Loves is a stand-out. Instead of the fresh citrus notes of its name fading away on first spray, they intermingle with the warmth of amber, cedarwood and patchouli, giving the scent a brilliant projection. That's why it will catch the attention not only of those you embrace, but those you pass on the street as well.
Fast becoming my 'networking fragrance' for its ability to start conversations at events, Creed's genius with this scent is the placement of marine accord at its heart. That decision gives a slightly salty, fresh aroma to the lightness of bergamot, violet leaves and iris, while the luxury fragrance brand also knows how to make a woody base anything but boring. Altogether that means you'll want to smell it over and over again.
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