There’s no sense more powerful than scent when it comes to recalling fond memories. And while you probably already own a tried-and-true, signature fragrance, there's no rule that states you have to be mutually exclusive. “I’m a believer in fragrance wardrobes, and changing up your scent based on your mood,” says Jennifer McKay Newton, CEO and creative director of DefineMe. “Find scents that work for the office, like a fresh, happy scent that is not too strong, and for date night, use a more sexy, sultry, intoxicating scent. For the weekend, you can be a little more creative based on where you’re going and whether it is day or evening."
Whatever your mood may be, consider 2020 the year to expand your horizons. The latest crop of fragrances features cool applications, earth-friendly packaging, and even product customization (all good excuses to reawaken your senses and try something new, right?). Here are five trends experts say will be huge this year, plus tips for how to find a fresh fragrance you'll love.
McKay Newton predicts cleaner fragrances will be huge in 2020. “‘Clean’ can be interpreted differently, however it generally means, phthalate-free, butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT)-free, and generally without toxic ingredients,” she says. “This doesn’t mean no synthetics, just no bad stuff put in the synthetics—I believe this is going to start being the norm.”
This warm, intoxicating scent is equal parts earthy and spicy thanks to vanilla bean and vetiver roots. It's also Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Gold certified, meaning it meets some of the world's most rigorous sustainability standards.
Creating sustainable beauty products is at the forefront of many consumers’ minds these days, and fragrance companies will be creating new options to meet the demand. This year, expect to see more eco-friendly packaging, local manufacturing, refillable bottles, and natural, simple ingredients. “Conscious companies are in demand, and companies that aren’t paying attention won’t last, in my opinion,” McKay Newton says.
Even if you've never considered yourself a "floral perfume" person, this light, luxurious fragrance might just convert you. Vanilla, jasmine, citrus, and sandalwood offer a delicate balance of sultry and sweet. (You also won't mind looking at this bottle on your vanity each day.)
Innovative fragrance applications, like brushing on a fragrance to your skin, are popping up in the perfume market. Consider this perfume brush the 2.0 version of the rollerball. Not only is it fun to apply, but it's also incredibly easy to pop into your purse or travel bag for on-the-go application. And it smells like bergamot, vanilla, and red berries.
Customers often ask McKay Newton whether her fragrances are gluten-free. “Perhaps because it’s popular in the food and beverage market, and people just don’t want gluten [on their skin] or they are allergic,” she says. (If you do have a gluten sensitivity, the National Celiac Association suggests looking for "gluten-free" on the label to be certain.) In addition to being gluten-, phthalate-, and paraben-free, this sultry-sweet fragrance is gentle on skin thanks to coconut oil and organic sugarcane alcohol.
Rather than piling on dry shampoo or washing your hair daily, consumers are starting to look more into hair perfumes and fragrances. By spritzing regular perfume into your hair, you end up drying out your locks more because you’re putting mostly alcohol in your hair, McKay Newton says. Hair fragrances usually have lower alcohol content and some even have good-for-you-hair ingredients added in. To use, apply a spritz or two of this Turkish rose-scented mist directly onto strands or onto a hairbrush.
How to Shop for Perfume
“When purchasing a new fragrance, take your time to decide, and don’t let yourself get caught up in the rush,” says Paolo Terenzi, fragrance expert and president of Italian fragrance company Tiziana Terenzi. Make sure you are relaxed and have an ample amount of time to try out different fragrances (give yourself at least 20 minutes). If you already know which types of scents you prefer, such as florals over fruitier scents, consider asking an expert at the fragrance counter for their recommendations.
Spraying a little perfume on the palm of your hand or on your forearm will allow you to better understand if the perfume works with the combination of your skin and pH.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search, it's time to sample—and not just by spritzing perfume into the air or onto one of those little strips of cardstock. Testing on your bare skin is essential for this step.“Spraying a little perfume on the palm of your hand or on your forearm will allow you to better understand if the perfume works with the combination of your skin and pH,” he says. Apply, then wait about 10 minutes to see whether you like the way the scent settles into your skin. If the fragrance won't stain your clothing, he also recommends spritzing some on your blouse or sweater to get a sense of the fragrance itself versus the combination of the fragrance plus your skin.
If you’re interested in a specific fragrance but aren't ready to commit, keep this in mind: Many brands will have a sample size or mini sets you can purchase for less than the full-size bottle. "The cool part is, if you don’t like it, there will be someone you know who will like it and you can gift it to them,” McKay Newton says.