Whether it’s a callback to classic literature, preservation of artisanal techniques or poetic odes to natural phenomena, the best perfume for women offer something elevated that elevates you, too. These scents are a form of self-care and can have an impact on the way people see you and perceive you. And they’re meant to last, too – a study by the online perfume retailer OnBuy found that women’s fragrances linger on the skin for up to 12 hours while men’s tend to evaporate within an hour or so.
Historically, perfumes that have been labeled as ‘feminine’ are those containing floral notes — rose is one of the most popular — and gourmand aromas like vanilla or caramel. But the notion of what is considered ‘feminine’ has shifted in our modern era, and more perfumers are creating genderless scents, using synthetic ingredients to create previously unimaginable results.
These are the top perfumes for women, as voted by beauty industry experts and fans on Instagram.
A modern classic, this was the first perfume to use a synthetic ingredient called hedione, which was the first to be able to mimic the body’s own natural scent and make it long-lasting. Voters praised the clean, aquatic notes and natural warmth of Eternity and credited it with starting a new olfactive trend that lasted decades. The perfume is also a cultural touchstone, with Christy Turlington as the face of the original campaign and Kate Moss in later ads. The fragrance remains a bestseller and in 2021, a bottle was sold every 22 seconds, according to a report by LookFantastic.