Nothing feels quite as elegant as having a signature scent. When it comes to perfume, powdery fragrances are a classic option beloved for decades — think Chanel No. 5. Rather than a crisp, clean scent, powdery perfumes are muskier, warmer, and tend to be a bit stronger.
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And while you might think that powdery perfumes are reserved for grandmothers, they’re actually surging in popularity, according to a recent study from experts at OnBuy.com. Using the perfume website Fragantica, the online marketplace found women’s favorite perfume note is “powdery,” appearing in a whopping 80 percent of the top ten perfumes.
There may even be a scientific explanation behind its popularity. Research from Rutgers University shows that powdery scents positively affect our mood, which is probably why consumers are so drawn to them. In the study, the majority of participants who entered a room perfumed with classic fragrances like Chanel No. 5 or Johnson & Johnson baby powder found it evoked happy childhood memories.
But contemporary powdery perfumes don’t smell like talcum or baby powder; rather, these scents can be anything from musky to woodsy to floral. They’re elegant yet fresh and sophisticated enough to wear daily, plus there really is something for everyone in this category.
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From classics to newer fragrances, we’ve rounded up the best powdery perfumes for the modern woman below.
Chanel Coco Mademoiselle ($156; chanel.com)
Chanel knows what they’re doing when it comes to perfume, and this soft, floral-woody scent featuring patchouli and vanilla is further proof.
Guerlain Shalimar Eau de Parfum ($115; sephora.com)
Notes of powdery, sweet vanilla mixed with warm incense and amber make this perfume a classic scent, but the beautifully designed bottle takes it into the modern day.
Gucci Bloom Eau de Parfum ($120; sephora.com)
A feminine blend of florals makes this a perfect scent for the modern woman. According to the brand “natural tuberose and jasmine create an unexpectedly rich, white-floral fragrance on the skin,” but it’s the notes of the Rangoon creeper plant that give it a powdery finish.
Dior Hypnotic Poison ($96; sephora.com)
“Hypnotic Poison isn’t a fragrance you wear, it’s a fragrance that wears you.” If that description from Dior isn’t intriguing enough, the warm and sweet blend of bitter almond, sambac jasmine, and vanilla will certainly do the trick.
Kilian Love, Don’t Be Sky ($265; sephora.com)
This perfume is considered unisex for those who prefer something less feminine, but orange blossom, vanilla absolute, and luscious marshmallow make for a powdery sweet aroma. Even better? The refillable bottle cuts down on environmental waste.
Dolce & Gabbana Pour Femme Eau de Parfum ($98; ulta.com)
This sophisticated fragrance combines a variety of scent categories, including floral and fruity notes, to create a full-bodied experience. It contains top notes of neroli and raspberry, middle notes of jasmine and orange blossom, and sweet base notes of marshmallow accord, heliotrope, and vanilla.
Chloé Eau de Parfum ($143; sephora.com)
Rose is undeniably one of the most classic and romantic scents. This Chloé perfume puts a modern spin on it, combining rose with floral powdery notes of peony, lychee, and springtime freesia.
Gucci Guilty Pour Femme Eau de Toilette ($97; sephora.om)
If you gravitate toward floral scents, this Gucci perfume is for you. Mandarin and pink pepper take the top notes while lilac, peach, raspberry, and Egyptian geranium blend for “a harmonious contrast.” Patchouli and amber round out the base notes and add a bit of warmth to balance everything perfectly.
Prada Candy Eau de Parfum ($134; sephora.com)
Don’t let the name fool you. While Prada Candy does contain sweet gourmand and caramel, white musks help to balance the fragrance, making it a warm and spicy powdery perfume.
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Cartier La Panthère Eau de Toilette ($88; nordstrom.com)
Gardenia and white musk create the delicate yet radiant scent of this iconic Cartier perfume.