New, Sexy Perfumes

New, Sexy Perfume
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Catch a whiff of our favorites!
Some grooming products we'd never steal from our guy—like his medicinal-smelling shaving cream. Yet we'll spritz on his cologne, preferring his clean, fresh, or spicy essence to the sugary floral stuff we're supposed to wear. We might even layer the two together, creating a signature blend. This chemistry has inspired the latest category of women's perfumes. We call them "femiman" scents—soft, flirty notes intertwined with stronger, manlier ones. "They're still feminine," says Pamela Dalton, Ph.D., a sensory scientist at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia.

 

 

2/7 Claire Benoist
The Scents
1 Lady Gaga Fame eau de parfum
($55 for 1.7 oz; at Macy's)

 

Girl Honey, apricot nectar, tiger orchid, jasmine sambac + Boy A dark accord inspired by belladonna, a poisonous plant

 

Together: Given the rumors that Gaga wanted her first fragrance to smell of (gag) blood and semen, Fame is surprisingly tame--and sweet. The black juice sprays clear, which is a metaphor for the scent itself: The sharp belladonna mellows into a honeyed, fruity finish.

 

2 Kiehl's Aromatic Blends Fragrance in Vanilla & Cedarwood
($40 for 30 ml, kiehls.com)

 

Girl Vanilla bean, iris, amber + Boy Cedarwood

 

Together: Sappy vanilla gets sophisticated when it mingles with rugged cedarwood. The overall effect is creamy and cozy, like a cashmere sweater--not like a bowl of cake batter.

 

3 Loverdose by Diesel eau de parfum
($43 for 30 ml; at Sephora)

 

Girl Jasmine sambac, vanilla + Boy Star anise, licorice absolute, licorice liqueur, dry wood

 

Together: To borrow a lyric from Marcy Playground, this scent smells of sex and candy. Smooth liquor and dusty wood mingle for a tobacco-like aroma--and a velvety, after-hours-lounge kind of vibe.

 

3/7 Claire Benoist
The Scent: Closer by Halle Berry eau de parfum
($35 for 1.7 fl oz; at drugstores)

 

Girl Water lily, violet flowers, vanilla bean + Boy Fougère accord, mahogany, cashmere musk

 

Together: Fragrances in the fougère category—which have a fresh woodsiness—are popular with men. But when paired with overtly feminine florals and vanilla, the brawny effect is softened—like the scent created when you hug your guy while wearing your most girlie perfume.

 

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The Scent: Chanel Coco Noir eau de parfum
($98 for 1.7 fl oz; chanel.com)

 

Girl Jasmine absolute, rose absolute + Boy Geranium leaf, bergamot, frankincense

 

Together: Sparkling citrus and heady florals rein in—and brighten up—the rich, incense-like base. It smells both elegant and exotic, like something you might discover on holiday in Morocco.

 

5/7 Claire Benoist
The Scent: Gucci Premiere eau de parfum
($105 for 75 ml; macys.com)

 

Girl Orange blossom, white flowers + Boy Bergamot, musk, leather, woods

 

Together: It's the perfume equivalent of pairing an evening gown with a leather biker jacket: glamour with an edge. The ladylike flowers are wrapped in a warm, leathery smokiness.

 

6/7 Claire Benoist
The Scent: Jo Malone London Blackberry & Bay Cologne
($60 for 30 ml, jomalone.com)

 

Girl Blackberry, lily of the valley + Boy Bay leaves, vetiver, grapefruit

 

Together: The combo of tart fruits and herbaceous botanicals is both outdoorsy and upscale. We imagine this is what our English countryside retreat would smell like.

 

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The Psychology of Androgyny
Why we're attracted to gender-bending aromas

 

It's about self-presentation and, possibly, self-preservation, explains Avery Gilbert, Ph.D., a sensory psychologist and author of What the Nose Knows. "Fragrance registers in the cortex of the brain, where we make decisions," he says. "So if someone picks up on manly notes in a woman's scent, they may be perceive her as having masculine-like traits, like assertiveness." According to one study, potential female job candidates who wore a more masculine fragrance were rated higher by interviewers than those who wore a feminine scent. But these girlie-man scents aren't all work; they have a playful side too. "For a man, smelling masculine notes on you is like seeing you in his button-down shirt the next morning—it's sexy," says Gilbert. "It twists the dial on that tension between men and women."

 

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