The 19 best perfumes for women, according to editors who have been testing them for over a year

Plus, a simple guide on how to find the best fragrance for you

A selection of the best perfume for women 2023, including Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche, Aerin Rose de Grasse, Victoria Beckham Beauty Portofino 97, Tom Ford Cafe Rose and Diptyque Orphéon
(Image credit: Future)

Shopping for the best perfume is no mean feat. Unlike when browsing for, say, the best mascara, the best eye cream or even the best foundation, emotional connection is an overwhelming key factor when shopping for the perfect scent. As a beauty editor who specialises in all things fragrance, I can tell you now that some of my most cherished and worn perfumes don't always please everyone around me.

However, it's important to note (pardon the pun) that, over my years of writing about fragrance, I have learned what makes the best perfumes, well, the best. I have to put personal preference aside and, instead, think about how each perfume might appeal to a wide group of people. And while it's true that there is no such thing as a totally crowd-pleasing scent, whether you lean towards floral perfumes or woody scents, I can safely tell you which perfume out there right now is most likely to impress you.

Frankly, I (along with the rest of the Marie Claire UK beauty desk) have spent all year testing every perfume that has landed on our desks in order to compile this definitive list of the best perfumes for women. In order to make the cut, any given perfume had to prove long-lasting, evoke some sort of joyful emotion, not be too polarising, showcase exemplary craftsmanship and generate a significant amount of compliments. So, whatever your taste in fragrance, here is a definitive guide to the best perfumes for women 2024 (including some handy shopping tips).

Best perfume for women 2024

1. Chanel Chance Eau Fraîche Eau de Toilette

Chanel Chance Eau Fraîche

(Image credit: Chanel)

Chanel Chance Eau Fraîche Eau de Parfum

Best fresh perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Citron accord, jasmine, teak wood

This is, hands down, one of the best perfumes in existence. While I have long been a fan of the original Eau de Toilette for its expensive-smelling freshness, this newer Eau de Parfum version is more lingering and slightly more intense. It is green, biting and undeniably fresh, but it sparkles like a diamond-clad necklace, screaming luxury everywhere it goes. Chanel Chance Eau Fraîche is, without question, in my top three best perfumes ever created.

2. Glossier You

Glossier You

(Image credit: Glossier)

Glossier You Eau de Parfum

Best skin perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Pink pepper, iris root, musk, ambrox, ambrette

When it comes to the best skin scent, Glossier You wins every time. It's warm, inviting and a total compliment magnet. The best part about this perfume is that it smells ever so slightly different on everyone. Marie Claire UK's Senior Beauty Editor, Katie Thomas says, "On me, the juice smells soapy clean and warm thanks to the ambrette, and on a colleague it was the perfect blend of musky and powdery with sparkling pink pepper. Whilst it may be hard to pin down exactly how this smells on you, there’s no doubt that the intoxicating quality will leave you smelling great and everyone asking what you’re wearing."

3. Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa 68

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa 68 Perfume Mist

(Image credit: Cult Beauty)

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa 68 Perfume Mist

Best affordable perfume mist for women

Specifications

Blend: Mist
Key notes: Lychee essence, pink dragonfruit, hibiscus, vanilla, musk

This year has proved the year of the perfume mist, and Sol de Janeiro's perfumes mists have led the pack – notably Brazilian Crush Cheirosa 68. Some say it smells similar to Maison Francis Kurkdjian's Baccarat Rouge 540. And while I will say it possesses the same unique magic in the way that it smells, it certainly doesn't possess the same luxury or longevity. Having said that, this sweet, floral fragrance is easily the most beautiful affordable scent (and perfume mist) out there right now.

4. Dior J'adore l'Or

Dior J'adore L'Or

(Image credit: Dior)

Dior J'adore l'Or Eau de Parfum

Best intense floral perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Orange blossom, jasmine grandiflorum, centifolia rose

While Dior's iconic J'adore perfume is no doubt up there with the most timeless and iconic perfumes of all time, the latest iteration, created by Francis Kurkdjian is, in my opinion, an upgrade. Unlike the original, which I would describe as a light, powdery floral, l'Or is deep and intense, like a large bouquet of dark-petals dripping in gold.

5. Maison Margiela Replica On A Date

Maison Margiela Replica on a Date

(Image credit: Maison Margiela Replica)

Maison Margiela Replica on a Date Eau de Toilette

Best evening fruity perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Toilette
Key notes: Bergamot, blackcurrant liquor accord, Isparta rose petal essence, patchouli

I know I have said that a totally crowd-pleasing scent doesn't exist, but this guy is about as close as you can get to one. It is warm and fruity, and I like to think of it like a bowl of grapes placed in the middle of the most luxurious dinner-table feast you can possibly imagine. It is totally palatable and not in the least bit offensive, just delightfully pretty.

6. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Media Cologne Forte

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Media Cologne Forte

(Image credit: Maison Francis Kurkdjian)

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Media Cologne Forte Eau de Parfum

Best green perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Calabrian bergamot, verbena, sweet fennel, hedione

You might be most familiar with Maison Francis Kurkdjian for the house's iconic Baccarat Rouge 540, which is sweet, warming and creamy. However, Aqua Media Cologne Forte, which is the latest creation from the brand, couldn't be further away from Rouge 540's DNA. It is crisp, fresh and crystalline—like just-picked, crunchy herbs infused in a glass of ice-cold sparkling water. It's a green, citrusy, watery masterpiece.

7. Valentino Voce Viva

Voce Viva Eau De Parfum perfume bottle

(Image credit: Courtesy Valentino)

Valentino Voce Viva Eau de Parfum

Best sweet evening perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Italian bergamot essence, mandarin essence, ginger, mint, crystal moss accord, vanilla, tonka bean

Fronted by Lady Gaga, Valentino’s 2021 perfume hit is unapologetically bold and fierce—meaning it gets to keep its spot on our list of the best perfumes for 2023. "It has a distinctly crisp citrus scent, defined by Italian bergamot and mandarin essences at the top, which are then undercut with orange blossom absolute at the heart, and a creamier, cooler feel (with vanilla and tonka bean) at its base. You’ll be just as proud showcasing this bottle on your dressing table as you will be to wear the glorious elixir within it," says Senior Beauty Editor, Katie.

8. Jo Malone London Wood Sage & Sea Salt

Jo Malone London Wood Sage & Sea Salt

(Image credit: Jo Malone London)

Jo Malone London Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne

Best marine perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Cologne
Key notes: Ambrette seeds, sea salt, sage

Again, this perfume might not be new, but it can't not feature on our definitive list of the best perfumes. Every time I smell Wood Sage & Sea Salt on somebody, I end up complimenting their scent, often without even identifying it (which is a party trick I usually pride myself on). This perfume is the one for you if you like fresh, marine-like smells with a hearty dose of expensive-smelling luxury. It's the sort of perfume that makes you want to throw open the windows, spring clean your house, do a fresh load of washing and then snuggle up under a blanket with a good book when it's all done.

9. Tom Ford Café Rose

Tom Ford Cafe Rose

(Image credit: Tom Ford)

Tom Ford Café Rose Eau de Parfum

Best evening rose perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Turkish and Bulgarian rose, ylang-ylang, cardamom, coriander, patchouli, incense, sandalwood

Even if you don't particularly gravitate towards rose-based perfumes, there's high chance you'll still like this one. It is, hands down, my most worn evening perfume of the past year. It's musky, floral, deep and dark, all without being in the slightest overbearing. It's so good, in fact, that when I sprayed it in the office for the first time, the entire team came over to find out what it was. The week after that, I had the ladies toilet in a restaurant asking me for a spritz after they caught a waft of it. It's like a velvety coffee turned into the most luxurious-smelling rose perfume you've ever met.

10. Diptyque Orphéon

Diptyque Orpheon

(Image credit: Diptyque)

Diptyque Orphéon Eau de Parfum

Best powdery perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Tonka bean, cedar, juniper berries

There is, in my opinion, no perfume greater than Diptyque Orphéon. It is, hands down, my favourite perfume ever created—and I don't say that lightly. Whenever I wear it, someone has something amazing to say about it. It's the sort of perfume that melts into the skin and becomes one with you. Just as good for day as it is night, it's a woody, powdery scent that dances lightly over the skin. The best way I can describe it (and it's a description I use a lot when talking about Orphéon), is like stepping into the powder room of a Parisian restaurant in the 1950s, where face powder, perfume and cigarette smoke all twirl together in the air.

11. Ormonde Jayne

Ormonde jayne Levant is one of the best perfumes for women

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Ormonde Jayne Levant Eau de Parfum

Best summer citrus scent for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Bergamot, mandarin, tangelo, rose petals, lily of the valley, peony, orange blossom, jasmine, cedarwood, amber, musk

I genuinely go weak at the knees whenever I smell this creamy, summer perfume, reminiscent of sun-drenched days on holiday. Marie Claire UK Editor, Sunil Makan explains, "Levant opens with a soapy effervescence thanks to light citrus notes of tangelo and orange blossom, while becoming grounded by the creaminess of lily of the valley and lightness of peony that all sits on a base of musk. It is a seriously smart and refreshing scent that lingers, which for me, is the Ormonde Jayne trademark."

12. Yves Saint Laurent Libre

Yves Saint Laurent Libre

(Image credit: Yves Saint Laurent)

Yves Saint Laurent Libre Eau de Parfum

Best evening perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Tangerine, neroli, lavender, jasmine, orange blossom, vanilla, white musks

I am yet to meet a soul who hasn't fallen head over heels for Libre as soon as they have smelled it. In fact, I'll go as far to say I think it's impossible to dislike. For a relatively popular, 'mainstream' perfume, Libre carries some serious luxury. It has that perfect balance of sweetness and spiciness that all commercial perfumes require, but it also possesses a notable floral hit that makes it feel undeniably expensive. It looks great on the shelf and is even better on the skin, making it the ultimate evening perfume.

13. Bvlgari Omnia Golden Citrine

Bvlgari Omnia Golden Citrine is one of the best perfumes for women

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Bvlgari Omnia Golden Citrine Eau de Toilette

Best sweet fruity perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Toilette
Middle notes: Sicilian mandarin, white peach accord, ylang-ylang essence, jasmine duo absolute, rein of golden benzoin, cedarwood essence

I mean, this bottle really speaks for itself, but the juice inside is pretty special too. "Inspired by the Golden Citrine, expect slightly sweet notes from ylang-ylang and peach, freshness delivered by way of Sicilian mandarin and a base of golden benzoin that radiates warmth and transports your mind to sunnier climes. It's the scent of summer, bottled," says Editor, Sunil.

14. Giorgio Armani Si Intense

Giorgio Armani Si Intense

(Image credit: Giorgio Armani)

Giorgio Armani Si Intense Eau de Parfum

Best vanilla-based perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Amber, blackcurrant, Damascena rose, davana, bourbon vanilla, black tea

If you have smelled it before, you don't need me to tell you that Giorgio Armani Si is up there with the best perfumes ever made—it's warming, comforting, sweet but packs a punch that has everyone asking what you're wearing. This year, Si got supercharged. Yep, Si Intense is everything you might expect it to be by the name. It's a warm, deep iteration of the original, with that iconic spicy-sweet vanilla goodness cocooned in a plume of enticing amber.

15. Prada Les Infusions de Prada Infusion de Figue

Prada Les Infusions de Prada Infusion de Figue

(Image credit: Prada)

Prada Les Infusions de Prada Infusion de Figue Eau de Parfum

Best fig perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Green mandarin, lemongrass, spearmint, citron, accord figue, fennel, lentisque, orange blossom, galbanum, incense, white musk

Fig perfumes have had a serious moment this year, and I couldn't be more thrilled about it. You don't have to like fruity scents for the allure of fig to take hold—it's creamy, skin-like and truly expensive smelling. This perfume sets the absolute gold standard for fig perfumes far and wide. It's so good that I've lost count of the number of times I have written about it, despite the fact it only launched a month or two ago. My go-to line? "At first, it's earthy, crunchy and green, but it dries down into a sweet, juicy, warm and creamy delight. It's like yanking a fig straight from its branch, tearing it in two, sprinkling it with sugar and then sucking the juice out."

16. Louis Vuitton Le Jour Se Lève

Louis Vuitton Le Jour Se Lève

(Image credit: Louis Vuitton)

Louis Vuitton Le Jour Se Léve Eau de Parfum

Best orange perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Mandarin, blackcurrant, bergamot, grapefruit, Iso E Super, vanilla, white musk

Admittedly fruity fragrances get somewhat of a bad rap, but Louis Vuitton has come up trumps with, in my humble opinion, the most sophisticated way to wear fruit in a scent. It’s a real triumph; from the first spritz where zesty orange peel comes to life, followed by the-right-side-of-creamy magnolia and that satisfying lift that you can expect from Iso E Super. Le Jour Se Lève not only smells expensive but it looks and feels it too. This is, quite possibly, the best orange perfume ever.

17. Fenty Beauty Fenty

Fenty perfume is one of the best perfumes for women

(Image credit: Courtesy)

Fenty Beauty Fenty Eau De Parfum

Best celebrity perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Middle notes: Blueberry, tangerine, Bulgarian rose, geranium, magnolia, musk, patchouli

If you don't already know, Rihanna is held to high esteem in the beauty industry not just because of her award-winning beauty brand, but also for the widely accepted belief that she is one of the best smelling people on the planet. Seriously, Google it. Everyone who has ever met her has something great to say about her choice of perfume. It's spicy, warm, intense and easily one of the most special perfumes on the market right now.

18. Victoria Beckham Beauty Portofino 97

Victoria Beckham Beauty Portofino 97

(Image credit: Victoria Beckham Beauty)

Victoria Beckham Beauty Portofino '97 Eau de Parfum

Best crisp perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Calabrian bergamot, black pepper,
pink grapefruit, bamboo, geranium, incense, white patchouli, crisp amber, vetiver

When Victoria Beckham Beauty fragrances launched last month, I just knew I was going to like them. I was shocked, however, by just how much this perfume stood out. It's a feat. It's zesty, fresh, crisp and skin-like all at once—like cruising along the cliff tops of Portofino in an old Aston Martin with the roof down and the smells of the sea and the surrounding citrus trees wafting through the warm air.

19. Aerin Rose de Grasse

Aerin Rose de Grasse

(Image credit: Aerin)

Aerin Rose de Grasse Eau de Parfum

Best daytime rose perfume for women

Specifications

Blend: Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Ambrette seeds, rose centifolia, rose Otto Bulgarian, rose absolute, ambrox, musk

This is, without question, the finest light rose perfume in existence. Whenever I wear it, even the most fervent of rose-perfume haters find themselves commenting on its beauty. It's soft, gentle and surprisingly sweet, creating one of the most alluring bouquets of fragrance I've ever met. Whenever I want to feel like my life is together, I throw on my freshest pair of jeans, a crisp white shirt and spray this liberally from top to toe—it's an instant mood booster.

How to pick your signature scent

If you feel clueless when trying to navigate your way through the fragrance halls, we recommend doing your research. First, take stock of what you enjoy. What have you smelled in the past and loved? What memories resonate with particular aromas? All these things will help you choose the right perfume for you.

'You should always be looking for the notes that resonate with you, and only you', says fragrance supremo, and founder of the Fragrance Society, Lorna McKay. "For instance, if you enjoy the smell of freshly cut flowers, you should look for notes of white flowers. If you prefer something warm, that almost hugs you, try something with amber." Remember, choosing a new perfume is completely personal.

Once you've got that down, then you can spray—but take your time. Start with a blotter first (you don't want to end up with a scent you hate on your skin). If you still like it then move to a spritz onto your wrists. Oh ,and don't rub your wrists together—that's a cardinal sin in the laws of how to make perfume last longer.

One thing we would urge you to avoid is being drawn into the gendering of fragrance. Some of the very best perfumes for women aren't marketed as such but are in fact unisex. Because it shouldn't matter your gender, if you like the scent, then you like it.

Types of perfume

Don't know your eau de parfum from your eau de toilette? Don't worry, there are quite a few types of fragrances—from the potent perfume oil to eau Fraîche (the lightest type you can get).

"The difference between each type of fragrance is related to a number of features," says Emma South, Jo Malone London Fragrance & Lifestyle Expert. "But it really comes down to the purity of the ingredients used, the strength of the scent, the sillage (scent trail), how well the scent is emitted (projection), and how long the scent lasts on the skin."

These are the most common types...

  • Eau de Cologne: This is a really light type of perfume, with a small concentration (between 2-4%) of perfume oil in the juice. Primarily, colognes champion citrus notes (which are notoriously difficult to make long lasting). While cologne is commonly considered to be a masculine formula, this notion is mainly a marketing thing. It lasts for a short amount of time, so the bottles tend to be bigger as you need more.
  • Eau de Toilette (EDT): This is the most common and popular type of fragrance. It's more affordable than the below EDP. If you're after something light and airy, then this is the formula you should be looking at. It has between 5 and 15% concentration of perfume oil and lasts between two and four hours. 
  • Eau de Parfum (EDP): This is a punchier juice because the concentration of perfume oil is greater than in an EDT—a whopping 15-20%. It tends to last longer as a result (approx. six to eight hours), so if you're after a stronger scent with longevity, an EDP might be just what you're looking for.

What is a scent family?

There are four perfume families—woody, floral, oriental and fresh—and within each family you'll find common notes that should help guide you toward finding the right signature perfume for you.

  • Woody: Common notes: Oak, sandalwood, cedarwood
  • Floral: Common notes: Jasmine, rose, iris and lily of the valley
  • Oriental: Common notes: Amber, tobacco, spices, vanilla and orange blossom
  • Fresh: Common notes: Lemon, grapefruit, neroli and bergamot

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