I’m the best smelling person in my group. Ask any of my friends. Or don’t ask them actually, just look at them. They’re all hot; by some horrific twist of fate, seemingly all of my friends turned out to be grossly beautiful actual-supermodels. I had to be the best smelling person because being the best-looking one was essentially off the cards for me. And everyone’s beautiful, sure, but the kind of beautiful that they are (objectively, vocationally) is just radically different to the type of beautiful I am (on the inside), so I realized a while back that I’d need to find a new angle. And it’s fine, I mean beauty fades, right? Faces are forgettable. But scent – basically our most potent emotional trigger –  that just hits you on a deeper level.

Embed yourself directly into their soul like the psychopath you are. Be the best smelling person people have no choice but to remember you. Friends inhale you sentimentally and say stuff like“Oh! You smell like YOU!” The boys you kiss will linger for an extra second. Even the ones who are only marginally literate will hit you with a “you smell good”. That shit is so Proustian! Step one is obviously nailing a good perfume, but anyone can do that, right? Amateur stuff. For a longer lasting scent – and impact – you need more. You need to layer! You need body oil.

Here are the best ones, in my (not even remotely) humble opinion:


Ouai Rose Hair and Body Oil

This! Who knew that roses could smell so clean and watery and dewy and bright?! Maybe everybody, actually, because roses get rained on all the time. But I’ve always been suss about rose-scented things on the assumption they’d be thick and syrupy and grandma-ish and just generally terrible; like bowls of potpourri or that sketchy paper that old people line drawers with. This one, however, is nothing like that. Nothing!! It’s so eaux de youth, it’s not even funny: all lungfuls of cold air and ripe bits of foliage – touches of lychee, bergamot and cedar musk. So soft and clear and featherlight. Like a scratch ‘n sniff Sofia Coppola film.

Best for: daytime, nighttime, anytime, all the time.
Layer with: Diptyque’s Philosykos. Fresh, fresh, fresh.


Avéne Skincare Oil

A French pharmacy classic (but isn’t everything that’s good?) and another ‘clean’ scent. This one’s not rainy garden clean but inside clean. That creamy-soap, powder-soft, just-hopped-out-of-the-shower clean. There are whiffs of jasmine, rose again, something milky and a flicker of green. So Julia Roberts taking a bubble bath in Pretty Woman. So Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy on her wedding day.

Best for: nights in.
Layer with: a robe.


Roge Cavailles Dry Oil

Another French pharmacy staple. Think of this as the sluttier and more adventurous cousin to Avene’s Skin Care Oil. The real downer is that it’s basically impossible to get your hands on outside Europe – even Amazon doesn’t stock it! I eventually tracked it down on some obscure online pharmacy with a very Windows 97 interface. It’s also tricky to work out exactly what that scent is – maybe like someone bottled golden hour? The packaging lists almond, peach and argan oils, but on the nose it’s all summer and sex and scandal! A walk of shame down a honeysuckled street and pashing boys who are bad for you.

Best for: warm weather, evenings.
Layer with: Le Labo The Noir 29.


Leonor Greyl Huile de Magnolia Oil

Admittedly, I loved this one before we’d met even properly. I mean that bottle – how could you not?! With the glamorous swoopy font and that 80’s-rich-person lifestyle it implies (fancy pearl-toned apartments! silk blouses! ornamental bowls of fruit!) – like it was swiped straight from the dresser of Kelly Lynch’s character in Curly Sue (which I guess was technically 90’s, but whatever). And the scent? Equally as lush. All woman, all business. It’s both soft and romantic while it stares you in the face and screams: I PROBABLY OWN MANY POWER SUITS!!! GET OVER IT!!!

Best for: work.
Layer with: Byredo Bal d’Afrique