The 22 Best Perfumes for Women of 2023 (And All Time)

Signature scents from Le Labo, Byredo, Gucci, Jo Malone, and more

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Best Perfumes for Women

Byrdie / Danie Drankwalter

Shopping for new perfume can be a challenging (not to mention headache-inducing) experience. But once you find a signature scent, you'll use it for years to come. And keep in mind—even though we call this roundup the best perfumes for women, fragrance is for everyone. So no matter how you identify, the most important thing to know is how to choose the best perfume for you. 

To compile this list, our team of editors and contributors spent hours researching the most popular and best-selling perfumes available today, evaluating their key features—like ingredients and sourcing, ease of application, and wear time—in addition to reviews from customers and other trusted sources. We also polled our team of beauty editors, writers, and perfume lovers for their tried-and-true favorites.

After we narrowed down our list, we sorted, spritzed, and sniffed our way through the most popular options to select the best perfume in each fragrance category—floral, fruity, woodsy, and clean—many of which are our favorites here at Byrdie HQ.

Whether you're in the market for a new signature scent or are looking to build out your fragrance wardrobe, check out our picks of the best perfumes.

Best Overall

Le Labo Santal 33 Eau De Parfum

Le Labo Santal 33 Eau De Parfum


What We Like
  • Unisex

  • Doesn't 'feel' like perfume, rather natural

  • Vegan

What We Don't Like
  • Overpowering to some

A favorite among team Byrdie, this gender-neutral fragrance is a must-have. Rich and woody, it combines smoky and woody accords with a touch of spicy cardamom for a blend that is truly intoxicating and extremely memorable. (Our editors also love the brand's Rose 31 eau de parfum.)

"Every time I wear it, I get a compliment. I've actually had Uber drivers ask me to write it down for them so they can buy it for their wives. The fragrance is actually considered unisex, so everyone can wear it. Le Labo describes it as 'at once gentle, smoky, and leathery,' and I agree," says former senior social media editor Kelly Gallagher. "The fragrance has so much depth that the more you breathe it in, the more it changes. I'm a Le Labo Santal wearer for life."

Price at time of publish: $215

Free of: Parabens | Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 1.7 oz. | Top Notes: Violet, cardamom | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Unisex

Byredo Bibliothéque Eau de Parfum

Byredo Bibliotheque Eau de Parfum


What We Like
  • Minimalist packaging

  • Unisex

  • Has a comforting appeal

What We Don't Like
  • Scent can lean masculine on some wearers

A library-inspired scent may sound strange, but trust us, it works. Originally one of the brand’s best-selling candles, it was shoppers’ demand that inspired the fragrance version. Peach, plum, peony, and violet are at the forefront, though the base notes of leather and patchouli are strong enough to make it totally unisex, as is the clean and minimalistic packaging.

Price at time of publish: $196

Free of: Parabens, Sulfates | Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 1.7 oz | Top Notes: Peach, plum | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Classic Floral

Gucci Bloom Eau De Parfum Spray

Gucci Bloom


What We Like
  • Has a sophisticated appeal

  • Long-lasting with a slow, gradual build

  • Layerable

What We Don't Like
  • Might be overpowering to some

This full-on floral is classic without ever veering into grandma territory, blending jasmine and tuberose with Rangoon creeper, a south Indian plant with a slightly powdery finish that rounds everything out. The fragrance is strong and long-lasting—as many Sephora shoppers point out—though in a good way, and also wears nicely, fading slowly and gradually.

Price at time of publish: $118

Free of: Parabens | Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 1.6 oz.| Top Notes: Rangoon creeper | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Woody Floral

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540


What We Like
  • Sophisticated and complex blend

  • Travel-friendly

  • Decadent smell

What We Don't Like
  • Might be too intense for some

Notes of amber and cedarwood balance out the jasmine that’s out the forefront of the fragrance, making for a well-balanced, woody floral. It’s sophisticated and complex, an unexpected pairing that blends beautifully and is sure to appeal to those who like either woody or floral scents alike.

"The brand would say it has notes of jasmine, saffron, and cedarwood, but for me, it just truly smells like nothing else I've ever come across in the best possible way," says senior editor Karli Bendlin. "Every time I spray it on, I immediately feel like a more luxurious version of myself. It's not cheap, so I do try to save it for more special occasions rather than everyday wear—though sometimes I spray it on myself when I'm not even leaving the house, just for the joy of it."

Price at time of publish: $325

Free of: Parabens | Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 2.4 oz. | Top Notes: Jasmine, saffron | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Modern Floral

Decorté Kimono Yui



What We Like
  • More affordable

  • Modern take on classic Japanese-inspired floral scent

What We Don't Like
  • Scent may be too light for some

The top notes of this fragrance are citrusy—lemon, mandarin, orange—along with a touch of pink pepper, while the middle notes are where the florals come in. A combo of neroli, orange flower, and rose to add that floral hit, though the initial citrus effect, coupled with a musky dry down, make this an extremely modern and fresh take on the classic floral.

"Kimono Yui is floral, citrusy, and peppery," says editorial and strategy director Kathryn Vandervalk." It's one of my favorite perfumes of all time for the way it smells delicate and feminine while keeping its edge. It lasts a long time without feeling heavy."

Free of: Parabens | Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 1.7 oz. | Top Notes: Lemon, mandarin, orange | Cruelty-Free: No

Price at time of publish: $75

Best Earthy

A.N. Other WD/2018



What We Like
  • Unisex

  • Vegan

  • Modern appeal

What We Don't Like
  • Moderate longevity

Fragrance expert and founder of Formulary 55 Cordelia Smith says she’s “obsessed with this brand.” This is one of her current favorites, a gender-neutral option that combines touches of fruit and floral to round out earthier notes of cardamom, sandalwood, and velvet Madagascar. Bonus points for the fact that all of the ingredients used are clean and ethically sourced.

Price at time of publish: $85

Free of: Parabens, phthalates, dyes, toxins, and preservatives | Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 50 ml. | Top Notes: Pear sparkle, cardamom spice, violet leaves | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Crisp & Clean

Jo Malone London Earl Grey & Cucumber Cologne



What We Like
  • Layerable

  • Fresh, unassuming scent

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • Cucumber note is faint

The best perfume for those in search of a fresh, minimalistic scent, this fragrance is straightforward, with an emphasis on clean and crisp cucumber and bergamot, offset with the teeniest touch of musk. Plus, all of the fragrances from this brand can be easily mixed and matched and layered if you want to play perfumer.

Price at time of publish: $80

Free of: Parabens and phthalates | Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 1.0 oz. | Top Notes: Bergamot | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Soft Woody

Chloé Atelier des Fleurs Papyrus



What We Like
  • Fresh, light appeal

  • Classically feminine

  • Can work for day and night

What We Don't Like
  • Scent doesn't last long

Dry, smoky, and woody, the top of papyrus reign supreme here. Still, because they’re complemented with touches of fresh and green notes, the result isn’t too heavy but rather light enough to wear even during the day.

Price at time of publish: $148

Free of: Parabens | Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 1.7 oz. | Top Notes: Papyrus | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Fruity

Burberry Her Eau de Parfum



What We Like
  • Fun and bold scent

  • Smooth curved glass body for easy holding

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't last long

Black currant, raspberry, and blueberry make up the top notes of this fruity gourmand scent, hitting you with a punch of sweetness. Floral jasmine and violet keep it feminine and flirty, though, like all the Burberry scents, it still has a touch of the brand’s signature amber and musk.

Price at time of publish: $112

Free of: Parabens | Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 1.6 oz. | Top Notes: Red and dark berries | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Summer

Dior Joy



What We Like
  • Long-lasting

  • Mix of floral and musk

  • A little goes a long way

What We Don't Like
  • Scent might be too powdery for some

This soft silky scent is floral forward, but it also has a touch of musk that makes it sensual. It's the ideal fragrance for a summer night that will linger until morning. 

Price at time of publish: $118

Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 1.7 oz. | Top Notes: Bergamot, mandarin orange | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Non-Perfume Lovers

Juliette Has a Gun Not A Perfume



What We Like
  • Layerable

  • Unisex appeal

What We Don't Like
  • Scent may be too faint for some

The name really does say it all. This perfume is formulated entirely differently than any other perfume, ensuring it smells like no other perfume and is sure to please even those who don’t like wearing fragrances. Rather than having top, middle, and base notes, it’s made of just one note—cetalox, a woody and earthy scent that’s usually used as the base in most fragrances. It’s hard to explain, but it makes this a perfume that really doesn’t smell like a perfume. It just makes you smell great, and isn’t that the ultimate goal after all?

Price at time of publish: $140

Free of: Parabens | Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 3.3 oz. | Top Notes: Cetalox | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Set

Maison Louis Marie Perfume Oil Discovery Set



What We Like
  • Layerable

  • Affordable

  • Vegan

What We Don't Like
  • Incense-like smell might not appeal to some

“More and more brands are coming with discovery sets, featuring a variety of scents and notes for all preferences,” says Smith. It gives you the option to experiment before fully committing, she adds, noting that this is one of her favorite sets. It comes with five of the brand’s best-selling perfume oils, a mix of different woody, tropical, and earthy fragrances.

Price at time of publish: $49

Free of: Parabens, alcohol, and phthalates | Type: Perfume oil | Size: 5 x 0.5 oz. vials | Top Notes: Varies | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Floral Aldehyde

Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum Spray

Chanel No. 5 Eau de Parfum


What We Like
  • Makes a great signature scent

  • Long-wearing

  • Works well day or night

What We Don't Like
  • Can be overpowering

Often considered the world's first "abstract" fragrance, the best-selling Chanel No. 5 is not for wallflowers. The blend of aldehydes and florals is layered over a base of vetiver, sandalwood, amber, vanilla, and patchouli to create a complex, lasting scent that definitely leaves an impression. When applied to skin, the perfume reacts with the wearer's body chemistry to create a highly subjective effect—though many women love it, others find it overwhelming. Our reviewer suggests trying a sample before you buy the full-sized bottle.

Price at time of publish: $90

Type: Eau de toilette | Size: 1.2 oz. | Top Notes: Aldehydes, ylang-ylang, neroli, bergamot, lemon | Cruelty-Free: No

Best Subscription

LUXSB Luxury Scent Box



What We Like
  • Various scents to choose from

  • No contract required

  • Exclusive brands

What We Don't Like
  • Can't modify shipping frequency

For those who aren’t quite sure what they like, Luxury Scent Box offers an easy way to try a wide variety of options. How it works: Every month you get a 0.3-ounce sampler size of a fragrance (either selected by you or on recommendation from one of the brand’s fragrance specialists). There are both mainstream brands to choose from, as well as smaller, more niche options. Find one that you love? You can then buy the full-size bottle at a discounted price.

Price at time of publish: From $10 a month

Free of: Unknown, Varies Based on Fragrance | Type: Varies | Size: 0.3 oz. monthly | Top Notes: Varies | Cruelty-Free: Varies

Best Patchouli

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum

Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum


As its name suggests, this best-selling scent is floral-forward, though the bouquet is balanced by base notes of patchouli, musk, and vanilla. It's a versatile but heavy perfume that's made for nighttime wear and better suited for the winter months.

Price at time of publish: $168

Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 3.4 oz. | Top Notes: Tea, bergamot, Osmanthus | Cruelty-Free: No

What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • May be overpowering to some

Best for Date Night

Carolina Herrera Good Girl Eau de Parfum



What We Like
  • Sweet without being cloying

  • Complex blend of floral and musk

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't last long

As the stiletto-shaped bottle suggests, Good Girl is a study in contrasts. It's a blend of bright florals like tuberose and moody notes like tonka bean and coffee, making it a great pick for date night.

Price at time of publish: $103

Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 1.7 oz. | Top Notes: Almond, coffee, bergamot | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Citrus-Forward

Chanel Coco MadeMoiselle Eau de Parfum Spray



What We Like
  • Fragrant yet subtle

  • Versatile enough to wear year-round

What We Don't Like
  • Made for (and marketed to) younger women

This citrusy scent is youthful and effervescent, with top notes of orange and mandarin and florals like Turkish rose and jasmine at its heart. It's strong yet fresh.

Price at time of publish: $116

Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 1.7 oz. | Top Notes: Orange, mandarin orange, bergamot, orange blossom | Cruelty-Free: No

Best for Winter

Maison Margiela Replica By the Fireplace

Maison Margiela Replica By The Fireplace


What We Like
  • Unisex

  • Woodsy but not overpowering

  • Long-lasting

What We Don't Like
  • Smoky scent may not appeal to all

This unisex offering from the eclectic designer is sweet, warm, and familiar, all without being overdone. It's an iconic cold weather fragrance—essentially cozy vibes in a bottle.

Price at time of publish: $144

Type: Eau de toilette | Size: 3.4 oz. | Top Notes: Cloves, pink pepper, orange blossom | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Trendy

Glossier You

Glossier You


What We Like
  • Subtle scent

  • Unisex

  • Mixes with wearer's natural scent to create a unique effect

What We Don't Like
  • Iris note is unappealing to some

Glossier's signature scent has a bit of spice yet a beautiful floral aroma. The perfume blends with each person's natural scent differently to create an effect that is unique to you.

Price at time of publish: $64

Type: Eau de parfum | Size: 1.7 oz. | Top Notes: Pink pepper | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best for Teens

Marc Jacobs Fragrances Daisy

Marc Jacobs Daisy, EDT Spray


What We Like
  • Not overpowering

  • Layers well

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't last long

An eau de toilette, Daisy only contains 4-8% of pure fragrance, making it lighter and less intense than other perfumes on the market.

Price at time of publish: $120

Type: Eau de toilette | Size: 3.4 oz. | Top Notes: Strawberry, violet leaves, jasmine | Cruelty-Free: Yes

Best Sweet

Mugler Angel Shooting Star Eau De Parfum



What We Like
  • Iconic star bottle

  • Warm, fruity notes

What We Don't Like
  • Too sweet for some

If you're a fan of sweet scents, you really can't go wrong with Mugler Angel. Since its 1992 launch, this perfume has been a staple on vanities everywhere—but it's so much more than the truly iconic star-shaped bottle. The fragrance flaunts warm, fruity top notes, with hints of sugary praline and a spicy whisper of pachouli.

Type: Eu de parfum | Size: 0.8–3.4 oz. | Top Notes: Bergamot, red fruits, patchouli | Cruelty-Free: No

Price at time of publish: $150

Best Romantic

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum


What We Like
  • Sexy and seductive

  • Warm, sweet, and spicy balance

What We Don't Like
  • Could last longer

Looking for something sexy and seductive for a romantic night with your partner? YSL Black Opium might be the way to go. This warm and spicy perfume has opening notes of rich coffee and sweet vanilla and balances them out with soft florals. The result? An edge, daring, captivating scent that's sure to draw your love interest in.

Type: Eu de parfum | Size: 1–5 oz. | Top Notes: Black coffee, white flowers, vanilla | Cruelty-Free: No

Price at time of publish: $130

Final Verdict

The best perfume for women largely boils down to individual preferences. Do you prefer floral notes? Woody? Clean? Fruity? The options are endless, making it even harder to choose a favorite. Team Byrdie stands by Le Labo Santal 33 Eau De Parfum as one of the best perfumes of all time for men and women alike. Le Labo describes it as "at once gentle, smoky, and leathery," and it's guaranteed to score you compliments. Another great unisex pick is Byredo Bibliothéque Eau de Parfum, which boasts peach, plum, peony, and violet notes. You could share both of these with significant others, partners, and friends, but chances are you'll want to keep it all to yourself.

Meet the Expert

Cordelia Smith is a fragrance expert and the founder of Formulary 55, a line of products for body and home. She personally prefers more gender-neutral fragrances, though she loves notes of rose and beeswax (which is her favorite scent on Earth).

What to Consider When Buying Perfumes for Women

Your Signature Scent

What smells good to you may not appeal to someone else. The effect of a perfume depends on factors as varied as how it interacts with your unique body chemistry and your favorite smells from childhood. Consider which fragrance category—floral, fruity, woodsy, or clean—you want. For instance, if you're a fan of florals, Chanel N°5 might be right up your alley. And those who like fruitier scents will appreciate Burberry Her.

Knowing that will help you narrow down your search. Sampling should also be part of the experience since there's no better way to tell how a perfume wears than taking it for a test drive.

Scent Concentration

Parfums have the highest scent concentrations, followed by eau de parfum, like Le Labo Santal 33 Eau De Parfum, then eau de toilette, and finally, eau de cologne.

Perfume oils—which usually come in a roll-on applicator, like the Maison Louis Marie Perfume Oil Discovery Set—have high scent concentrations. But even though they will last longer than most sprays, they don't have the same "throw," which means the effect is more for the wearer than for those around them. 

Quality and Wear

Perfume is considered a luxury item, which means the price you pay depends not only on the ingredients but also on factors like the packaging and the name brand itself.

Less expensive perfumes like Glossier You often contain fewer notes and lots of sweet-smelling florals, which are abundant and easy to source. Pricier fragrances like Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 use rare essences that can run the price up to thousands of dollars per ounce. And while some dupes can almost replicate the smell of more expensive scents, they usually don't have the staying power.

Clean and Cruelty-Free

In general terms, perfume is "clean" if it contains natural extracts and is free of potentially harmful ingredients like phthalates, parabens, and artificial dyes. (Be sure to read the list of ingredients if you have specific sensitivities—even natural fragrances can cause allergic reactions.)

If you're searching for a cruelty-free perfume, consider brands that don't test their products on animals and can prove that their ingredients are ethically and sustainably sourced. A couple of our favorite cruelty-free perfumes for women include Formulary 55 A. N Other and Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume.

  • How do you choose a perfume for women?

    While perfume choice is totally personal, the key thing is to make sure you try it on yourself first. “The way a fragrance smells can vary based on body chemistry, so it’s important to make sure you like it while actually wearing it before committing to the full bottle,” suggests Smith.

  • How do you apply perfume for women?

    Smith suggests spritzing it onto your pulse points: the wrists, neck, and crook of the arm. (This will help intensify and diffuse the scent.) But, if you’re spraying it on your wrists, do not rub them together, as so many people do. “This generates heat, which can end up altering the scent,” explains Smith.

  • When does perfume for women expire?

    There’s no set answer here, but if your fragrance is properly stored, it can last for years and years on end, says Smith. Make sure to keep all your bottles in a cool, dry environment; if and when the fragrance starts to change or smell ‘off,’ that’s when it’s time to replace it, she says.

Why Trust Byrdie?

Byrdie contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. Her perfume tastes fall on the clean, fresh, and green end of the spectrum, and once she finds a fragrance she loves she sticks with it. Case in point: She’s been wearing the Jo Malone and Juliette Has a Gun perfume on this list for years.

According to our Diversity Pledge, 15% of products in our newly-published market roundups will feature Black-owned and/or Black-founded brands. At the time of publishing, we were not able to find enough perfumes from a Black-owned and/or Black-founded business. If you know of one we should consider, please email us at, and we will evaluate the product ASAP. 

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