How to Smell Good Without Wearing Fragrance

Updated 04/17/19

We're bona fide fragrance junkies here at Byrdie HQ, don't get us wrong. But isn't there something so appealing about having a great natural scent without much outside help? (Not to mention that even perfume can quickly turn awful when intermingled with other funky smells.)

From the foods you eat to the way you wash your clothes, there are actually a handful of random habits that have a direct impact on your natural musk. Keep reading to see how to always smell your best.


Italian food warms our soul, but excessive amounts of garlic aren't doing your natural scent any favors—pungent foods like onion, garlic, and mustard can release an odor through your pores for hours after you eat them. (The same goes for alcohol, which is why hangovers tend to have a signature fragrance.)

If you're looking to smell sweeter (or at least more neutral), fill up on fresh veggies and fruit, which not only tend to smell better, but are also packed with water to help dilute things.

On that note, drink tons of water

Bkr Bottle $45

A good amount of H2O will help flush out and dilute any funky odors.

Keep your mouth smelling fresh

APA White Rinse $25

Those of us who frequent public transportation know how offensive and pervasive coffee breath can be. A mouthwash or tooth rinse is a great way to reboot after a meal, beverage, or snack—just choose a formula that's alcohol-free, since alcohol can actually foster even more stinky bacteria in the long haul. 

(Same goes for your clothes.)

Method Lavender Cedar Laundry Detergent $12

Don't underestimate the power of a sweet-smelling wardrobe. Our tip? Skip the typical cloying "laundry" smell and go with a clean, more delicate scent. (We can definitely vouch for Method's lavender cedar blend.)

Reach for a lightly-scented body oil after showering

Indie Lee Patchouli Sandalwood Body Oil $36

Oils tend to seep into your skin more deeply than lotions, so even if you're showering at night, you'll still get a subtle whiff of that scent the next day.

Don't let greasy roots be your downfall

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk $20

Hair tends to really hold on to scent, which is why many experts recommend spritzing perfume directly onto strands for all-day staying power. On the flip side, your mane won't discriminate against bad odors either, especially if it's getting a little oily between showers. Freshen up with a neutral-smelling dry shampoo.

Caution: There are more than a few foods that potentially cause odors! Check out our list to make sure you're in the clear.

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