Following my article Love and Romance with My Favourite Perfumes I received a request from a dear reader if I could please share more on skin scents versus beast mode fragrances, how to choose what’s right for ourselves, and what to do if we love a beast mode perfume but it is too strong for us to wear. You can also read my article The Magical Properties of Love Oils where I discuss famous notes such as vanilla, jasmine and rose, as well as the importance of our sense of smell; and my article Engaging All Five Senses Towards Higher Purpose to learn about the deeper purpose of each of our senses, and how to develop a more meaningful connection to them in order to lead a more emotionally and spiritually fulfilled life.
Our olfactory sense is such an important part of how we receive, perceive and express our own emotions, feelings and experiences in life. It is also an amazing channel of creativity and almost a sacred art of self-adornment. In the old days, perfume oils were used to invoke spiritual and deeply emotional experiences – and the art of perfumery itself has such a wonderful, curious and meaningful history. Fragrance is not just a fragrance, it is a love story, a heart story, a soul memory. Our olfactory sense is connected to the part of our brain that deals with the oldest memories within us, so scent can awaken very deep parts of ourselves in ways that not much else can. This is why an apple is never just an apple, and while you may love vanilla perhaps for another person vanilla invokes an unpleasant memory so they wouldn’t like it – not because it’s a “bad” scent but because they don’t relate to it emotionally in a pleasant way. All this I say because it is important for us to remember that perfume is very personal and there is no age neither.
For example, a friend of mine once shared that a woman had made a comment that my friend smelled like an “old lady” because she wore a Chanel perfume that apparently this woman’s grandmother wore. She then went on to ridicule my friend and naturally made her really sad, and almost ashamed of her personal choice or taste of scent. My friend grew up in a country where Chanel perfumes were extremely expensive and hard to find because they were foreign, so when one day as a young girl she smelled the perfume on a beautiful lady and learned that it was Chanel, she dreamt of how some day she’d wear this perfume also. So when she moved to North America in her adult life, she finally bought her perfume and was ecstatic – only to then have tears down her cheeks because of someone’s mean comment. So you know what I told my friend? I told her she smells like a dream come true. Because she made her dream come true. My grandmother didn’t wear neither Chanel nor Guerlain, but even if she did I wouldn’t refer to it as “old lady” – I’d be happy to be reminded of her smell. The reason why I am saying all of this is because 1. we need to be better mannered, and 2. fragrance is entirely personal, and there is no “age”.
Now before we begin let me just tell you what skin scents and beast mode mean to me, so that you know where I’m coming from. To me, a beast mode fragrance is one that arrives at your house party hours before the person does, and then stays for hours after they’ve left. You wash the dishes, turn off the lights, even rattle the keys, but nope – they came to leave a lasting impression and surely they did – a loud one. You’ll dream about them too (hopefully not nightmares) and have the windows opened all night (hopefully it isn’t -30C, although actually, hopefully it is). And if you didn’t like the fragrance, you’ll probably have to move. In a way, the fragrance wears the person rather than the other way around; and it might even make it harder to concentrate on the actual person because it is almost like it’s all about the perfume.
A skin scent on the other hand is one that stays closer to skin, there is still an aromatic veil around the person, but it feels intimate and mysterious, almost whispering you towards itself, come closer, closer, yes here’s my neck. It is still projected into the air and leaves a trail behind, but in a gentler and more elegant way; and it is almost like it is reserved for special hugs and closer encounters. One of the biggest misconceptions I have found about skin scent perfumes is that they don’t last – but that’s not true at all; they are just more intimate and stay closer to skin.
There is no right or wrong and you should wear what feels good and pleasant for you. The truth is that there is a place for everything and beast modes too have their purpose and unique beauty, so joking aside, I am not against them. If you like the aroma but not the loudness, then you can just apply them more mindfully, so that they feel more refined; and some of them come as perfume oils, which might eliminate some of the synthetics from the sprays that make them strong or overpowering. But because beast modes have become quite popular in recent years, almost a cult of their own, I want to encourage you not to feel pressured to smell like all other people and don’t choose what’s trendy or popular – choose what pleases you, what works best with your body chemistry and what aligns with your personal preferences. Let’s begin!
Skin scents versus beast mode fragrances
The first thing to consider is: how do you feel, what do you want to portray or express, and what is your personality and personal style?
For example, I am quite feminine and have a style and approach that is softer, more delicate and elegant, while simultaneously I have a very sensual layer to myself so I love deeper and seductive fragrances. I also love more intimate environments and one-one-one more meaningful conversations. Because of all of these I tend to prefer perfumes that are leaning towards skin scents.
I love the scent of natural skin, I love my own skin scent and I’m also attracted to other people’s skin scents. I don’t really like if a perfume “wears me” and walks through the door before I do, and I believe that perfume is an art of love, art of an emotion, mood, mystery and seduction.
While I do have a few stronger perfumes such as Guerlain’s Shalimar (I love it!), Jasmin Rouge by Tom Ford and Rose Prick by Tom Ford, I apply just a dab of them, or I spray once in the air and then walk through the mist. Both Shalimar and Rose Prick dry down to a more intimate scent on me, almost skin like; and Jasmin Rouge remains more lively, which is why I apply only a little of it. So that doesn’t mean you should never buy stronger perfumes if you like the aromas, but if you prefer more delicate ways of wearing them, just apply them more mindfully.
Also, don’t see skin scents “versus” beast modes as a competition or either/or, because they can beautifully co-exist; and you can also be somewhere in the middle like I am – playing around with both, and not really going into extremes. For example, Spiritueuse Double Vanille by Guerlain and Absolute Aphrodisiac by Initio Parfums are two of my most favourite and worn perfumes, and while neither is traditionally described as a skin scent, they both have vanilla in them, which is complementary to my skin and become skin-like to me; and they are more intimate perfumes, so they give me both beautiful aroma and the silage of my preference.
Alien by Mugler is perhaps the best example of a beast mode fragrance. It is an intoxicating and beautiful jasmine amber perfume but personally I cannot wear it because it is just too strong and overpowering for me. My best friend loves it and wears it all the time, and to her nose it isn’t too strong. Meanwhile, when she tried Jasmin Rouge by Tom Ford, which is considered much lighter in scent, she thought it was too strong. Sometimes we become nose blind to the fragrances we often wear, and sometimes it is just a note in the perfume that we aren’t used to it yet, which may give us the feeling that it is too strong. And for those of you who love Alien but it is too overpowering for you, I believe it is offered as a solid perfume also, so the scent is still the same but a bit more tamed.
There are some traditional skin scent perfumes such as Clean Reserve Skin, and what they are is essentially a greater focus on musk and light and airy notes that are meant to smell like “your skin but better”. And then there are other perfumes which may not be categorized as skin scents, but they may dry down to a skin scent depending on your body chemistry and so they become you. For example, Rolling in Love by Kilian is one of my favourite perfumes, and I’ve discussed it before, and on my skin it dries down as a skin scent – sweet, romantic and light airy musky. So to me – it is skin scent, even though it is still aromatic. Many so-called “skin scents” don’t really start off as “nothing” and they are still quite aromatic – some more floral, others with vanilla or praline – but they just don’t have a great silage as the so-called beast modes, and they stay closer to skin. They are considered more intimate scents.
As intimate scents, they invoke feelings of closeness and intimacy, so they are appropriate for date nights. They are still aromatic but because they stay closer to skin, they will offer you the mystery of someone being drawn to the scent and pulled towards you, closer and closer, until they reach your neck; and as Coco Chanel once famously said, “apply only a dab of perfume on the places where you want to be kissed.” So such perfumes are best for these occasions. On the other hand, beast mode perfumes or over-spraying will be just really overpowering and in your face, so they are not really considered as elegant. Many women feel that men who wear too much perfume or beast mode perfumes are just trying too hard and find it obnoxious. The way women actually pick their intimate partners is by natural scent, and this is how they find someone attractive, so never underestimate the power of natural skin scent. And we all have our own skin scent, and the way our sweat smells will be attractive to our partner also – because it is a bit animalic but also sexual and arousing.
When it comes to skin scent perfumes, it is important to pick ones that dry down to a complementary scent to your natural skin, so it is best to try them out on your bare skin and see how the fragrance develops throughout the day and whether you love how it reacts and blends with your body chemistry. Each perfume will smell differently on each person, but this is even more so when a perfume has a lot of musk in its base – for some people sweeter musk will be more appropriate if their skin is naturally sweeter also. For example, my skin loves vanilla and it is my favourite note in perfumes, and my natural skin scent is sweeter, so anything with vanilla will be emphasized when I apply it and will be complementary and natural once it dries down while still offering silage and an aromatic veil in the air as I walk by. More than anything, be creative and experience yourself through fragrance – it is a wonderful thing to engage our senses in all we do.
The pros for beast mode fragrances is that there is a great silage and lasting power, so if you prefer your aroma to last longer or if you are going to concerts, or if your personality is perhaps more “out there” and you want to be noticed and for your fragrance to stay in the room even after you leave, beast mode could be a great choice for you – and there is absolutely no shame in that all! But keep in mind that sometimes beast mode perfumes can come off or be perceived as a little needy or desperate by some cultures or countries. And I also wouldn’t recommend them for date nights because it could be a little too much for the other person; even if you’ve become nose blind to the fragrance, to other people who are not yet familiar with that scent, it might feel uncomfortable or overwhelming.
Perfumes like Tom Ford for example are usually known for their beast mode, and people are very disappointed when his perfumes are not beast mode. They are also packed with many notes, which gives them a lot of complexity, and while to my nose they are just a bit too loud, many people love them and rely on them to give that beastly and complex aroma. For example, many people criticized Rose Prick that it is too simple – but to me personally, that was the only one I could barely wear of his brand, and I find beauty and craftsmanship to be able to create something simple and elegant. It is incredibly difficult to actually create so-called simple fragrances, and there is no need to always wear something complex or unique even if you are a niche fragrance lover.
Another reason why people may prefer beast modes is because of price. Perfumes by brands such as Tom Ford and the niche brand Initio are really expensive, and Sublime Vanille by Creed is priced at around $700. So naturally people don’t want to invest so much money into perfumes that will be “light” or “unnoticed. And yet, for something like Sublime Vanille, lightness is precisely what the perfume is meant to invoke because it is considered part of Creed’s royal line of fragrance, where lighter scents are considered elegant, sophisticated and classy, and worn in specific circles or occasions. But for most people, it is understandable if they do not want to invest in a perfume that doesn’t have much lasting power.
Some people’s skins and body chemistry just needs stronger perfumes, because the lighter ones disappear too soon, and it’s as if they’ve put nothing on – so they can’t enjoy the aroma at all and it is only natural that they’d prefer a heavier fragrance. So again – body chemistry and our own unique skins are really important. On my skin, even a dab can stay all day, but you need to know and honour your skin, needs and unique body so that you can pick what’s best for you.
There are also people who love to be smelled from afar because they feel that they wouldn’t be getting their money’s worth; and the strong silage gives them a sense of comfort that their investment was worth it. And so, here is the next thing you want to consider: who are you wearing your fragrance for? That’s an important question because once you are more clear and honest with your intention, your choice would be clearer too. Our modern culture has become quite obsessed with beast mode fragrances and it’s really trendy on social media also – but please choose what you like, and don’t feel pressured to fit someone else’s categories, likes or trends.
When making your fragrance choices, you should also consider how sensitive you are to smell, and how sharp is your olfactory sense. For me personally, I am very sensitive to scent and can smell it from afar; and so for me even if someone wears “a little bit of perfume” which to their nose is like skin scent, to me it may feel like a beast mode. I remember once in the elevator I almost suffocated because two girls came in with so much Tom Ford that I could barely breathe – and even though it was a nice scent on them, it was just too much for me and felt repulsive.
My advice for that would be that regardless of whether it is a light or heavier perfume, to just be mindful of spraying because sometimes we ourselves become nose blind – and can no longer smell our perfumes because we’ve become used to them. If you are trying a new perfume, try experimenting with it in the first few days to see how it wears on you and how much application is best for you and your body chemistry. Even skin scents can be over-sprayed, so just be more mindful. In the same way, beast modes can be carefully applied and then you’ll get both the elegance and the silage.
As with most else in life, there is not right or wrong, and just get creative and experience yourself through various aromas, textures, layers, temperatures and styles. Fragrance is perhaps one of my most favourite ways to experience myself and self-adorn, and invoke various moods, emotions, creativity and atmospheres. It is a creative self-expression and in many ways, it is an art making and a love making. A making of love and of life, a making of stories and romance, as we dance with the beauty that aromas bless us with.
I can wear the sea all day on my skin, and self decorate with shells and coloured pebbles.
After dark something else calls me – with the scent of good mud and the back legs of the wild red fox I go into enchanted forests. And it’s as if I can lean against the body of God.
Somewhere in these mysteries and intimacies, between trust and surrender, my night dress becomes the silvery romance of moonskin. And the fireflies in my long hair become a diamond crown of dreams. An emerald green scarab kisses my finger to become my ring, my vow, a union with you always …
in our moon garden,
when sweet cacao kisses the delicate petals of the rose, an Eden, in the heavens of our hearts, the eternal beloved.
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Cover art is the painting “Love” by Pino Daeni.
In-article artwork by Hans Zatzka.
Photography of me in Positano, Italy.
Poem by me ♥