It might seem a bit silly, but while I have spent the last three weeks makeup-less with my greasy hair thrown up in a bun, scarfing snacks in my pajamas as I work from the sofa, I have also been spritzing my most luxurious perfumes. You see, while some people require a blow-dry or a swipe of red lipstick to feel pulled-together and ready to take on the day, all I need is a spritz of perfume.
Luckily, I am very experienced when it comes to finding the most uplifting perfumes around. In fact, since discovering the power that perfume has over my mood, I’ve made it my beauty mission to collect the happiest scents around. As a result of said search, I am now the not-so-proud owner of an obscene number of perfumes (over 50, if I had to put a number on it!).
Despite the fact that the size of my perfume collection is without a doubt unnecessary and extravagant, it turns out that my theory about perfume lifting my spirits actually does make sense. Aromatherapy Associates master blender Luke Taylor says, “In more recent times, numerous studies have revealed that various psychological effects can be attributed to fragrance inhalation. Increased brain activity, changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and pupil dilation are all immediate effects of olfactory stimulation.”
But what exactly makes a great uplifting perfume? The truth is, what’s uplifting for one might not necessarily be for another. “Any scent you enjoy will evoke happiness, either from the pure joy of experiencing it or reminiscing on past enjoyable events,” says Taylor. Although tastes do vary from person to person, I think I have whittled down just about the perfect edit of universally uplifting perfumes. After all, certain notes just can’t be overlooked for their happiness-inducing qualities. “Floral notes are often associated with happiness, with rose, jasmine, and neroli being popular choices,” Taylor adds.
So if you’re looking to inject some mood-boosting pizzazz to an otherwise drab day, keep scrolling for the most uplifting perfumes for every single taste.
Crisp and Clean
You know the feeling you have when you have just got out of the bath or shower and your skin feels and smells amazing? This is that feeling bottled. Fresh but musky, this is without a doubt my daily go-to for unrivaled joy.
If you’re not already familiar with this perfume, let me explain. Before Le Labo Santal 33, this was the perfume that fashion girls simply couldn’t get enough of. They say this scent, which is based on one single note, smells different on everyone, but I disagree. Every single time I smell this, I know exactly what it is. That signature slightly masculine and earthy but unarguably fresh scent simply can’t be mistaken or beaten.
Because of its indisputably pretty bottle, I’d say that this perfume is definitely one of my most asked-after. And every single time someone asks me whether or not it’s actually nice, I always reply with the same description: It smells like freshly washed bed linen after it has spent a couple of hours drying on a washing line in the garden. The minute I smell this, I’m in my happy place.
If you appreciate a slightly more masculine scent that champions understated, cool-girl elegance, this one is for you. Blending citrusy bergamot with floral but earthy notes of Earl Grey, just one sniff is enough to put a smile on my face.
Warm and Creamy
Every single time I smell this perfume on someone else, I can’t help but comment on how amazing they smell. While the blend itself is creamy and warm, it also has a zingy hint of pink pepper that makes it fresh. I love the way that it seems to smell different on everyone, with each wearer smelling equally as joyous.
It’s expensive, I know, but if you have ever had the pleasure of owning a Penhaligon’s perfume, you’ll understand why. Famed for producing the kind of scents that stop passersby in the street, the British heritage brand took a hiatus from producing strong, dizzying blends when it concocted this one. It’s powerful, sure, but top notes of mandarin and tuberose mixed with a creamy, woody base make it impossibly feminine.
The thing that makes this particular perfume so uplifting is that it really evokes a sense of nostalgia. With vanilla, musk, and tonka bean, this comforting spritz takes me straight back to my childhood.
Not too many perfumes are worth a $225 price tag, but this one really is worth every penny. No single perfume has the power to ignite dinner table conversation quite like this. Unlike anything you have ever smelled before, this warming scent blends woody notes with jasmine florals and spicy saffron for a result so unique you really can’t place a single note. It’s the sort of perfume that has you smelling your own wrists for comfort.
Fresh and Floral
If you ask me, neroli is just about one of the most uplifting notes around, and this perfume is pretty much the one that put neroli in the spotlight. Fresh, green, and a little bit playful, it smells like all of the glamorous parts of the British countryside in summer.
When I was first sent this perfume to try, I had decided I would give it to my mom before I even opened it up. Rose is much more her sort of thing than it is mine. However, upon smelling it, I realized that actually, it was so fresh, lightweight, and totally beautiful that I couldn’t bring myself to part with it. Needless to say, every time I wear it, my mum can’t help but steal a few sprays for herself. It’s serene and delicate in the most effortless way.
Once again, it’s the floral notes of this particular scent that make it so spirit-boosting. Unlike other flowery perfumes, Stem harnesses the powerful smells of the green parts of a plant, like stalks, leaves, and buds. Unlike the artificial powdery florals we might be used to, this blend genuinely smells like a florist.
Although floral tuberose is definitely the key with this one, it’s the zingy hit of ginger that puts it a step ahead of the rest. Almost unbelievably wearable, this little bottle of perfume is the definition of a chic crowd pleaser.
Never has the term “sparkling” been more fitting for a perfume. With iris flower at its heart, the floral aspect is definitely there, but the top note of vert de mandarine makes it zingy and attention-grabbing. If you had to associate a smell with the expense and grandeur of Tiffany, this would be it.
Tropical and Zesty
Out of all of the perfumes in my collection, this is without a doubt the most obviously uplifting. Everything about it oozes happiness and joy. With a whole array of citrus notes, to me, it smells like sugared grapefruit on a warm, sunny day.
Citrus notes combine with a freshness of wood and earthiness to take out any hint of overpowering sweetness. For those who love the freshness of citrus notes but detest the sickly sweet nature of them, I can’t recommend this more.
You’d be right if you’re thinking that this Diptyque bottle looks a little different from what you might already associate with the brand, and the scent itself is different too. While it might just be the prettiest bottle of perfume ever crafted, the blend that it houses is equally as beautiful. On paper, it smells like notes of vanilla, frangipani, and tiaré flower, but if you ask me, it smells like sun-kissed skin, platters of exotic fruit, and cocktails in the French Riviera.
You might already be familiar with Tom Ford's Neroli Portofino EDP, but you’d be sorely mistaken for thinking it might make the list of the most uplifting scents—especially when it's up against this. Blending a base note of moss with vibrant citruses and greens, this unique unisex scent is reminiscent of carefree, coastal getaways.
Whenever Estée Lauder announces its annual offering of Bronze Goddess, I get sucked in. Like sun-drenched skin and creamy coconut, nothing smells quite as summery and happiness-filled as this classic scent.
There's little else I can say about this once you've read the name. It smells exactly how you might expect Californian clementines to smell, just with a hint of extra glamour.
Whereas so many perfumes featured on this list champion orange as their note of choice, Sundazed opens with a giant hit of sweet lemon but has a creamy base that brings with it connotations of suncream and childhood summers.