We humans like to pretend we’ve evolved past our primordial caveman nature, but at the end of the day, we’re just animals with skin-care routines and iPhone Xs. We may not walk around the bar literally sniffing potential partners’ butts, but we’re still picking up those pheromones that tell our brains “hump this one!” or “bark at that one!”
And on nights when we’re feeling especially carnal, we like to spray ourselves in scents that will make our bodies even more irresistible. And those scents, by and large, feature at least one of two things: vanilla and musk. Vanilla, because it’s a treat that lights up the reward part of our brain. Musk, because it’s balls. The subconscious is a beautiful — and quite simple — thing.
Ahead, the fragrances our editors wear when they want to turn the heat all the way… oh, forget it, they’re what we reach for when we want to get laid.
“I don’t have any idea how I snagged this bottle from the beauty closet at my first job, but I may never let it go. Back then, I took what I could get — and this rich, intoxicating scent instantly became one of my favorite products. Six years later, it’s still my favorite (and I have a lot of expensive perfume), because it truly makes you feel transformed: sexy, mysterious, definitely off the clock (it’s far too heavy for day), and ready for… well, you know.” — Lexy Lebsack, West Coast senior beauty editor
Tom Ford Shanghai Lily, $230, available at Nordstrom.
“I’d like to live my life thinking that my natural scent is tantalizing enough to get me laid, but that’s easier to believe when I’m already in a relationship. When I’m not, I’ve discovered that Amo by Ferragamo plus a stiff Manhattan = the perfect equation for a night of sex. Both are sweet, have hits of vanilla (an acclaimed aphrodisiac), and leave me with the urge to do it all over again, despite the hangover.” — Kelsey Castañon, beauty news editor
Salvatore Ferragamo Amo, $95, available at Bloomingdales.
“Legend has it that the original recipe for this fragrance was discovered in a vat labeled ‘Love Oil’ in the 1950s. A vat! Isn’t that wild? To be clear, I have no idea if that is true, and while I’m sure I could find out, I also have no real interest in ruining the illusion. I’m crazy about musk, both the way it smells (like balls, I guess?) and its rumored seductive powers (it’s the pheromones), and in my opinion, this is the very best. It’s sexy as hell, and I wear it every day… which, now that I think of it, is about how often I’m trying to get laid.” — Rachel Krause, beauty writer
Kiehl’s Musk Essence Oil, $35, available at Kiehl’s.
“I like to wear a new fragrance whenever I go on a big trip so it brings back memories of that time; this was the one I wore to Paris with my boyfriend this summer. The warm scent brings back memories of stumbling through the Marais in a silk dress, sipping cocktails and expensive French wine, and making out in the street behind the bar. When I want to channel the sexy, French, carefree girl deep deep down under the layers of coats and long underwear and wool socks and deadlines, I spritz this on. And maybe light a cigarette.” — Cat Quinn, beauty director
Mugler Aura Mugler, $75, available at Mugler USA.
“There are day scents, there are night scents, and then there’s this scent. It’s reserved for, I don’t want to say desperate times, but… times that call for certain measures. It’s addictive — kind of like a bouquet with an electric current running through it — and slightly tacky (that vanilla note, baby). But that’s a good thing! I firmly believe that a true get-you-laid scent should have a touch of strip club.” — Alix Tunell, senior beauty editor
YSL Black Opium Floral Shock, $115, available at YSL Beauty.
“A few summers ago, I reconnected with an ex that I hadn’t seen for months and was determined to show him what he’d been missing. After zipping up my favorite red dress, I spritzed Alaïa’s signature fragrance from head to toe — not only because of its yummy musk and peony blend, but because the scent lasts forever and I figured it’d be a long evening. As soon as we embraced, he complimented my perfume… and never let go that night. Ultimately, we didn’t work out, but I did leave the relationship with a surefire first date scent to reel my next love in.” — Khalea Underwood, beauty writer
Alaïa Paris, $150, available at Saks.
“Lately, I can’t get enough of rose and all of its iterations. I wear a light, fresh rose scent during the day and go for this one at night. Something about it is intoxicating — the perfect balance between floral and musk. I don’t know if my boyfriend even cares if I wear it (he’s a little dense when it comes to fragrance), but every time I do, I can’t stop smelling myself. Plus, Margot Robbie is the face of it — and I’ll have whatever she’s having.” — Mi-Anne Chan, beauty writer
Calvin Klein Deep Euphoria, $94, available at Ulta.
“The minute I got a whiff of this fragrance, I knew I needed it (and not just because it’s so obviously the Mary-Kate compared to the White version). It’s spicy and woody, the kind of scent I imagine Sophia Loren would wear. I always used to fantasize about wearing a perfume that would make everyone I hug say, ‘You smell soo good,’ and now that dream has come true.” — Sam Sasso, beauty assistant
Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black, $85, available at Sephora.
Click HERE to read more from Refinery29