Perfume bottle spraying colorful scent

GEMs of Beauty:
Scented Deodorant? Say It Ain’t So (Smelly)!


So, okay, this is one of those topics you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about, but no one wants to stink—and our kids need to know that they’re going to have to be proactive about their own pungency once they hit puberty, too.

Years ago, I was in an elevator going to a party in London when a beautifully stylish woman got in the car. She smelled so incredible that I asked her what perfume she was wearing, and she told me La Perla. I thanked her profusely and trotted off to Selfridge’s in the morning to pick up a bottle, and when I tried it, it was just as luscious on me as it had been on her. The saleslady told me that there was a gift set on offer, with deodorant and body lotion, and I snapped that up too.

That was my introduction to the marvels of wearing a wonderfully scented deodorant. Not a cheesy synthetic scent, but a real one.

Perfume-based deodorants aren’t antiperspirants. They won’t do a thing about wetness, but they will make you smell divine—unlike conventional deodorants with synthetic fragrances that quickly dissipate. Wearing a perfumed deodorant is like wearing a less intense and less expensive version of the perfume itself. It’s a great way to try out a scent.

Still, if you’re looking for something new, see if you can test the perfume first. Perfume use is utterly idiosyncratic, and something that smells fantastic on your BFF can make you wince. For instance, I gag at the smell of Chanel #5 and Shalimar, yet these are two of the most popular perfumes ever created, so all those who love them can’t be wrong. Go figure.

Or, see if something that sounds enticing is at one of the online perfume stores. (I used to have to stock up in Duty-Free shops in foreign airports.) Sure, perfumed deodorants are usually pricier than something you’d pick up in a drugstore, but show your pits some love. These products last a long time and make your clothing smell great, too.



My all-time #1. Just try it.

Buy it for $23.11 (with coupon) at



One of my favorite new discoveries this year is Le Couvent des Minimes, a French convent that makes some super-scrumptious scented products based on plants, fruits, and herbs with beneficial properties. This daily (English for quotidien!) deodorant has no aluminum and uses natural alum stone to combat stink. You’ll smell deliciously of fresh citrus all day. It’s unisex so don’t be surprised if the man in your life steals it.

Buy it for $13.50 at


deo-erbavivaAnother fantastic unisex deodorant is by Erbaviva. This blend is incredibly fresh and long-lasting, is aluminum-free, and over 99 percent organic. It lasts all day even when you’re running around after the kids in blazing heat. Or, if you’re looking for something with a more floral scent, go for the Jasmine Grapefruit.

Buy it for $6.50 at



Speaking of florals, they don’t get more enticing that Weleda’s Wild Rose Deodorant. It’s ideal for rose-lovers and is subtle enough that it won’t clash with your perfume.

Buy it for $12.99 at



I’ve never been much of a vanilla-scented perfume fan. (I’d rather eat a sugar cookie than smell like one!) But I changed my mind thanks to Lavanila. All their products are vanilla-based, and they smell so good that you practically want to inhale them. And the vanilla is cleverly mixed with other scents, like Lavender, Coconut, Grapefruit, Passion Fruit, and Blackberry so you have plenty of options for smelling delish.

Buy it for $14 at


After you get used to smelling so good, you’ll start to become a lot more fearless with scent layering. I like to wear La Perla deodorant (chypre family with a lot of rose and patchouli) with L’Occitane’s Magnolia & Mure for day and with Tom Ford’s Café Rose at night. Have fun with it—trust me, it’s not overpowering if you just spritz on a little.

karen moline

Karen Moline is the author of two novels, the recently reissued Lunch and Belladonna; coauthor of the bestseller, Sh*tty Mom; coauthor/ghostwriter of over two dozen nonfiction books, including the ever-fabulous Good Enough Mother; and a journalist whose work has appeared in publications around the world. See more at She lives with her son in NYC.