Perfumes in the Pink

Everything’s a mess right now, I know.  But it’s May, dammit, and even though we’ve had one of our coldest, wettest springs on record I was in the mood to think pink and pretty.  Let’s do this. 

Fragrance-wise, what would a pink perfume be?  I don’t mean the color of the bottle or the liquid inside so much as the vibe – sweet, charming, insouciant, cheerful?  Not difficult or edgy or gloomy or strange.  Here are the first fragrances that popped into my head that make me “think pink.”  These ended up leaning mass-market, which given the genre doesn’t surprise me.

Barbara Bui Le Parfum – I can’t believe it’s still available online, and for as cheap as $25 NIB on various sites.  One of my OG perfumista comfort buys, it is a pale, petal-pink cashmere sweater of a scent.  Launched in 2004, nose is Ann Flipo, notes are amber, musk, woody notes, and incense.  Cloud-soft woods and amber, not overly sweet, with surprising staying power, at least on me.

Narciso Poudree in the pale pink cube bottle, not to be confused with the white cube (which I also like) or any of the eleventy-seven tall bottles in pink, white, pink-white, cream, ecru, etc.  Jasmine, orange blossom and a dab of rose, a whisper of musk and tonka bean. The nose is Aurelien Guichard, it’s from 2016, the kind of fragrance that gets called “unabashedly pretty;” I find it milky rather than powdery, and smooth as a pink sky at dawn.

Gucci Bloom — released a couple years ago to a yawn and shrug among perfumistas, it’s every suburban Sephora VIB customer’s mass-market dream; an inoffensive mélange of jasmine, tuberose, honeysuckle and musky whatnot.  It’s also as velvety-textured as the old-fashioned wallpaper-print design on the packaging; I understood my fondness for it when I realized Alberto Morillas was the nose.  If you’re looking for a hot pink, on the other hand, then look no further than Gucci Rush, a perfumista fan-fave with a lactonic peachy sweetness that takes trashy to the next level.

YSL Paris, because what’s pinker than a bed of roses?  I’m old enough I wore it back in the day; it’s the only rose fragrance I truly love and actually wear, generally on rainy spring days and not to the office, because nobody wants to be stuck in a poorly ventilated office space with YSL Paris.  Since I’ve been quarantined at home for what feels like forever, it’s getting a good workout.

L’Artisan Mure et Musc – okay, this one’s a cheat because it feels more like pale mauve, but it’s the L’Artisan that started it all, way back in 1978. I have a vintage bottle I’m wearing on cool, windy days while I wait for summer.  Zesty citrus topnotes, blackberries and musk.

Isabey Tendre Nuit — a last-minute addition to this list; how charming is that little travel bottle in the slide-out box?!  I bought it after reading Portia’s post and it’s a confection of almond and musk with a dusting of powder, delicate as a macaron.

Now, on to some makeup, also in the “think pink” vein, feel free to skip this bit if you’re not interested.

Pink eyeshadow – Pink is having a moment in the eyeshadow world; while I love it in theory, in practice it looks dreadful on me, like I’ve got an eye infection I should probably see a doctor about.  I’m too pale and pink myself for pink eyeshadow.

Pink blush – I’m loving the cream blush from Undone Beauty, which I used to order from Amazon but are now available at Target.  If you’re wanting to splash out, the powder blush palette from makeup artist Scott Barnes is phenomenal – I have nothing else like it; don’t let the colors scare you, they’re designed to be mixed and layered, and they blend like a dream.

Lips– I now own three tubes of Laura Geller’s Iconic Baked Sculpting Lipstick in Brooklyn Beige, which is not beige but rather a perfect nude-pink. I keep one at work, one at home, and one in my purse, that’s how much I like it.  I also have the slightly pinker Prince Street Pink; and the slightly-paler Bowery Ballerina, which is my go-to base for a gloss. (All the pink shades are slightly more muted than this image, and yes, I also have Broadway Glitz, because how could I not order it?) The Iconic Baked formula is awesome— it’s emollient but not sticky, satin finish, lasts well, feels weightless on the lips and doesn’t smell or taste.  It pops up super cheap at places like TJ Maxx and Nordstrom Rack, which is how I ended up trying it in the first place, and it goes on sale as much as 50% off regularly at Kohls and the Laura Geller website.  And I can’t skip my favorite glosses, the Milani Keep It Full Nourishing Lip Plumpers, because they are a) easy to find and b) not at all sticky, which is rare, and c) available in a really flattering array of shimmery as well as creamy shades.

Nails — Pale pink is such a three-bears shade of nail varnish – too light, too bright, too streaky, too cool, too tan, too flat-looking, too much like Pepto-Bismol.  I have a drawerful of disappointing pinks.  A couple of months ago I picked up OPI Princesses Rule at CVS because it caught my eye, so dang pretty and sparkly pink in the bottle, knowing full well it might be yet another fail.  The shimmer effect is delicate-looking on the nail, not intense like a frost, and maybe it’s the pale champagne tint of the microglitter that makes it work?  I dunno, but it doesn’t give me lobster hands, it’s charming but not too jeune fille, and it wears pretty darn well too.  When Scrangie reviewed the collection in 2009 it had already been around for awhile—and check out those other shades…

Okay, your turn!  What scents make you think pink?  What makeup are you playing with?  What’s your favorite lip balm and/or hydrating hand cream?

  • Patty says:

    I always do pink eyeshadow! At least as the base, but it has to be the exact right shade. Pink perfumes, my favorite was a really naughty pink and I had to go see if it was made recently, Fifi Chachnil in that crazy uber femme pink bottle. They do! I don’t think anyone carries it in the states. The bottle, the pink fluff over smokey tobacco. It was a fave pink. My other fave pink is MDCI Rose de Siwa. it is little girl pink, innocent, happy pink. I wish I had some right now.

  • Kathleen says:

    A few scents that make me see pink are Dioramour, Valentino Donna, Vivian next Westwood Boudoir, and Keiko Mecheri Loukhoum,
    I agree with your Narciso Poudre, YSL Paris and Tender Nuit.
    I appreciate your lipstick recommendations and I will research. I love a pink lip and nail polish! I’ve been using a pale pink Essie nail polish.

  • gwenyth2 says:

    March, I LOVE your posts.I enjoy your writing style and I find that I greatly enjoy your preferences (because they turn out to be favorites of mine after I follow your lead and order something).
    I have you to thank for more perfumes than I can mention (Mandragore!) and more lippies than I “need” but love anyway.

  • Cinnamon says:

    Arg. I had a lot of trouble coming up with a comment for this post. The only ‘pink’ perfume I can think of I really liked was the original Miss Dior Cherie (long gone) which was just beautifully composed and cheeky, a bit crass, but not in an off-putting way. I never owned it but did sampled it frequently. Angel also seems ‘pink’ to me but again not in a cutesy way. I have a great pink lipstick, Burberry Sepia Pink (or Pink Sepia). Slightly grey-ish deep dusty rosy colour. Years ago, I had a dusty pink heavy silk ‘ensemble’ (ie, a shell top with buttons down the back and a long straight skirt with a split) purchased from one of the discount places in NY (maybe Boltons…) which is I think is the only pink clothing I owned that I really loved.

  • Musette says:

    this is too funny (not your post): I, who LOVE a ‘ballerina pink’ like nobody’s business, could no more wear a ballerina pink than I could, well, be a ballerina! T-Rex don’t wear no ballerina pink, no matter how much she might long for it. That being said… I do enjoy Diorissimo (who doesn’t) but I tend to wear it sprayed on a scarf or inside a sweater, as it goes a bit sour on my T-Rexian skin (sigh). I consider Amouage Beloved to be pink – but it’s a ‘Pink with a History’ – kind of St John/Jackie O Pink. Which isn’t quite the same, is it?
    Nails, though. You know I love a pale, YNBB. OPI Hopelessly in Love is my HG, followed by some Essie very pale pink that I love but the label’s gone so… Very Pale Pink. They are streaky, though, aren’t they? Why is that, I wonder?

    If I wore a Pale Pink Lip someone would probably call the EMTs. Nobody wants to see a T-Rex in a Pale Pink Lip, especially not the T-Rex.


  • Sarah B. Patton says:

    Songes! Bought a bottle of it recently and the juice is startlingly peachy-rosé. The smell is honeysuckle and you feel dressed in pink when wearing.

  • Dina C. says:

    Love pink things! Other pink scents: Mademoiselle Guerlain is deep pink juice which smells of iris and marshmallows, tempered with galbanum so it’s not sickening sweet. I totally agree with you on the NR scents — the Fleur one in the hot pink cube is another good pink scent with roses, powder & musk. Third nomination: Guerlain AA Rosa Pop which is rose, violet & peony — very cheerful and happy. And a Paris flanker: Paris Jardins Romantiques, which is airier than the original, but still super pretty. I’ve been trying out a drugstore liquid lipstick recommended by Angie of hotandflashy on YouTube. (She’s like the Consumer Reports of beauty, skin care & fashion for gals over 50.) It’s a WetandWild Liquid Catsuit in Flirt Alert, a medium mauve-y pink. I keep it next to my laptop for Zoom meetings. I’m also still using and enjoying the Huda Beauty lipstick in Honeymoon that I got after the last time you blogged about lippies! (another great pink shade)

    • March says:

      I love Angie! Her recommendations are always great; and having that Zoom lip standby is excellent, I’ve got a Neutrogena cream pencil that accomplishes the same thing…. glad you are enjoying Honeymoon!

  • HeidiC says:

    I’m trying to think of “pink” perfumes that aren’t rose scents, just as a mental exercise. Bal a Versailles? L’Interdit? En Passant? Bath & Body Works Sun-Ripened Raspberry (ha!)?

    • March says:

      I guess just foofy generic florals? White florals are pink to me, lol. You stay away from me with that BBW lol! En Passant is too melancholy….

  • SpringPansy says:

    Oh, March, thank you for this post – it made my day! (I haven’t been able to post much as work has been crazy so I missed the game of revisiting a fragrance that you might have disliked/liked – please let’s do that again sometime!) Anyhoo, I love pink – from the palest pink cashmere sweaters to bright summer fuchsia toenails. I plan to try lots of these suggestions – both the fragrances and the lips. I can’t do pink eyeshadow either.

    Interestingly, when I look through my box of perfume bottles, I don’t see very many that I consider “pretty.” I love them all for various reasons – the bright sunny lemon of Mediterraneo and the dark spiciness of Tea for Two, the rich “oriental” (for lack of better naming) throwback, CK Sheer Obsession and warm, animal musk of Dzing! But pretty? Looks like I may need to rectify that. 😀

    One that I don’t have yet but is on the list (wish it came in a travel size!): but could see as pale peach is Parle Moi de Parfum’s Guimauve de Noel. Palest sugared orange blossoms. Just lovely. Two that I do have: pale pink Mon Guerlain body lotion that I purchased with a gift card. I love to put that on my hands before bed, very relaxing. And Lancome’s Mille et Une Roses. Very special – ambery, vanilla rose.

    Off to BeautyHabit to check out sampling Tendre Nuit. That is THE best bottle, isn’t it? And later when I have to pick up a prescription, I’ll search for the Milani Lip Plumpers.

    Thanks for some fun!! I needed it.

    • March says:

      Hey, I’m as surprised as anyone that I have so many pretty, pink perfumes. Definitely when I started out I only wanted things that were interesting / edgy but as time passed I wanted something simple as well. I’m glad I cheered you up!

  • Tara C says:

    I wore Lancome Parfait de Roses yesterday, very pink. My other pink perfumes are Rose Barbare, Mademoiselle Guerlain, La Colle Noire, Tendre Nuit and Rahat Loukhoum. It is still freaking cold here, 1C when I got up. Sooo sick of winter!!

    • March says:

      Parfait is a perfect pink fragrance! And several folks have mentioned the more amenable Guerlains, which seems about right…. it’s supposed to finally warm up here later this week, we shall see. Ridiculous for May.

  • Portia says:

    Patty! You are singing my song. Paris, Bloom, Mure et Musc and Tendre Nuit are all bottles in my collection. It feels really underground and anti-establishment for me to wear such unapologetically trad femme frags. Love a touch of pinkness in my SOTD!
    Add Fracas, Hedonist Rose Absolute, La Colle Noire, Our Moment, Mon Guerlain Florale, SJP Lovely and Lolita Lempicka EdP to the list as well please.
    Portia xx

    • March says:

      Fracas! It’s a bold pink but I should have included it, along with SJP Lovely… and thanks again for the Tendre Nuit review, that’s why I bought it!

  • MMKinPA says:

    My pink perfumes: Guerlain Aqua allegoria Rosa Pop; SJP Lovely; Nicolaï Rose Royale. I too am a fan of Milani glosses- soft rose is my favorite.

    • March says:

      That’s the second (third?) mention of Rosa Pop, I must investigate! I love those glosses — not a dud in the bunch and they’re cheap enough if I lose one I’m not stressed, they’re in several handbags.