The clean fragrances you need to know about if you find every scent offensive


Fragrances are a little like Justin Bieber’s back catalogue: absolutely delightful if you’re a fan, incredibly offensive if you’re not. Scent is super subjective – what smells amazing to one person might be overwhelmingly off-putting to another, and whilst we often think of perfume as a personal choice, said scent is actually shared publicly from the moment we step out the door.

You know when someone sits next to you on public transport and it smells as if they’ve literally bathed in bergamot? Not ideal. It feels as if your senses have been sucker punched and you find yourself suddenly deeming the rest of the way to work “walkable” based on the fact your nostrils would rather cop cold, (somewhat) fresh air over the human citrus fruit sitting beside you.

So what’s one to do if they actually hate every perfume ever made with undying passion? Go clean. Clean scents are literally designed for people who cannot stand fragrance. In the scent world, clean is conceptual: think light, airy, crisp concoctions that make you smell just like freshly laundered linen, just-fallen rain or fresh, clean air. They’re remarkably unremarkable – no headaches, no nausea and most importantly, no scent-related death stares. Pure genius.

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Byredo Blanche EDP ($297,

A drop designed around the perception of the colour white, it’s light, clean and profoundly plain (in the best possible way).


Evodia Beach Fragrance Mist

This fresh, soft fragrance mist mixes airy marine notes with delicate musk and a hint of juicy mandarin.

Maison Margiela Replica

Maison Margiela Replica Lazy Sunday Morning EDT ($170,

On the days you don’t want to get out of bed, take the comfort of cosy linen sheets with you.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Aqua Celestia Forte EDP ($305,

An energising and airy aquatic splash with a dash of cool mint to evoke the freshness of icy ocean air.

Juliette Has A Gun

Juliette Has A Gun Not A Perfume EDP ($199,

A perfume for the non-perfume wearer. It’s understated, ultra-chic and simply smells squeaky clean.

Derek Lam

Derek Lam 10 Crosby Rain Day ($125,

There’s something magically serene about the smell of pavement just after it rains – this is it, bottled.

Clean Reserve

Clean Reserve Warm Cotton EDP ($140,

Love to inhale while pulling warm, fresh clothes from the dryer? You’ll adore this comforting cotton concoction.


Philosophy Pure Grace EDT ($65,

Purity in perfume form – a soap and water scent to leave you shower fresh all day long.

Escentric Molecules

Escentric Molecules Molecule 02 EDP ($150,

A subtle splash made for minimalists featuring just a single note: ambroxan, the light, clean member of the musk family.

Main image credit: @______anouk_____/ Which perfume notes do you find overwhelming? Have you tried any of these clean scents?

Share your thoughts

Comments 48

  1. Philosophy seem to have so many stunning scents. They have great sweet scents and also very clean scents. Never purchased any of their perfumes but definitely thinking about it now

  2. I have a sudden desire to smell all of these. I actually dislike perfume intensely – can’t bear it – but these sound appealing, if a little pricy for something designed to ‘not smell’.

  3. I like a fragrance that works well with my skin. These days I stick with what I know. Having something that doesn't have a fragrance defeats the purpose. Even the bottles look bland but then I might be wrong, as they may be amazing, so I wouldn't say 'no' to trying any either.

  4. So-called clean fragrances are not for me. I have a challenging skin chemistry that seems to "eat" perfumes up quickly. I need a strong-smelling perfume.

    I've reported the spam below by Jamesm12.

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