The Pleasure of Scented Creams

I am a recent convert to the pleasure of a scented body cream. I used to think that a plain lotion was sufficient, and as for fragrance, I could always spritz on a perfume. Yet, when a friend gave me a jar of Chanel No 5 Body Cream, I discovered how enjoyable such a luxurious product can be. Not only does applying it entail a special pampering ritual, it leaves one’s skin fragrant and moisturized.

To ensure a lasting scent, selecting a cream with a high proportion of aromatic oils is essential. I recommend testing a cream the way one would try a fragrance—applying it on clean skin and taking an inhale throughout the day to observe how the scent evolves. For instance, Chanel No 5 Body Cream has a brighter floral fragrance than the matching perfume, but its musky drydown lingers for the whole day. It creates an intimate sillage, which makes Body Cream ideal as a daytime scent choice. While it can certainly be layered with No 5 Eau de Toilette or Eau de Parfum, Body Cream pairs perfectly with an iris composition like 28 La Pausa or a violet bonbon like Misia, both from Chanel’s Les Exclusifs collection.

Frédéric Malle’s answer to lotion is the decadent Body Butter, which comes scented with the most opulent fragrances from his collection like Carnal Flower, Musc Ravageur and Une Rose. Iris Poudre Body Butter is particularly sumptuous, with the softness of tonka bean, iris, and musk enhancing the velvety texture of the cream. The scent of Body Butter is close to the original perfume created by Pierre Bourdon, but the accent is on suave iris and roasted almonds. Like all Body Butters, Iris Poudre melts effortlessly into skin, with no oily trace. Since it’s highly concentrated, a little goes a long way. The scent, however, lasts well, making an extra layer of fragrance superfluous.

While creams lend themselves to the rich, enveloping aromas of musk, vanilla, and white flowers, L’Artisan Parfumeur’s Premier Figuier Body Lotion offers a different experience. Inspired by the house’s bright fragrance of green figs, it smells crisp and effervescent. The scent evokes a salty sea breeze, cool sand and the taste of a sun warmed fig plucked straight off the tree. In other words, a perfect Mediterranean summer fantasy.

What are your favorite scented body products? 

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, Makanai body cream, gently scented with camellia. This Japanese line has a wonderful range of traditional body products.

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48 Comments

  • Sandra: For evening (or anytime) I like Coco Noir body cream. I like it better than the actual EdP. It last and lasts.

    Shalimar and Mon Guerlain are some other body creams I have.

    I am interested in the cream you have in the photo… April 3, 2023 at 8:55am Reply

    • Caitlenn: Hi, Sandra. Hey, Victoria, I’m with Sandra re the product in the photo. Is it Makanai from Japan? I’m already looking into Makanai’s availability in the USA, but would love to hear more. Is it a camellia soliflore cream? April 5, 2023 at 8:55am Reply

    • Caitlenn: Found it; if it’s Makanai’s Signature Secret Recipe Hand Cream (https://makanaibeauty.com/collections/all-line-up/products/kanazawa-beauty-hand-cream). Not pricey. Brand reports notes to be: Soothing Frankincense: Pine, citrus & spice; Awakening Yuzu: Tart grapefruit & orange; Forever Camellia: Green tea & black tea. April 5, 2023 at 9:35am Reply

      • Sandra: Thank you so much April 5, 2023 at 10:01am Reply

      • hera: thank you, too bad they don’t ship to Canada. This cream sounds great. April 5, 2023 at 3:43pm Reply

  • Donna: Since Chanel 5 L’Eau does not linger on the skin long, I’ve added the body lotion. I love to use it alone on a hot summer day as I still notice it on the skin at bedtime. And although it’s a lotion, it works like a moisturizing cream which makes it really lovely. April 3, 2023 at 9:31am Reply

  • Marsi: I’ve had a jar of Chanel Coco body cream continuously since the late ‘80s, if I’m not mistaken. One whiff takes me back to being a young woman striking out of my own. To me it’s redolent of plush beauty and the promise of youth. That’s what life felt like at that age. (Also confusion and drama, but no need to go there!)

    Nowadays I more frequently wear Shalimar body cream, mostly on tender spots like my belly, inner arms, and the back of my neck, but when I have a day I know will be challenging, I go full body with the body cream, then do a quick spray of EDT over my clothes and a few drops of parfum of my wrists. I also take a drop between my fingertips and press it onto my earlobes and run my fingers through my hair to finish. I call it “suiting up.” It’s like putting on my armor for a tough day. April 3, 2023 at 10:18am Reply

    • Susan Williams: I love the idea of pressing it onto your earlobes! Definitely going to give that a try. April 3, 2023 at 11:22am Reply

      • Marsi: I learned the earlobe trick from an eternally chic friend of over 40 years, who has always been the sophisticated older sister I never had. Elaine would use Samsara parfum and smelled like heaven. April 3, 2023 at 1:10pm Reply

  • Hera: I love body creams and lotions too and experiment layering them with my perfumes. My favourites are CD Ambre Nuit body cream,Le Labo Rose lotion, Kai Rose, l’Artisan la chasse aux papillons. April 3, 2023 at 10:40am Reply

  • Nancy Chan: I love scented body creams. I have a Chanel no.5 body cream in a metal paint tube which I bought as part of the Chanel factory collection for the 100th Anniversary. The no.5 body oil in the plastic oil can is lovely too, the scent differs from the body cream.

    L’Occitane also makes lovely scented body creams, balms and lotions. No need to use perfume. April 3, 2023 at 10:50am Reply

  • Alityke: I mourn the loss of the Dune bath & body products. The body cream was so deliciously decadent to apply.
    I wish more houses still did scented products April 3, 2023 at 11:01am Reply

    • Aida: I’ve just rediscovered Dune and since the scent has less staying power as an Eau de toilette, the ancillaries you speak of would have contributed such a delightful decadence:-) April 3, 2023 at 11:58am Reply

      • Alityke: Dune used to have body lotion, body cream, soap & I think I remember a bubble bath. The bath was my ultimate escape as a young mum & working full time. I used them all on Sunday evenings. A perfect relaxing hour that set me up for the week to come.
        I’m currently using Madonna Truth or Dare body milk & body wash as bubble bath. Not quite the Dune experience but beautiful & very cheap from discounters April 3, 2023 at 3:29pm Reply

        • Caitlenn: When my fave scented body cream was discontinued I looked for truly unscented body creams that I could add my parfum to — one(s) that would not alter the parfum in any way. Found only 3: First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration; CeraVe Moisturizing Cream and CeraVe SA Cream for Rough & Bumpy Skin Moisturizing Cream. Spritz your perfume in and mix with a wooden spatula (some metals can impact the formulas, so I avoid) and let set for a day or two after mixing. All three perform very well — all day long. First Aid Beauty is the most sensual.

          Hope these help! April 5, 2023 at 9:58am Reply

          • Ruth: Vaseline Intensive Care Advance Repair lotion might be another option. It is the lotion that I do this with. It is unscented, thick, and doesn’t change the fragrance. April 24, 2023 at 1:30pm Reply

  • Susan Williams: I, too, adore body creams and lotions. I have several Chanel lotions but my all-time, hands-down favorite is Aromatics Elixir body smoother by Clinique. I cannot tell you how many strangers have stopped to tell me “you smell so good”. April 3, 2023 at 11:20am Reply

  • Michelle: I absolutely adore Narciso Rodriguez For Her (black container) body cream. It’s musky and intimate and an excellent companion to the more floral perfume. I will often wear it by itself and I always get compliments when someone catches a whiff. I simply adore it. I wish more companies would do creams, they can really amp up the staying power and add depth to the scent. April 3, 2023 at 11:25am Reply

    • Trudy: Thank you for bringing this to my attention! I love NR for Her (black bottle). I didn’t know there was a body cream but I can see that the fragrance would lend itself so well to a cream. I will check it out. April 3, 2023 at 2:26pm Reply

  • Eladax: I looove body creams and scented body products in general. The ones that I have in rotation right now: No 5 body cream ( almost done), Gabrielle ( lovely but doesn’t last long), FM Un Rose ( the oils separate from the cream so I have to mix it every time I use it), Amyris Femme (Maison Francis Kurkdjian body oil) -I love it, I don’t need to use a lot and last well. April 3, 2023 at 11:39am Reply

  • SoSuSam: I had a jar of the FM Iris Poudre body cream in the past. It was glorious, as you said. After that was gone, I got a jar of the DvN par FM body cream–the texture was different than the Iris Poudre cream, but it was still beautifully scented. I now have the FM Musc Ravageur body cream and love it. Those creams are so scented that, as you said, no need to wear the perfume at all! I used to absolutely adore the body creams from Parfums Delrae, but I believe the entire line has been discontinued, alas. I really wish Chanel still did an accompanying body lotion or cream (and other bath products) for No 19! (And for Cristalle EDT) If you or anyone knows of a scented body cream that works well with No 19, please share! April 3, 2023 at 11:53am Reply

    • Trudy: I’ve wanted to try the FM Musc Ravaguer body cream for a while now. I think its time I go for it. I agree with you about Parfums Delrae. I was so disappointed when the line was discontinued. I loved several of the products in the line. I just don’t know what happened. The fragrances were so lovely and then they were just gone. April 3, 2023 at 2:19pm Reply

      • SoSuSam: Those Parfums Delrae fragrances were incredible, weren’t they? I had at least 5 of them(!) and 3 of the body creams (which were sumptuous and incredibly fragrant). I miss that line. I believe it was discontinued 5 or so years ago–not sure exactly why, it seems like maybe she wanted to sell the line but there were no buyers? (I read something about it on CaFleurBon but don’t recall the particulars.) Such a loss. As for the FM Musc Ravageur body cream, I hope you love it if you go for it! It is so fragrant that I have to wear it sparingly–which is great, because then it lasts longer. The texture isn’t as gorgeous as the Delrae cream texture was, but it’s definitely a thick butter. I hope you love it. 🙂 April 3, 2023 at 6:36pm Reply

  • OperaFan: I have the Chanel Paris Deauville body lotion, and I love it! The scent is so refreshing and pairs well with many fragrances.
    I’m a long-time Coco lover. Coco was my first Chanel, and I’ve heard many good things about the body cream. That one’s on my wish list…. April 3, 2023 at 12:09pm Reply

    • Marsi: I have the Chanel Venise and Riviera body lotions, and they’re wonderfully scented and moisturizing. April 3, 2023 at 2:53pm Reply

      • OperaFan: Riviera sounds wonderful, and you’re the one who’s comment really impressed me about keeping Coco cream in your continuous inventory! April 3, 2023 at 5:27pm Reply

      • SoSuSam: Oh yes, I forgot I have the Chanel Paris-Venise body lotion (and bath gel). I agree–it’s wonderfully scented and moisturizing! April 3, 2023 at 6:26pm Reply

  • Silvermoon: I absolutely love scented body creams, lotions, butters, etc. and also scented soaps. I have used so many across the years that I don’t even know where to begin. One outstanding one was the FM Iris Poudre. My gosh, but it lasted and got lots of attention! However I find the FM body creams extremely expensive so avoid them. Much better value (with equal or similar pleasure) can be found with L’Occitaine, Jo Malone, Forest Essentials (they now have a shop in Covent Garden so no need to trek to India!) among others. Also, sometimes one simply wants one that stays a little more in the background.

    I have never tried any of the Chanel ones, but might be tempted to try given all the positive comments. April 3, 2023 at 12:15pm Reply

  • Aurora: What a lovely gift to receive No 5 body cream! I don’t wear Youth Dew the perfume but I have and enjoy the lotion and I get the vintage bath oil on eBay, I think it’s not available anymore, and I perfume my wrists with it, it’s my favorite form of Youth Dew. April 3, 2023 at 12:32pm Reply

    • Klaas: Hey there Aurora, Guerlain used to do glorious bath oils in the 80’s of almost all their perfumes. I also used them as substitutes for the actual edt’s that I couldn’t afford….they came in cute 15ml. glass bottles and smelled just like the real thing. Wearing them on skin was a delight, though I remember they stained my shirt collars! Shalimar, Chamade, Mitsouko, L’Heure Bleue and Parure…….the lot! April 3, 2023 at 6:07pm Reply

      • Aurora: Hi Klaas, so glad it triggered your memory. It’s a pity that Guerlain does fewer ancillary products these days, I bet you smelled wonderful. April 4, 2023 at 1:25am Reply

        • Klaas: Hahahaha, I did! I turned some heads (noses?) also at my provincial highschool……a 16 year old boy wearing L’Heure Bleue was not exactly common in these days……. April 4, 2023 at 6:35am Reply

      • Deanna: Hello Klaas!
        I did exactly the same as you in the 80’s and used all the Guerlain bath oils.
        My first introduction to no5 was with the bath oil, I had never smelt anything like it…….. wish they’d bring it back. April 4, 2023 at 2:10am Reply

        • Klaas: They were absolute bliss! The whole floor used to smell divine when someone used them in the bath. Such good memories….. April 4, 2023 at 6:38am Reply

  • Hamamelis: I liked Andy Tauer’s bodyoils a lot, but they are no longer available. His soaps are wonderful.
    I also like Dyptique’s Lait Frais, with a lovely orangeblossom scent. It is especially nice in hot weather. April 3, 2023 at 1:03pm Reply

    • Toni: If a fragrance I like has a bath oil, I add a few drops to my favorite unscented body cream for my own scented cream.
      My first experiment was with Royal Secret Bath Oil years ago. The cream was so delightful, I have continued my experiment. April 3, 2023 at 2:17pm Reply

  • Emily: You’re reminding me of the whipped body butter I used to make: shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, & jojoba oil. I’d add a bit of orange oil & vanilla to the natural sweet scents of the butters. Simple but o so luxe. May need to dig up that old recipe. April 3, 2023 at 1:43pm Reply

  • Nancy Chan: Forgot to add Nivea body creme to my list. April 3, 2023 at 1:56pm Reply

  • rickyrebarco: Chanel body creams are the best. Byredo also makes nice lotions that have long-lasting scents. April 3, 2023 at 4:12pm Reply

  • Debi Sen Gupta: I really love the body mists by forest essentials. They linger on much more than most perfumes on me. And when layered with their soaps and scrubs, my bathtime turns very decadent. April 3, 2023 at 11:09pm Reply

  • Cyndi: I love the Chanel No. 5 cream. I use this with the edt version of No. 5. It feels very luxurious and helps make the fragrance last all day. I wish other perfume companies had a bath and body line. To me that’s the height of luxury. April 4, 2023 at 4:23am Reply

  • Shannon: I have never quite found a scented body cream that I love enough to wear all over, especially being migraine prone, but my absolute favourite simple treat throughout the day is a scented hand cream.

    It’s rare to find interesting hand cream where where I live, but I notice that Japanese and Korean brands often have smaller hand creams (perfect for my desk or my bag) which are in a variety of different scents, from the ordinary to the unusual and fun.

    My favourite affordable, widely available (in Japan) hand cream is Atrix Honey Lemon hand cream, which is about 400 yen I believe. For a little bit more premium, I am also trying Yamada Matsu Sandalwood Hand Cream. It is delightful – somehow an airy sandalwood that lingers just enough.

    There’s something in stopping what I am doing, looking away from the screen, applying a lotion with a pleasant smell as I think through a problem or simply take a rest, before returning to my workday. April 4, 2023 at 8:47am Reply

    • Shannon: Edit – just checked the package – it is Atrix Beauty Charge Honey & Yuzu 🙂 April 4, 2023 at 8:49am Reply

  • carole: I love body cream. I’ve been using Sisley Velvet Saffron body cream-goes well with most scents, and smells good enough on its own. It’s pretty pricey-I can find it for half off at the discounters. I tried the universal body cream from Goutal-I didn’t care for it. Was way less nice than their old body creams were, and I didn’t find the scent really blended with the Goutal scents. I still have a stash of their older formulations for body cream in my fridge-they were the best quality I’ve ever tried. I’m glad to see so many suggestions for great products here. April 4, 2023 at 9:37am Reply

  • Yasmina: my favorite perfume is l’heure bleue, unfortunately the body lotion is gone … If someone have an idea of body lotion beautiful as l’heure bleue, thanks! April 4, 2023 at 4:53pm Reply

    • hera: I had some vintage L’Heure Bleue left in a bottle, only a couple of drops, i added them to an unscented lotion and voilà. It smells amazing. April 18, 2023 at 12:01pm Reply

  • Gudrun: What a wonderful post, again. Thank you very much.
    I love the body lotion by AESOP with orange rind. It is very costly, but even at almost daily use, it lasts for months. I love the scent, it lifts my mood, when mornings are cold and grey. But I also enjoy its bright perfume in spring and summer.
    I’ve long been wanting to buy a shower gel by Atelier Cologne. Unfortunately they dont ship to Europe (from France) and the boutique I used to go to in Paris is close (rue des Francs Bourgeois). I checked online and their only pointe de vente in Paris is at la Samaritaine. I dont particularly love this excessively chic and stylish grande magasine, because I used to shop there when I was a student in Paris before it closed in 2005 (and the reopened in 2021). Long story short, I went there when I was in Paris early this week, but they had no shower gel nor body lotions. I was so disappointed that I went on an online search. I found it online (at minus 20%) and have it shipped to my home address. Both Orange sanguine and Clementina California (gel plus cream). And then I went to Monoprix and bought the shower gel Bois d’Orangier by Roger et Gallet. Have you tried any of the above?
    Have a lovely easter, if you celebrate. April 6, 2023 at 3:09am Reply

    • Silvermoon: Hello Gudrun,
      I just bought the R&G Bois d’Orangier lotion and soaps. I love this one especially in the spring and summer. I can’t find it in the U.K. anymore, so took advantage of a work trip to Italy to pick it up in a pharmacy. I haven’t tried the Aesop one, but will try it. They have some lovely lotions and potions. May 2, 2023 at 12:07pm Reply

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