Over on The Women’s Room, my home from home, our features on what perfume to buy teenage boys always get big hits, I write with authority having three picky sons of my own, so maybe that helped.
Smell is a major issue with teen boys, it’s like at 14, they suddenly become aware they actually produce an odour and it’s not always a good one. My youngest son once told me ‘Mum, boys need something strong to cover up the fact they haven’t washed and are wearing clothes that have been on their bedroom floor for weeks.’ Such is the base line we are working with here.
Teen boys will never buy perfume for themselves, why would they? If you’re in any doubt about that, read here. Their first fragrance, bought by an obliging parent or relative, will be influential and you will be smelling it for a while, so it pays to ensure it’s a good one.
Choose wisely. Start light and think ‘quality’. Some boys will want to smell like everyone else, in which case buy ’em i Million by Paco Rabanne, the smell of shopping mall hang-outs the length of the country. Others may appreciate something delicious that no one else has.
Good value and quirky (arty types and independent thinkers)
A good place to start is the Demeter range of single note fragrances with easy to understand names like Clean Skin and Sunshine. Consider Thunderstorm, which smells astonishingly like rain on hot scorched earth and whose title might prove a conversation starter. It’s light, interesting and well priced.
Breath of God is by Gorilla Perfumes, the fragrance side kick of Lush cosmetics and is remarkably good for the price. It’s a mash up of woody, fruity, smokey notes that create a confident -but not alarming- first fragrance. The ‘no animal testing’ and strong planet-friendly ethics of Lush might also appeal. Great website too.
Quality buys for discerning guys (quietly stylish)
Citrus smells are pretty much loved by everybody, hence their ubiquitousness in anything fragranced. it makes them a good jumping off point for first timers. A big hit with my boys has been Blood Orange by Shay & Blue, middle son (now 24) still rates this as his favourite smell ever. it’s richly orange-y, almost juicy, but with a manly leathery grounding. You can buy it in Marks & Spencer, which may help.
Angela Flanders has Artillery No1, a delightful, bright and lemony citrus scent based on Napoleon’s favourite cologne. Could appeal to war historians. Angela’s fragrances are a stylishly niche habit to develop.
Jo Malone is a safe go-to brand, if nothing else the packaging is a delight. The brand released Wood Sage & Sea Salt with a marketing campaign that featured a boy in the imagery -a first – in order to be seen as androgynous. This is a lovely fresh, salty breeze of herby green-ness that almost everyone I’ve sprayed it on loves. My boys went through the bottle in record time.
Punchy but cute (Bright sparks and the image-conscious)
Viktor & Rolf’s Spicebomb is a noisy spice cloud on first spray, but calms down to be a warm and nuzzle-worthy woody oriental. The bottle is shaped like a grenade, enough said.
Aesop’s first fine fragrance is Marrakech Intense, which smells just like ginger beer. It’s brightly spicy and gingery with a real zing that any teenager -boy or girl- has loved.