Six Scents to SwearBy from Jessica Matlin, Harper’s Bazaar Beauty Director and Fat Mascara Podcaster

Fragrance might seem like another category in the litany of beauty products, but to Jessica Matlin, beauty director at Harper’s Bazaar and co-host of the award-winning beauty podcast Fat Mascara, fragrances are exquisite. “Perfume is very complex and it’s not often appreciated for the science that it is. To me, fragrance is very emotional in a way that other products are not. It gives you a feeling, whether it’s transporting you to a different place or letting you embody a different persona.” Jessica is passionate, sharp-witted and super knowledgeable when it comes to her beauty insights—so with this much breadth of wisdom in a constantly evolving industry, how does she choose the scents that truly stick out? “Fragrance preferences are like music—you might be obsessed with a band or a song, but it might not do anything for your friend. To me, it has to—no pun intended—strike a chord with you.” She recommends the simple experience of browsing and trial to find that next favorite scent. “I think going to a specialty perfume shop is great because the salespeople are really educated about perfume and they learn about it directly from the brand owners. It doesn’t have to be the scary perfume-spraying lady—those days are gone—but you can let yourself be educated, guided and pampered for a few minutes. You can say ‘I’m not buying today,’ and that’s okay. Fragrance isn’t rocket science, but there’s definitely an art to it that can be shared and enjoyed.” So, whether or not Jessica’s scent Swears are your particular jam, we think she’s as close as we can get to a perfume professor. We’ll gladly trust her expertise when it comes to the following six inspiring scents that she swears by.

Heure Exquise by Goutal

It means magic hour or exquisite hour, and when I smelled this, I thought ‘I have to have this!’ To me, this is the most beautiful perfume in the world. My grandmother wasn’t a fancy lady but she had some fancy things. She was a seamstress in the garment district, and she had a closet that had furs, dresses heavy with sequins, a Chanel perfume and a few lipsticks. This [perfume] smells like all of those things together. It smells like finery, and it smells like it’s for a woman. This is probably my numero uno.

Black Opium by Yves Saint Laurent

I don’t want to say there are rules with fragrance, because it’s more of a feeling for me—like I don’t want hot cocoa in the summer, so this black opium, I love. This is one of my favorites. A lot of the big blockbuster fragrances I don’t like because to me, they all smell the same. But Black Opium is like a hit film, it’s like a blockbuster film that you’re not ashamed to say that you love. It definitely is powerful and this one is a couple years old so it’s not super fresh, but it’s warm, it’s cozy. To me, this is winter. It’s like a warm, sexy hug. And it’s not too sexy that you don’t want to wear it if you’re just out with friends; it doesn’t feel vulgar, it feels friendly but still really sexy.

Wood Sage & Sea Salt by Jo Malone

One of my favorite places in the world is Cornwall, and this is inspired by the English coastline. It’s very clean but it’s got a wood-salt scent so it’s not a beachy, spring-break fragrance; it’s like you can smell the salt, the rocks, you can almost hear the waves crashing. It’s a great fragrance for when it’s cloudy and you want to put on a sweater—you have to get close to smell it.

Lilac Path by Aerin

This smells exactly like lilacs—it’s astonishing. Not many fragrances smell like lilacs, it’s very hard to find. It’s very simple, and it’s beautiful.

Don't Cry For Me by Altaia

This one is very similar to Lilac Path, but this is jasmine; it smells like jasmine and fresh air, and it’s the kind of fragrance you can put on and just not think about. It smells like the real deal.

White Rose & Lemon Leaves by Jo Loves

Jo Malone left her namesake company, and Jo Loves is her new brand. This has white rose and lemon leaves—it just smells like what it is—white rose and lemon leaves! The rose scent isn’t too heavy; there’s a freshness to it because of the lemon leaves. I’ll mix it with other fragrances, like a lemon spritzer. Jo Malone was like the godmother of fragrance mixing, and while she didn’t tell me to mix this with anything, I like to mix it with a men’s fragrance from Penhaligon. I just like the duality of the heaviness with this one.

We think you deserve to buy only awesome things. We've asked the most discerning women out there to share what they honestly, truly swear by so you can get on with life and find your next favorite product, faster (and without all the sponsored BS).