How body sprays went from naff to HEAVEN SCENTS

How body sprays went from naff to heaven scents – GIULIA CROUCH reveals how the noughties fragrances have had a modern makeover

  • First launched in the 1980s, body sprays were cheap, cheerful and not good 
  • They are now back in fashion with a surprisingly sophisticated makeover 
  • In a clever new twist some even have moisturising properties and have gone from sickly vanilla to pink pepper and bitter orange 

Cast your mind back to the early Noughties, when girl bands ruled the radio and the air was thick with sweet, pungent body sprays. Ladies’ loos were afog with inexpensive aerosols from the likes of Impulse and Charlie. 

First launched in the 1980s, body sprays were cheap, cheerful and frankly naff. And for the past two decades they’ve fallen out of favour, as women have graduated to more sophisticated — and more pricey — perfumes. 

Now, however, they’re back. And they’ve had a very surprising, sophisticated makeover — out with the sickly vanilla, in with pink pepper and bitter orange. 

Even top designer brands including Chanel, Diptyque and Tom Ford have launched their own body sprays. 

Giulia Crouch (pictured) tests the new era of body sprays – which have had a modern makeover 

They are lighter and more refreshing than a standard perfume, and can be sprayed directly on clothes as well as applied to the skin. Some also have moisturising properties, a clever new twist. 

And as the cost of living crisis bites, it may help to know that the new posh body sprays mean you can indulge in your favourite scents at a fraction of the price of the original eau de parfum. Take the 100ml bottle of Chanel’s classic Coco Mademoiselle, which will cost you £126 while the spray is just £37. 

So why the gulf in price? 

The biggest difference between a body spray and a perfume is the ratio of concentrated, scented oil to water and alcohol. Body sprays have less oil and more alcohol than perfumes — making them cheaper. 

That said, having less oil does mean they have limited staying power. 

So, should you switch your perfume for one of the sophisticated new sprays? We put the best to the test… 

LIGHT, BRIGHT AND ZESTY PICK-ME-UP 

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Fresh Body Moisture Mist 100ml, £37 (johnlewis.com) 

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Fresh Body Moisture Mist 100ml, £37 (johnlewis.com). It’s light and refreshing with the recognisable scents of bright, zesty orange and sweet rose

This signature smell from Chanel works wonderfully as a mist instead of a perfume. It’s light and refreshing with the recognisable scents of bright, zesty orange and sweet rose and patchouli instantly coming through. 

What’s more, it’s well-balanced and smooth and feels moisturising on your skin. The mist form, which can be applied all over your body, is designed to carry in your handbag to spritz onthe-go. Unquestionably luxurious. 4/5 

SPICY SCENT – AND A SILKY FINISH 

Diptyque Do Son Body Mist 200ml, £46 (diptyqueparis.com) 

Diptyque Do Son Body Mist 200ml, £46 (diptyqueparis.com) With notes from tuberose flowers, citrus from orange leaves, musky depth and a faint hint of spicy pink peppercorn

With notes from tuberose flowers, citrus from orange leaves, musky depth and a faint hint of spicy pink peppercorn, this has it all. It’s perfectly sweet without becoming overpowering. 

It’s also a little different to the rest in that it has a milky texture which, when rubbed onto the skin, dries to a silky, soft powder finish. Mist it over your body for an incredible fragrance and great moisturisation. 5/5

SADLY SYNTHETIC, SHORT-LIVED SPRAY 

Tom Ford Lost Cherry All Over Body Spray 150ml, £75 (johnlewis.com) 

Tom Ford Lost Cherry All Over Body Spray 150ml, £75 (johnlewis.com) The cherry smelt synthetic and went from overpoweringly strong at first spray to a nothingy, powdery sweetness after about five minutes

My expectations for this were high. Promising ‘black cherry’s ripe flesh dripping in cherry liqueur with a teasing touch of bitter almond’, it sounded good enough to eat, let alone spray on my body. But despite its grandiose description, it just didn’t pass the sniff test. 

The cherry smelt synthetic and went from overpoweringly strong at first spray to a nothingy, powdery sweetness after about five minutes. The spray-can design meant the application felt rather harsh — more like doing some graffiti than dousing yourself in a gorgeous fragrance. 1/5 

SOPHISTICATED CAMPARI HIT 

The White Company Pink Pepper, Petitgrain and Cedarwood Mist 125ml, £22 (thewhitecompany.com) 

The White Company Pink Pepper, Petitgrain and Cedarwood Mist 125ml, £22 (thewhitecompany.com)

I was blown away by how good this is. It’s bittersweet and smells remarkably like the Italian liqueur Campari — but in a really good way. 

With peppery notes, compelling bitter orange and relaxing cedarwood, this fragrance is complex and delicious. There are backnotes of bright geranium and calming lavender, which add a soothing layer. It’s sophisticated, different, with great staying power throughout the day. 5/5

SHERBERT LEMON OR MINTY MAGNOLIA? 

Cowshed Refreshing Face & Body Mist 100ml, £11 (cowshed.com) 

Cowshed Refreshing Face & Body Mist 100ml, £11 (cowshed.com) It’s jolly and awakening with a fresh zesty smell and a pleasing feel on the skin

Though it’s flavoured with spearmint, magnolia and aloe vera, to me this smells exactly like lemon sherbet. Made for Cowshed, the brand developed by posh members’ club Soho House, it’s jolly and awakening with a fresh zesty smell and a pleasing feel on the skin, but the overall effect is that of a nice body wash rather than an alternative to perfume. 3/5 

A SUBTLE FLORAL SPRITZ FOR SOFT SKIN 

Rituals Flourishing Hair and Body Mist, Cherry Blossom 50ml, £19 (rituals.com) 

Rituals Flourishing Hair and Body Mist, Cherry Blossom 50ml, £19 (rituals.com) This delicate, relaxing fragrance is inspired by cherry blossom season in Japan

This delicate, relaxing fragrance is inspired by cherry blossom season in Japan. The subtle floral scent can be spritzed all over your body without being overpowering. It contains rice milk extract which leaves your skin feeling soft, supple and glowing. 

It’s great on your arms and legs instead of a traditional body moisturiser, but its sweetness makes it more of a day-time than evening fragrance, for me. 3/5 

BRING THE SUMMER HOLIDAYS HOME NUXE 

Sun Delicious Fragrant Water 100ml, £29 (marksandspencer.com) 

Sun Delicious Fragrant Water 100ml, £29 (marksandspencer.com) With sweet orange, petitgrain, coconut, tiare flowers, vanilla and musk

This delightful spritz from the French luxury skincare brand smells like being on a sun-soaked holiday. With sweet orange, petitgrain, coconut, tiare flowers, vanilla and musk, it’s the perfect counterpoint between floral and tropical. It’s super-soft on the skin and ideal when a moment of instant refreshment is required. 

As well as applying to your skin you can also spray a small amount into your hairbrush for wonderfully scented hair. 4/5 

CLEAN AND UNIQUE, ELEGANT AMBER 

Juliette Has A Gun Not A Hair And Body Mist 75ml, £50 (selfridges.com) 

Juliette Has A Gun Not A Hair And Body Mist 75ml, £50 (selfridges.com) This water-based hair and body mist is a real wildcard from a niche French perfume house

This water-based hair and body mist is a real wildcard from a niche French perfume house (which happens to be founded by the great-grandson of fragrance icon Nina Ricci). 

It has a clean, unique and elegant smell with hints of amber and musk. The antioxidant formula aims to balance pH levels in hair and skin and to restore your hair’s shine and skin’s luminosity. 

At £50 it’s not cheap but it does feel delightfully soft on the skin. If you like floral scents, this is not the spray for you, but if you’re after something more distinctive, this is perfect. 4/5

SUPER-SWEET SYRUPY SALTED CARAMEL 

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Body Fragrance Mist, Pistachio and Salted Caramel 240ml, £33 (boots.com) 

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Body Fragrance Mist, Pistachio and Salted Caramel 240ml, £33 (boots.com)

Bursting with pistachio and salted caramel, this (from the makers of cult moisturiser, Brazilian Bum Bum Cream) will make you smell like you’ve fallen into a cake shop. It’s a super-sweet scent that would probably appeal to a younger demographic, but unfortunately is too syrupy for me. 

A plus is that it does leave your skin smooth and supple, and you can use it on your hair, too. 2/5 

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