The 7 Best Skin Scents for Men (Because Your Fragrance Doesn't Always Have to Shout)

It's pretty clear that not all fragrances are made the same. Aside from the different notes and accords, fragrances are also created for more reasons than you think. Case in point: skin scents. Skin scents are, as the name suggests, scents that are so subtle that you can only ever smell them within an inch or less of someone.

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OK, so I know what you're probably thinking: "Aren't skin scents a little useless?" Well, that's where you're wrong. The goal here isn't the same as your strong, long-lasting type of fragrance. With skin scents, less is truly more. Plus, it all depends on the skin scent of your choice. There are some that can mimic your skin, but there are also ones that are strong enough to be noticed.

From Byredo's fresh, clean take with Sunday Cologne to Maison Martin Margiela's just-got-out-of-bed, linen-like mix with Lazy Sunday Morning, here are the best barely-there skin scents for when you want to make maximum impact with little effort.

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1| Frederic Malle L'Eau d'Hiver


Frederic Malle
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Created by Jean-Claude Ellena, L'Eau d'Hiver is a soft floral with a mild citrus effect. At first spray, L'Eau d'Hiver is already quite a sheer and light fragrance. Minutes later, most of it settles and instantly disappears. As a skin scent, it does its job almost too well—with many comparing its sillage to lotion.

2| Escentric Molecules Molecule 01

Photo by Escentric Molecules.

Escentric Molecules
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If Molecule 01 sounds all science-y, that's because it is. Escentric Molecules designed this scent to smell different on everyone. And instead of a typical fragrance, what you get is your own natural musk with a woody nuance. The only thing is, since it does smell different on everyone, it pays to test it out before purchasing a bottle.

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3| Byredo Sunday Cologne

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Byredo is known for its range of subtle scents. So, it's a no-brainer that at least one of those is a skin scent. The woody aromatic Sunday Cologne has cardamom, bergamot, star anise, lavender, vetiver, and more—all the makings of a good clean scent. Once it settles, it comes close to your skin with a casual yet masculine finish.

4| Maison Martin Margiela Lazy Sunday Morning

Photo by Maison Martin Margiela.

Maison Martin Margiela
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Looking for something a bit different from the regular vetiver, citrus, and bergamot mix? Lazy Sunday Morning has got you covered. The mix of pear, lily-of-the-valley, rose, orange blossom, and more make a striking fragrance that mimics skin and bed linens.

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5| Diptyque Fleur de Peau

Photo by RUSTAN'S.


Another floral that works is Diptyque's Fleur de Peau. With top notes of bergamot and pink pepper, it's a more powdery take on a skin scent—ultimately, leaning toward more feminine notes. Still, it's a must-try if only as a change from typical musky fragrances. Fleur de Peau is said to be a faint, non-offensive scent that's stronger than body wash or mist.

6| Tom Ford for Men

Photo by TOM FORD.

Tom Ford
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Tom Ford has been known in the fragrance world for his strong offerings. One of his early releases, Tom Ford for Men, however, acts much like a skin scent. The musky mix starts strong, thanks to ginger, mandarin orange, basil, bergamot, tobacco leaf, leather, to name a few. But, it goes on to become a skin scent after a while. Don't worry, it's still detectable but only faintly.

More: The Trick to Understanding Fragrances (And Figuring Out What Works Best For You)

7| Creed Silver Mountain Water

Photo by CREED.

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Now, Creed's Silver Mountain Water isn't a full skin scent. We'd place it between that and a medium projection fragrance, but if you're new to skin scents, this is a great bottle to pick up. With notes of bergamot, mandarin, green tea, black currants, it's a fresh yet complex and works great as a signature scent.

More: How to Create a Personal Scent by Mixing and Layering Fragrances

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About The Author
Paolo Chua
Associate Style Editor
Paolo Chua is the Associate Style Editor at Esquire Philippines, where he writes about fashion and grooming. Before joining Esquire Philippines, he was a writer at Town & Country Philippines.
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