This fragrance, meant to channel the young spirit of Coco Chanel, targets younger Chanel fans. It was introduced in 2001 and is still consistently ranked on top. Those Keira Knightley ads probably don't hurt...
Coco Mademoiselle Eau de Parfum, $94 for 1.7 oz at Sephora
Chance means luck in French and this fragrance has clearly proven lucky for the brand. It's the brand's only scent that's housed in a round bottle (to symbolize a wheel of chance) and has been a best-seller since it launched.
Chance Eau Tendre Eau de Toilette, $78 for 1.7 oz at Sephora
Dolce & Gabbana
Described as "Italy in a bottle," notes include citron, lemon, Granny Smith apple, jasmine, rose, bamboo, cedar wood, amber and musk. The fruity-floral is light, making it a particularly popular warm weather choice.
Light Blue Eau de Toilette Spray, $96 for 3.3 oz at Nordstrom
"La vie est belle" is a French expression meaning "life is beautiful" and with Julia Roberts as its face and a juice that blends iris and patchouli, it becomes less surprising that a brand best known for its skincare also makes one of the best perfumes for women.
La Vie est Belle, $66 for 1 oz at Lancôme
Viktor & Rolf
Its ready-to-wear business may not be much to speak of, but the brand's fragrance business is booming. A straightforward floral, this scent has notes of patchouli, freesia, rose and orchid, and consistently ranks one of the best perfumes for women.
Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum, $165 for 3.4 oz at Macy's
While the rose and jasmine notes may make J'adore seem like more of a spring-summer scent, its approachability makes it a year-round best-seller.
J'adore Eau de Parfum, $94 for 1.7 oz at Sephora
A clean, classic and feminine scent, this is the perfect fragrance to give someone as a gift.
Amazing Grace Fragrance Eau de Toilette, $48 for 2 oz at Sephora
Given its iconic status, it may surprise some that N°5 isn't Chanel's best-selling scent. One explanation may be that it's considerably more complex than Coco Mademoiselle. Released in the early 1920s, only minimal changes have been made since its creation.
N°5 Perfume, $132 for 3.4 oz at Chanel
Yves Saint Laurent
Black Opium is a sexy-feminine scent that combines floral notes with black coffee and vanilla.
Black Opium Eau de Parfum Spray, $68 for 1 oz at YSL Beauty
Thierry Mugler's first fragrance launched a new perfume category called the "oriental gourmands," which translates into a mix of spicy and "edible" notes.
Angel Eau de Parfum Shooting Star Refillable Spray, $120 for 1.7 oz at Sephora
Anyone who has dashed out the door only to realize they forgot to spray on their favorite fragrance (or worse, deodorant) knows the uneasiness that comes with not feeling confident about the way you smell. In fact, research shows that physical attraction may actually be based on smell. According to Elizabeth Musmanno, president of The Fragrance Foundation, when it comes to the best-selling perfumes for women, it’s all about the juice. “In this business, you cannot make lemons into lemonade, no matter what you spend on packaging, marketing or advertising. The fragrance has to have a point of view. The recipe has to be right. It’s like a great meal — if it hits the spot, you’ll go back to it over and over again.”
This also explains why a number of the best perfumes for women that consistently fly off the shelves at Sephora and department stores aren’t necessarily new launches. “Chanel continues to dominate. Coco Mademoiselle, launched in 2001, has held the supreme position for a long time.” Again, Musmanno adds that while brand recognition can help, in the end, it’s about the scent. “The fashion houses can launch appealing fragrances and it doesn’t hurt if it is Chanel or Dior, but most Americans are not aware of who Viktor & Rolf are and Flowerbomb is in the top five. That means it’s a great juice and the fragrance has hit a nerve.”
Above, we rank the 10 best perfumes for women for 2016 based on popularity and sales.
[ Next: Your Definitive Guide to the Best Winter Perfumes for Women 2016 ]