I was born in 1985, so most of my teen years were spent in the 90s. From skirt trousers to Spice Girls and butterfly clips to caring for your Tamagotchi, there was a lot to get excited about. But one thing that stands out in my mind is the fragrances of the 90s. There was something about them that made them totally unique and nostalgic.
Lots of fragrances were popular but the school changing rooms were bursting with a cloud of vanilla, musk, and fruity aromas that instantly take me back. So I decided to create this guide on some of the most popular perfumes from the 1990s.
Discover the most popular 90s perfumes by watching this video:
15 Of The Most Popular Women’s Perfumes From The 90s
1. Charlie Blue Revlon
Charlie Blue was the original in a lineup of other Charlie ‘colors’ and one that, looking back, had a very mature aroma thanks to the aldehydes. Despite this, it was favored by young girls all over the world.
With white floral notes of jasmine, gardenia, and white lily floating alongside a vanilla and musk base, it’s almost the scent of the 90s. Charlie Blue was incredibly feminine and really packed a punch in terms of projection. All of that and it was something you could buy with your pocket money!
2. CK One by Calvin Klein
CK One was a unisex fragrance that you can still get your hands on today. One of Calvin Klein’s most popular fragrance releases, this was the designer perfume that you just had to own.
Launched in 1994 and bursting with citrus and fruity notes, CK One had a distinct smell that felt classy and elegant at the same time as being youthful and daring. It was by no means the strongest perfume out there but it was incredibly versatile and as a teen, made you feel that little bit more grown-up.
3. The Body Shop Vanilla Perfume Oil
I remember that little clear round bottle as if it were yesterday. And the rich, almost sickly sweet scent of vanilla that filled the school corridors. All of the key 90s scent notes were included; jasmine, musk, amber, and lily of the valley.
The Body Shop Vanilla Perfume Oil was almost a rite of passage. You were nobody until you’d owned a bottle of this warm, delicious fragrance. It was pretty bold and lasted ages on the skin. It certainly announced your arrival.
4. Elizabeth Arden Sunflowers
Sunflowers was another bottle that I recall having on my dresser in the 90s and it also featured on the vanity units of almost all of my friends. Honestly, looking back, I’m not sure why we were all so enamored by it. It’s pretty overpowering and has a very distinct scent that was far too mature for my 15-year-old self to truly appreciate.
It was certainly more of a fashion statement. Now, if I were to wear Sunflowers, I’d opt for it on a warm summer’s day to make the most of those powerful floral notes.
5. Far Away by Avon
Far Away is one of the Cheap perfumes from the 90s that made a real impact. My best friend’s mom used to douse herself in this and she was a real ‘hip’ mom so we really looked up to her. The fragrance felt grown up and sexy and to this day I think of her if I catch a whiff.
The bottle with its black tassel was just as iconic and this really was a unique scent. Far Away is an amber floral fragrance with a lot of fruity notes like coconut. It was perfect as a summer scent and Avon still sells it now, albeit in an updated flacon.
6. Bath & Body Works Plumeria
One of the best Bath and Body Works perfumes from the 90s was Plumeria. I’m pretty sure I’ve seen a few bottles still knocking about online but I can’t guarantee the composition will be the same. There were also a lot of brands that tried to imitate this scent but none did it quite as well.
Heavily fruity with notes of jasmine, Plumeria had a real tropical, summery vibe. It was presented in a cute and cool bottle which made it even more popular with young girls at the time. And being a fragrance mist, it was ideal for a hot day when you wanted to feel super sweet and sexy.
7. Clinique Happy
I recently got a free sample of Happy and I have to say that I was amazed at how it took me back. This was launched in 1998 when I was right at the beginning of my fragrance discovery and back then, it reminded me of the fresh pages of a magazine (maybe because of those little rub and sniff pages you used to get!)
Smelling it today was a whole new experience and I totally understood the freshness and joy that the brand is trying to convey. Citrus notes with freesia, rose, and jasmine just screams femininity and grace. There’s that all important hint of musk in the base and the delicate character makes it a wonderful everyday scent.
8. Tribe by Coty
Tribe by Coty is one of the earlier 1990s perfumes having been launched in 1991. But what a hit it was! The 90s was a time when Coty was taking over the fragrance industry and Tribe was a firm favorite of young girls because it was affordable and smelled so fresh and fruity.
It also had the other key staple of the 90s which was a musky base. I don’t think I’ve ever smelled as much musk as I did it that decade but Tribe paired it well with some woody notes which made this a very grown-up and sensual fragrance.
9. Vanilla Fields by Coty
Another of the most popular Coty perfumes from the 90s was Vanilla Fields. In much the same way that The Body Shop Vanilla Perfume Oil was a must-have for teens, Vanilla Fields was slightly more mature.
This perfume was presented in a bottle that looked grown-up. Something that your 21-year-old sister would have on her vanity and you’d sneak in to try when she wasn’t looking. The blend of vanilla with coconut, peach, and jasmine was crisp yet warm and perfect for a summer’s day.
10. Love’s Baby Soft
Pink, fluffy and girly was something that all us 90s kids loved so the bottle of Love’s Baby Soft was obviously popular. But it wasn’t just that this perfume looked amazing, it smelled pretty darn good as well.
Love’s Baby Soft was a floral fragrance that was actually launched in the mid-70s but remained popular for decades afterwards, including between me and my friends in the 90s. Powdery notes of musk, lavender, vanilla, and rose made this super girly and sweet.
11. Spice Girls Impulse Body Spray
As soon as I saw the bottle for this, I was immediately taken back to the 90s. Every girl I knew went wild for this limited edition bottle of Impulse, even more so than they did for Impulse o2 and that’s saying something.
Spice Girls was an amber spicy fragrance that was powerful, daring and unashamed. It embodied the trendy and funky nature of the girls in the band and made you feel one step closer to being a member. I sprayed this in lashings after PE in school and was never without a bottle in my bag.
12. Tommy Girl
Tommy Girl was my first ever ‘grown up’ perfume that my dad brought me from duty-free while on holiday. Back then, it kind of reminded me of fresh tea but it’s actually a floral fruity fragrance with some very unique blends. Leather, apple tree blossom, honeysuckle, lemon, and many other notes give it its distinct scent.
Tommy Girl felt like a very sporty and active perfume worn by only the coolest girls of the 90s. It was uplifting and so versatile. It kind of made me feel as though I could take on the world.
13. Coty Exclamation
I actually hated Exclamation in the 90s, it had a really coconutty, tropical vibe that was far too intense and sweet for me. I preferred Exclamation Eau which came in the same bottle but accented with blue instead of black.
But it was so popular because of how affordable it was. Moreover, boys seemed to love the strong, long lasting scent so young girls would douse themselves in it in the hopes of attracting the attention of that cute football guy that never noticed them.
14. Angel Thierry Mugler
Angel was one of the most well loved French perfumes from the 90s and we’re still seeing millions of bottles being sold today, alongside its more modern and mysterious cousin, Alien. Angel was ultra feminine and super strong although not so much that it would offend the nose.
Being a more expensive fragrance, I wasn’t fortunate enough to own a bottle in the 90s but I had a friend who wore this and she smelt like heaven. The star shaped flacon contained a complex amber vanilla fragrance with notes of chocolate, honey and other sweet treats. No wonder it’s stayed as popular as it has!
15. The Body Shop White Musk
If there is one fragrance that I’d say summed up the 90s, White Musk from The Body Shop would be a close contender. The brand was huge in the 90s and everyone was going crazy for the latest body butters and foot scrubs but it was White Musk that was at the top of everybody’s list.
It was a simple fragrance combining floral notes and musk alongside the warmth of amber. It was insane value for money and a fantastically intimate scent. While it was discontinued for many years, The Body Shop brought it back in 2021 much to the delight of nostalgia seekers.
More 90s Perfumes Of The 80s and 90s
The perfumes I discussed above were among the most popular of the 90s. But they weren’t the only offerings. The 80s to 90s era still has a lot more to offer.
Malibu Musk was launched in 1989, but it gathered popularity well into the 90s. It doesn’t surprise me since this is a sweet and fruity fragrance with a sense of maturity thanks to the aldehydes. The bottle is reminiscent of a Cali beach in the 80s/90s. Think Baywatch and you’re not far off. Plus, the perfume was delicate enough to wear on a hot day without over projecting. The perfect vacation spray!
When I think back to 90s perfume packaging, Guess Original is one of those that immediately jumps out. But it wasn’t only the iconic bottle that made it stand out; Guess Original was a rich woody chypre fragrance that was incredibly seductive. This was one of the more intense 90s perfumes that always got you noticed and there was an air of beauty and elegance when wearing it.
One of the most beautiful French perfumes from the 90s was Ysatis by Givenchy, which was launched in 1984 but stayed popular during the following decade. The bottle and the fragrance within just screamed elegance and sophistication and the complex blend of notes was incredibly luxurious. A ton of florals alongside woody accords, fruity hits and sweet notes of honey just melted onto the skin and felt so classy.
List Of Discontinued Perfumes From The 90s
Not all perfumes from the 90s have made it as far as today. It’s a shame as there were a lot of beautiful fragrances, but I guess all good things must come to an end. Here is a list of the most iconic discontinued perfumes of the 90s.
Victoria’s Secret Pear Glace
I’ve heard a lot of people say how much they miss Pear Glace and this was a super delightful perfume. It was part of the Secret Garden collection and was a vibrant and uplifting fragrance that was perfect for summer. Pear Glace blended pear with cassis, chamomile, aloe vera and violet for something sparkling, feminine and energetic. Oh how I miss it!
Cucumber Melon by Bath And Bodyworks
The bottle for Cucumber Melon epitomizes the packaging style in the 90s, but that isn’t the only thing that makes it stand out. This Bath and Body Works fragrance was one of the most celebrated that was fresh and fruity with an aromatic twist that gave it a warm finish. Like other B&BW perfumes, it wasn’t the most powerful but perfect as a handbag spray for freshening up for the day.
Launched in 1994, Heaven by Gap was a massively popular perfume for women in the 90s. Heavily floral and with a musky hit, Heaven did live up to its name. It was a fresh fragrance with a very clean smell but felt quite synthetic. That said, it didn’t seem to bother us then, but it’s probably one of the reasons it couldn’t compete with the natural oils found in many modern fragrances.
Juice Bar Gummy Bear Perfume
Juice Bar’s Gummy Bear perfume was a firm favorite of high school girls in the 1990s and almost everyone had a bottle in their bag. Not only was this a super sweet offering but the packaging was everything that the 90s was about; fun, bright colors, and a youthful feel.
It’s a shame that this sweet treat is no longer on offer but I have seen some companies that make pretty impressive replicas. Just make sure that you’re willing to pay a decent amount because these don’t come cheap.
Frequently Asked Questions On Perfume From The 90s
What perfume was popular in 1992?
One of the most iconic perfumes launched in 1992 was Angel by Mugler. This fragrance took the world by storm and anyone who was anyone wanted to get their hands on a bottle. It was super sweet, some would say too much so but it stayed popular for the following decades and is still a best-seller today.
What perfume was popular in 1993?
In the early 90s, Sunflowers by Elizabeth Arden was launched and quickly took over as one of the most popular fragrances of 1993. It was a fresh floral perfume that was not only incredibly feminine but also affordable enough that anyone could wear it without breaking the bank. But let me warn you, once you catch a whiff of it, it’ll instantly take you back.
What perfume was popular in 1994?
CK One was launched in 1994 and this is potentially not only one of the best fragrances from 1994 but out of the whole 90s. It was modern and daring and made men and women feel as though they could take on the world.
What perfume was popular in 1997?
Hugo Woman was, without a doubt, one of the best-selling women’s perfumes of 1997. It was a juicy, floral fruity fragrance that made women feel powerful and sexy, and the great news is that there are still plenty of places to buy it today.
Oh the 90s were fantastic, weren’t they! The boybands, the crazy fashion trends and the perfume! Everything about it was full on, bright and funky. I had a blast and I keep telling my kids how much they missed out so when I get a chance to show them some iconic 90s perfumes, I jump at the chance.
From the school girls spraying Spice Girls at every opportunity to the older ladies dousing themselves in Givenchy, there was something for everyone. Some perfumes have long been forgotten but others live on, so if you ever get the chance to get your hands on some 90s perfume, I wouldn’t waste a moment!