“Going viral” is a well-known phenomenon, yet the mystique deepens when a perfume manages to 'break the internet.' Unlike tangible items (think dresses or jackets with measurable dimensions and visible fabric), translating a fragrance into the digital realm is a nuanced undertaking. It requires compelling storytelling to elicit a visceral response, not unlike the experience of 'love at first smell.'
A brief visit to #PerfumeTok, a notable corner of TikTok where fragrance enthusiasts, content creators, and newly initiated perfume aficionados converge, is sufficient to ponder the evocative influence of fragrance, and its ability to transcend the limitations of traditional in-store shopping. With an impressive six billion views and counting, #PerfumeTok emerges as a catalyst behind the notable surge in perfume sales seen in 2023, and might just be reshaping how we approach fragrance on a broader scale.
From celebrity-backed perfumes and dramatic fragrance campaigns of the early 2000s to the current rise in minimalist, niche perfume brands, the trajectory of the fragrance industry in 2024 underscores the deeply personal nature of scent identification. With consumer conversations reaching unprecedented visibility thanks to the highly engaged community behind #PerfumeTok, one undeniable truth has emerged: the decision to click 'add to cart' is no longer driven by prescriptive marketing, but instead by concepts, emotions, and personal connections.
Considering the creation of a viral fragrance, it's unsurprising that Missing Person, designed to resonate uniquely with each wearer, became PHLUR's inaugural perfume to achieve viral status. Despite the absence of beauty counters, Missing Person sold out within five hours of its 2022 launch, accumulating a waitlist exceeding 200,000. Its ongoing digital prominence is attributed to the perfume’s captivating narrative, and ability to evoke the scent of a cherished, missed individual. Capturing nostalgia in a bottle is no small accomplishment, and Missing Person's aromatic allure rests on a delicate balance between universality and intimacy. And that’s not all. In 2022, #PerfumeTok amassed a similar frenzy for Not Your Baby, and in 2023, we welcomed two new instant classics: Father Figure Eau De Parfum and Vanilla Skin Body Mist, one of our very first body mists.
As we welcome 2024, we reflect on the audiences that amplified each viral fragrance and the classics to come.
Missing Person: Our Most Viral Fragrance of 2022
Neuroscience tells us scent, memory and emotion are inextricably linked. It is this link that Missing Person, Phlur's best-selling perfume, harnesses.
Standing out for its ability to evoke the lingering scent of *a* missing person, the fragrance became an instant hit amongst TikTokers with whom its emotional narrative resonated. While each wearer’s moments, places, and people are distinctly unique, Missing Person strikes a balance between uniting wearers through a shared experience, while inviting them to serve up their individual interpretations, on TikTok, perhaps…
In March 2022, content creator Rachel Rigler set Missing Person EDP ablaze in a single TikTok review. “It smells like a person you love and miss,” said Rigler. The endorsement proved a pivotal moment for her followers and TikTok’s fragrance community. And the internet hype didn’t stop there. In a separate TikTok, Rigler’s boyfriend reviewed Missing Person, generating even more buzz for his touching reaction: ‘That’s bizarre. It smells like you…fresh out of the shower…in a robe.’
In a subsequent TikTok, makeup artist Mikayla Nogueira responded to Rigler (and Nogueira’s 13.4 million followers). “This perfume smells like being in love? I immediately bought it when you said that.” Within five hours, Missing Person perfume sold out.
Since then, the Missing Person aroma has continued to generate internet hype. From teary-eyed to mystified, reviewers share first impressions and ponder the fragrance’s emotional appeal across social media channels. One might argue “going viral” marks the end of a perfume’s ‘originality’ however, Missing Persons appeal lies precisely in its relatability, making it a memorable addition to the world of perfumery.
Pure, provocative and undeniably familiar, Missing Person illustrates the power of compelling storytelling, reflecting a shift in the way we buy and think about fragrance in the digital realm. We couldn’t be more proud.
Our Next Viral Perfume Scents
In April 2022, we released our fourth perfume, which has since become the ‘hot girl’ fragrance of Phlur’s lineup. Combining top notes of cardamom and bergamot, middle notes of mimosa and powdery violet, and base notes of sensual vanilla milk, sandalwood and tonka beans, Not Your Baby is provocative, playful, and undeniably sexy. It’s no wonder Glamour UK deemed the spicy floral the date-night go-to in a review of the best Phlur perfumes.
Upon its release, Not Your Baby gained rapid popularity, quickly selling out on both Sephora.com and Phlur.com. Described as "magic in a bottle" and hailed as "the best perfume you will ever, ever put on your body," this spicy floral creation has turned heads, especially among content creators on TikTok.
Following the success of Missing Person and Not Your Baby, Phlur has become known for crafting viral perfumes. Father Figure, created in collaboration with Frank Voekl, the perfumer behind Le Labo, continues this trend of captivating narratives. Featuring top notes of water lily and fig, which blend with base notes of skin musks, patchouli leaf, and sandalwood, Father Figure brings a unique duality to Phlur’s lineup. According to Voekl, "the milky nectar of fig complements the buttery suede qualities of orris, creating a naturally sensual effect." Father Figure embodies empowerment, striking a balance between commanding and tender qualities that resonate with consumers and have generated internet buzz comparable to Missing Person.
Vanilla Skin: The Viral Body Mist Scent of the Year
If the mere mention of vanilla evokes nostalgia for Bath and Body Works products of yesteryear (ahem Y2k), we’re excited to offer a modern, intoxicating take on a universally beloved gourmand aroma.
Despite the surge in vanilla fragrances in 2023, Vanilla Skin Body Mist has distinguished itself among Phlur's viral scents, gaining recognition on TikTok as the "most complimented fragrance" for many a content creator. Familiar and delectable, hypnotic and decadent, the body mist introduces a multidimensional take on vanilla, introducing an iconic creaminess bolstered by pink pepper, sugar and sandalwood. TikTokers have been particularly impressed with the body mist's sillage, likening Vanilla Skin to an Eau De Parfum. In an article published by Us Weekly, Savannah Born even claimed her only complaint with Vanilla Skin is how often it’s sold out.
Whether you prefer the emotionally stirring or the nostalgic, there’s a Phlur perfume for that. Just three weeks into the new year, we’re looking forward to what’s next.