There’s a movie that’s always playing in Too Faced cofounder Jerrod Blandino‘s head. His protagonist, a woman who exudes power, spends a night in close quarters with a mysterious, maybe even dangerous lover, whose fresh, woodsy fragrance mixes with her floral one. At the end of the night, they blow out the bedside candles and a smoky scent evades the room. Nothing is left but the feelings of adrenaline and satisfaction.
This, Blandino says, is the impetus behind Better Than Sex, the brand’s first-ever fragrance, inspired by the best-selling mascara and eyeliner of the same name. “It’s the emotional current that swirls around you and elevates the moment and elevates your life — for me, fragrance can do that,” he explains. “I want the fragrance to evoke feelings that are extreme and meaningful when you smell it.”
Better Than Sex, out in October, achieves just that, thanks to the help of perfumer Frank Voelkl, who also helped create Le Labo’s Santal 33 and Glossier You, among others. As Blandino recalls, the collaboration process was just as spontaneous as the vision itself. “I’m not a normal creative person. I don’t put things on paper. I don’t write briefs. I don’t talk to committees. I don’t do research,” he laughs. More or less, Blandino relayed his story of an escapade to Voelkl, and the duo went back and forth over various smells for a couple of years until they landed on something “not perfect, but almost perfect,” as Voelkl describes it.
That almost-perfect combination of notes covers a wide spectrum of scents, including fruits (passion fruit, lychee, peach, citrus), florals (magnolia, jasmine, orchid, rose), and earthy scents (sandalwood, cedarwood, musk, amber, patchouli), to name just a handful. At first spritz, it gives a strong, flowery impression that quickly melts into something softer and smokier with a fresh, soap-like tail end.
It’s hard to describe as anything other than sexy — which was the goal, of course. “You don’t know exactly what it that brings you back over and over,” Voelkl says of his creation, with which he aims to spur the good kind of tension. “We don’t want you to identify every single note in there; every time you wear the fragrance, you feel something that keeps sparking the interest.”
All this sensual tenacity comes wrapped up in a bottle that is unmistakeably Too Faced: Pink, antique-inspired, and almost impossibly detailed. The front dons the same metallic-pink Better Than Sex logo as the mascara, meanwhile, the top likens itself to the Palace of Versailles with gilded ribbons and lion heads, all topped off with a pink crystal cap. “There are so many moving parts that it’s next to impossible to produce,” Blandino boasts.
That’s why this fragrance, sadly, is going to be “extremely limited,” according to him — but rest assured, Voelkl and Blandino might have other fragrance collaborations in their futures. “[Better Than Sex] took a lot out of us, but I enjoyed every moment,” Blandino responds when asked if Too Face will create more scents going forward. “So yes, I’m open to that.”
Better Than Sex, $105 for 3.4 ounces, is available starting October on toofaced.com.
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