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May 24, 2023

Beauty TikTok’s latest obsession: When perfumes love red

What does the colour red smell like? Does it smell of roses, berries or cherries? That’s one of the questions raised by TikToker @laraisabellema, one of the many perfume lovers who share her fervid passion with followers. Translating colour into fragrance is not a literal olfactory transcription of an ingredient, but the issue does spark debate, especially when it comes to red. This colour catalyses the attention of fragrance enthusiasts loyal to TikTok, a platform that is increasingly welcoming this universe. 

@laraisabellema @mother.mushroom antworten Which scent do you associate with the color red? ❤️💃🏼🍎🍒🌹👠 #perfume #perfumetok #perfumetiktok #perfumes #perfumesinemojis #red #redperfume #perfumecheck #perfumechallenge #fragrance #fragrances #fragrancetok #fragrancetiktok #perfumerecommendations #perfumerecs ♬ Is That All There Is? - Peggy Lee

The #perfume hashtag counts over 12 billion views. TikTokers love to talk about the emotions and memories that fragrances evoke and, above all, to show off their well-stocked collections. Now totalling 373 million views, the #perfumecollection hashtag is used to showcase fragrance bottles, often grouped by olfactory family or colour. And the most popular colour is – surprisingly? – red.  

@itstop5dave MFK BACCARAT ROUGE 540 EXTRAIT & BACCARAT ROUGE 540 ORIGINAL FRAGRANCE REVIEW! #fragrance #baccaratrouge540 #men #women #guys #girls #foryou ♬ original sound - David McMillian

The most attention-grabbing fragrances include Tom Ford’s ‘Lost Cherry’ (18.3 million views), Givenchy’s ‘L’Interdit Rouge’, Jo Malone’s ‘Scarlet Poppy’ (11k views) and Baccarat’s now iconic ‘Rouge 540’ (a real phenomenon, 194.3 million views), all associated with their flaming hue. Red fragrances are often connected with seduction, hot dates and special occasions. “It’s elegant, it boosts confidence, it will attract compliments,” exclaimed David McMillian on his @itstop5dave account when addressing Baccarat Rouge 540 Extrait by Maison Francis Kurkdjian. @ikramparfums appeared in her video spraying eight perfumes with red bottles in the air, showing her followers a glimpse of complicity. 

“Tik Tok has taken perfume into a new visual universe. The bottles are presented with an ongoing competition between creators completely unrelated to the brands’ communication strategies,” said Vincent Gallon, editor-in-chief of the specialised site PremiumBeautyNews. But labels must have realised that the colour red gives them undeniable visibility and has an appeal reaching even beyond the barrier of impalpable olfactory notes.



Silvia Manzoni
Journalist and Beauty Expert