What Perfume Did Marilyn Monroe Wear? [Not Chanel No. 5!] - scentedchemistry.com (2023)

One of the most iconic actresses and recognizable faces of all time, for decades Marilyn Monroe has been a symbol of beauty, glamour and femininity, so it’s no wonder that so many people want to smell like her! But what was Marilyn’s perfume of choice?

It’s showbiz legend that Marilyn Monroe (real name Norma Jean) wore Chanel No.5, leading many to believe that this was her favorite fragrance.

But is this true? What Perfume Did Marilyn Monroe Wear?

After all, in the 2011 biopic My Week With Marilyn, with Monroe being played by Michelle Williams, Marilyn cheekily states during a trip to the UK that she loves to wear Yardley London’s lavender fragrance (unfortunately, you can no longer buy this scent in fragrance form, but you can buy a lotion or a soap bar).

The evidence of whether Monroe wore this fragrance is scant, but the evidence that she favored another British fragrance is hard to deny. Read on to find out what that fragrance was, but first let’s bust the Chanel No.5 myth once and for all.

What Perfume Did Marilyn Monroe Wear? [Not Chanel No. 5!] - scentedchemistry.com (1)

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Did Marilyn Monroe Really Wear Chanel No. 5?

One of the most iconic quotes of all time, when asked about her nighttime apparel, Monroe said she only wears the famous scent Chanel No.5 in bed.

But where did this quote come from? It originated from an interview with Monroe in Life Magazine in April 1952. The interviewer didn’t ask this question themselves, but rather the quote came about during an anecdote Marilyn was telling:

“Once this fellow says, ‘Marilyn, what do you wear to bed?’ So I said ‘I only wear Chanel No. 5.’”

Like a game of telephone, the quote quickly became warped. In some versions, Monroe is conflated as both speakers, and the quote becomes: “What do I wear in bed? Why, Chanel No. 5, of course.”

In 2013, Marilyn was the subject of an advertisement campaign by Chanel entitled ‘Inside Chanel.’ In the two-minute advertisement, Marilyn is the posthumous face of the legendary perfume.

The commercial also features an alleged recording of Marilyn discussing the interview where the famous No.5 quote originated, saying that she wears nothing but Chanel No.5 to bed “Because it’s the truth… and yet, I don’t want to say nude. But it’s the truth!”

But was it? Well, we can never know with certainty. Being a popular fragrance already, it’s certainly possible that Marilyn was aware and even wore Chanel No.5. Equally though, it might have simply rolled off the tongue better than a perfume we know she loved.

What Was Marilyn Monroe’s Favorite Perfume?

In 2012 to mark the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe’s passing, British fragrance manufacturer, Floris, looked into their archives to investigate a possible purchase made by the screen icon.

The fragrance house had been selling perfume to the rich and famous since its founding in 1730, including Marilyn Monroe!

On December 14th, 1959 (the year she starred in Some Like it Hot) she made an order for half a dozen bottles of Floris’ Rose Geranium Toilet Water.

(‘Toilet Water’ is how people in the 1950s referred to Eau de Toilette, before the marketing people worked out a better-sounding phrase for English-speakers …)

Monroe requested that these bottles of Rose Geranium Toilet be delivered to the Beverly Hills Hotel. This order was made by her personal secretary Dorothy Blass, who acted as her personal shopper.

This fragrance is still produced today, but like the Yardley fragrance is only available in bath essence and soaps.

The fragrance featured top notes of citronella, geranium, and greens, as well as middle notes of palmarosa, rose, rosewood and a bottom note of cedarwood.

Interestingly, it is widely believed that women tend to be more drawn to geranium essential oil as geranium has properties that regulate hormones. We can only assume that Marilyn might have found the geranium scent soothing too!

While you can only buy the perfume for use in bathing now, it was popular in the 1950s to sprinkle some perfume in the bath, so we can assume that Marilyn was also enjoying Floris’ Rose Geranium Toilet Water in her baths too.

What Perfume Did Marilyn Monroe Wear? [Not Chanel No. 5!] - scentedchemistry.com (2)

Other Iconic Starlets And Their Scents

Now we know what perfume Marilyn Monroe loved to wear, you might be wondering what perfume other iconic screen actresses loved to wear too. Well, let’s take a look!

Audrey Hepburn

One of the most elegant actresses of all time, it’s unsurprising that the fashion house Givenchy wanted to create a perfume for Hepburn, who already was a big fan of their clothes.

This perfume was Givenchy L’Interdit that was created specifically for Hepburn in 1957. Givenchy L’Interdit has notes of bergamot, iris, jasmine, narcissus, rose, sandalwood, and violet.

Rumor has it that Audrey wanted the perfume to be just for her, and that she didn’t want it to be released publicly. But in the 1960s, Givenchy made the perfume widely available.

In her later life, Audrey swapped the Givenchy scent for Creed Spring Flower, which was another perfume initially created just for her.

Grace Kelly

While we’re on the subject of Creed fragrances, Grace Kelly favored one of their scents, Fleurissimo.

When Grace Kelly became Her Serene Highness Princess Grace of Monaco in 1956 on her wedding day in Saint Nicholas Cathedral, Monaco she wore Fleurissimo.

Creed is an esteemed family-owned fragrance house, and Grace Kelly’s favorite perfume was commissioned especially by her husband Prince Rainier to compliment her bouquet.

Fleurissimo contains notes of bergamot, Bulgarian rose, and Florentine iris.

Elizabeth Taylor

In the age of modern celebrity, it seems like every famous face tries their hand at fragrances, but Elizabeth Taylor was ahead of the curve.

She launched her pioneering perfume empire that includes iconic scents such as Forever, Passion, and White Diamonds, and the latter is one of the best-selling celebrity perfumes in history.

But before then, Elizabeth Taylor favored Jean Desprez Bal à Versailles, a fragrance with notes of orange blossom, rosemary, sandalwood, and vanilla that hit the market in 1962.

Not only did Elizabeth Taylor wear it on the set of the famous movie Cleopatra, but she also bought the fragrance for Michael Jackson as a gift.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it, Marilyn Monroe’s favorite perfume: Floris’ Rose Geranium Toilet Water! Or at least, that’s a very educated guess (you don’t buy six bottles unless you’re a fan…). Still, the question remains why we are so fascinated by the perfumes celebrities wear in the first place?

Especially celebrities who did not exist in the age of social media, where information about celebrities is readily available.

One reason may be that it tells us a lot more about their personalities and their preferences. Does the fact that Marilyn Monroe favored a geranium scent tell us something about her personality?

Celebrities were a lot more mysterious back in those days, and while we have accounts of what Marilyn was like through those who knew her and through interviews, this is still secondhand information, and in interviews stars have to carefully curate their image.

Before You Go…

Just because the Chanel No.5 story about Marilyn might be a bit of a myth doesn’t mean we can’t show the iconic house of Chanel some love! Take a look at our next article, where we round up our favorites!

What is The Best Chanel Perfume?

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Bonus Video!


What perfume did Marilyn Monroe wear? ›

Diamonds are a girl's best friend, but Marilyn Monroe's favorite fragrance costs much less. The star famously swore by a spritz of Chanel No. 5, a scent that's proven almost just as iconic as the actress herself.

Did Marilyn Monroe wear Chanel No. 5? ›

Screen icon Marilyn Monroe famously said in an interview in 1952 that she wore "five drops of Chanel No. 5" and nothing else in bed. "I don't want to say nude," she said, "but it's the truth."

What smells the same as Chanel No. 5? ›

5? The Body Shop's Wild Jasmine Eau de Toilette (formerly called Indian Night Jasmine) Is a gorgeous blend of woods and florals that come together to create a scent that's similarly heady and floral to Chanel's signature perfume.

What does Marilyn Monroe perfume smell like? ›

Top notes are Sea Notes and Green Mandarin; middle note is Jasmine; base notes are Vanilla, Salt, Amber and Sandalwood. This fragrance was launched by Designer Fragrances (UK) in collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products.

What was Marilyn Monroe's favorite scent? ›

Like millions of other women, Monroe was a fan of Chanel No 5. However, in 2002, it was revealed that she also had a secret penchant for Floris Rose Geranium. The eau de toilette was delivered in bulk to her at the Beverly Hills Hotel under a cloak and dagger alias while she filmed Some Like It Hot.

What was Princess Diana favorite perfume? ›

Van Cleef & Arpels First Eau de Toilette.

What perfume did Marilyn Monroe wear to bed? ›

Monroe was recounting an anecdote for Time magazine in which she said she was constantly asked what she wore to bed. In response, she answered “Chanel No. 5.” The iconic perfume has been around since 1921, if you can believe it.

Is Chanel Number 5 an old lady perfume? ›

The best known Old Lady Perfume is probably the classic Chanel No. 5, which launched a century ago. The main ingredients in this iconic blend are synthetic aldehydes, which were groundbreaking in 1921 and impart the powdery soapiness we've come to associate with the famous blend.

What is the best dupe for Chanel number 5? ›

Our top pick would have to be Armaf Club De Nuit Body Spray (buy it here). It is an opulent and delicate fragrance that is floral, citrusy and oh so fresh with similar top and base notes as Chanel No. 5. Imagine our excitement when we discovered how similar the two smells.

Which Chanel No. 5 is closest to the original? ›

5 Eau de Parfum Spray. History: In 1986, a new perfumer, Jacques Polge, crafted the Eau de Parfum iteration. Scent: This is closest to the OG No. 5, while being just a bit lighter.

Is Chanel Number 5 Still a popular perfume? ›

Chanel No 5 Review (2023): World's Most Famous Perfume. You don't have to be a perfume aficionado to know about Coco Chanel's most famous perfume creation known as Chanel No 5. But the surprising thing is that probably 99% of modern perfume consumers still associate No.

What is the nicest smelling perfume in the world? ›

The top 5 of the most popular fragrances
  • Baccarat Rouge 540 by Maison Francis Kurkdjian.
  • Sauvage by Dior.
  • No. 5 by Chanel.
  • Miss Dior by Dior.
  • Aventus by Creed.
Oct 26, 2022

What is the most seductive smelling perfume? ›

These are the 8 aphrodisiac fragrances to set a sexy mood according to experts
  • Pumpkin - Paco Rabanne Fabulous Me. ...
  • Cinnamon - Yves Saint Laurent Opium Eau De Parfum Spray. ...
  • Champaca - J'adore Dior Eau De Parfum. ...
  • Vanilla - Guerlain Shalimar Eau De Parfum. ...
  • Lavender - Tom Ford Lavender Extreme Eau De Parfum.
Jul 17, 2022

What is Melania Trump's favorite perfume? ›

Dolce and Gabbana for Women Eau De Toilette

Together, these scents combine to form an intoxicating perfume for women.

What is the perfume of Queen Elizabeth? ›

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth reportedly wore Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, a spicy citrus with a powdery dry down. It's been a classic for the fragrance house ever since the scent was created in 1912.

What fragrance did Freddie Mercury wear? ›

In the early 80s there were two standard colognes with him wherever he went, Aramis and Lagerfeld. He did try others occasionally but always reverted back to those. Later, when he was spending more time in Switzerland he discovered L'Eau Dynamisante by Clarins which he wore much of the time.

What fragrance does JLO wear? ›

Enduring Glow was created by Jennifer Lopez to express a new chapter in her timeless career and to inspire her fans to ignite their inner glow. Jennifer Lopez's first fragrance, the original 'Glow by JLO,' continues to be Jennifer Lopez's most iconic, best-selling fragrance.

What was Marilyn Monroe's favorite lipstick? ›

What lipstick did Marilyn Monroe wear? Not only did she put Chanel No. 5 on the map, but she also cemented her go-to red pout into pop culture history.

What perfume did Angelina Jolie wear? ›

'Guerlain is really a favorite of mine. Z [Zahara] and I share the perfume products, such as the lotion and the body wash. I love that she and I will remember each other by a smell. Especially as my first memory of Guerlain was the scent of my mother's powder.

How does Marilyn Monroe sleep? ›

Depending upon my activities, I sleep between five and ten hours every night.” Marilyn also says sleeping naked is conducive with a better night's sleep. “I sleep in an extra-wide single bed, and I use only one heavy down comforter over me, summer or winter,” she says.

What age group is Chanel No. 5 for? ›

FOR the last 81 years, the Chanel name has carried a special resonance for women 30 and older, who have made Chanel No. 5 the world's leading fragrance.

Why is Chanel No. 5 so special? ›

So why exactly is this fragrance so famous? Chanel No. 5 was the world's first abstract fragrance, which incorporated more than 80 ingredients in a complex, multi-layered formulation process that uses aldehydes to heighten the scents and give an airy nature to the floral notes.

What is the oldest perfume still being made? ›

Acqua di Colonia Santa Maria Novella

The oldest of their perfumes still in production is their Acqua di Colognia which was first bottled in 1533 by the Dominican friars that ran the apothecary. This perfume was created for Catherine de' Medici and the main notes are rose and citrus.

Which perfume attracts ladies most? ›

Read on for the top scents that will attract women like flies to honey.
  • Vanilla. Vanilla is an extremely popular scent in men's cologne, and for good reason. ...
  • Peppermint. ...
  • Sandalwood. ...
  • Pastries and Coffee. ...
  • Lavender. ...
  • Cinnamon.
May 4, 2020

Which is the No 1 perfume brand in the world? ›

Without a doubt, Chanel N°5 is the most iconic and best-smelling perfume of all time. Chanel is a French luxury fashion house that was founded in 1910.

What kind of perfume does Queen Elizabeth wear? ›

Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth reportedly wore Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, a spicy citrus with a powdery dry down. It's been a classic for the fragrance house ever since the scent was created in 1912.

What is the best smelling perfume of all time? ›

Here, the 10 greatest fragrances of all time, as voted on by the beauty industry.
  • Chanel No. Launched: 1921. ...
  • Le Labo Santal 33. Launched: 2011. ...
  • Thierry Mugler Angel. Launched: 1992. ...
  • Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. Launched: 2001. ...
  • Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue. ...
  • Dior Eau Sauvage. ...
  • Tom Ford Black Orchid. ...
  • Giorgio Armani Acqua di Giò
Feb 25, 2022

What beauty products did Marilyn Monroe use? ›

Get the Monroe glow

She was also a fan of cold cream, like Pond's, and other iconic products we still use today, including Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Cream and Nivea Creme, and even olive oil, which she also reportedly applied to her skin to offset dryness.

What was Marie Antoinette's favorite perfume? ›

Marie Antoinette never voyaged again without the Trianon essence, to the extent that the perfume was found among her personal belongings when the tragedy at Varennes occurred. Even at the most dramatic points of her life, the Queen remained attached to the magic of the Trianon bouquets.

What fragrance does Julia Roberts wear? ›

Lancome has announced a new La Vie Est Belle flanker in celebration of the perfume's 10 year anniversary. The fragrance is represented by Pretty Woman co-star Julia Roberts, who has successfully been the face of the fragrance since its conception.

What perfume did Princess Margaret wear? ›

Princess Margaret – Oscar by Oscar de La Renta. This makes me smile; I wonder how it smells these days? The mother of a high-school friend wore it and I thought it was lovely at the time.

Which is the No 1 perfume in the world? ›

Chanel N°5 Eau de Parfum Spray

Celebrating its 100th birthday in 2021, Chanel No. 5 is perhaps the most famous fragrance of all time.

Which soap did Marilyn Monroe use? ›

Marilyn Monroe's bespoke skin-care routine from March 1959. Starting from the top, Marilyn's morning skin routine began with cleansing using Erno Lazlo Active Phelityl Soap and warm water.

What mascara did Marilyn Monroe use? ›

A small container of Elizabeth Arden “Pat-A-Crème” Fashion Makeup, an Elizabeth Arden eyebrow pencil in black, and an Elizabeth Arden mascara wand in dark brown.

What was Jackie Onassis favorite perfume? ›

Her signature scent

If you were wondering what Jackie smelled like, look no further than luxury French perfume brand, House of Krigler's Lovely Patchouli 55, a leathery scent which housed notes of amber, bergamot, patchouli, and citrus. She wore it daily.

What was Audrey Hepburn's favorite perfume? ›

Creed claims that Spring Flower was her personal scent, while there is no doubt that L'Interdit was indeed tailor-made for Audrey and counted among her favorites. Flipping through my notes and magazine cuttings with Audrey's interviews, I discovered several other fragrances she enjoyed.

What is Queen Elizabeth's favorite perfume? ›

Queen Elizabeth reportedly wears Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, a spicy citrus with a powdery dry down. It's been a classic for the fragrance house ever since the scent was created in 1912.


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