It’s not really a novel concept that anything Rihanna has, people want. It has been the crux of the success of several of her business ventures: the trust that people are magnetized to whatever is on Rihanna. I find this true for myself, as I am glued to her YouTube video tutorials on how to apply Fenty cosmetics as if I haven’t been putting on eyeliner with a significant amount of skill for 20-some-odd years.
A few years ago, a viral video surfaced where a man outed Rihanna’s mystery fragrance. In a recent Vogue profile, which has caused a considerable amount of controversy amongst the Twitter community, the writer points specifically to Rihanna’s both intoxicating and mysterious scent. Earlier this summer, when Lil Nas X met RiRi at our very own BET Awards, he declared,“She's beautiful and smells so good, like you went to heaven and came back to life.”
Well damn, if that’s not a ringing endorsement for a perfume, I don’t know what is. I set out on a mission to find Love, don’t be shy.
I emailed the Kilian team to see if I could get to the bottom of it, and as it turns out, the scent that the Navy has sniffed out as Rihanna’s signature is completely sold out. Go figure.
In the interest of good journalism, though, the team sent me a set of eight tester samples that included Love don’t be shy so that I could at least get a taste of what it might be like to smell like I could bring somebody back to life.
So I got to work, spritzing and smelling all eight of the fragrances, and while all of them are lovely, (Kilian makes extremely specific and high-end scents, so I was not counting on being disappointed), I was not swayed in particular by the Love don’t be shy scent. Ironically, I loved Good girl gone Bad, which seems hilariously coincidental since that is also a title of a Rihanna album. Kilian Hennessy (real name, by the way) said this about the naming process: “I always start with the name of the scent as, for me, a great perfume is a great story first. For Love, don't be shy, I wanted a scent that would be so yummy that you would just want to 'take a bite' at your partner.”
What makes Kilian fragrances special is the not the price tag, although most of them are $295, which is certainly on the more expensive side of perfume, it’s that each bottle can be refilled over a lifetime so that we’re not disposing of packaging and further harming the environment. Now that’s sexy. Plus, the Kilian approach is driven by art and design, so the entire experience centers around luxury, not just the scent itself.
As someone who already has a baseline knowledge of how scents work, there are a number of factors that affect how a scent will express on an individual. They include: personal pH balance, skin sensitivity, diet, estrogen levels, etc. I won’t bore you with the specifics, but you have probably already experienced the awkwardness of running out to get a fragrance that smelled amazing on someone else only to find that it smelled awful on you. For me, Love don’t be shy is not it. There’s likely some Rihanna magic that I am missing to activate its powers. I love Good girl gone Bad though, so there’s a chance I am still going to be $300 poorer after this story. My advice, if you’re looking to smell like Rihanna, you can, technically, but my honest feeling is that the power of the scent has more to do with the person than the perfume.
(Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
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For the past 10 years, Yusef has been dictating all of the beauty trends we emulate via his most famous client, none other than Rihanna. He started out his career as a performer, but he ended up behind the scenes. In Hairstory, he details his rise in the industry from aspiring singer to creative directing the hair for Fenty x Puma.