Parfums de Coeur Skin Musk Perfume Oil Review

Parfums de Coeur Skin Musk

Drugstore Divas Week – 2016

This week I’m revisiting popular perfumes available at US drugstores. The sort of perfumes that many of us know but many of us perfume lovers completely ignore. 

Young Victoria used to wear Skin Musk oil over Parfums de Coeur Malibu Musk¹ body spray. I spent years smelling like fruits smothered in musk. Eventually, I graduated to full-blown headshop musks and aged patchouli (because those felt much more alt-cult and “cool”).

If you’re into perfume and didn’t wear Skin Musk in your yourth, you probably know about it through Chandler Burr’s “The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry of Paris and New York“. This book covers two popular perfume launches that distinguish some of the similarities and differences of an American celebrity perfume launch and that of an European luxury designer label. Sarah Jessica Parker uses a perfume oil from Bonne Bell as one of her inspirations for her first fragrance, Lovely. After Burr’s book was published, I remember how difficult it was to find bottles of Skin Musk! The prices shot up on auction sites. A celeb perfume made a 1970’s perfume oil popular again.

Skin Musk is a powdery musk that reminds me of sandalwood and rose petals. The sandalwood is bitter and after retrying it, the sandalwood is much more noticeable than I remember. There’s a subtle lily-of-the-valley green/floral thing going on in the first couple of minutes. For the most part, Skin Musk is linear. It wears as a woodsy, powdery musk with warmth. It’s sheer. It’s “skin musk”.

For the most part,  the Parfums de Coeur relaunch is the same as the Bonne Bell one. However, it could be my memory or it could be the perfume itself, but it seems less citrus-y than I remember. It’s been so long and I can’t do a side-by-side comparison. All I know for sure is that this cheap little oil smells really good. It’s excellent worn alone or layered with other perfumes.

Farrah Fawcett

Notes listed include flowers, sandalwood and musk. Originally launched in 1975 ²

Give Skin Musk a try if you like musk perfumes or “my skin but better” perfumes. Or perfumes like Coty Wild Musk, Sarah Horowitz Perfect Veil, Sage Machado Pearl, Ava Luxe Nude Musk, Kuumba Made Vanilla Musk, Pinrose Pillow Talk and/or The Body Shop White Musk.

I’ve reviewed the perfume oil which I have always preferred over the spray. It wears closely to the skin. Longevity is average.

Skin Musk is available at most drugstores for about $10 (there’s also a spray that retails for more). It’s also available at discounters like 

Victoria’s Final EauPINIONSandalwood musk. Not everything has to be expensive. For $10, you can smell really darn good.

¹While writing this, I found out that Malibu Musk has been discontinued and now I’m going through all the stages of grief.

²I’m reviewing a new bottle purchased 5/2016.

Want more reviews? Try…

Pink Manhattan

Daly Beauty

Basenotes – Member reviews

Yesterday’s Perfume – Review of the vintage

Perfume Fountain – A roundup of 1970’s era musks.


*Product purchased by me. Product pic is mine. Farrah Fawcett pic from Contains an affiliate link. Thanks!

17 thoughts on “Parfums de Coeur Skin Musk Perfume Oil Review

  1. I’ve not heard of or seen this Skin Musk before. I remember when all the girls were wearing musk oil in the 70s, I prided myself on wearing Caswell Massey Musk Oil, because nobody else wore it. It smelled more like sandalwood & amber, but I didn’t know that back then. I grabbed a bottle a few years ago when it was briefly available, but it smells somehow thinner now. I also like Attar Bazaar Sweet Musk and Tunisian White Musk. Sweet Musk reminds me of calamine lotion and TWM smells very “old French perfume” to me. Off to look for Skin Musk. Oh, and how I wanted big hair like Farrah!

    1. Oddly, I’m on a musk kick right now. So, I’m taking notes from your comment 🙂 During my current musk craving, I’ve been wearing this, a few of the Narciso Rodriguez bottles, a little white musk solid perfume from this artsy Taiwanese brand and Auric Blends Egyptian Goddess oil. I’m all about some cheapie musks right now.

      Her hair was truly special. Huge but still soft and touchable…impossible for us mere mortals to achieve 😉

      1. I tried for the Farrah Hair until I was in my 30s, when I cut it all off a la Mia Farrow & haven’t looked back since.
        I’m wearing Egyptian Goddess today & also like C.O. Bigelow Musk Oil. Will snoop around Walgreen’s after work looking for Skin Musk.

        1. That’s amazing. I can’t get my hair to really have any body, at all. For myself, I’m partial to short hairstyles (like Mia) so it’s been weird growing out my hair. I also have no clue how to “work” with it.

          Years ago I had a bottle of C.O. Bigelow Musk oil and have forgotten about that. I need to go by there and sniff it again. I remember loving it.

  2. Anytime I’m in the drugstore, I look in the fragrance section to see if they have a bottle or two of this. If they do, more often than not it’s on sale, amazingly. At that point, I will pick up a backup. I enjoy wearing this scent to work as it’s light and fresh. Nobody has to know that I spent practically pennies for it. Thank you for the review.

    1. I see myself getting a backup of it. It actually smells great (regardless of price). And it’s perfect for “close environments” like work or school. It is “light and fresh” without smelling like the typical citrus-y things.

      It’s so cheap that I don’t feel bad using a few drops in the bath. At this price, I’m also willing to experiment with it and see if I can use it to scent unscented body/hair oils.

  3. Ooh, nice review, Victoria – and this afternoon when I was in a Walgreens drugstore I bought their only bottle of the oil. After cashing in some of my store points the sale total came to approx. $3, woohoo…I smell fab!

    1. Wow! I’m still in shock that one can smell good for $3. But, it’s possible! This is proof!

  4. I’ve always wondered about this one and now I might just check it out. I only have one musk oil, The Body Shop Red Musk, which I surprised myself by buying on the spot after 15 minutes of wear time. It’s clean and uncomplicated, but I’m not a musk connoisseur so maybe there’s something that makes it ‘red’? 🙂 Have you tried it?
    The only perfumes I have with strong musk are SJP Lovely, Byredo Gypsy Water and NR for Her (which is my favorite perfume).
    I remember having a BBW Moonlight Path lotion years ago and it was TOO MUCH so I gave it away.

    1. I’ve always wanted to try Red Musk but never got around to it. The Body Shop surprises me with a lot of their “musk” limited editions and stuff like Smoky Poppy. I really should go in and try Red Musk. It sounds good.

      This was the musk that inspired the musk in SJP Lovely 🙂

      I’ve been on a huge NR kick again. It’s really all I’ve been wearing. I’ve been into musks again.

  5. I live 10 minutes away from the Bonne Bell factory and go every once in a while to purchase their Bronzing Gel ($5 instead of $30-50 for the ones in department stores). Julie Bell (d-i-l of the founder) will gladly bring out a few vintage Musks from the 70s for you to smell and appreciate. They are remaining open for a bit longer…

    1. I didn’t realize that Bonne Bell still sold that stuff! I used to be so loyal to that bronzing gel but it got harder and harder to find so I moved on to other things.

      This actually sounds field trip worthy! This may motivate me to go visit my in-laws…and that’s saying something.

        1. I actually don’t know much about Ohio. They’re somewhere around there 😉

          I’ll let you know!

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