fucking scentbird

This is probably one of those things that people have YouTube channels for, to air their petty gripes and grievances aloud, for an audience (and perhaps future sponsors). I imagine on some level, that must be cathartic, to give voice to your criticisms and objections. I also imagine sometimes that people are better speakers than writers, and so recording their complaints and contentions is the option they’d prefer. (Although, I gotta tell you, from watching some of these videos,  some of these individuals sound as dumb as a bag of hammers, so maybe they were not blessed with gifts of either the oratory or compositional kind.)

Myself, I prefer to write when I’ve got a problem. And the problem I have right now, it’s perfectly petty, I know, I KNOW, but dammit, I’m mad, and I feel that I have to share anyway– even if it makes me sound bitter and hateful: I fucking hate scentbird.

I’m not going to link to them, but you may have heard of them: scentbird is a subscription based designer perfume program that allows you to try a 30-day supply of perfume for something like $14.95 a month. There are about 450 different scents to choose from “top designers” such as Gucci, Tom Ford, and Dolce & Gabbana, (which, if you ask me, sounds a lot like the crappy scents that are included in your Sephora Play box and are really nothing to get excited about.) A cursory peek at the brands they stock tells me that they may have something from Amouage or Etat Libre d’Orange, but other than that, they offer nothing extraordinary, rare, or niche. Which, okay, that’s fine. I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to perfume and fragrance, and I don’t think that scentbird is pretending to offer that kind of service, or cater to those tastes, so I can’t get too mad about that. Conversely, I can’t muster any excitement for it, either.

What really burns my muffins, though, are scentbird’s advertisements, which I am bombarded with every time I watch a youtube video lately. In each and every single one of these ads, the person touting the service looks like a social media beauty “influencer”, and I know that you know exactly what I am talking about. Not just “pretty”, but beautiful in an instantly recognizable, very contemporary sort of way– from their Instagrammable caterpillar eyebrows to the radioactive luminescence of the highlighter on their cheeks, from their impossibly long fringe of false lashes, to their vacuum-device puffed pout. These people and their perfect faces and unattainable levels of beauty have been chosen to represent a perfume service, and I find that absolutely insufferable. Why? Because I believe that the wonderful thing about fragrance it that it makes you feel beautiful in ways that has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with your appearance.

“What is it, exactly, that you are saying, Sarah?” you might be asking. That perfume is the domain of the unsightly, the unattractive, and the straight-up ugly?


I can’t make my eyeliner match, and it never looks good on my beady eyes anyhow; I’ve got sun spots and broken capillaries that foundation and concealers can never seem to cover; lipstick only draws attention to my snaggletoothed, crooked smile; my hair frizzes and frays in every direction, and every single part of me jiggles when I move…but do you know that when I smell beautiful, none of that bothers me? For while a scent lingers, I can slip through the world in a veil of impeccable elegance or a melancholy cloud of romantic longing; fragrance moves me to beauty in places that powder and glosses can never hope to reach. An extraordinary scent makes me feel that I’ve achieved a beauty far beyond what you can capture on camera in a well-lit studio with an arsenal of face paint and filters at your disposal.

And I guess what I am saying is that I would sure like to see an ad campaign for a thing I that I love very much, like fragrance for example, portrayed by people who also have an intense passion for it…not just by people who look good talking about it.

Also that dumb-ass white lady in the featured photo is a screen shot from a scentbird ad wherein she is actually rapping about the service. I’m not even making that up. What the hell.

And yes, the screen shot is an ad preceding a video about someone eating cheesy noodles. I told you, I’m jiggly.


Pamela says

Do you only thing I can say critical about this article is your definition of yourself. Anyone that seen pictures of you know how beautiful you are. And I’ve seen you pull off some pretty snazzy lipsticks.
That said I trust your evaluation of products and services. Thank you for your “scentual” review.

Your sister says

You're beautiful. Just sayin', yo.

Heartbeast says

I get your point, but personally I think that those people are fugly and that you, my dear, are incredibly glamorous.

Regina says

I laughed out loud! Superb rant. You put your finger on what bothers me the most about beauty influencers. They are so contemporary. The heavy contour feels like it's going to be as dated as 80s blue eyeshadow. Can't we have something timeless? Something beyond this humbling existence?

On that note: are there any fragrance subscriptions you would recommend?

S. Elizabeth says

You know, I thought olfactif was pretty okay! I eventually canceled my subscription after about 6-7 months, but that's only because I just couldn't afford the temptations. They actually stock and send the good stuff--niche and indie brands, none of that Marc Jacobs Daisy baloney. As a matter of fact, a couple years after I canceled my subscription I was able to go on to the site and purchase a bottle of scent that was sold out everywhere else! I think it's something like $15 a month for 3 samples and if you end up wanting to buy a full bottle of any of them, you get something like 20% off. The boxes were somewhat themed as I remember. Maybe seasonally, or according to variations on a certain note, or whatever other ideas one might use to curate a small collection. Not sure if they still do it that way, though! https://www.olfactif.com/

Regina says

OOo. This looks good. Many thanks!

Calluna Jean says

Boo Scentburb! As someone who trolls IG ads and rants about them in stories, I say well done! However I didn't find your rant to be particularly inarticulate...

Meg says

Methinks your mirror might be broken, dearie! All those things you list as faults are my favorite things about you! Well, that and who you are as a person...but you get my point!

(Down with the "beauty influencers"!)

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