Bella Hadid’s Perfume Line Will Awaken Your Inner Romantic

Photo Illustration by Erin O'Flynn/The Daily Beast/Getty Images
Photo Illustration by Erin O'Flynn/The Daily Beast/Getty Images

There is something preternaturally alluring about Bella Hadid. Maybe it’s the supermodel-activist-lemon heiress’ cheekbones, which look like Rodin’s careful hands finished sculpting them just before Pat McGrath’s devoted brushes dotted highlighter powder across their curvature. Or perhaps it’s the Palestinian-American’s fearless dedication to speaking out for what she believes in. Hadid has been strong-willed enough to suffer any detractors, consistently using her platform to speak out about Israel’s violent military campaign in Gaza, and joining the call to demand a ceasefire.

Whatever her draw is, one thing’s for sure: Bella Hadid serves as often as an Applebee’s waiter doing a double shift after a local junior baseball tournament. Watching her walk a runway is like catching a glimpse of Helen of Troy—suddenly, you understand how one face could launch a thousand ships. Hadid has an “it” factor that so many of her contemporaries lack, an undeniable pull that has made her the muse of designers and photographers around the world at just 27 years old. Who wouldn’t want an aura that makes people fall head over heels with just one look, if only for the big, fat paychecks it may yield?

For anyone looking to replicate Hadid’s aura themselves—trust me, I’ve closely studied the texts to try to do this for years—there is Orebella, Hadid’s new line of fragrances, touted as “the first intentional skin parfum.” As a longtime Bella Hadid superstan, whose name was on the Orebella mailing list before the product was even announced, I couldn’t get my hands on Orebella’s first three scents fast enough. I may be a professional critic, sure, but I lay the money down first and form my subjective opinions later. Suze Orman will have my head for that, yet little does she know that all things are possible through Bella Hadid, which I have found out after a week’s worth of testing Orebella. The scents, and their unusual, proprietary formula, are as enchanting as the person who created them, a unique blend of essential oils whose bouquet transforms the longer they’re worn on the skin. While I’m reluctant to gush over every scent in the launch collection, one of them has become my go-to summer staple, a must-have for anyone looking to “reveal their alchemy,” to borrow a phrase from the brand itself.

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I spend a little too much time on Fragrantica, the perfume encyclopedia trusted by scent-heads and smell-sweethearts all over the world. Use caution when approaching that link, because you too will fall down a rabbit hole of fragrance obsession. The forum makes the world of fragrance accessible, and its frequent users do not hold their tongues (or noses!). Fragrantica frequenters are happy to let you know when shit stinks, and I have used their guidance—and even their reprehension—to steer me toward scents I know that I’ll love. It was on Fragrantica where I learned all about silage (the trail that a scent leaves after you leave a space), projection (how far away someone else can smell the scent), and performance (kind of self-explanatory). These are all things I took into consideration during my Orebella trial period, because I’m exceedingly good at my job, super professional, and wildly beautiful. Or, at least, I feel like I am all of those things when I reveal my alchemy!

Coleman Spilde holding Orebella perfume.
Courtesy of Coleman Spilde

The phrase, “I have to reveal my alchemy,” has been nauseating everyone in my orbit for the last 10 days. After a particularly trying day, or before leaving in the morning to head to the office, I grab a geode-shaped bottle of Orebella and shake it up, repeating this expression in a huff of dramatics. Orebella must be shaken before it’s sprayed. The bottles won’t explode or anything (though it would be really cool if they did; why lie?), but because the scents are oil-based, they have to be shaken so the notes can merge and your alchemy can reveal itself. Credit where it’s due: Having to shake the bottle before spraying also creates a theatrical nature to this whole process, which is something I firmly believe in. Scent obsession should be playful, and making a miniature scene with a bottle cast to look like a jagged gemstone couldn’t be more frisky and mischievous. If intention is what Hadid is aiming for with Orebella, I can’t think of a better way to achieve it.

Before we get to the good stuff, you may still be asking yourself: “What the hell does that mean, ‘intentional skin parfum?’” Well, “intention” is two-pronged here. Per the brand’s website, Orebella was created as part of Hadid’s move away from alcohol, which she has been vocal about for a couple of years now. “Through my healing journey, I found that I was extremely sensitive to alcohol in traditional perfumes—both physically and mentally—it became something that was more overwhelming than calming to me,” Hadid writes. The scents are made with intention, and also designed for those seeking an equally deliberate lifestyle. Orebella is made with snow mushroom, a naturally occurring, hydrating fungus, as part of its proprietary base. Fuck a Stanley cup; real hot girls are spraying fungus all over themselves for hydration. Beats lead poisoning!

Orebella perfume
Courtesy of Coleman Spilde

Alright, you’ve waited long enough. I’ll tell you exactly how these things smell. All three scents—Window2soul, Salted Muse, and Blooming Fire—are immediately agreeable to the nose. There isn’t a single one that is noticeably revolting, which can happen much more easily than you think when mixing essential oils. Window2soul is the most floral of the three, your standard mix of rose, jasmine, and lemon. It’s pleasant, even a little musky, which I quite enjoy in a floral scent. An element of musk keeps the floral bouquet from becoming too unnatural and overpowering, and scents should function as an extension of yourself, not as a pronouncement of an aroma separate from your body.

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Then, there’s Blooming Fire, far and away my least favorite of the initial three Orebella parfums. The bottle is an amber-yellow, which is exactly the way I would describe this scent: yellow. I mean that in both a good way and a bad way. There is a sunshiny component to Blooming Fire, a familiar warmth that comes from its patchouli and monoi flower. But there’s also a bergamot note, which skews the profile to my nose. The fragrance is strong and distinct, but there’s a juvenile element to it, too. Each time I smell it, I feel like I’m in a Claire’s boutique at the mall that happens to have an Auntie Anne’s soft-baked pretzel store right outside of it. If that’s your thing, go for it. But as my The Daily Beast’s Obsessed colleague Laura Bradley noted, Blooming Fire is evocative of Bath & Body Works’ nauseatingly sweet, classic Warm Vanilla Sugar scent, a fragrance I have derided ever since the 12-year-old popular girls at my middle school, who wore Warm Vanilla Sugar, bullied me for being gay. Yet, here I sit, reviewing a supermodel’s fragrance line. They weren’t exactly wrong.

Finally, we have Salted Muse, Orebella’s home-run fragrance, the undeniable standout. For those concerned about androgyny when approaching scents: don’t be. Whether or not a scent aligns with your gender identity should be of no concern to you. What should be important is how it smells on your skin, and that alone. A scent can, however, be masculine or feminine, and Salted Muse falls firmly in the middle—exactly how I like it. Its heady top notes of sea salt and pink pepper are intoxicating, but the olive tree accord woven into the mix is what keeps me coming back to my wrists all day long. There’s a mystery to Salted Muse. Something in its makeup begets naughtiness, the kind of slipperiness that anyone who wants to feel downright enigmatic should pursue. Salted Muse was our collective favorite here at The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, based on the three team members who were in the office when I whipped out my geode bottles. I was even asked by two different people what I was wearing when I had Salted Muse on, and that provides the kind of arrogance that money can’t buy!

Well, that’s not exactly true. Money did buy me that pride, but Orebella is extremely reasonably priced for what you’ll get. The 10-milliliter travel-size vials are $35 each, while the second-largest size, the 50-milliliter bottle, is $72. But for my money, I’d say either go big or go small. If you’re going to invest, throw 30 more dollars at Hadid’s bank account and go for the 100-milliliter bottle, which will run you $100. For such perplexing, rich scents, $100 is a damn good bargain. Couture perfumiers will charge you more for smaller bottles, and while I relate to the desire for something unique, Orebella is singular enough on its own to quell any fears about being too accessible. Speaking of, if you want to try before you buy, you can head to an Ulta store near you to give all three a sniff. Did I risk it, and throw down $105 for all three scents in their small editions the second they were released on the Orebella website? You bet your sweet ass.

Orebella perfume
Courtesy of Coleman Spilde

As for silage, projection, and performance? High marks in all three categories. Each scent lingers when you pass another person, but Salted Muse has the best silage and projection out of the three. Window2soul fades a bit for me after long wear, so I can’t tout its overall performance as much as I can for the other two fragrances. But I also think there’s an underrated romance to reapplying a scent throughout the day, and Window2soul is certainly the most quixotic of the three. Blooming Fire performs well, but I strangely found that I liked it more after a shower, when some of its intensity was quelled.

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There is no beating Salted Muse, though. It’s the scent that generates the most evocative imagery, which is precisely what I want from a fragrance: to lift your wrist to your nose, or kiss a lover’s neck, and be briefly taken to a deserted beach on an overcast afternoon. It won’t rain, but the clouds threaten it. Sand is in your toes, but doesn’t stick to your feet. There’s something slightly sad in the air, but that sadness somehow makes you profoundly hopeful. To get this feeling from one scent is a supermodel’s dream. They’re the ones who are responsible for turning a garment into a fantasy. Now, Hadid has taken her career one step further, by crafting three stunning fantasies all her own.

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