Smells better than deer testicles: Body Shop Red Musk Eau de Toilette Review

I didn’t used to like buying from the Body Shop. Until recently, they were owned by L’oreal – so although they didn’t test on animals, their parent company did. If you’re really trying to live a more ethical lifestyle, this is a no no. It also went against pretty much everything its founder, Anita Roddick, stood for.

Equally, however, my favourite perfume was Body Shop’s Vanilla Eau de Toilette, so I was willing to turn a blind eye to that. When I went veggie, I realised I probably shouldn’t do that anymore, so I stopped going to Body Shop. Bye bye delicious vanilla perfume. However, last summer, my prayers were answered when the Body Shop was sold to a Brazilian company, which didn’t test on animals. Whoop-de-do.

Now it was aligned with my ethics, and I’m never one to turn down a bargain, I got this Red Musk perfume while it was on sale after Christmas for £5. Five quid for a Body Shop perfume? That’s too cheap NOT to buy (if you have a bit of cash and are looking for a new perfume, anyway), plus it was discontinued, so my last chance to try it. Unfortunately that has the knock-on effect of making this review utterly pointless, but let’s not focus too much on that.


I only recently found out ‘musk’ originally came from deer bollocks. Thankfully, the Body Shop have been using synthetic musk since the 1990s.

Now listen as I pretend to know what I’m talking about. Okay, so the ‘base notes’ are tobacco and musk. Cigarettes and deer testes really doesn’t appeal to your average shopper – or indeed, anyone – so it’s no surprise they place greater emphasis on the ‘spicy’ aroma, based on black pepper and cinnamon.

I can’t say I liked the marketing for this particular product, though. Its tagline was something like “NO FLOWERS. JUST SPICE”, which I think was a crap attempt at making this a unisex product. Except it came across as “PERFUME FOR MAN. FLOWERS R 4 GIRLS”, and I just can’t be dealing with that patriarchal nonsense. What’s wrong with flowers? Men can smell like flowers too – flowers are bloody awesome.


The lid is also half as big as the bottle, which I don’t like. Waste of bloody plastic.

When you first apply it, the spiciness does come through, but there’s also a very pleasant sweetness in there too. It’s a good fragrance for this time of year, because it’s very warming and comforting. I’d say it could actually work as a unisex fragrance – it reminds me just a little of Old Spice – so it’s a shame about the poor marketing campaign.

The downside is, this perfume is weak AF. After a couple of hours I don’t think I could smell anything, and I put A LOT on this morning. I asked my colleagues (I am the office weirdo) to sniff me in the morning, and they could smell it, but round lunchtime I got nothing. Weirdly, a friend who used the Body Shop’s Grapefruit perfume had a similar problem, so I wonder if they have changed the formula so the fragrance isn’t as potent anymore.

It annoys me so much I now treat this as a ‘burner’ perfume, which I use as often as I can, and spritz a lot onto myself. I’ve got other perfumes to get to – ones that actually last more than five minutes.

Smells much better than deer testes, though.

Buy again? No

Recommend to a friend? Sure, if they only like to smell nice for a couple of hours

Rating: 2/5


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