Liam Payne Confirms That He Smells Really Great Now, but Maybe Not When He Was in 1D

For the last 10 or so months, most people's lives have seriously slowed down. With shelter-in-place and lockdown orders mandated around the world, it's no surprise that many celebrities's once-busy and hectic public lives have come to a startling halt, but this hasn't necessarily been the case for Liam Payne.

Besides churning out new music, the singer has been very busy this year. Not unlike most of us, he's joined TikTok and discovered the benefits of sustainability, but he's also gotten engaged to girlfriend Maya Henry and even held a livestream concert series. Long story short, Payne's life hasn't changed pace, so it makes a lot of sense that he's updating his résumé with yet another accomplishment: being the face of a sexy new fragrance.

The partnership itself isn't new — Payne has been an ambassador for Hugo for the last few years — but the presence of Payne's smoldering stare in the latest campaign for Hugo Man seems fitting. After all, 2020 was the year of significant anniversaries for both the brand and Payne: Hugo Man not only celebrated its 25th birthday, but July 23 marked the 10th anniversary of One Direction. While 1D fans didn't get exactly what they'd hoped for (i.e. a band reunion), even the most soured superfans can feel a sense of pride for Payne's personal evolution.

Ahead, Payne shares what he's been up to while staying home, his plans for 2021, the tattoo he loves (now), and how an unlikely TikTok collaboration came to be.

Liam Payne On His Signature Scent as a Teen
Getty | Dominic Lipinski / PA Images

Liam Payne On His Signature Scent as a Teen

It's a universal truth that most teenagers do not smell great (or at least smell a lot better after moving past puberty and skipping the body spray housed inside a neon plastic bottle). While Payne spent most of his formative years in a band, he's not exactly exempt from our collective smelly past.

"I think when we're teenagers we choose those really cheap scents that everybody seems to have and they smell like a changing room most times," he told POPSUGAR. "I hope my own personal journey has been good, but I'm sure there must have been points when it wasn't." Despite what those handmade One Direction candles would tell you, Payne most certainly smells great now: modern, masculine, and after about 20 minutes, a bit woody.

While most of us could've maybe guessed what Payne smells like on a daily basis — introduce us to a 20-something guy who doesn't appreciate a balsam note — we would've never assumed his favorite scent that's not a fragrance: history. To be specific, really old houses. "I just moved into a house and it's really old. You know when you can smell that the house has history? That smell," he confirmed. "That smell is quite nice."

Liam Payne On His Most Regrettable Tattoo

Payne is not the first person to regret a tattoo, but could maybe teach a masterclass on learning to love yours. So, what is — or was — his most regrettable ink? The chevron-like row of arrows on his right arm. "The guy put the design on me and it was way too big, but I hadn't got the heart to tell him because I was kind of afraid," Payne said. "I think I fell asleep on the desk in the tattoo shop, it was the most random thing, ever. Then, I woke up the next morning and my arm was hurting. I was like, oh no, that didn't happen, did it?"

Payne revealed that he quickly went to Google to search for ways to remove the tattoo, but as you'll see, he never really went through with it. In fact, the large piece served as inspiration for one of his collections with Hugo (you can spot it on the collar of some of the pieces).

So, how does he feel about it now? "It was a beautiful mistake," he said. "I feel like tattoos do become a part of you, like a scar or something. They'll always be there and you always grow to love them."

Liam Payne On His Most Recent Tattoo

According to some experts, the post-coronavirus tattoo boom is inevitable. Even we can admit that we've been eyeing a few designs over the last year. As for Payne, he doesn't entirely relate. "I yearn for more tattoos, but I only ever get tattoos when I'm a little bit drunk," he said. "I can't sit with an idea and then hope I'm going to get it. I'm not one of those people."

"I yearn for more tattoos, but I only ever get tattoos when I'm a little bit drunk."

While Payne is one of those spur-of-the-moment kind of tattoo lovers, he admitted that he's excited to reunite with one of his favorite LA-based artists, Nikko Hurtado. So, no, he doesn't know what kind of tattoo he might get once lockdown is over, but he can confirm the very last tattoo he got before everything changed. "I got my initials on my hand in case I ever can't remember who I am," he said, referencing the "L" and "P" inked on his left and right hands, respectively. "At least I've got the letters to start with."

Liam Payne On Collabing With TikTok's Abby Roberts

After the year we've had, nothing really shocks us anymore — except maybe coming across Liam Payne in clown makeup on TikTok. If he made a surprising appearance on your For You Page this year, you may have wondered how the musician ended up on the app collaborating with one of its most popular makeup artists, Abby Roberts. Turns out, Payne had seen some of Roberts's videos before and initiated the harmonious partnership in anticipation for his Halloween concert special. And so their viral TikToks were born. (Seriously, the first video he posted with Roberts has since earned four millions likes.)

Just because we were surprised by this collaboration doesn't mean Payne is a stranger to undergoing seriously long makeup transformations. Remember those intro videos One Direction made for the Take Me Home Tour in 2013? The boys went undercover in London thanks to prosthetics and wigs. Tl;dr hijinks ensued, fans loved it, and Payne still remembers what it was like to be turned into Harry Styles's elderly husband. "I think I was in the chair for five hours while I was being made into an old man," he recalled of the prosthetics. "It was quite fun, but watching yourself age before the mirror was a very daunting prospect, but it was a lot of fun to play [that] part."

Liam Payne On His Commitment to Sustainability

Like many of us, Payne has become more aware of just how crucial a eco-conscious lifestyle can be for our present and future. As a Hugo ambassador, he's familiar with the importance of sourcing sustainable materials and ingredients when creating both clothes and fragrances. Perhaps the sexiest thing about the relaunched Hugo Man is that it's housed inside a box made from recycled paper. Even sexier, Payne admits he's made his own personal commitment to recycling while staying home. "It's made me take a longer look at myself and the way I treat things," he said. Even he agrees we all have to start somewhere.

Liam Payne On His Plans For 2021

Everyone's plans and expectations for this new year are very different, but Payne's already got his eye on some downtime. "I feel like because we didn't know if we had to completely stop working or whether we were even going to have anything to do this year, we worked as hard as we could constantly since March," he said. "It feels for all of us that 2021 is going to hit a little bit of a refresh button."

Still, even he can admit while we'd love to leave a lot of 2020 behind, there is one thing he'll take with him: quality time. "Life's been on a bit of treadmill for a long time and I think when you live in big cities, like London and LA, everybody's always go go go all the time," he said, "I think it's been important this year that we've got to learn to take some time for ourselves and stop and enjoy these moments."