The Beauty Memo

The best summer scents to match your vacation

Summer-weight perfumes are notorious for smelling incredible one second, then disappearing the next. ALICE DU PARCQ finds the textures and ingredients that last the distance


When the weather heats up, it feels jarring to drench oneself in a rich, smoldering perfume; it borders on stifling and can feel akin to itchy mohair on hyper-sensitive skin. Once upon a time, the only option for summer scenting was a zippy citrus splash that disappeared before your first coffee, somehow disregarding the commitment of your other beauty products. Today, we wear 24-hour hydration serums, no-smudge mascara and all-day SPF, so why shouldn’t your summer perfume provide the same longevity and self-care support? In an act of renegade creativity, fragrance houses have played with molecular-rich ingredients crafted with the lightest touch, so that they evolve beautifully in the heat without ever feeling overbearing. The scent styles below create a sheer aromatic aura that hovers, not clings, for hours on hot summer skin in a subtle and comfortable way.

Explore the jungle

The quenching way in which a snapped aloe leaf dribbles out its watery gel; the dewy gloss of a giant Monstera leaf; the tangy, steamy exotica of a glass palm house: these botanical jungle flavors work so well in a summer fragrance because they make hot, bothered skin smell cleansed, grounded, restored and as close to nature as possible. If you can imagine how a blended green juice tastes as physiologically strengthening as it does emotionally restorative, a fine perfume containing garden herbs, pinging juniper, torn grass, earthy roots, citrus peel and vegetal warmth has the same wellbeing effect – just on another sensorial level. If you’re immovable from your decadent floral fragrances, try one of these as a ‘topcoat’ spritzed lightly above – it’ll knock the sweetness down a level.

D.S. & Durga Eau de Parfum – Coriander; The Nue Co. Forest Lungs
Maison Francis Kurkdjian Eau de Toilette – Aqua Celestia; Frederic Malle L’Eau d’Hiver Eau de Toilette

Cool your fragrance

It seems so simple it’s almost banal, but storing your perfume in the fridge and spritzing a blast of icy scent is the most delicious way of cooling your skin down. There are even some fragrances that emulate the sensation of ‘coldness’ by using invigorating spices, such as black pepper, tea, ginger and Sichuan; damp petals, such as heliotrope and iris; bitter fruits, including under-ripe blackcurrants and grapefruit; plus fascinating bio-identical scent concepts, such as salt water, atmospheric skies and fresh laundry. They appear to lower the temperature all around you, as if you’ve stepped into a cool corner of shade at a garden party where a glorious breeze is calming down a humidity surge. Suddenly, you can breathe and expand your lungs all the way to their furthest stretch, like a tiny therapy session every time you smell your own wrist.

Feed your warm, sybaritic soul this summer with these perfumes that smell like you’ve just stepped off a yacht, skin glistening with dry tanning oil, a freshly picked island blossom tucked behind your ear and a just-cracked coconut water in hand

Find your ‘vacation in a bottle’

If your style radar usually points to embellished, adorned, detailed and patterned, your aromatic vibe may well follow suit with complex oriental fragrances featuring hedonistic florals, leather and resins teetering on indecent. In really hot weather, these could potentially summon a migraine, so it’s about finding a new texture that’s compatible with searing skin. Lactic, milky notes with solar tropic warmth are usually associated with sun cream, but when translated into a perfume, they’re the most heavenly way to lean in to your maximalist scent style. Feed your warm, sybaritic soul this summer with these perfumes that smell like you’ve just stepped off a yacht, skin glistening with dry tanning oil, a freshly picked island blossom tucked behind your ear and a just-cracked coconut water in hand.

Tom Ford Beauty Eau de Soleil Blanc; Aerin Hibiscus Palm Eau de Parfum
Frederic Malle Carnal Flower Hair Mist; Diptyque Hair Mist – Ilio

Try no-skin scenting

Perfuming oneself properly and elegantly in the summer is absolutely miserable when you have highly reactive skin that flares up with fragrance in the heat. It is something the perfume industry has danced around for a long time without delivering on. However, there has been a recent flood of stunning hair mists that are phenomenally beautiful and actually last. The picks below are predominantly refreshing florals with crystalline citrus flashes, but hold their deluxe signature with deep base notes (such as creamy woods, vanilla and amber) that penetrate your hair’s porous texture without leaving any greasy residue.