The best piece of perfume advice I’ve ever gotten came to me by way of Saint Rose perfume founder Belinda Smith. “Choosing a fragrance is like dating: You have to make sure you like it, but you also have to make sure it likes you,” she says. Just as some relationships are meant to be summer flings and others are meant to last until death do you part, the same principle applies to perfume. And your skin pH is the deciding factor on whether or not your signature scent is truly “the one.”
Everyone’s skin has a slightly different pH, which falls somewhere between 4 and 5.5. That’s why the same fragrance can smell completely different in the bottle than it does when you spritz it onto your décolletage. “I always say that your skin is the most important fragrance ingredient,” says Smith. “In the bottle, you may love something, but when you spray it you may not like the way it interacts with your skin, because [your skin’s pH] can amplify or mute certain notes.”
What’s more, because of this, certain fragrances may smell differently on our bodies at different times during the year. Changes in the weather, including increased humidity and sun exposure, can change the natural pH of your skin, which means that a perfume that you wore all throughout the summer may not be quite as appealing when the mercury dips. So while we’ve come to associate certain scents with certain seasons—like the woody, musky scents that cue our brains that it’s winter—there actually is a groundbreaking reason to opt for florals for spring (and beyond).
“When your skin is dry [like in the winter months], heavier or spicier perfumes will be easier to wear, while bright, citrusy florals go a little muted or musky on dry skin,” says Smith. “Florals and bright citruses are beautiful to layer through the summer, though, because they’re a little bit softer and interact really well in humid weather when your skin is a little bit oilier.”
Your skin best absorbs scent when it is warm and damp, which means that summer—even the dog days that we’re in now—is the perfect time to go lighter, until around November when the temps decidedly fall. Keep scrolling to shop 10 favorites that fit the bill.
At the heart of this dreamy fragrance is wild Sambac Jasmine. This fresh, white floral scent is light and uplifting with California tangerine and bergamot from Italy’s southern coast that, with a subtle tease of Turkish rose, unfolds into a blonde woods bouquet.
Shop now: Saint Rose Juliet in White, $165
Harnessing notes from all over the world—orange blossom form North Africa, Sambac Jasmin from Egypt, and roses from Turkey and Morocco—this layered scent is sexy and sweet.
Shop now: Kilian Good Girl Gone Bad, $210
Phlur Hanami, $90
With fig, white florals, hazelnut, and sandalwood, this aquatic floral fragrance is light yet lasting. It also comes in a body wash so that you can douse your skin in it while you suds up.
Shop now: Phlur Hanami, $90
This unisex scent combines floral tuberose and lavender with citrusy lemon peel and white grapefruit with the deeper notes cognac, tobacco, oud, and musk for a fragrance that everyone in your household will want to spritz on their summer skin.
Shop now: Anu Essentials Sterling Botanical Perfume, $40
Dedcool Taunt, $80
According to one editor who wears this scent every day, this combination of bergamot, florals, fresh dew, and vanilla, “hit your senses like a delightful punch.” Its beautiful citrus blend is equal parts sensual and springy, and will leave your brain “buzzing with endorphins.”
Shop now: Dedcool Taunt, $80
Skylar Capri, $78
Take a mental vacation to the Mediterranean with this Capri-inspired citrusy scent. It’s made with bergamot, neroli, and grapefruit, and will have your mind floating in the blue waters off of the Italian coast.
Shop now: Skylar Capri, $78
Spritz yourself with sunsets in a bottle by way of rose, coconut water, and a note called “sunny accord.” It’s equal parts beachy and floral, and will make you feel like you’re laying out by the ocean (without any risk of sun damage).
Shop now: Clean Reserve Endless Summer, $60
For something fruity, floral, and a little bit spicy, look no further than this combination of pear, Galbanum and Sichuan pepper. And for what it’s worth? The scent is just as beautiful as the bottle.
Shop now: Floral Street Neon Rose Eau de Parfum, $78
Ellis Brooklyn WEST, $105
Invigorate your senses with a burst of energy with this bright, citrus scent, which was inspired by Los Angeles in the 1970s. It’s made with sweet blood orange, delicate waterlily, and warm vetiver for a multi-layered fragrance you’ll never tire of sniffing on your wrists.
Shop now: Ellis Brooklyn WEST, $105
Handmade in Brooklyn, this natural, essential-oil based formula is made with rose, sandalwood, and black pepper. The result? A floral-but-not scent that even those who aren’t typically fans of florals will love.
Shop now: Harlem Botanica Desert Bloom, $135
Your skin will drink this blend of ylang-ylang, jasmine, tropical tuberose, and white lily right up. Thanks to its oil-based formulation, you’ll stay smelling sweet and sun-kissed all day.
Shop now: Maison Louis Marie No.05 Kandilli Perfume Oil, $57
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