How To Smell Like Your Dream Vacation In Your Boring, Everyday Life

Photographed by Katie McCurdy.
A Californian, a New Yorker, and a Polynesian walk onto a beach...
The Californian tries to float peacefully in the Pacific, but gets caught in a rip tide and ends up a mile away from the family's umbrella. The New Yorker orders an $18 glass of rosé from the outdoor bar, Snapchats the ocean, then returns to the Revolve x Hamptons pool party. The Polynesian feels completely at peace, secure in the knowledge that waters actually can be that warm and turquoise, sands that white and soft, flowers that fragrant and vibrant.
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Point is: All beach experiences are not created equal.
So why would you assume all beach-inspired fragrances would smell like a piña colada made love to a bottle of Banana Boat? Sure, a whole lot do, but if you want to find the secret, unspoiled beach free of litter, aggressive seagulls who steal your chips, and leathery old men in Speedos — or the beach fragrance that smells like no other beach fragrance — you need to go off the beaten path, past the No Access signs.
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If you're staying up all night in Israel...

Tel Aviv likely isn't the first — or second, or third, or fourth... — locale that comes to mind when you think beach vacation, so it's fitting that this scent inspired by the city isn't the obvious coconut-sunscreen-umbrella-drink blend you expect, either. Much more sophisticated, it's as if the color yellow was mixed with a beautiful person's sweat (think droplets forming between cleavage, not underarm wetness), plus some jasmine and a late-night bonfire.

Gallivant Eau de Parfum in Tel Aviv, $95, available at Lucky Scent.
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If you prefer lobster bakes in the Northeast...

Pick up this perfume oil if you prefer pebbles over sand, pines instead of palms. Clary sage and myrrh stand in for the woods, seaweed lends the saltiness, and the rose absolute note is just really pretty.

MCMC Fragrances Maine Perfume Oil, $45, available at MCMC Fragrances.
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If you're spending summer along the Amalfi Coast...

Picture the water cooler you'd find in an airy, all-white, ridiculously expensive resort spa. It'd probably be glass, filled with bottled water instead of tap, and packed with citrus fruit slices, right? Post-massage, you'd swear it was the crisp, refreshing nectar of the gods. Now imagine that as a scent and you get this blend of bergamot, lemon, mandarin, and shiso leaf.

Tom Ford Sole di Positano, $225, available at Sephora.
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If you're escaping to a remote island...

If you've never Google-imaged Moorea, aka The World's Most Beautiful Island You've Never Heard Of, I'm not sure you should now. On the one hand, it's sort of like Xanax in picture form; on the other, it's sort of like torture, because — let's be real — you're probably never going there. Instead, settle for this intense vanilla fragrance, which isn't at all the same thing, but is still a very nice thing.

Berdoues Vânira Moorea, $85, available at Sephora.
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If you're sunning in Rio...

Brazilian women go big when it comes to beauty, and fragrance is no exception. The desire to smell sweet at all times is so real, there's even a Portuguese word for it: cheirosa. If you, too, want to make everyone who passes by you suddenly develop an all-consuming craving for crème brûlée, this mist will do the job. It has notes — strong ones — of pistachio and salted caramel, and is meant to sprayed on hair, skin, and even clothes G-string bikinis.

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Body Fragrance Mist, $32, available at Sephora.
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If you're downing Mezcal in Tulum...

The exotic Plumeria flower, commonly known as frangipani, or that thing used to make leis, is at the heart of this perfume from the Mexican hotel of the same name. It's so deliciously tropical, sweet, and warm that wearing it when you're not on vacation is actually kind of depressing.

Coqui Coqui Eau de Parfum in Flor de Mayo, $90, available at Net-A-Porter.
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If you're hanging ten in Malibu...

This oil, which comes housed in a wooden beach shack, is what we bet Baywatch's C.J. Parker smelled like: sunshine, sunscreen, and Sex Wax. (And coconuts, but we didn't want to break the alliteration.)

Pirette Coconut Surf Wax Fragrance Oil, $47.95, available at Swell.
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If you're living a life of luxury in Hawaii...

Coconut, white lily, jasmine, vanilla... all the elements for your typical ho-hum island perfume are here, and yet it's anything but. Incense, patchouli, and amber add a rich warmth and smokiness that catch you off guard in the best way.

Carlen Parfums Coco Flor, $190, available at Carlen Parfums.
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