Spritzing on a warm, heady fragrance in the summer feels like wearing tight black jeans and a turtleneck to the beach in the middle of July: stifling, sweltering, deeply and profoundly wrong. Strong woody notes stew in the hot sun; musks start to smell less like having hot sex on clean sheets and more like the sweaty balls they're named for.
Summer calls for light, breezy fragrances that won't suffocate you, or anyone who happens to be sitting near you in the stagnant air of your office, for that matter. These are perfumes that smell pleasant but not obvious, are easy to wear but not boring, that make their presence known but also somehow don't? It's complicated — but where words fail, your olfactory glands won't.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
1 of 5
As juicy, bright, and sweet as the real thing, this fragrance is true to its namesake, not a poorly-formed plasticine version of it. The orange peel and mandarin leaf come off light and citrusy, not bitter, but the scent is just tart enough to be revitalizing — like stepping out of the dizzying heat and into a big, airy room to peel and eat clementines in front of the A/C on blast.
3 of 5
Named for Greta Garbo, and inspired by the sea of Ravello Roses that surrounded her villa on the Amalfi Coast, this eau de parfum — with bright, blooming notes of pure rosebud and white tea — smells secretive and sublime, like a luminous starlet who's fled a public life for a quieter, more beautiful one (but then the paparazzi found her anyway).
4 of 5
Dominated by blades of fresh-cut grass, with fresh, crisp angelica and aromatic galbanum, this distinctly green fragrance is the olfactory equivalent of dozing off on a sun-soaked lawn in the early afternoon while absolutely not under the influence of any alcohol whatsoever.
5 of 5
This unique scent enhancer lends depth, longevity, and a certain je ne sais quoi to whatever it is you already smell like. It's transparent and difficult to describe, and totally transforms anything you layer it over, be it your favorite go-to fragrance or just your sweaty summer skin.