What is a Summer Perfume? [And How to Choose One!]

When the cold days filled with shivers give in to the warm golden sunlight and it’s time to engage in summer activities, the last thing you want on your mind is a bunch of doubts about how you smell. Saying goodbye to summer odors means embracing summer fragrances.

A summer perfume is a fragrance designed to last longer, vaporize more intensely, and have tropical or fruity notes to align with the season’s vibe while offsetting the general sweatiness that comes with high heat. These perfumes often feature citrus, berries, and white floral notes.

In this article, you’ll learn more about what makes a summer perfume and how you can pick the best one for you. Moreover, you’ll discover the differences between summer perfumes and winter perfumes. Finally, you’ll get my top recommendations that will have you smelling nice all summer long.

Choosing Summer Perfumes: A Brief Overview

The problem with such fragrances is that they aim at two results that can be mutually exclusive: vaporizing more and lasting longer. A fragrance that is intense enough to offset summer body odors is likely too alcohol-dense to last long. Similarly, a fragrance that can last long is usually too subtle to qualify as a summer scent.

It is possible to get a long-lasting perfume that also features summer notes. However, it requires research and know-how (which you’ll get in this article). Most high-quality fragrances that are fit for summer use don’t get packaged and promoted for mass appeal as “summer fragrances.” 

They’re just promoted based on their contents, note-effect, and longevity, the three things that matter to any perfume aficionado (check this article on fragrance evaluation methods to learn more about testing perfumes for personal use).

Since you’ll have to judge a summer perfume based on the actual metrics that professionals use, here’s what to look for in each of those dimensions.

1. Contents

You should look for fruity (tropical) notes as well as natural or synthetic ingredients that result in citrus scent. This can be done for more obscure perfumes by looking up the ingredients mentioned in their respective sales copy.

For more common brands, the notes are likely mentioned on websites like fragrantica.

2. Note Effect

If a perfume’s notes make an impression at a distance, it is better suited for summer as the note-effect automatically covers body odor. Even though you don’t use perfume as a replacement for personal hygiene, having a fragrance that has a larger radius helps during the summer.

3. Longevity

For summer, the fragrance you wear must have eight hours of longevity. You can test this by spraying the fragrance on a blotter and leaving the testing strip near a window for 8 hours of sunlight. 

How well you can smell the perfume at the end of the experiment determines its fitness for summer. Since tastes can be subjective and situations can vary, you can test for the longevity level that matches your needs and decide which perfume is your summer fragrance.

Ultimately, any fragrance can be your summer fragrance as long as it functions within the summertime parameters of wider reach, longevity, and summer-reminiscent notes. 

No one will judge you for not wearing a by-the-books summer fragrance. People will, however, judge you for wearing a winter fragrance during the summer. To know how to avoid making that mistake, you must know the difference between the two.

Difference Between Summer and Winter Perfume

Generally, there are a few hard rules in the olfactory world of fragrances and perfumes. Besides avoiding strong fragrances in enclosed spaces, the only other “rule” you might get judged for not following is using summer and winter perfumes interchangeably. Knowing the following will allow you to avoid that mistake.

The key difference between summer and winter perfume is the type of notes used. Summer perfume usually contains light floral and fruity notes. Whereas, winter perfume usually consists of heavier notes. Winter perfume also tends to last longer due to the higher usage of heavier base notes.

Summer perfumes are fruity because summertime is when tropical fruits are abundant, and we collectively associate them with summer. In contrast, winter fragrances are woody because burning wood during winter has led to a cultural correlation between woody notes and winter.

Fragrances that feature both fruity or citrus notes and woodsy notes are year-round fragrances and can be used in any season based on the effect you’re going for. But if a fragrance has a very obvious citrus body and only a subtle amber base, it might be seen as a summer perfume, and you might raise some eyebrows wearing it to your Christmas party.

Christmas is a wintertime staple, which is why season specifics like “pumpkin spice” popularized by Starbucks latte featuring the spice and “cinnamon” often added to winter delicacies are also considered winter notes. This also applies to chocolate notes, as hot chocolate is a Christmas staple. So what does this mean for you as someone looking into summer perfumes?

It means that just as a winter fragrance is one that reminds others of wintertime staples, a summer perfume is one that reminds people of summertime staples like the following:

  • Oceana notes – Perfumes reminiscent of water are strongly correlated with the summertime staple of visiting the beach.
  • Floral notes – While flowers bloom during spring, fragrances are broadly lumped and summer and winter ones, with winter appropriating fall and summer appropriating spring. Flowers bloom in spring and stay lush and abundant in summer, making these notes similarly reminiscent of the summer.
  • Fruity notes – Different fruits might be available during different seasons; the most popular ones are most abundant during the summer. This makes notes like mango, citrus, strawberry, and peaches firmly summer perfume must-haves.

Aside from the difference in notes, there’s also a significant difference in how summer and winter fragrances are supposed to vaporize. Perfumes meant for the summer are actually meant to cover a larger area, while winter perfumes are meant to be subtle. 

Ironically, both have high alcohol content, which just happens to vaporize to different degrees because of the weather. Winter fragrances (when worn during winter) have a slow-release effect. 

Summertime perfumes will cover a larger area but only in the summer as colder days will lead to slower vaporizing. In other words, the difference in effect isn’t specific to the bottle you pick or the perfume you choose but the time of the year during which you wear your perfume.

While many online resources suggest picking a perfume that covers a larger area during summer and one that is subtle and vaporizes slowly during winter, getting a perfume with a standard alcohol ratio is fine; it will have those respective effects during those seasons. In other words, your main focus should be the notes and the specific perfume’s alignment with your needs.

How to Choose a Perfume for Summer

You can choose a perfume for summer in a few minutes or in a week. The time you take to make this decision directly affects how satisfied you are with your choice.

Finding the perfect summer fragrance to fall in love with means you are all set for the summers that follow. Invest the time not for this summer but for every summer after.

To choose a perfume for the summer, you must shortlist the fragrances based on notes as they’re the primary identifiers of summertime perfumes. Then, you should test your favorites for longevity and choose one that strikes the perfect balance between covering a large area and lasting longer.

Related ArticleHow to Test a Perfume Correctly Before Purchasing!

Here is how you should distribute your efforts to each step of the process.

  • Spend up to one-week testing different perfumes for notes that speak to your taste and remind you of the summer.
  • Take one day for each shortlisted perfume to test its longevity. Eliminate ones that vanish completely in less than 6 hours.
  • Spend one hour for every remaining fragrance to test its range.
  • Select the perfume with the highest range.

How to Test a Perfume’s Range?

Testing perfume range is a crucial step in finding your perfect summer fragrance. It is easier if you have someone willing to help you out. Here’s how to conduct the test. Have coffee grounds and all your perfume bottles at hand.

  • Blindfold the evaluator.
  • Have them smell coffee grounds.
  • Walk 20 feet away from them.
  • Take a perfume out and spray it on your wrist.
  • Start walking towards the evaluator and ask them to say “stop” when they smell your perfume.
  • Use an odorless sanitizer to clean your wrist and redo the steps with the next perfume.

Perfume Notes for Summer

Photo by Camille Paralisan on Unsplash

While a perfume that covers a great range is functionally helpful during the summer, the true summertime essence is still in the notes. The notes generally correlated with summer-like florals and citrus are already covered above.

But we’re not discussing general notes here; we’re covering the perfect, specific ones. So, here’s what you should look for –


This is a specific within a specific. Citrus notes are okay for summer, and orange is among them. But within orange, the bergamot variety is perfect as its scent is a less “common food” type smell. 

The regular orange rind and fruit smell similar, and hence orange notes can smell like juice. Bergamot reminds people of the summer without making you smell like you own a juice bar.


You may have noticed that as we seek perfection in summer notes, we deviate from the edible and choose the exotic. Neroli is no different as the flower is a cross between floral notes and citrus notes (both summertime favorites) and isn’t exactly a delicacy. Consequently, Neroli is fit for summertime fragrances.

Spiced Mint 

Since mint isn’t consumed as a solo delicacy, you can get away with wearing a minty perfume. It is close to perfect for summer. But to get the true summertime fragrance perfection, it is crucial to choose a perfume where the minty notes are in the same level (top, middle, or base) as a spice. The spice blends into mint, making it smell more tasteful.

How to Make a Perfume Last Longer in Summer

To make perfume last long during summer, you need to apply it to relatively colder regions so that it doesn’t get vaporized from two simultaneous heat sources (your body and the sun). The best places to apply a summer fragrance are knuckles, inner wrists, the backside of fingers, elbows, and knees.

Related Article13 Reasons Why Your Perfume Fades So Quickly!

As long as you wear the right summer fragrance, it will vaporize well because of the weather despite being on a surface that doesn’t receive lots of blood flow and resultant temperature rise.

If you’re using a regular scent during summer, the above suggestions won’t work as well.

5 Best Summer Perfumes

If you’re not sure which summer perfume to buy or how to shortlist a summer perfume, then you are in luck as I’m sharing some of my top recommendations for summer perfume that you can even purchase on Amazon!

Here are some of the top summer perfume options –

  • Acqua Di Parma Blue Mediterraneo – Coming from a business group that has over a hundred years of experience, this oceanic scent reminds you of the beach and has a Mediterranean vibe.
  • Eternity Now by CK – Coconut water and starfruit, do I need to say more? This perfume features both oceanic and tropical themes that correlate well with summer.
  • Nautica Voyage – What reminds you of the summer is a summer perfume. And nothing reminds one more of the summer as the limitless blue ocean. Nautica is a marine scent that features apple (fruity, check) and lotus (floral, check) notes.
  • Marc Jacobs Daisy Love – Where the Oceana notes work well for men during the summer, nothing beats florals for women during the season. And when it comes to floral perfumes, Daisy Love is worth loving. The fragrance features daisy notes quite prominently, which is perfect for the sping-to-summer part of the year.
  • Jo Malone London English Pear And Freesia Cologne – English pear is perfectly reminiscent of the summer while not being common enough to be associated with mass-manufactured juice boxes. This perfume is perfect for those looking to smell like summer but with class.

How to Store Perfume in Hot Weather

Summer perfumes are applied to colder body regions because the heat of the atmosphere vaporizes them. But what about the perfume bottle at your home. Is the weather unlocking notes in the perfume while the fragrance sits in the bottle? Most probably. And to make sure you don’t waste good perfume, you must store it properly.

To store perfume in hot weather, keep the bottle in the original perfume box and store it in a cool, dry place. Do not expose the perfume bottles to direct sunlight or humid environments such as a bathroom. You can also purchase a mini-fridge for temperature-controlled storage.

Try to store the perfume in the room that gets the least sunlight. The easiest and the most convenient is to use a temperature-controlled mini-fridge (on Amazon) as this not only prevents perfume from exposure to harmful elements but is also convenient for travel purposes.

Finally, you might be thinking, “I just a have perfume bottle; how can I transfer it into an opaque bottle?” For this, make sure that you check out my other article on how to refill a perfume bottle to learn how to open a sealed perfume bottle and transfer perfume.

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