When choosing a summer fragrance, you want something that’ll brighten your mood and evoke that buzzy feeling of joy and escape. But with so many scents vying for your attention, finding your perfect match can be tricky and time-consuming (and require a lot of sniffing). Do you go with something citrusy? Or maybe something beachy? Of course, scent is such a personal thing, and so it’s totally up to you and your tastes — but to help focus your attention, Bustle’s beauty editors have curated a list of the absolute dreamiest summer fragrances — the ones that’ll feel like a getaway even if you’re stuck at the office.
Ahead, discover a perfume with notes of a delectable lemony-sweet treat, another that’s an intoxicating blend of all the beach smells and feels, and one that’ll make you swear you’ve been transported to Italy… to name just a few. Courtesy of the Bustle beauty team, scroll on for 11 must-smell summer fragrances that may just inspire you to add one (or several) more to your scent wardrobe.
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The Garden In A Bottle
“Dedcool’s Blonde is an irresistible blend of violet, berries, and saffron with notes of pomelo, rose, raspberry, and more. They all come together to create the most gorgeous, fruity, aromatic yet woody smell that’s perfect for summer. It’s complex, layered, and honestly kind of hard to explain — all I know is it’s reminiscent of your favorite garden, but a hipper version of it. Like your grandma’s favorite perfume’s Gen Z grandchild.” — Danielle Sinay, beauty & wellness writer
The Tropical Vacay Scent
“MAYA No. 1 smells like the vibes of a tropical vacation were captured and bottled — but it manages to whisk you away on said sunny beach without being overly in-your-face fragrant. It’s sweet, summery, warm, and fresh, transforming you into a tanner, happier, relaxed version of yourself who happens to be blissfully OOO. I love it so much I even put it in my hair. Run — don’t walk — to spritz this all over your skin… trust me.” — Danielle Sinay, beauty & wellness writer
The Smooth Operator
“I recently discovered the pure joy of this fragrance. Made with neroli, bergamot, and vetiver, this citrus scent has just a hint of musk that makes it smell so smooth. I’m really excited to integrate this into my summer fragrance rotation.” — Audrey Noble, beauty writer
The Essence Of An Italian Getaway
“This perfume perfectly captures the essence of a summer getaway on the Italian Riviera. Made with Sicilian lemon, jasmine, and acacia honey, it’s a sweet floral and citrus scent that goes on airy, bright, and fresh — you really can’t help but feel so happy when you smell it. I’ve been wearing this for years and, to this day, it’s the one fragrance that gets me the most compliments. I’ll continue to wear it until I manifest a trip to Portofino IRL.” — Audrey Noble, beauty writer
The Comforting Vanilla Fragrance
“For those vanilla lovers (myself included), Utopia is a cloud-like vanilla bourbon scent that is both intoxicatingly yummy and comforting while still feeling beachy. Notes of sweet jasmine and sensual sandalwood swirl with the essence of vanilla bourbon, while a sun-kissed, milky coconut adds a bit of those summer vibes.” — Olivia Rose Ferreiro, beauty writer
The Day-At-The-Beach Smell
“For all those whose Tinder bios say they love long walks on the beach: Take a whiff of this. The airy fragrance is meant to encapsulate the smell of salt and sun on the skin after a day lounging in the sand, and, IMO, does just that. Its trio of citrusy bergamot, slightly vanilla and floral heliotrope, and subtly sweet coconut milk notes swirl together to create a super fresh and alluring perfume you’ll want to wear all season long — especially on days when you can’t make it out to the boardwalk but want to smell like you did.” — Rachel Lapidos, senior lifestyle & beauty editor
The Crisp Botanical Elixir
“Flowery scents can sometimes veer too floral or sweet, but YSL’s Libre offers the perfect blend of botanicals via lavender and orange blossom. The musk accord in the bottle adds a warming and sensual touch that makes it a fresh, crisp, and intoxicating fragrance perfect for the summer season.” — Rachel Lapidos, senior lifestyle & beauty editor
The Intoxicating Citrus Treat
“I’ve waxed poetic about this fragrance so many times and that’s because I’ve yet to smell anything like it. Some say it smells like lemon pound cake; to me, it smells like a delectable, lemon-tinged treat — refreshing, not overly sweet. It’s intoxicating.” — Faith Xue, beauty director, BDG
The Stroll Through The Woods
“I don’t wear fragrance every day, but, when I am in the mood for a spritz or two, this is the bottle I reach for. It’s floral yet light, and the essence of amber and woody notes prevent it from being overly sweet. It really transports you to a summer morning hike through the woods.” — Paris Giles, beauty & wellness writer
The Feminine Mystique
“The best type of floral scent is heady without veering into powdery or too-sweet. This scent from Chriselle Lim’s brand has delicate notes of jasmine and tuberose, mixed with crisp citrus and sandalwood. It’s soft and feminine, but still surprises you.” — Faith Xue, beauty director, BDG
The Bottled Up Seaside Escape
“This fragrance was literally inspired by salt-tinged days spent by the ocean — and one whiff will instantly transport you to the nearest beach. To me, it smells like a mix of suntan lotion, ocean breeze, and just the slightest hint of sweat; wearing it puts me in a happier mood instantly.” — Faith Xue, beauty director, BDG
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