This article was published in partnership with Blu Atlas.
Summer evokes relaxation, fun, adventure and, above all, heat. While enjoying the balmy months of the warmest season, you need to pay special attention to the scents that you emit. A great summer fragrance will not only keep you smelling fresh, but will boost your mood and confidence.
Summer fragrances don’t just reflect summertime settings with oceanic and fruity tones; they are formulated to evolve and linger on your skin in warmer conditions. Experts recommend that you opt for lighter fragrances that wear properly in the heat, refreshing rather than overwhelming your senses in the warmer month from scorching hot days to balmy summer nights.
With so many men’s fragrances on the market, finding the perfect one can be challenging. We surveyed the highest-quality summer fragrances for men to compile this list of 18 scents. Some are floral scents, others are woody scents, some have familiar top notes like tonka bean, while others have less indistinguishable heart notes that mystify and allure, like Versace Pour Homme.
What is a summer fragrance, and why do I need one?
When we think of smelling fresh in the summer, we typically imagine lightweight scents, such as refreshing herbal, citrus and light floral tones. When temperatures are high, we don’t want to be weighed down with heavy fragrances. Plus, we tend to opt for scents that reflect our surroundings, and in the summer, this means the outdoors, leisurely fun, warm sunshine and adventure.
There is in fact a chemical difference between summer and winter fragrances. Perfume works in response to your body heat, evaporating from your skin to dispense its aroma over time, so it is affected by seasonal change. Scents that we classify as light, such as pepper, citrus and florals, are made with lighter molecules that don’t overwhelm the senses as they evaporate in perfect sync with the summer heat. Meanwhile, heavier winter scents may overwhelm the senses if worn in the activating summer heat.
Many fragrances are carefully formulated to evolve or “bloom” over time as you wear them. If you pick the wrong fragrance for the temperature, the heat may distort the scent or prevent you from enjoying the full experience. Thus, there are science-backed reasons behind our changing fragrance preferences throughout the year. To get the most out of your fragrance and smell your best year-round, you should rotate your scents with the seasons.
A great summer fragrance features a balance of bold, light notes, such as citrus and oceanic hints, with complementary base notes that boost the scent’s lifecycle without overpowering it. Primary notes to look for in choosing a summer fragrance include aromatic herbs, such as rosemary, coriander and patchouli; citrus tones like bergamot; and soft florals, including neroli and jasmine. The overall effect should be crisp and energizing to refresh you in the summer heat.
What is the difference between perfume, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, and eau de cologne?
These terms refer to the concentration of aromatic oils in a scented product. The percentage of fragrance oil determines the strength and longevity of the scent. Let’s take a look at the different options.
This is the highest grade, with 20-30% oil concentration. It will usually have a more striking scent and will last for up to eight hours.
Eau de parfum
Eau de parfums are made with 15-20% oil concentration, with a fragrance lifespan of about five hours. This is the most common fragrance category.
Eau de toilette
This has a concentration of 5-15% oil, with a shorter wear of two to three hours. Due to its lower price, this is one of the most popular types.
Eau de cologne
With a concentration of 2-4% oil, this category lasts about two hours.
Note that the terms “perfume” and “cologne” are often used to refer to fragrances in general, with the latter specific to men’s fragrances. Keep an eye out for the various terms when shopping for your signature scent.
In choosing the right concentration, consider that, while more affordable, the less-concentrated formulas have a higher alcohol content and can irritate sensitive skin. Also, weigh your personal preference for fragrance intensity, longevity and price.
How do I apply a fragrance?
1. Make sure your skin is clean and dry. To increase the longevity of your fragrance, experts recommend that you first apply an unscented moisturizer. This will keep the perfume from evaporating too quickly after being applied.
2. Spray the perfume onto your pulse points. There are the warmest areas of the body, where your veins are closest to the surface of your skin. The body heat diffuses the fragrance for maximum effect.
One spray per pulse point is typically enough. Hold the bottle about five to seven inches away from your pulse point as you spritz. Be sure that you don’t rub the fragrance in, as this can dilute it. Let it dry naturally. One exception is solid fragrances, which you should dab lightly for application.
3. Choose other areas of your body for various effects. For example, applying fragrance to the neck and collarbones is best for your personal enjoyment. For date night, the chest, shoulder blades, ears and navel are great options. If you want to leave a lasting trail behind as you walk, try spritzing the backs of your knees and neck. But don’t overdo it! A little usually goes a long way.
4. Reapply the fragrance as needed throughout the day. If you feel you have applied too much, you can remove it with alcohol-based wipes or hand sanitizer.
5. The chemicals in perfume products are sensitive to light, so be sure you store your fragrance bottle in a cool, dry place away from direct light.
6. Be aware that perfumes have expiration dates. Don’t use fragrance products past their intended dates. Also, be mindful of changes in color or smell that could indicate expiration.
What cologne ingredients should I avoid?
As with all products that we eat and consume, it is important to choose a personal fragrance that is free of toxic or potentially harmful chemicals. Unfortunately, many manufacturers cut corners and include dangerous components in common household and body products. Keep an eye out for the following culprits.
This flammable chemical is a known carcinogen, linked to hormone disruption, depression, central nervous system damage, headaches, fatigue and hearing loss.
Parabens, phthalates and sulfates
These types of chemicals are commonly used as preservatives or to modify the texture of personal care products. They are known to irritate the skin and disrupt hormones, and have been linked to some types of cancer. They have also been shown to damage the kidneys, liver, lungs and reproductive system.
These synthetic compounds are often used to create the popular musk scent in fragrances. Synthetic musk compounds are endocrine disruptors, interfering with hormonal processes. These have been linked to both infertility and neural degeneration.
This synthetic compound has a sweet scent and is often used to create floral and fruity aromas. It has been linked to various types of cancer.
Always read the ingredient labels and choose brands that advertise clean products with sustainable practices.
With so many amazing fragrance options to choose from, it can be a challenge to find the perfect fragrance to wear during the hot summer months. It is best to shop around and try a variety of colognes until you find that one that wears perfectly on your skin. Pay attention to which fragrance families appeal to you most, whether floral, fresh, woody or spicy. Decide whether you like a heavy, concentrated perfume formula, or lighter eau de toilette that lingers.
While most summer colognes feature strong notes of citrus, herbs and flowers, there are no hard and fast rules to choosing your signature scent. As you survey your options, test a variety, and see how different formulas evolve and last with your body chemistry and environment. Visit your local retailers, and don’t hesitate to consult the experts online or in-store.
Summer is a time of leisure, adventure and refreshment. The perfect summer cologne should reflect and enhance these experiences. We compiled this list of the 18 best summer colognes for men in 2022 so that you can select the perfect summer fragrance with ease.
Whether you choose a fresh aquatic scent, an invigorating spicy blend or a zesty citrus delight, we are sure that you will find the ideal cologne for this summer season and beyond.
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