I’m not big on articles about “essentials,” you know? Summer essentials, Coachella essentials, Bonfire essentials. Ugh, can we just not? They all end up being the same anyway: gel manicures and dry shampoos. BOOM. Just saved you from reading an average of 3.5 articles a season. You’re welcome.
But if I were to give you one all-encompassing summer essential, it would be a fragrance. I say this because not everyone is like me, with as many fragrances at my disposal as Birdman has cars. Sometimes, you just need that one fragrance that will take you from day to night, from the first date to meeting the parents, and from the interview to the board room.
OK, I know that kind of sounded like your typical beauty article eye-roll, but it can be hard to find a dependable fragrance for the summer months. The “summery” ones can be too fruity, the mellow ambery ones can be too sweet, and even the lightest florals can wear on your nerves after a while. Sometimes, the best summer scents are the dependable ones you don’t have to put any thought into, that you know will be good day and night, and that will still wear well in the most sweltering heat. Fragrances are like boys: the good ones are dependable, with no drama.
Let's start with a scent that is actually positioned as a men's cologne but that is great on anybody.
This is not a new fragrance, but a limited edition release of their classic scent with an updated, eye-catching bottle. The rerelease is perfect for this time of year because Eau de Lacoste L.12.12 Blanc Limited Edition is a lighter fragrance that’s perfect for the warmer weather, and will wear nicely all year round. Equal parts woody, herbal, and floral, it’s clean, fresh, and classic without being heavy or overbearing as some colognes tend to be.
It opens with grapefruit, rosemary, and cedar leaf -- a great trio that eases you into the herby scent with just a subtle citrusy sweetness, giving way to an earthy heart of tuberose and frankincense. At its base, it's anchored by cedarwood and vetiver.
Eau de Lacoste may not strike you as the most complex scent ever, but there’s something to be said about a well-constructed fragrance that holds its own without smothering everyone within a ten-foot radius.
This scent is just as good for women as it is for men. If you like fresh, green, floral scents but you’re not a big fan of typical women’s fragrances, you should definitely check out Eau de Lacoste. Try it out and tell me what you think.
Another fragrance that’s great for both men and women is L’eau de Néroli by Diptyque, $98.
Few things are more chic than a Diptyque fragrance, and this is one of my favorites. The top notes nearly jump off your skin with citruses, lemon verbena, tarragon and bergamot. In the middle, you’ll notice geranium and neroli, and then, at the base, cedar and musk.
If it wasn’t obvious, this fragrance is a big celebration of citrus. Instead of a sweet, fruity scent, Diptyque serves up a very green, crisp, clean scent that reminds me of beaches and the smell of the ocean on your skin (says the guy from the Midwest). This is the perfect scent for long days in the sun and hot summer nights. Without smelling like coconut oil and tropical fruits, it still manages to be a perfect summer scent. It’s a beach in a bottle.
Last is Le Premier Parfum by Coolife, $175.
This fragrance appealed to me because it’s basically sex in a bottle, and there’s no way I could pass that up, but we’ll get to that later. Le Premier Parfum is different from traditional perfumes because instead of being composed of traditional top, middle, and base notes, Coolife has combined different types of sandalwood, patchouli, ylang ylang, and other “secret ingredients” for a more minimalistic approach to fragrance.
Now, I happen to like how a fragrance wears when it’s composed of your traditional top, middle, and base, but I was pretty interested in trying a scent that breaks this mold. Instead of evolving while I wore it, Le Premier Parfum smelled pretty much the same all day, which isn’t a bad thing -- just something worth noting.
Reading my description, you’d think that the fragrance sounds heavy (I get scared every time a scent includes patchouli) but it’s actually quite the opposite. The scent itself is warm, leathery, and a little heady, but you’re not going to overdo it with just a spray or two.
What I love about this fragrance is that it’s meant to “activate your sacral chakra” that apparently unlocks sensuality. Now, I understand approximately none of that and I can’t believe I just used “sensuality” in an article, but it’s also what makes me like this fragrance so much. They go so far as to say that Le Premier Parfum is not merely a fragrance, but an aphrodisiac, “eliciting desire in the wearer, and anyone he or she encounters.”
So did it work? I mean, I don’t know. I personally like to think that everyone I encounter wants to have sex with me at all times, so maybe I’m not the best one to realistically test this. What I do know is that it's a really interesting woody, floral fragrance that is warm but not sweet and earthy but not heavy. This fragrance takes everything I usually don’t like about scents and does them right.
What unisex fragrances do you love? Do you wear men's colognes? What are your go-to summer scents? Tell me in the comments!
Tynan smells like summer on Twitter: @TynanBuck.