Now that it’s officially summer, we wanted to touch on a few important points to keep in mind regarding fragrance, as the temperature heats up. Here’s how to get the most (but not too much!) out of your favourite scents this summer — and which ones to avoid completely.
1. Go Easy
Remember that scent is activated by heat, so perfumes and other synthetic fragrances that are normally more heavy-handed can be simply too much for the summer months. Subtley layered, light, natural fragrances are likely a better option. This can include everything from your shampoo to your lotion to a hydrosol you use to spritz your face to cool off. Check out our blog post on how to layer fragrances to find out more about how to do this without going overboard.
2. Avoid Scents that Attract Insects...
Bugs tend to like, predictably, scents that smell like fruit or flowers. Which is a bummer, because fruity and floral fragrances are what many of us think of first when we think “summer fragrance.” Despair not! Simply keep these scents indoors (but be very mindful of scent use indoors — know your audience and remember that less is more). When you'll be outside for any length of time and you're already concerned about being bugged, leave the fruits and florals at home.
3. ...And Stick to Scents That Insects Hate
Thankfully, there are plenty of essential oils that smell great to us and awful to insects (or, that mask our natural people-smell to make it more difficult for bugs to sniff us out)! These include:
- eucalyptus and lemon eucalyptus
- bergamot (see note below on phototoxicity)
- tea tree
This doesn’t give you a ton of options as far as enjoyable personal fragrance, however, lavender, lemongrass, bergamot, cedarwood and vetiver are all lovely as fragrance on their own (in a roll on or used to scent an unscented product, for instance). You may also find that products that incorporate any of these scents may fit in to your repertoire of summer scents — for instance, a shampoo bar in Rosemary + Mint or Basil + Lime; our Sandalwood + Vetiver liquid deodorant; a body spray such as Take a Hike or After Sunny; or a room mist used as a clothing spray, such as Into the Woods or Balance.
You could also blend these notes to use in a roll on, body spray or to scent your products (like shampoo and lotion). Some ideas:
- rosemary + mint
- bergamot + cedarwood
- lemongrass + basil
- lavender + vetiver
- citronella + pine
- lemon eucalyptus + basil
- tea tree + bergamot
Keep in mind that wearing these scents doesn’t take the place of insect repellent; however it sure doesn’t hurt! At the very least, you’re not attracting the bugs to you like you might with a raspberry-scented lotion.
4. Remember Which Essential Oils are Phototoxic
Certain oils are phototoxic, which means that if you apply them to your skin, they could cause extra sun sensitivity for even days afterward. These include bergamot (cold pressed); grapefruit (cold pressed); and lemon (cold pressed). Additionally, cold pressed mandarin essential oil may also be phototoxic. (Source: Aromaweb/Robert Tisserand)
If you do want to wear a phototoxic oil during the sunny months, never fear! Simply use a spray on your clothes only; or incorporate the scent into your hair products.
5. Apply Lightly But Often
Not only does the heat bring out scents more heavily; it also causes them to evaporate more quickly. Carry a roll on of your favourite scent with you; bring along a travel-size lotion; or use a hydrosol to lightly apply scent as needed throughout the day.