The perfect summer perfume is inspired by the season itself: The season's familiar scents can transport you back to a time when you spent the day slathered in sunscreen at the beach or breathing in fresh-cut grass at a cookout on a warm summer night. You can opt for a classic summer fragrance with refreshing notes of vanilla, coconut or lemon, or shop for a unique summer fragrance that blends together notes of salt, bergamot or rose petals. Either way, hot summer weather calls for uncomplicated scents that are crisp, airy and light.
Below, we've gathered up the best perfumes to wear at the beach or to spritz on before a long summer night, according to our editors and Beauty Lab experts. While you'll find a variety of price points, all of these perfumes are all playful, nostalgic, sexy and beachy — and some are downright unexpected (which is what makes wearing perfume so much fun!).
Our top picks:
1Best Overall Summer PerfumeLight Blue Eau de Toilette DOLCE & GABBANA Read More
2Best Value Summer PerfumeIsland Vanilla Hair & Body Mist Pacifica Read More
3Best Citrus Summer PerfumeSoleil Blanc TOM FORD Read More
4Best Sweet Summer PerfumeBEE Eau de Parfum Ellis Brooklyn Read More
5Best Beach Summer PerfumeReplica Beach Walk Eau de Toilette Fragrance MAISON MARGIELA Read More
Read on for more about the best summer scents of 2022 to try right now.
With notes of Sicilian lemon and jasmine, this classic summery scent that conjures up an image of sipping spritzes on a boat floating in crystal clear waters. "It’s an iconic summer fragrance —so light and fresh for hot days," says GH Beauty Director April Franzino.
Bergamot, pistachio and coconut are the stars of this sun-drenched scent, which is one of Franzino's summer favorites. "True to the name, this smells like a sunny day on an exotic faraway island," she says. "Bright with a hint of citrus, yet a little warm."
This sweet fragrance complements sticky, late-summer heat. Dripping with notes of honey, rum and vanilla, this mist smells good enough to eat.
Ocean air and sun-drenched days get bottled in this beachy fragrance, which is made to smell like sun-kissed skin. Lemon, coconut milk and amber come together to create a beachy, salty scent.
Sol de Janeiro’s signature fragrance will make you smell like a pistachio caramel sundae — in the best possible way. Like Rio’s beating sun in a bottle, this electric fragrance will warm you up.
This perfume was a hit among GH Beauty Lab experts when we sprayed in the Lab. With mint, sage and zesty mandarin softened by cedar, it's perfect for sunny days outdoors. Even better: For each bottle purchased, the brand will plant a tree through the Arbor Day Foundation.
This scent evokes tropical weather and dazzling white sand. "For a sweeter summer scent, this is the true essence of creamy coconut and vanilla bottled," Franzino says.
"If you're anti-sweet, fruity summer fragrances like I am, this Lake&Skye fragrance is a game changer," says Senior Textiles Product Analyst Emma Seymour. It has a clean, fresh scent that is completely addicting. "I love pairing it with other scents too for a totally unique experience." It smells like your skin, just better. Plus, the oil helps the scent last for hours!
Chances are, you'll catch a whiff of this iconic scent on the corner of every New York City sidewalk (at this point, it's the unofficial scent of the city), but cedar, leather and sandalwood transport you to a roaring bonfire.
A spritz of this and your senses are filled with scents reminiscent of the beach. Its coconut top notes offer a light scent that just feels right in the summertime. "This perfume was made for those summer months," says Saguin. "Its fragrance kind of has a sunscreen smell that's actually super pleasing to wear all day."
Though made with slightly warmer scents, this fresh fragrance offers just one top note, called cetalox, which is often used as a base note. Its minimalist formula makes it a great option for those just easing into perfumes. "I'm drawn to the way this smells," says Associate Products & Reviews Editor Jacqueline Saguin. "It blends with my body chemistry almost seamlessly for a light, fragrant smell."
If your idea of a perfect summer day is sprawling across a sandy towel on a sun-soaked beach, this is the perfect summer perfume for you. Ylang ylang, white florals and grey amber blend together in an ocean-blue bottle.
This fragrance perfectly captures the feeling of drinking a juice box on a hot summer day. Top notes of mandarin and passionfruit make this citrusy perfume pop.
This elegant, unisex fragrance has just two notes — sage and sea salt. Perfect for anyone looking for a more mysterious, unique scent. "I love how light and fresh it is compared to other popular summer perfumes," says Textiles Product Reviews Analyst Grace Wu. "It's beachy without being tropical and isn't as overpowering or almost masculine leaning as other woodsy fragrances, providing a perfectly balanced, neutral scent."
Bursting with bright citrus from Rodrigues, this lemony scent will transport you to the secluded island. Top notes of salt and jasmine add elements of the seaside.
Inject some romance into your everyday life with this delicate, subdued perfume. Effervescent notes of mandarin, pink pepper and violet leaves envelope you in a sweet, ultra-feminine haze. "I've worn others throughout the years but I always come back to this brand because it's a clean and fresh scent that smells sweet without giving me a headache and the scent lasts much longer throughout the day," says Assistant Editor Annie O'Sullivan.
Diptyque founder Yves Coueslant modeled this scent after Do Son Bay in Vietnam, where he spent his childhood years. The resulting fragrance is light and airy, laced with tuberose, orange blossom, jasmine and marine accord, which gives it an oceanic, salty effect.
This limited edition fragrance captures the essence of a Mediterranean summer day when nature is in full swing. It's top noted with a fresh citrus, which quickly transitions into a floral sweetness (tuberose and gardenia). "On me, it morphs into a smooth and sensual accord that is clean, woodsy and honey-like all at the same time," says Executive Director of the Beauty Lab Birnur Aral.
Imagine a crisp linen shirt in a bottle — that's exactly what this fragrance smells like. Notes of soft bergamot and white musk bring instant freshness to this scent.
Smell like a freshly picked bouquet from the farmer's market with this flowery spritz. Rangoon creeper, a flower that changes from white to deep scarlet as it blooms, is blended with jasmine and tuberose for a scent bursting with blooms.
Visit the sparkling blue oceans of the Mediterranean with this unique spritz. Sweet honeysuckle and delectable grapefruit make you feel like you're brunching on vacation.
Hermès perfumer Christine Nagel modeled this fragrance after an imaginary garden. Woody and floral with salty notes floating in, this scent delivers on its inspiration.
Unleash your inner adventurer with this sexy, uninhibited scent. Incense and sandalwood blend to make a heady, hypnotic fragrance.
Sharp rhubarb and orange zest meld together for a fragrance as sweet as homemade jam. "The zesty scent of ripe summer fruit, a spritz instantly uplifts the senses and makes you feel more vibrant," says Franzino.
Jasmine, sea spray and mandarin come together to create the perfect beach day mist. "One of the original beachy fragrances, this has that iconic fresh, sunscreen-like scent that instantly channels summer," says Franzino.
Sophisticated, sweet and an instant classic, this scent is like swiping on your favorite red lipstick. Notes of orange blossom, tuberose, jasmine, cedar and vanilla evoke memories of late night laughter.
There's nothing like the scent of sticky, earthy sweetness from a tangle of tomato vines in a backyard. Lemon and vetiver balance out middle notes of tomato leaves, making this perfume both nostalgic and wearable.
If you could bottle a summer picnic in the park, it would smell like this perfume. Anyone looking for a fresh, crisp scent will instantly fall in love with the notes of blue freesia, citrus and violet petals.
Perfect for sensitive noses or those who prefer a more subtle scent, this floral perfume imparts a whisper of scent. Lily of the valley is blended with fresh citrus and musk for a balanced, delicate fragrance.
The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab regularly tests all kinds of beauty products in our state-of-the-art labs, including the best makeup, skincare and hair products. To put together this list of the best summer perfumes, we asked our editors and product experts to share their personal favorites, and also relied our Beauty Lab analysts' deep knowledge of the fragrance market. We also spent time researching the best perfumes online, and included some of the most beloved options from verified reviewers.