7 Fresh Perfume Trends For Summer, Predicted By A Fragrance Expert

7 Fresh Perfume Trends For Summer, Predicted By A Fragrance Expert

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Summer often brings with it a strong feeling of renewal. Perhaps you look forward to the big closet changeover, or maybe you see it as the prime time to switch up your haircut. But if you’re anything like Mona Kattan — founder of fragrance brand, Kayali — the warmer season always calls for one thing: a new perfume.

The cosy “skin scents” and all-encompassing vanilla fragrances that dominated preceding seasons are about to make way for perfumes filled to the brim with aquatic notes (sea salt and fresh air), and splashes of nostalgia (bubblegum and marshmallows). Happily, there’s something for everyone. 

So if you want to switch up your signature scent or you’re keen for something fresh and airy ahead of the brighter days, here are the seven perfume trends you’ll want to know about, courtesy of Kattan.

Polarising Violet

From Narciso Rodriguez Musc Noir Rose, to Parfums de Marly’s Delina, rose has been the reigning note in plenty of TikTok-viral fragrances of late, but there’s something equally as romantic taking over the scent world. Enter: violet. 

“Like rose, people either love or hate violet,” says Kattan, “and whenever I hear that someone hates it, I see it as a challenge to incorporate it into my perfumes.” Violet boasts the same sweet powderiness as rose, but with a green, grassy element that makes it a lot less cloying in comparison. In other words, it’s the floral for people that think they hate florals. With that in mind, violet leaves feature as the top note in Kayali’s new Vanilla Candy Rock Sugar, alongside rich vanilla cream, musky jasmine and warm sandalwood. Think of this as a sweet scent for grown-ups.

Intrigued? Also try Sol de Janeiro Cheirosa 59 Perfume Mist, with sugared violet, juicy plum and warm amber, Victoria Beckham Suite 302 Eau de Parfum, with violet, rose and tobacco leaf and, if you have more to spend, Frédéric Malle Acne Studios Par Frédéric Malle, with rose, violet and vanilla. 

Head-Turning Spice

If your perfume disappears by lunchtime, it simply needs a little spice. “In the Arab world, we infuse fragrances with so many spices,” says Kattan, who is based in Dubai. “Think about it,” she continues. “When you open a spice cupboard, you’re [immediately confronted with a wall of] scent. Spices are so underrated and give perfume lots of character, not to mention better performance and longevity.” 

The sillage — when a perfume lingers in the air — tends to be stronger when the base features a spice or two, adds Kattan. If you prefer fresher fragrances, she suggests looking out for perfumes with zippy pink pepper, which you can find in Kayali’s Sweet Diamond Pink Pepper, and citrusy cardamom (found in Byredo’s Eyes Closed and Le Labo’s Santal 33). If it’s all-enveloping warmth you’re after, Kattan suggests sniffing out earthy saffron in particular. Considered one of the most expensive spices in the world, saffron is infused into the majority of Kayali’s Oudgasm collection, as well as the new Creed Queen of Silk Eau de Parfum, alongside moreish vanilla and heady tuberose (so unique and long lasting, it’s leaving TikTokers speechless.) 

Also try Charlotte Tilbury’s Cosmic Power — an unmistakable potion of black pepper, clove and cinnamon oil. If you’re on a budget, it has to be Zara Moonlight Whisper, with cardamom and pistachio.

“Destination” Scents

Also referred to as “solar” perfumes, “destination” fragrances evoke the essence of sun-drenched skin: musky and salty with a generous slick of coconutty suncream (always SPF 50). If you don’t have a holiday planned this year, they’re the next best thing. “Traveling through fragrance is really special — it transports you somewhere else,” says Kattan. Take her Utopia Vanilla Coco Eau de Parfum Intense, for example, which she worked on in her basement during lockdown. “It’s sea salt and sunshine in a bottle,” she says.

Phlur Solar Power Eau de Parfum, boasts sea salt as well as “solar” musk and orange flower. Also try recently TikTok-viral perfume, Zara Hibiscus with orange, mandarin and vanilla orchid, and longtime R29 favourite, Floral Street Arizona Bloom Eau de Parfum, with salted musks and coconut. All fragrance is genderless, but with its aquatic, salty notes, this scent profile is incredibly fluid, says Kattan, who adds that it makes for the ultimate layering companion. “Spaying something [sweet] like Vanilla Candy Rock Sugar on top of perfumes with a mineral quality grounds it. It’s like a perfume party.”

“Complex” Perfumes

“I love complex fragrances and I’m obsessed with anything that has a lot of contrast; it gives a perfume substance,” says Kattan. This is why you’ll often see her mixing the most unlikely of notes. Think rum with bubblegum, tobacco with oud and peach with cocoa. There’s a method to this kind of mixology, according to Kattan. “The more complicated a fragrance is, the better it’s going to last,” she says.

Vyrao Witchy Woo Eau de Parfum, is especially complex, featuring a megamix of rose, cinnamon, black pepper and musk, as is Narciso Rodriguez Musc Nude Eau de Parfum, with sharp pink peppercorn and creamy tonka bean, which boasts hints of vanilla. For something truly unique, try Bibbi Swimming Pool Eau de Parfum, with ginger, basil and wet grass. If you’d rather spend less, it has to be & Other Stories Act 1, Scene 3 Eau de Toilette, with tarte pomegranate and intense leather. 

“If it doesn’t make sense, I like it, and in fragrance, that’s the most important thing,” says Kattan. With that in mind, she likes to break the rules when it comes to layering, too. “If your fragrance is ‘popular’ but you want to smell unique, I always say fuck the rules,” says Kattan. “This is the one time to be carefree and explore.” She likes to mix Kayali Eden Sparkling Lychee Eau de Parfum, with the brand’s brooding ouds. Try Oudgasm Cafe Oud, or Oudgasm Rose Oud. Really, though, anything goes.

Strategic Spritzing

The neck and wrists are the most common places to spray perfume, but in the summer, your fragrance will likely have to contend with sweat, sunscreen and chlorine, all of which may affect how your perfume smells — not to mention how long it lasts. That’s where strategic spritzing comes in. “Skin is volatile and everyone’s skin is different, so if you want a true reflection of the fragrance, spraying it on your clothes is much better,” says Kattan. Even more superior? Spritz it through your hair, which tends to carry perfume much longer than the skin, adds Kattan. If you prefer the way your perfume smells on your skin, simply make sure that it’s well moisturized for an added layer of longevity, advises Kattan. Try a lightweight fragrance-free lotion that won’t clash with what you’re wearing, like Naturium Bio-Lipid Body Lotion, or Nécessaire The Body Lotion

Child’s Play

“Sometimes you just want to spray something that’ll make you feel like a kid for a bit,” says Kattan of the influx of nostalgic notes flooding perfumery ahead of summer — namely sweets. Take marshmallow, which comprises Kayali Vanilla Candy Rock Sugar and Yum Pistachio Gelato Eau de Parfum, as well as Sabrina Carpenter Sweet Tooth Eau de Parfum Spray. Then there’s Akro Bake Eau de Parfum, which smells like a birthday cake, and Phlur’s Strawberry Letter Eau de Parfum — reminiscent of strawberry picking. It dries down to something cosy and warm thanks to vanilla-esque tonka bean and sugared amber. Also try Marc Jacobs Daisy Pop, with juicy fruit and vanilla.

Boozy Notes

Alcoholic notes are important in perfumery, suggests Kattan, especially the likes of rum, a generous glug of which which features in Kayali’s Vanilla Royale Sugared Patchouli and Vanilla Candy Rock Sugar: “Rum really helps boost the top [notes] and push up the vanilla,” says Kattan, essentially lending your perfume serious longevity. Kayali isn’t the only brand to play mixologist. With juniper berry oil, Charlotte Tilbury More Sex, is reminiscent of a gin cocktail, while Phlur Tangerine Boy Eau de Parfum, is as fresh as an aperol spritz.

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