Monday Question – Do You Wear Perfume In The Sun?

Do summer heat and intense sun deter you from wearing perfume?

Are you sensitive to the potentially skin-irritating combination of sun and fragrance?

Do you get a headache from too much sun and a heady perfume?

Do you wear perfume on the beach?

Do you abstain from scented delights when the heat is on?

question-markMy Answer:

I definitely have to watch what I’m wearing when it gets really hot.
I have very sensitive skin that reacts to perfume often at the best of times and this is unfortunately exacerbated by heat.

I am not that easily deterred though, I wear fragrance on more hidden spots (also to avoid hyperpigmentation that can be triggered by some naturals like lavender or citrus oils), and stick to lighter fragrances – my Hermès collection in its entirety is what gets me through hot spells.

My new best friend Roger&Gallet Fleur d’Osmanthus is also great for muggy days and for evenings I trust in Vero Profumo Mito or So Oud Ouris Eau Fine.
So far I’ve tolerated these well, plus minus a few itchy spots.

What about you? Is heat and wearing perfume in combination a concern for you?


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68 Responses to Monday Question – Do You Wear Perfume In The Sun?

  1. haefennasiel says:

    A perfectly-timed question, Ms. Birgit! We just had a very hot and humid summer here and it’s now the beginning of the rainy season. I’d still wear perfume during the summer but something very light, like one with gardenias or lilies. I get dizzy if it’s a really muggy day and I step inside a church that has a lot of incense-burning censers and is packed full of people.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi Patricia,
      it’s so interesting what we perceive as light… For me a lily fragrance is among the heaviest I can think of, because this floral note gives me a headache more often than not (unfortunately so, because I love the scent, I just can’t take it 😦 ).

  2. Tatiana says:

    When the heat is on I reach for Chanel Cristalle, Bvlgari Omnia Crystalline, L’Artisan The Pour Un Ete, Jour de Hermes or any of my vetiver scents. They even worked fine the August week I spent in Houston when the weather was 107F/42C and extremely humid. Even though I have somewhat sensitive skin, I’ve been lucky enough to have not experienced any reactions. Then again, I’m so fair I don’t spend much time in the sun or I wear long sleeves.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Staying out of the sun is the most sensible thing to do anyway, and I wish I could! But it is just not possible all the time.
      I like your choices. Did you try Vero Profumo Mito yet? I think it should be right up your alley!

      • Tatiana says:

        Oh yes, I’ve tried Mito!!! It’s one of the few perfumes that when my DH smelled it on me he said, “You should get a bottle of that.” He doesn’t say this very often. I read a post on Vero.Profumo’s Facebook page that an extrait is coming out soon. I am already saving my pennies.

    • ringthing says:

      We share the same warm weather perfumes, and I lived in Houston for a number of years. The hardest thing was going from the intense heat & humidity to the intensely cold air conditioning everywhere.

  3. Vanessa says:

    I don’t have skin issues with the heat – but some styles don’t work so well, even individual perfumes that I love at other times.

    I like Un Lys in the hot weather, which is when I discovered it. It is lilies, but not very heady, and I can take heady okay!

    I am intrigued by your new osmanthus find, though…

    • Olfactoria says:

      I must try Un Lys properly in warmer weather, maybe I’ll be surprised…

      Fleur d’Osmanthus is a lovely scent and very much in your usual target range of preferrence (if I may put it like that 🙂 ).
      I’ll try to speed up my review!

  4. poodle says:

    I wear whatever I’m in the mood for, even in the heat. They just don’t last that long. For the most part, I’m usually not out in the heat that much. I’m not out in direct sunlight a lot either. Even when I work in the yard I plan it as best as I can so that I’m in the shady areas and not baking in the sun.

  5. Asali says:

    So glad to see Ouris is still in the mix. Does Mr O. still object to it?
    And pretty new picture, so Hermes it is these days:-) To answer you question; I like summer, but summer-perfumes, not so much. Here a few summer fragrances that I feel comfortable in, in very warm weather; Lys Soleia, Cologne du Parfumeur, Unter den Linden, Bronze Goddess and (one Hermes;-)) Hiris. Probably more, but these are the ones I can think of.

    • Olfactoria says:

      It is and he does (not to great effect apparently, sorry Dr O! 😉 ).

      You strike me as the quintessential (vintage) Guerlain girl, so no wonder you don’t go for summer perfumes so much… 🙂

  6. Alexandra says:

    On rare hot days in the UK, I like to wear something either ‘cool and refreshing’ (Eau de Cartier) or ‘pretty and floral’ (Guerlain’s Lys Solei or Florae Nymphae maybe). But London heat really isn’t proper heat, and I have wonderful images of wafting beautiful tropical flower scents (OJ Frangipani is on my current wish list) on beautiful exotic beaches – in reality however on the rare occasions I find myself anywhere truly hot, I tend to be so smothered in sun cream and mosquito repellent that perfume has to be abandoned…

    • Olfactoria says:

      Ah, sometimes I long for British weather (a clear case of: The grass is greener…)…
      I’m sure you smell fanastic in the heat with your tropical floral mini-collection. 🙂

  7. Lucy says:

    I also find Un Lys comes into its own in the heat and humidity.
    Of course the classic cologne type is also good, even pushed as in Tauer’s Noontide Petals.
    For city heat and travel, or the gym, something super atmospheric that cleanses and enhances the air a bit like Biotherm Eau Vitaminee. I wore it on a hot and crowded train the other day and it added a touch of sanity to the proceedings.

  8. Etomidac says:

    I agree on Roger&Gallet (Osmanthus and The Vert). Spain is so hot right now, EdCs are my best bet before something gets too suffocating.
    I recently find myself reaching for Philosykos also. The wet-leaves-damp-earth effect seems to give me a “shade” to hide under.
    If I really do crave a fragrance and know that I will go somewhere cooler or air-conditioned, what I do is use my lovely, convenient friend Mr. Travalo. Instead of applying the perfume before I leave the house, I apply it once I get to my destination. It’s just so much more comfortable that way. 😉

    • Olfactoria says:

      I couldn’t agree more about Philosykos providing a sensation of cool shade, I should add it to my list – I’m actually wearing Premier Figuier today in 33 degrees Celsius and I love it!

  9. Tora says:

    I live in a place that is hot 8 to 9 months of the year and scorching for 3 or 4. So we live in air conditioning a great deal. I pretty much wear whatever I am in the mood for. I wish I liked Spring/Summer scents, I have really tried. I suppose the lighter musks (Bruno Acampora) and incense (Oliver Durbano Heliotrope) can go outdoors for me, as well as Sur le Nil, and Jardin de Mediterranee. But I can just as easily go on my walk in 90 degrees with a spray or two of Pschedelique, or Cristina. I think that if I lived in a place with seasons, I might separate my fragrances more into cooling and warming. I do however reserve my deepest ambers for the few cool months we have. Oh, and I would never wear Cuir Mauresque in the heat. Learned That the hard way!!!!

  10. annemariec says:

    I have had reactions to perfume in the past but the sun had nothing to do with it. I do often wonder about the notion (from Roja Dove?) that spraying on neck and cleavage will dry your skin out. That’s not been my experience, but I always moisturise those areas pretty thoroughly.

    I’d love your thoughts on R&G’s Osmanthus. Victoria reviewed it positively on Bois de Jasmin a while back. I’m thinking of trying it next summer, but it will have to work hard to edge out last summer’s faves, which were AG’s Neroli, Houbigant’s Orangers en Fleurs, and Hermes’ Nil.

    • Olfactoria says:

      Well, I guess the alcohol will dry your skin no matter where you put it, so moisturizing those areas more will certainly be beneficial.

      The Roger&Gallet is great since it is so cheap and much better made than many expensive ones.

  11. Tara says:

    Great question and I’m enjoying reading everyone’s answers. I never realised lily perfumes were so popular in the heat.

    I must check out Roger & Gallet. I just got a travel bottle of Osmanthe Yunnan on ebay so I’ll also be wafting osmanthus this summer, hopefully in the sun.

    On holiday Atelier Cologne’s Oolong Infini is great or Eau de Campagne. The only time I don’t wear perfume is if I’m on the beach. However, I then look forward to wearing perfume in the evening – preferrably a white floral, though I’m still looking for the perfect one.

  12. Sherri Miller says:

    I have no objections wearing perfume in the heat and humidity. I think alot of perfumes smell even better intensified with the heat. Insects, however are a greater issue. I’m one that mosquitos (we have alot here in TN) are drawn to, and I’m not sure if it’s because I’m usually scented or they just prefer some people (one of my daughters and I get eaten alive it seems).

    For the most part I’m inside, so I wear what I want. l also always use perfumed powder (what ever happened to powder? So few lines sell it anymore!) which is very comforting in the humidity of Tennessee.

  13. anatu13 says:

    OJ Frangipani is perfection in the heat! I also love SL Fleurs de Citronnier, Atelier Cologne Orange Sanguine, Vero Profumo Mito, and Neela Vermiere Bombay Bling for very hot weather.

  14. Trish Devine says:

    I’m a type 1 phototype, so I avoid the sun and cover myself up from head to toe, but in the heat I either go for a classic cologne (quite keen on the el cheapo Mont St Michel from the local supermarket – a Henkel brand), a sharp fragrance such as Roger et Gallet’s Thé Vert or L’Occitane’s Verveine, or a green frag such as Philosykos or Ombre dans l’Eau (which is what I’m wearing today). Mind you, here in Normandy, it tends not to get too hot – 25 degrees today, and due to rain the rest of the week. 😦 For summer evenings, in contrast, I load up on heady flowers – Seville à l’Aube, Chinatown, A la Nuit, Fleurs d’Oranger (Lutens).

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m the same skin type, so sunblock is my BFF all year.
      25 degrees sounds lovely, this spring so far we’ve had either 10 or 30, not much in between.

  15. Suzanne says:

    I’m with Sherri, I love what heat and humidity does to perfume. For me, it takes the sharp edges off of certain perfumes and usually makes everything smell more rounded and better blended – plus gives my perfume-eating skin a better hold on the perfume. Summer is usually when I get the most perfume compliments.

    That said, I usually don’t wear perfume on my neck or cleavage because those areas are where my skin is sensitive. If my wrists and arms were sensitive, then I wouldn’t wear perfume in the heat. You’re wise to play it safe, Birgit!

    • Olfactoria says:

      It’s a good idea to stick to just arms and hands and avoid the neck and decolleté, I’ll do that.

      Certain perfume sreally do work better in the heat, tuberose for one is just not as good in winter.

  16. lucasai says:

    For the summer in the city part – yes, I wear perfume but at the time I reach for lighter scents, especially citrus. Nothing too much floral, resinous or leathery. I have a dark skin type that quickly adapts to the sun, I get brown tan in a couple of days, I never shed skin and I never turn red. I just go from pale to brown in two nights.
    For the summer at the beach. No, never perfume. I didn’t experience sunburning or some weird skin discoloration in the spot where the perfume was applied. I use a small hint of perfume when I go on a sightseeing trip or when I go to the beach bar in the evening. I’m thinking I might opt for using orange blossom water as a gentle way of perfuming my body for the beach this year.

  17. ringthing says:

    I just can’t take the heat the older I get although the cold is no problem. I seek shade in summer and this year has been perfect so far, mild temps and cool at night, so I wear what I like and enjoy how different some scents smell in warmer weather. However, last year we had an unprecedented heat wave that lasted for weeks and broke my air conditioning; I tried wearing perfume but everything evaporated in minutes. All I could stand was Dr Bronner’s peppermint soap, then I would curl up in front of a fan, whimpering. 😉

  18. cj says:

    It hasn’t really heated up too much yet here in Toronto, but at least we’re finally getting some sunshine. I’ve been wearing my sample of Aedes de Venustas edp the last couple of days, and loving it. I think it will be especially perfect when the weather gets hotter. But my all time favourite for really steamy summer days is Carnal Flower. It just blooms and glows in the heat and humidity. For something lighter, I love Osmanthe Yunnan or Thé Pour Un Été. I definitely take a break from my favourite leather and amber scents when it’s really hot. If we had a drier type of heat here in Toronto, I think they might work better, but in the humidity, they can feel oppressive. Luckily, I’ve never had a bad reaction to wearing perfume in the sun, but I’m not much of a sun bather – I don’t tend to bathe in my perfume, either, so that may also help 🙂

    • Olfactoria says:

      I’m glad you are getting some sun now!
      Aedes de Venustas’s crisp rhubarb is surely great in warm weather. I agre about Carnal Flower, it’s amazing in summer.

  19. Undina says:

    I hate… no, strike that – HATE hot and humid weather, I loose the desire to live (especially when an AC is a rare luxury 😉 ) – and so do my perfumes, which I still apply even if only to see them fading away within an hour or two.

    My skin is extremely sensitive so being exposed to sun without a proper sun protection is out of question. And it means that I have to be mindful of the scent combining: not all of the perfumes work well with a sun lotion 😉 But I found a great perfume to wear on the beach – Estee Louder Bronze Goddess.

    • Olfactoria says:

      We are totally on the same page here, heat and sun are the enemy! 😉
      BG is a fantastic summer scent, I need to bring it into regular rotation again.

    • I despise heat and humidity too! But I seem to run into so many people who sigh with happiness when it’s hot and humid. I melt!

      • Undina says:

        Then you live in the wrong place 😉 The weather is much milder in the Bay Area.

        • Olfactoria says:

          I do probably! I’m made for the cool north. 😉

        • Yes, I live in Manhattan, which turns into a giant pizza stone in the summer. Very unpleasant. The Bay Area is beautiful. Have only been there a few times as an adult, but ate and drank very well!

          • Undina says:

            You know what’s good about the BA? Almost always it’s a better weather than everywhere else in the US (Hawaii excluded).
            Let me know when you decide to check it out 😉

          • leathermountain says:

            I’m in NYC, too. Another feature of hot, humid weather is the strong scent of the city.

            I live in a user-friendly neighborhood in the boroughs, where I can live it up with tropical scents (on my clothes works fine, for when sensitive skin is a concern).

            For forays into Manhattan, I need olfactory armor. Something bracing like Eau MiXte, applied generously to my wrist, and I can fend off the malodors with a single grand gesture.

          • Olfactoria says:

            That is a very nice way of combating the odour of NYC in the heat. 🙂

          • I love it! Fend off malodors with a grand gesture? I have been watching my brother play Final Fantasy for the past few days. I will ask him if that is one of his little play options 🙂

      • Olfactoria says:

        I don’t understand people’s excitement over having 35 degrees either. What’s so great about that??? Aren’t 25 degrees a lot better??? Sigh. 😉

        • I agree! 25 degrees is so much better! When it’s so hot and humid, I just want to sit somewhere cool and wait until it’s over. How are things in Vienna? A friend told me that Germany is having a terrible heatwave!

  20. Eva S says:

    Summer doesn’t affect my perfume habits much, the Swedish summer might be pleasant but we have a limited number of truly hot days. On those occasions Guerlain Vetivier is a favorite. I also have very fair sensitive skin so no sunbathing for me 🙂

  21. Laurels says:

    I never leave the house without perfume. Luckily, my sensitive skin doesn’t seem to react to fragrance, although I can’t use chemical sunscreens. (Barrier sunscreens are more effective, anyway.) Just yesterday I discovered that Donna Karan Gold goes a bit sour on me when I’m out in the sun. Generally, I don’t really avoid certain perfumes in the heat, but find that greener and/or more citrusy fragrances are more appealing then.

  22. Thankfully, My skin doesn’t get irritated by scents in the summertime. That being said, my mother does have a bad reaction and is prone to hyper-pigmentation. Her solution is to spray the perfume on her clothing instead.

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