By Michelyn Camen


“Despite the heat it will be alright
And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity
The days can’t be like the night
In the summer in the city
In the summer in the city…” from “Summer in the City” as sung by Joe Cocker

When its 90 degrees and 100% humidity, summer in the city overpowers your senses. Especially your sense of smell. Heat intensifies the smell of burning asphalt, uncollected garbage, doggie poo, and too many subway riders who obviously never heard of deodorant. I would sooner lie out on “tar beach” wearing flannel pajamas, than wear a heavy, heady perfume during the hot days of summer.

Beauty News knows that YOU KNOW what we’re talking about, so we asked the expert advice of Karen Dubin, the President of New York City founded (a world wide organization devoted to the joys of fragrance), for the following seven tips wearing scent in the summer…in the city… BN selected some of the best fragrances out there to help you stay cool and as fragrant as a delicate blossom when the temperature rises.

1. Don’t wear body creams in extreme heat, as you already have enough moisture on your skin from humidity & perspiration. If you feel you must wear some sort of moisturizer, switch to a lighter form, like a lotion, gel, dry oil mist, or liquid talc. We love Etro’s Bath and Shower Gel in Lemon Sorbet. With the signature Paisley pattern motif, and rich lather, this shower gel is positively icy with notes of Sicilian orange and lemons as well as calming notes of lavender and rosemary. Available at Another BN favorite is Nuxe Paris Collector’s Edition – Dry Oil Gold Shimmer, multi-purpose golden shimmer dry oil with a touch of camellia and sweet almond notes that brings radiance to the skin and glossy shine to the hair. Available at

2. DO change your fragrance with the season, your heavy or lush winter scent will overpower in the heat and may become cloying or overly sweet. What can be more apropos on a steamy day than Satellite Paris – 40 a l’ombre Eau de Parfum, (translation: 60 degrees in the shade), one of our personal favorites. It is a light and sparkly scent, zesty with orange, lemon and grapefruit grounded in musk and patchouli. Available at Parfum Delrae’s latest scent is Eau Illuminée, a tribute to the sparkling lights of San Francisco at night. It’s a fresh and crisp blend of bergamot, lavender, and basil with a touch of vanilla. Available at Barneys New York.

3. DON”T spray fragrance onto sunburned or irritated skin. However, if you feel hot and sticky, Santa Maria Novella’s Aqua di Erba, is a fresh herb and water tonic and a true multi-tasker. Spritz it all over your linens, in the air (disinfectant on subways anyone?) and your body. Use it in the rinse cycle of your washing machine and used in your bath to calm irritated skin. This refreshing, alcohol free splash is an amazing natural way to reduce perspiration, tone the skin and feel fresh and invigorated. Apply liberally all over the body (even under the arms). Available at the Santa Maria Novella Boutique at LafcoNY located at 285 Lafayette St. in NYC and at 8411 Melrose Place in Los Angeles, CA.

4. Do wear body oils, solid fragrances, or some of the summer fragrances specially formulated without alcohol as they will not be as heavy in the heat. A solid fragrance that doesn’t resemble candle wax is hard to come by, which is why we adore In Fiore’s Bois D’ete, a exclusive. What can we say? The packaging is gorgeous. The gold toned compact nestled in a velvet pouch is so elegant. The base of jojoba oil and honey scented beeswax is amazingly light on the skin…and long lasting. Bois d’ete has bergamot and lemon notes, but the vetiver gives it a deep green nuance. We also think Antica Farmicista’s Pompelmo (grapefruit), which contains a higher amount of essential oils than most commercial fragrances, is one of the best grapefruit scents we have worn in a long time. It’s tart and sweet and wonderful to spray on a hot day. Available at

5. Do switch to eau de toilette because that will not be as heavy or overpowering as a parfum or eau de parfum. The popular L’artisan Parfumeur Mure et Musc, just lightened up and is now is available in a cologne formula. The combination of basil, bergamot and grapefruit expresses sparkling freshness at the top and the juxtaposition of sweet of berries and mulberry with a musky base notes are omnipresent, with a whisper, not a shout. Available at Try the Limited Edition Burberry Summer Eau de Toilette for a light and airy take on the status plaid’s iconic brand. Notes of mandarin, bergamot, grapefruit, green apple, water lily, freesia, rose, white musk, vanilla, green oak moss, and precious woods create a harmonious blend that takes you from day to evening. Available at Fragrance Designer Beth Terry knows summertime…we cannot stop raving about Creative Universe Vita, comprised of rare teas, plum, blackcurrant, lily of the valley, and citrus. Yes, we are on our second bottle! Available at Barneys New York and (a website we just discovered that stocks a well-edited range of home furnishings, fragrance, candy and all sorts of interesting stuff).

6. DON’T wear fragrance to the beach, hiking, or to a picnic. You’ll attract mosquitoes, flies & bugs like crazy! Instead, use a perfumed soap, shower or bath gel when you wash in the morning. Most of it will rinse off, but you’ll retain a very slight scent that YOU will know is there. Throw a handful of Creation Mathias: Rose D’Antan Soap Petals into your bath for a new take on summer-luxe. Available at Lotus Love Beauty in ANANDA means “happiness or bliss” in Hindi and we found both, washing with their citrus/saffron soap, an exotic blend of lemon and spice. Available at

7. DO cool off “indoors” with fresh smelling room sprays and diffusers that evoke wind swept beaches and walks through the forest! One of the most evocative summer- cool scents is the smell a Vermont forest “fully loaded” -babbling brook, shady trees and sweet smelling moss. No question you will smell the forest for the trees when you unleash the scent of Alora Ambience’s Verde Reed Diffuser Ltd. Edition Reed Diffuser in your room. Green notes, melon, tonka bean and jasmine will infuse any room for two-three months. Alora Ambiance will donate $7.50 of the $50 price to Children’s HeartLink ( Available for a limited time at If a secluded beach and a cooling breeze is what you crave as the thermostat climbs, Linari’s luxe home fragrance spray in Oceano, captures it all. Available at and

Originally published July 2007



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