Bright, refreshing and uplifting, solar fragrances can boost your mood and transport you to your happiest memories, with just a spritz. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Also read:

Ever wonder what sunshine smells like? Or if you could bottle up warm summer days?

Perfumiers are answering these questions with solar scents – a global perfume trend that’s capturing everyone’s attention for its fresh, vibrant appeal.

Since sunshine doesn’t really have a distinct smell, solar scents focus on capitalising on the close association between scent and memory, using different notes to evoke recollections of happy moments spent in the sun.

Not everyone succeeds in bottling up this abstract sensation. But those who do, have produced mood-boosting fragrances that create a memorable sensory experience. Dan Terry, creative director of Oo La Lab, a perfume making fragrance lab based in Dubai and Singapore, said: “Solar fragrances evoke the spirit of the season, making them perfect companions for beach outings, outdoor soirées, or simply bringing a touch of sunshine to your everyday life.”

What ingredients go into these scents, and how should they be worn? Our expert shared his insight, so scroll down to read what he said.

Pick your favourite solar scent from our curated list, which is based on top trends and highly rated products, and get it as early as tomorrow with Amazon Prime.

1. Best Overall: Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris Aqua Vitae Forte 

A citrus-forward solar perfume that smells fabulous on both men and women, Aqua Vitae Forte evokes an image of driving down Italian shores in a convertible, on a sunny afternoon. The fragrance features rich floral and citrus notes that are enhanced with hot spices to create a bright, solar composition. It opens with notes of Sicilian mandarin, Calabrian bergamot and lemon, along with spices Ceylon cinnamon, Guatemalan cardamon and Sichuan pink pepper. At its core is Tunisian orange blossom extract and Madagascar ylang-ylang, which lead to the woody base notes of Mysore sandalwood and Haitian vetiver. Unique and warm, despite its fresh citrus opening, this is a sophisticated and beautifully thought-out solar scent. Some reviewers do note, however, that the heady mix of flowers and spices may not be for everyone.

Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh62.98 for 12 months with select banks.

2. Best Floral: Issey Miyake A Drop d’Issey 

Imagine walking through a field of flowers on a bright, sunny day – that’s what A Drop d’Issey evokes. Fresh, creamy and powdery, the perfume offers top notes of almond milk and damask rose, and middle notes of lilac, jasmine, star anise and orange blossom. The base comprises notes of musk, vanilla, ambroxan and Atlas cedar. A soft floral scent that’s cool and refreshing, reviewers say A Drop d’Issey is comforting, yet elegant, and lasts for a long time. They also love the look and feel of the round, drop-shaped bottle, which easily slips into purses and backpacks for travel.

3. Best Classic: Dior J’adore 

You might be surprised to learn that the iconic J’adore by Dior can easily be classified as a solar fragrance. The scent likens to that of a spring bouquet of cut flowers from around the world. It combines the fruity and floral essence of Comoros ylang-ylang with the heady essence of Damascus rose. There’s also the rare duo of jasmine grandiflorum from Grasse, and Indian jasmine sambac. Overall, it exudes delicate sensuality, with an elegant and sophisticated formula that’s well-suited for special occasions.

Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh62.98 for 12 months with select banks.

4. Best Tropical: Nest New York Sunkissed Hibiscus 

Head to the tropics, with this warm amber perfume that exudes floral notes without feeling too sickly sweet. Nest’s Sunkissed Hibiscus is a light, yet full-bodied fragrance that features top notes of creamy coconut and frangipani that are layered over floral middle notes of tuberose, gardenia and orange blossom. A base of amber adds warmth and rounds it out. Made with cruelty-free and vegan ingredients, the perfume is bottled with a striking image of a Voodoo Queen hibiscus – the inspiration behind this scent. Its colours are reminiscent of stunning sunsets, making this the perfect scent for summer evenings by the beach.

5. Best Unisex: Byredo Sundazed 

Like a cool sip of water on a hot day, Byredo’s Sundazed is a fresh and summery scent. The fragrance features vibrant top notes of mandarin orange and Californian lemon, which settle into floral middle notes of neroli and jasmine sambac, and finish with sweeter base notes of cotton candy and white musk. The fragrance has a sweet innocence and a youthful quality to it – it’s both uplifting and playful. Reviewers note, however, that it leans towards feminine tastes, even though it’s marketed as a unisex scent.

Bonus: Buy with 0% installments and pay Dh64.90 for 12 months with select banks.

6. Best for Layering: Clean Reserve Solar Bloom 

Inspired by the feeling of the sun caressing the skin, Clean Reserve’s Solar Bloom draws you in with its sparkling citrus opening notes, but keeps you coming back for more thanks to its warm, lingering notes of coconut milk. The scent’s top notes are bergamot and mandarin orange, which lead to creamy and floral notes of coconut milk, orange blossom, freesia and jasmine. At its base are warm vetiver, coal and patchouli. Reviewers say it’s neither too sweet nor synthetic-smelling, and pairs beautifully with acqua neroli and sueded oud.

7. Best for Evenings: Tom Ford Soleil Blanc 

Have you ever watched the sun’s reflection bouncing off tranquil water during golden hour? That’s what Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc feels like – sparkling and luxurious, with a warmth that settles into your skin. A solar floral scent, Soleil Blanc features top notes of cardamom and pink pepper with a hint of pistachio and bergamot. It leads to a flowery heart of ylang ylang, Egyptian jasmine and tuberose, and settles into opulent base notes of coconut, amber, tonka bean and benzoin. Reviewers say it’s perfect for summertime, although a few comment that it has to be topped up frequently.

What can you expect from solar scents?

solar fragrance
Solar fragrances can include floral, woody and citrus notes to achieve their effect. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Fresh and vibrant, solar scents come from a place of nostalgia, pulling you into happy memories of sunny days.

Terry explained: “Solar fragrances are an evocative blend designed to capture the essence of radiant sunshine and warm, sun-drenched days. These scents typically incorporate vibrant citrus notes like bergamot and mandarin, radiant floral tones such as jasmine and ylang-ylang, and occasionally, the warm, creamy nuances of coconut or vanilla. They create a sensory experience that feels both energising and comforting, akin to basking in the golden glow of the sun.”

At their essence are “a harmonious blend of bright, uplifting ingredients,” according to Terry. He outlined some that you can expect to find in solar fragrances:

  • Citrus notes: Bergamot, mandarin, and lemon for that fresh, zesty kick.
  • Florals: Jasmine, ylang-ylang, and orange blossom to add a lush, intoxicating sweetness.
  • Exotic undertones: Hints of coconut, vanilla, and amber to evoke warm, sunlit days and add a creamy, comforting finish.

Terry added: “These ingredients work together to create a fragrance that is both vibrant and serene, capturing the duality of sunlight – its energy and its warmth.”

How solar scents work

The versatility of solar scents adds to their appeal. If you love layering perfumes, for instance, you’ll love solar fragrances.

Terry said: “Their bright and balanced composition makes them excellent for layering, allowing you to create a personalised scent profile that resonates with your mood and style. Pairing a solar fragrance with deeper, woody notes can add a rich, grounded base, while combining it with additional florals or citrus can amplify its radiant, uplifting qualities. Whether worn alone for a pure, sunlit aura or layered for a complex, bespoke fragrance, solar scents shine beautifully in any context.”

As you might expect, this kind of perfume is best worn during the day, since it’s light and refreshing.

Terry shared his advice on how best to apply solar scents: “For the best experience, apply solar fragrances to pulse points where the skin is warmest – think wrists, neck, and behind the ears. This helps to diffuse the scent naturally throughout the day. Given their light and invigorating nature, these fragrances are perfect for morning application to start your day with an energetic boost. Reapply as desired to refresh the scent, especially if you’re heading out for an evening occasion. Embrace the full spectrum of a solar scent by wearing it during sunny days but don’t hesitate to let it brighten up a cloudy day, as well.”

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.