Bikini Perfumes

The stress-free bikini body: no wheatgrass necessary.

It’s almost bikini season, ladiez! Is everyone ready to hate themselves? Now, I assume that you’ve all been pounding your wheatgrass smoothies and snorting the appropriate amounts of protein powder. Remember, YOU TOO CAN LOOK LIKE GISELLE IN A BIKINI! I mean, stars, they’re just like us, right? It’s not like Giselle has access to personal trainers, chefs, childcare, or the Patriots training gym! I DON’T WANT TO HEAR YOUR EXCUSES, LADIEZ. If you don’t look like Giselle in your bikini by June, you will have failed your ancestors and cannot be buried in the family plot. And don’t forget, ladiez, self-loathing burns up to 70 calories an hour!

Just kidding, y’all! I promise that you don’t actually have to read yet another hideously boring article on the eight best ways to get your bikini body that are totally not the same as last year’s eight best ways to get your bikini body. (WE ALREADY KNOW to drink eight cups of water and eat leafy green vegetables. Now let’s get to the important stuff, like how I can find the unicorn blood that keeps Kate Middleton’s hair so shiny.) You want to hear my top-secret tips for getting a bikini body? Step 1: have a body. Step 2: have a bikini. Et voila! Ze bikini body!

The beach is supposed to be fun, goddammit. Forget the tiny piece of spandex. Forget all of the pressure and stress that comes with it. Today, we’re going to tackle a far more enjoyable topic: bikini perfumes! What perfume will you wear on your hard-earned beach vacation?

There are a couple of factors working against you here. Whether you’re lying motionless under an umbrella, practicing the runway walk that will eventually win you America’s Next Top Model in the surf, or defending a sandcastle from devious seagulls, you’ll probably be sweating to some extent. This rules out heavier perfumes that don’t play nicely with sweat. Unless you’re going for that glamorous Shar-Pei look, you will also be wearing sunscreen, which usually has its own scent and could therefore conflict with your perfume choice.


With all this in mind, here are some of my favorite beach perfumes. Please share yours with us in the comments!

Estee Lauder Tom Ford Azuree Soleil: I admit it freely:  I’m totally floralist (prejudiced against floral perfumes). I own exactly two floral perfumes, which tells you how exceptional I think those perfumes are. Azuree Soleil was my first floral (if you’re curious, Safran Troublant was the second). Azuree Soleil is the happiest perfume I own. It smells like salt, gardenias, and sunscreen. Now, Azuree Soleil was discontinued in 2007. It was allegedly reincarnated as Bronze Goddess. I can’t really comment on that, as I have only tried Bronze Goddess briefly (I do remember that BG was sweeter and had less gardenia). But if you are having trouble finding Azuree Soleil, many people say that Bronze Goddess is a very close substitute.

Tokyo Milk Marine Sel: Don’t be fooled by the other Tokyo Milk perfume deceptively named “Sand and Sea”! This is the one that really smells like beach air. Marine Sel is a bitingly salty perfume that never feels too aquatic, thank Dumbledore. This perfume is for those people who go to the beach for the water, not to lie around on the shore.

Bond No. 9 Fire Island: Tuberose and sunscreen! Most tuberose perfumes are like non-Twilight vampires: they’re really only suited to after-dark wear. Fire Island is a beach bombshell instead of a femme fatale. I love the lazy sensuality of this perfume, but I’m less fond of those Bond No. 9 prices. Some cheaper (if a bit thinner) alternatives to Fire Island include CB I Hate Perfume At The Beach 1966 and Bobbi Brown Beach.

Kai: Am I ever going to shut up about Kai? Probably not, since it’s my one connection to Usher. It’s also a lusciously green perfume that smells like gardenias with cut stems. Plus, let’s face it, Kai is a little too simple to wear anywhere but the beach. I recommend the oil or the Body Glow formulations, which is what I have.

Kate Walsh Boyfriend: After eight Paris Hilton perfumes, six Jennifer Lopez perfumes, and a Snooki perfume, one could be forgiven for not expecting much out of Boyfriend, a celebrity perfume by a not-particularly-famous actress. Well, I owe Ms. Walsh an apology. (She also owes me one for the travesty known as Billionaire Boyfriend.) Boyfriend is a sweet incense perfume with a casually sexy vibe. Oriental perfume lovers traditionally hate summer because they can’t wear their favorite hard-hitters. Boyfriend is a perfect light oriental to get them through the season.

36 thoughts on “Bikini Perfumes

  1. You rock that bikini.

    I just avoid bikinis and have bought nothing but Norma Kamali one-piece swimsuits for years. And the vintage inspired look compliments my crazy kimono cover-up that makes me feel like Norma Desmond. I may branch out and get one of those wet-suit inspired ones, though, so I can pretend I’m a Bond girl. Also neoprene is awesome.

    My ‘bikini perfumes’ are usually just Italian colognes of the Acqua di Parma or Santa Maria Novella persuasion. But that’s just my way of saying I only wear Italian colognes in the summer. They work wondrously in the heat.

    1. I love those Norma Kamalis. You must be the most glamorous woman on the beach!
      I am really going to have to try more Santa Maria Novellas.

      1. Perhaps not exactly the most glamourous, but the most eccentric … or out of place. I don’t tan by choice so I’m usually draped in that ridiculous kimono while sitting under a huge umbrella, hiding behind sunglasses and drinking mimosas.

        And you really do. For summer they are my staple. I’m trying to get into Carthusia but I’ve yet to actually buy a bottle. Art With Flowers at Tyson’s Galleria now carries Carthusia, though, so that may change.

  2. DAMN IT! I was told self loathing burned 72 calories…and those 2 calories REALLY COUNT!

    I’m not exactly a summertime beach gal – I prefer it in the winter. 1) I realize this may make me a bit more of a freak than we all first anticipated. 2) Boyfriend TOTALLY makes sense for that! (In my mind!)

    The one bath suit that I own (that Al comically hung up in my closet and I now have to do that every time because it was so damned cute) is an ultra sporty one piece that I use to swim laps (which I wear a sports bra under) to swim laps at the gym. I’m preparing for a second life as a Manta Ray!

    And I agree…you ROCK that bikini!

    1. Thank you so much! You are SO STRONG to be able to do laps for more than 2 minutes. I get exhausted so quickly. So I usually end up in the shallow end, playing with the noodles…

  3. Hi ladies,
    I know you probably don’t want to read this but spraying alcohol or oil based perfumes is a NO NO for the beach. If you do you’ll burn, pimple, wrinkle, pock, and cancer yourself. Be careful. 10 mins each side each day without sunscreen then 20+ or higher for the rest of that 24 hour period. If you do get a bit of colour, in Australia we call it deep peach, please don’t go back in the sun for 48 hours as your melanocites (the little melanin pouches that send you brown to help deal with sunlight exposure) need time to refuel and repair.
    Sorry for the rant but I worry,
    Portia xx

    1. Oh noooo! Thank you for the information, Portia! EVERYONE READ THIS. Do you know if this is true of alcohol-based sunscreens, like the spray-on ones?

      1. Sorry Arielle, can’t help you there. I worked in a solarium for 3 years and we had to do a lot of extra study to stay employed there because they wanted to be known as the pick of all solariums in Sydney because of their excellent service and above average product knowledge. It was an eye opening experience and I’ve forgotten most of it unfortunately,
        You look super great in the bikini BTW. Like a Bond girl.
        Portia xx

    2. Good to know. I stay out of the sun even while at the beach, but I’ll definitely pass on the information to my friends who do tan.

  4. A couple of beachy suggestions would be Jil Sander Sun (ticks the sunscreen box again) and Miller Harris Fleurs de Sel (dune grasses, salty surf).

    We are a long way off thinking of beach attire in the UK, but it is nice to dream. Meanwhile I am off for a self-loathing workout… a form of exercise I might even keep up on a regular basis!: – )

    1. Oooh, gotta try that Fleurs de Sel. I can’t find anything Miller Harris on this side of the pond (well, I see the body washes from time to time, but never perfumes).

      Beach attire feels a long way away on this rainy day in Baltimore, too… but rainy days have had their own kind of joy ever since I got Zelda. I love watching her try to bat at the rain through the window!

      1. You *are* lucky to have a cat young enough to be so gratifyingly daft. Charlie Bonkers is wise to all such deceptive phenomena.- both natural and manmade!

  5. Loving the bikini advice. Also loving the recent influx of ToykoMilk mentions! Marine Sel is such a strange one, to me it is super aquatic in that, you’re right, it ACTUALLY smells like saltwater air and a bit of metallic sea, almost in a dry, windswept sense. Possibly a hint of damp seaweed. I think when perfumistas reem on “acquatic” scents they mean the “wetter” watery notes + various fruitjuices interpretation of aquatic. Atleast, this is how I’ve worked it all out in my head.

    1. You’re definitely spot on with the aquatic comment. Who would really mind actually smelling like water? But most “aquatics” don’t smell like water at all. They smell like melon or air freshener! By the way, I tried Eden on your advice. I don’t remember what it smelled like now, but I do know that I found it very pretty! 😀

  6. I’ve never smelled Azuree Soleil, but I do love Bronze Goddess! It’s right at the top of the FBW list.

    I don’t really have beach scents, per se, because I’m a loooooong way from the ocean. However, we’re going camping this summer on the West Arm of Kootenay Lake in British Columbia, returning after a fantastic trip last summer, and that’s my kind of beach. Sandy, clear, shallow, non-salty lake water….. bliss.

    Summertime, I find myself drawn to fruity-florals of the cassis persuasion: l’Ombre dans l’Eau, Pulp and Par Amour Toujour. Ahhh, refreshing.

    Count me in as another fan of Kate Walsh Boyfriend.

    1. I’m crazy for blackcurrant/cassis … in fact I need to re-up my tart berry supply, so I’m going to order decants of Pulp and Rose Praline right now. (I’ve got enough LODLE and PAT to last me all summer.) The original Par Amour is great too.

      1. I really liked Pulp when I tried it. Not enough to buy a full bottle but if a good decant offer comes my way I won’t refuse it.
        Rose Praline was very nice but I found it redundant to Une Rose Vermeille.

    2. Oh mah gaaaah! I’m so jealous. When I was 16, I met THE MOST gorgeous boy from Vancouver. He promised to take me to see BC someday, but I never did 😦 i hope that you have an amazing trip!
      I really want to try that Pulp. Everyone says it’s such a fun perfume.

  7. I don’t really go to the beach because I’m white as a sheet and if I spend any time in the sun I turn red as a lobster. High SPFs are my friend.
    My summer scents tend be anything with a strong vetiver note or L’Artisan The Pour Un Ete. Going to check out Bronze Goddess and Miller Harris Fleur de Sel.

    As for the bikini body, I don’t worry too much. My secret is Adobe.

    1. BWAHAHAHAHA! I suspect that may be Giselle’s secret, too!
      The Pour Un Ete is really pretty! I honestly have no idea how I ended up with my sample, but I enjoy it very much 😀

  8. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this to you before, Ari, but I love L de LL in the summer! I’m actually going on a quick vacation this weekend down to a hot spring in NM, and I’ll be wearing a new bikini for the occasion. I’m bring some white florals to keep me company (Lust and samples of Carnal Flower and Sweet Redemption).

    1. L de LL is reminscient of summer to me too. I’m always surprised when I see it recommended for cooler weather. I guess it is a summer scent that still has presence rather than being of the light/tonic variety, which I now realize is a category I rarely turn to in the heat. Apparently when it’s hot I still want to waft a semi-hefty distinctive sillage.

    2. I also love L de LL but never tried it in summer (even though it looks summerish in that turquoise bottle and orange box).
      I will definitely try and see how it works for me in the sun. 🙂

    3. L de LL is so great in the summer! It’s the orange note, I think. I bet it will be perfect for your (SUPER AWESOME) summer plans.

  9. lol
    I completely agree with your definition of a bikini body and I’m proud to say I have it. 😉

    On to perfumes – I haven’t tried Azuree Soleil but I have a bottle of Bronze Goddess (and a back-up one as well) which is a beach staple for me. I heard the two were quite similar but never got to try Azuree Soleil.

    And my favourite summer tuberose – Vamp a NY. 🙂

    1. Hooray for you, Ines! You’re wise to have a BG backup- I hear it’s a little different every year. I’ve never tried Vamp a NY, but I’ve heard Mals sing its praises. Wish I could find the Honore des Pres line somewhere…

  10. Have not worn a bikini since college. That was a LOOOONG time ago. ‘Sokay. I did a ten-session tanning thing once – ONCE – and decided at that point that it had been a terrible idea and I would never do it again, especially since skin cancer runs in the family. (Irish. Redheads. Nuff sed.) Bookworm is slightly obsessive about her sunscreen, which is probably the healthy way to be in the sun… and The CEO, who only wears it if I practically hold him down and grease him up, is kinda leathery, to be honest.

    I tried Fire Island recently and rather liked it, but it reminded me of Jennifer Aniston’s appropriately-beachy scent, so that’s another possible smell-alike. Bronze Goddess is fun, too. And Vamp a NY. And Kai.

    Speaking of Kai, you know that’s your real second floral perfume, right? Safran Troublant isn’t particularly floral, IMO… speaking as your friendly neighborhood Floral Ho. I hadn’t realized that you were such a floralist! (I must be a colognist myself.)

    1. Oh, and HEY – if alcohol on skin in the sun is a bad idea, perhaps spray the underside of your hair instead? Or a hemp or knotted-cotton friendship bracelet?

    2. I stand corrected! The Floral Ho has spoken! 😉 I am glad that Bookworm is so careful about sunscreen- she has such beautiful fair skin. (Everyone who hasn’t already seen her prom pictures: y’all are missing out!)

      I have heard that the Jen Aniston scent is a lot like Child. But I’ve never smelled Child, so what the hell do I know??

      1. Haven’t smelled Child either. But I tried the Aniston and Fire Island within about three weeks of each other, and the similarities were many. (Fire Island was nicer.)

  11. My beach routine (when I find myself close to one) is: 30 minutes swimming around 11 a.m. + 30 min swimming after 4:40 p.m. I do not remember when was the last time I wore bikini. I prefer one piece swimsuits because it means less skin to cover with a sunblock without which I can stay under sun for 10, maybe 15 minutes without a visible damage. But I have a lot of those swimsuits! Much more than I need for those 7 days/year (if that) I spent somewhere where those can be worn.

    Bronze Goddess is my ultimate swimsuit vacation scent! Love it! Love it! Recommend to everybody!

  12. Your posts always make me laugh out loud, and this was no exception! I love your “bikini body” advice 🙂 I’ve only recently gotten into perfume, so I don’t think I really have a “beach scent” yet (not to mention here, in the Pacific Northwest, “beach” equates to “stormy coast”, which usually requires less sunscreen and more rain jacket), so I’m enjoying reading all the other answers!

Leave a Reply to flittersniffer Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.