Spray-On Freshness: We Ranked 14 Clean Fragrances to Counteract Sweaty Summers

It's the perfect time of year to smell like, well, soap tbh.

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Image: Zoologist; Maison Margiela; Byredo

Spring is in the air, and so is all that comes with it. That means pollen, sure, but it also means, in figurative and literal terms, a sense of cleansing. Spring is for cleaning, and it follows that spring is for clean fragrances. There is an entire subgenre of wearable scents that fall into the “clean” category—many of them prominently feature aldehydic notes, which can read as soap to the nose. We’ve reviewed several of these—many more than actually made the cut of the 14 fragrances we believe are crucial to the genre, whether through popularity (ahem, Byredo’s Blanche) or because we legitimately like them. As usual, we mostly used third-party decanted samplers for our testing.

Naturally, many of these fragrances will be appropriate for summer, too. They are delicate, they are fresh, they are airy. One sad fact of summer is that people tend to smell bad—especially in cities—which means that we long for a scent that is fresh enough to counter the grossness around us. Our own little bubble within the bubble, if you will. It’s also something of a relief to scent ourselves with a gentler hand after coming off fall and winter—seasons that lend themselves to heavier scents of incense, spice, and burning wood. It feels good to feel light.

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