Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hot Summer: Cooling Down Tips

The temperatures are soaring -soaring, I tell you- and I have been in the exhausted state of not really fancying perfume at all these past couple of days. Still fragrance can be a wonderful pick-me-up when chosen right. I know the temperatures in the USA have also taken a hike, so I sympathize most sincerely. Have you found anything to help beyond spraying yourself with Evian water & fanning with a Spanish fan whenever stepping out of the house/office, sucking on pineapple lollipops and keeping home air-conditioned with a vengeance, like I have? 
I'd love to hear your tricks & tips as well as scent suggestions to survive the heat!

In the meantime, here are a few previous posts on summer scents that might inspire you to get out of the rut and into the cool!

Scents for a Sultry Summer
I Know What you Did Last Summer -The Perfume Edition
10 Unusual Summer Fragrance Choices
Frederic Malle's top list of summer fragrances
Summer Fragrances that Last

And here's a fun page on hand fans and the retro "fan language" of the Victorians. Cool, huh? ;-)


  1. That fan site is sooo wonderful - I want to study it and become a fan devotee!

    I'm wearing light cologne-ish things - such as 4711, Fresh Lemon Sugar, etc - inexpensive light things that I can splash on all day long.

    Oh and air conditioning - we're living in our living room these days! Fortunately we do have another window a/c in our bedroom, too. My heart goes out to those without a cooling system.

    Now to check out the links you posted...

  2. C,

    yes, I was quite taken with the approach with those fans. I love fans, always had, my mother always carried one in her purse (it can get hot in the summer so they're very practical) and it looked both glamorous and nonchalant at the same time. :-)

    I should probably get a 4711 bottle for the fridge myself. Had been rubbing down with some Limon Kolonyasi from Turkey (which is indeed a small miracle, maybe need to do a post on this) in late spring, but almost run out.

    Can't even imagine what it'd be like to sleep in non air conditioned space (even low set) when it's in the 100sF/38-40C!! No sleep at all, most probably.

  3. Hi Elena,
    On days like this, only air-conditioning, a mojito and Live Jazz work for me.
    Cheers, Alex

  4. it's brutally hot here in the US mid-atlantic, & it's not a "dry heat"...thankfully, we do have power, so the air con is going. perfume and heat, for me, are a match made in heaven! i'm reveling in my heavy, torrid orientals---they seem to go with the heat. bring me your flowers, your drunken roses, your spices, your resins, your smoky incenses...perfume makes a sensual feast out of heat that would otherwise simply be tiresome. that, and a few bottles of very cold white wine...

  5. Alex,

    sounds perfect! Ah...mojitos, great invention!

  6. NFS,

    my sympathies. :-/

    Humidity and heat combined are hell to me. (Dry heat I can stand up to a point).
    Some orientals do bloom in the heat, applied sparingly, especially spicy orientals I find and aromatic orientals (I put Ambre Sultan in this category which is so rich in bay and oregano, it seems, it leaps out from a tajine consuming region....then again, it actually does!). Ambery and calorific vanillic orientals, I'm having difficulty with, though, I admit.

    Love your poetic turn of phrase ;-).

  7. I comment on this product on at least one blog every summer, so my apologies for repeating myself. I have air conditioning in my current home but have lived many years without it. My essential product is Dr Bronner's Peppermint Castile Soap. It's a liquid, can be had at health food stores & many drug and grocery stores. You dilute it half and half with water and shower with it, in the coldest water you can stand, right before bed (or anytime the heat is overtaking you.) It has an actual chilling effect on the skin. The bedtime shower, followed by sleeping under a ceiling fan or with other fans blowing, makes sleep possible. Great morning wake up, too.

    I live in the midwest US, where we are breaking all kinds of high temperature and drought records. To be honest, I'm finding I can't really get excited by perfume, or much of anything else. Come on, fall!

  8. rosarita - you are SO right on the Dr Bronner's! I love that stuff!

    I broke down and spent the last two middays in the 'cool room' (aka El O's den) - but when I did go out I wore BIG scents, just to be perverse. I spent the 4th of July in Epic body cream and yesterda's 103 found me in Cuir d'Arabie over Rosine Folie du Rose body cream. And of course, my beloved Tribute attar. Love that in the heat. LOVE IT!

  9. I've found that walking slowly by a bowl of limes (of a certain age) and breathing deeply, followed by a cold glass of coconut water helps...for about 15 seconds...

  10. MariaA08:58

    seriously I was expecting this heatwave! A very cold winter like the one we had this year is always followed by a very hot summer!! The only way to cool myself is aircondition, lots of water (I usually hate drinking a lot of water) and splashing tons of Rogger Gallet on me usually the Blue lotus, the vert and my latest love Fleur d' osmanthus.
    Hope this heatwave makes a break for a while!!

  11. Hot as hell here also. Perfumes don't survive outside. I carry with me Florascent Peppermint (plain mint) or Oriflame Amazonia for him (very bitter herbs)and spray them as water around me.
    As a student in Athens I used to sprinkle my bed linen with cold water before going to sleep - it gave you a 10 minutes window of opportunity to fall asleep.

  12. Eleonore11:16 such problem of heatwave here though we did have a very cold winter! And I'm not writing from Iceland, mind you, but from France...where we are still waiting for summer to come (at the moment under wind and rain, can you believe it?!!!) However when it's very hot, we use a lot of fans (electric too in the houses, we don't have much air conditioning except in stores and offices)and shower a lot. As for perfumes, I'm a big fan of l'Eau de Cartier, Cristalle and of course Hermes Jardins sur le Nil and en Méditerranée!

  13. Cheryl13:22

    Five days without power, or running water in the inferno of Virginia
    brought out the best and the worst.

    When the electricity was restored,
    followed by a long shower, The Third Man and a nap put things to rights.

  14. It's been super, uncomfortably hot in Ohio where my air conditioning has been running nonstop for about a week and a half. I have been having a lot of trouble getting my perfume to stay on my skin. The only two perfumes that wants to stay put on my skin in Deneuve in extract form.

  15. Mimi Gardenia16:28

    It gets very hot and dry here in Summer- central California . it can go up to 115 degrees F if you're really unlucky.
    Skin suffers so much what with the dry heat, the terrible harsh sun and dehydration factors.
    I find the most helpful thing is ..apart from all the usual sun safety advice - is to make sure you always shower at the end of the day here to re hydrate everything from your hair to your skin - trap in as much moisture after with a good moisturiser. I still use the heavy Nivea blue tin cream even in this heat to keep the dryness at bay .

    I stay out of the sun as much as possible and cover up always. I really dislike being hot and prefer the cold.
    Air conditioning is my bestest friedn in summer and in truth the only device that keeps me sane when the temperatures go above 100 degrees.

  16. brie17:35

    air conditioning..the only way to survive this summer!
    Favorite inexpensive summer scent- virgin coconut oil (straight up or combined with citrus essential oils like blood orange or lime) slathered all over my body-it smells so yummy and makes my skin feel fantastic! I also love orange sanguine but have yet to own a full bottle-trying to stick to a tight budget these days :)

  17. Very sticky and humid here in DC (last week I was in Italy, hot too, but at least with a breeze at night). My go to heat scents are fresh vetivers, Sycomore and Vetiver Extraordinaire (both of which last well on me, surprisingly since my skin eat perfumes), and my little love, Paco Rabanne Metal (ditto).


  18. For a working girl in high temperatures I have only
    one thing to suggest:
    "Oceanus" - The Body Shop

    No idea if it's still on the market, though..

  19. Folding fans and stick/paddle fans are still widely used in Japan. Even men use them. (I got in a little trouble once, using a fan in a country where such things are not done.) Looking at Kabuki plays of the domestic drama type, it seems that old-fashioned etiquette included waving your fan at a guest visiting your home in hot weather. Folding fans are usually perfumed with incense materials, although there is no law against spritzing your favorite frag on a fan!

  20. Croneangel01:17

    In Florida its 90's F and humid as all get out. If I brave a perfume it has to be light... pale actually. So it isn't much fun. What works is to spritz with either rose or orange blossom water. Cools you down in a couple of ways, and you smell soooo nice! Keep the AC running, if possible, and stay hydrated!!!! And hand fans are a must in the South. LOVE the idea of perfuming them!!!

  21. Miss Heliotrope02:19

    Melbourne is having the coldest winter in years - not cold by everyone's standards, but chilly in a house without central heating - and even below zero a couple of nights.

    Last summer, in the dry heat, I was enjoying Coqui Coqui's coconut scent - which had the added advantage of mixing well with the coconut scented sunblock I had randomly purchased. I spend summer caked in the stuff & get sick of all the various smells of it rather quickly.

    Our black cat hates the heat - we keep a water bottle in the freezer for him & he comes in regularly when he is outside for the morning & asks for it - and then cuddles up around it.

  22. The new Le Pamplemousse by Miller Harris is very refreshing in this heat.
    A bitter sour citric blend of grapefruit remedied soft with some flowers on a base of vetiver.

    Thankfully no perceivable ISO E Super.

  23. I'm another one to vote for cologne on the REALLY hot days. I make my own and just spray lavishly as required. Although in my part of Australia it's -5 celsius in the mornings right now.

  24. Rosarita,

    I must have missed the mention, since this is (very welcome!) news to me. So Dr.Bronner's Peppermint Castille Soap and on the list it goes! Sounds an ingenious idea indeed, thank you so much!!!

  25. Musette,

    I see more wise endorsement and I need no further convincing! :-D

    Attar is so gorgeous. These things do well in the heat, if only because they're devised for warm cultures in the first place.

  26. Jan,

    ha!! That's my problem as well. Nothing lasts long enough to take a much needed breaaaaaaaaath....

    Thanks though!

  27. Maria,

    I joked that the weather would specifically wait for something personal (of mine, more details if interested in private mail) to hit soaring temps again (remember last time it reached 45C in Athens a few summers ago?)

    I agree the folk wisdom does want a HOT summer following a harsh winter (and I never recall in all my life such a harsh winter in Athens before).

    Thankfully I'm not averse to drinking lots of water, but it does sometimes end up making one feel like they're a water bed (doing all that gloo gloo sound in the stomach!).

    I love the R&G Vetyver for summer (a very nice citrusy and light/refreshing vetiver), I should now try all the rest you mention!!

  28. idomeneus,

    that's a good tip on sprinkling the bed with cold water. Haven't tried it! Sounds easy and practically and will definitely try it.

    Intrigued by the masculine Amazonia (dry and bitter herbs might help un-stifle the sauna like atmosphere).

  29. Eleonore,

    in all my experiences, not even the Midi gets the sort of temps that are usual for summer in southerner countries such as Spain and Greece. Of course I don't envy your lack of sunshine and warm days. That's a pity.... :-(

    I have been taking showers thrice and four times a day to cool off, to the point of ridiculousness. Two minutes under the cool water, toweling off, and then after 10 minutes I wish I could jump back in again....arggggh!

    Great scent suggestions, thank you! I have spent many a summer splashing on the Sur Le Nil with much aplomb and love the rest as well (off to go get a bottle of the Mediterranee and the Cartier).

  30. Cheryl,

    days without electricity or running water (egads!) sound like absolute hell to me in those conditions!!! Hope everything is restored now and there are no more such "experiences".
    Glad you took it in the best of spirit.

  31. Eld,

    ah Deneuve! Beautiful, beautiful perfume! And really originally thought to fit American women and their needs.

  32. Mimi,

    sounds bad....

    We usually don't get too much of the stifling heat nor the humid one, but when there's a heatwave everything seems to stop. All motion, all action. Only the beach saves.

    Can't really put creams on when it's hot. I seem to perspire from them! (is it because everything acts as an occlusive with all the silicones etc they contain? who knows....)

  33. Brie,

    naturally....A/C the cure for the common crankiness. :-)

    Delicious sounding ideas!

  34. MariaA17:00

    I would love to hear the details you mention, I am intrigued! (
    The gloo gloo sound is what keeps me from drinking water my stomach seems to produce this sound even with half a glass !!
    R&G Vetiver is a great vetiver cologne but I can;t get it anymore, also the blue lotus is discontinued. The Vert is available as well as the osmanthus which is their release of this year. I keep a bottle in my bag at all times and spray liberally whenever I need a boost (which is quite often!!!)
    The bad thing with the climate change is that temps reach 45 degrees every year and it is imossible o live in houses without AC!

  35. M,

    oh dear. That nice, eh?

    I LOVE vetivers in the heat. Sycomore is simply stunning, love it to bits (gone through half a giga bottle already) and I also highly rec Vetiver Tonka, Vetiver pour Elle (another firm favorite) and Roger & Gallet Vetyver. The latter does last more than anticipated, for something with a citrusy top note. Mostly love the chocolate edge that a good vetiver can provide which lingers in a completely non cloying way.

    Is Metal still circulating? This was one was seriously good. (have minis stacked around)

  36. ION,

    I vaguely remember that one. Marine, yes, but supposedly not chemical overload. But don't really recall it that well.
    Now if TBS brought back SPA Wisdom African Dreams room scenting oil.... *sigh*

  37. JohnL,

    refined cultures such as the Japanese do utilize a language ripe with symbolism. The fan etiquette is really a sight to behold. Twisting the fan can evoke so many things: hesitation, temptation, invitation...all dependent on rhythm of motion and fluidity of movement.

    I think since a man IS perfectly allowed to "fan" himself with a folded piece of hard paper (see men doing that all the time in queues here), then why is it "wrong" to use a paper fan, preferably a sturdy paddle fan? Obviously not one with pink little bows, but you know, it could be a fun and mean looking accessory too!
    Plus I always say, if the man is manly, they can get away with anything! ;-)

  38. Cronengel,

    I have visions of the South lush with subtropical flowers that aromatize everything and with mean meals being cooked by women (and men) with hearty appetites. It might be a romantic vision, but it's a good one.
    It's disheartening to hear you can't but wear floral waters. They do smell good though!

    Why not try a light vetiver too? I highly recommend the inexpensive Roger & Gallet one. It could be layered with the orange blossom water too, I bet!

  39. C,

    aww cute kittie! I bet those little fur balls suffer more than us in the heat...poor things!

    I'm sorry to hear of the cold. It was unseasonably cold here as well last winter which makes me wonder whether the global climate has taken a decided take for the harsher. Brrrr......send us a little breeze and we can send a little hot sun your way. That way we'd be both happy!

  40. Saif,

    I'm psyched to hear you say so! A good grapefruit is worth its weight in gold. Must try the new MH!!
    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. (and you should KNOW!)

  41. Erika,

    good for you, making one's own is a real pleasure. Not that I have the time right now, but my aunts used to make it and it did smell great.

    Cologne is a great thing, though because we associate it so much with various things that are not strictly for pleasure (more on upcoming post) it sometimes can lose some of its "glamour" appeal that perfumes possess. :/

    So cold....sending you some virtual rays for those cold, tight mornings.

  42. Maria,

    I will certainly email you! Thanks for sending your addy. :-)

    The R&G Vetiver is discontinued????? Please dear God, NOOOOOO.......*expletives thrown around and yielding my fists at them*
    I find many R&G products on Escentual, they ship promptly and are trustworthy (they're in the UK).
    Fragrances here:

  43. MariaA19:46

    Yes this was my reaction exactly when they discontinued Blue lotus. Discovered a body lotion of it at a forgotten shelf in a hondos and grabbed it!! Just checked the site you recommended, they have blue lotus yeah!!

  44. Merlin22:13

    after about a week in Greece, it had become so hot that chanel's christalle eau verte was the only thing I could still use. Refreshing enough. Allure edition Blanche may have worked too, but I am putting off buying it, probably until its summer here...

  45. Maria,

    glad that something good has come out of this, at least :-)

    I should scout the Hondos and see if they have something forgotten at the back shelf too. (still angry they pulled L'Erbolario)

  46. Merlin,

    it can get too hot on certain days, that's true. We've been having an unusual amount of the hots these past few days (talking about 38C-40C). But generally from May till September it's quite elevated anyway, no chance of dropping below 30C.

    The original Cristalle and the EDP do work well though as well, have you tried them? Gentiane Blanche is also great in the heat and it's unisex.

  47. Merlin18:12

    Well, I certainly wouldn't complain: I was in a constant state of infatuation while I was there, with the trees, the grass, the ruins, the flowers and even the earth! The people too were wonderful.

    Unfortunately neither Christalle nor GB work on my skin. But its all ok because Infusion d' Iris is fantastic!

  48. Miss Heliotrope01:34

    A bit late in the discussion, but how do people keep their scents cool in extreme heat - is there room with all the cold drinks in the fridge?

  49. Merlin,

    you say that to a certain soul who has managed to make her (free & prolonged) stay in Greece a cranky, complaining one without much evidence on what cranks her up so much. ;-)

    I kinda like to think the people are wonderful indeed. :-) They're genuinely kind.
    If you fall down on the street, there will be 10 people trying to help you get up or dusting you off. If you get lost, you know you won't be for long, there's always someone willing to assist you and go out of their way to do it. And if you ever get mugged (as I was at some point from an illegal immigrant no less), there will be all kinds of people running after the mugger, helping you to a glass of water, offering you their cell phone to make all the necessary calls and inviting you to their houses so as not to wait in the street....

    Infusion d'Iris is a great scent in the Greek summer, it stays on and projects perfectly!

  50. C,

    much as the fridge is mentioned a lot in such discussions, I recommend against it, unless we're taking about an eau de cologne which is supposed to be consumed by the gallon, would be expected to run out of soon and would be required to be fresh and crisp.

    The more complex fragrances (and especially extraits and vintage stuff) are rather negatively affected by the extreme chill and the humidity that there is in a regular fridge if kept there. These are fragrances of a delicate balance and the extreme changes would upset that balance.

    I'm afraid only a cellar would properly do in such cases. Until I have one to stock the perfumes besides the wines, I am keeping mine in dedicated furniture in an air-conditionned room (during the hottest days the A/C keeps a stable temp).
    It seems to have sufficed so far.


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