Yes, the smell of salty ocean air is the most surefire sign summer has arrived. It's also arguably the easiest to identify. There are candles and entire fragrance campaigns dedicated to evoking the sensory experience of it. But what about sunscreen? It's a polarizing smell; some love it and equate it with long days on the beach. Others abhor the banana notes and opt for odorless iterations instead. In an attempt to cater to the crowd that thinks fondly of the fragrance, Vacation — a new sunscreen brand started by summer-themed radio station Poolside FM — concocted an eau de toilette based on their SPF lotion's signature smell.
To launch Vacation by Poolside FM, co-founders Lach Hall, Dakota Green and Marty Bell tapped perfumers Carlos Huber (ARQUISTE Parfumeur) and Rodrigo Flores-Roux (Clinique and Tom Ford). Initially, they worked with the pair to home in on Vacation's eponymous scent — something to be mixed into the lotion that'd enhance the overall experience.
"We spoke to Carlos and Rodrigo with this in mind, and together we had the idea of not only capturing the nostalgia around your favorite sunscreens but also the nostalgia around the memories of where you were wearing it. What eventuated was coupling classic sunscreen notes — coconut, banana, orange blossom — with classic poolside notes — pool water, pool toys, swimsuit lycra. The result was something we thought would be fun to have sprayable on demand in eau de toilette form. We were in fits of laughter thinking about the idea of smelling like sunscreens and swimming pools," Hall explains.
"To capture this," Flores-Roux says, "we started with classic notes found in European, American and Australian sunscreens. This is where the bright citrus, orange flower and monoi flower along with fruity pineapple, banana, coconut and salicylates come in. Carlos and I really had fun with the challenge of bringing sophistication to these familiar notes... We used electrified ozonic notes to provide the idea of being poolside in summer and the most subtle hints of inflatable pool toys and the chlorine of a swimming pool. It's been so fun to see people's responses to the finished fragrance."
While drugstore-bought sunscreens don't boast the same aromatic beauty — or '80s-inspired bottle and advertising campaign — this iteration does, the general gist is universal: something tropical on top, perhaps some sort of plasticky undertones and maybe a medicinal flair. For the team behind Vacation's scent, the sensory experience of a summer day is deeply ingrained in their psyches. "To create the scent of summer, you need to have experience in it. Needless to say, I felt prepared," Huber admits. Thanks to Vacation, you too can stay connected to the summer season year-round.