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The 6 Summer Fragrances for Men, Reviewed

From an adventurous, Africa-inspired scent to a cologne made from air, here are six intriguing fragrances you should own.

mami wata

In summer, few products are as important as sunscreen. It is, after all, the sunniest time of the year for most of us — and the hottest, too. That makes deodorant a wise choice to wear as well. But you shouldn't let a sporty or earthy deodorant be your signature scent. You need to invest in a seasonal fragrance; something unique that signals sunny weather has, at last, arrived, but something subtle still that unfurls rather than swings a clenched fist.

Your summer scent shouldn't be too strong. Sure, it's helpful if it can mask your sweaty musk, but all good fragrances change over the course of the day. One may start out strong, for example, but it could end up being more complex after absorbing into your skin all day. It's best to start with a sample-sized bottle, or to try the scent on your skin instead of a paper strip.

Clayton Ilolahia of What Men Should Smell Like says to never assume you know a scent after just a few sprays. "I never buy a fragrance after a quick test in-store because I’m only smelling the top notes at that stage,” he says. This is just one of the many mistakes he says men make when picking out a cologne. "Ideally, test the fragrance on your skin instead of a paper smelling strip (because that’s where you will be wearing the fragrance if you buy it). Then, go for a walk and see how it smells after the middle and base notes appear...you’ll get a more accurate read of the fragrance away from the counter."

Longer interactions with a cologne can also reveal the scent's deeper nuances — a.k.a. the middle and base notes. Sure, a scent could smell spicy at first spray, but it likely won't stay that way. That's why it's important to pick a cologne that isn't too derivative of the season. The fresh, pungent pineapple you smell at first, for example, won't last past lunch, when you'll be eager to re-up. But you shouldn't. Finishing notes — those that are revealed later on in the day — are often the best.

The Best Colognes for Summer

The fragrances below, which were all released this year or last, are excellent options from start to finish.

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      The Best Overall Scent for Summer
      Mami Wata Neo-Animism Fragrance
      Mami Wata
      The Best Upgrade Scent for Summer
      Byredo Mister Marvelous Eau de Parfum
      The Best Affordable Scent for Summer
      Guess Uomo
      How to Apply Fragrance, the Right Way
      Chandler Bondurant

      The best places to apply your scent, how to do it properly, and when to reapply throughout the day (if at all).

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      The Best Classic Scent for Summer
      "VACATION" Eau de Toilette
      The Best Sustainable Scent for Summer
      Air Company Air Eau de Parfum
      Air Company
      The Best Department Store Scent for Summer
      Montblanc Legend Red Eau de Parfum
      The Best Men’s Fragrances from 1950 to Today
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      Chase Pellerin

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