I think we can all envision what it means to smell dirty, but what about smelling clean? It's a harder concept to grasp since there are so many different interpretations of what it means to smell clean. To me, cleanness is the smell of fresh laundry straight out of the dryer, an empty street just after a rainstorm, or a squeeze of bright, fresh citrus.
I think the biggest thing about a clean scent, though, is that you know it when you smell it. I'm obsessed with fragrance, and I have plenty of scents I've labeled in my mind as "clean-smelling" that I rotate through my collection. The biggest similarity they have is that these scents always make me feel fresh and new—like a blank slate. I wear them when I want to feel like I'm giving myself a new start. Keep reading to find my favorite clean-smelling scents (some may even catch you by surprise).
1. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris Aqua Universalis Eau De Toilette
Key notes: Calabrian bergamot, Sicilian lemon, white bouquet, light, and musky woods.
Without a doubt, this is one of my all-time favorite fragrances. The first time I smelled it, I was so entranced by the scent that I requested my boyfriend start wearing it (and now he does). It smells like a freshly laundered linen shirt clinging to the skin in the summer.
2. Maison Margiela Replica Lazy Sunday Morning Eau De Toilette
Key notes: Aldehydes, pear, lily of the valley, iris, rose, orange flower, white musk, Indonesian patchouli, and ambrette seeds.
This fragrance really does encapsulate the feeling of a lazy Sunday. Picture yourself spending a day in bed lying in freshly washed sheets—that's what a spritz of this smells like.
3. Clean Reserve Classic Warm Cotton
4. Korres Cashmere Kumquat Eau de Toilette
5. Byredo Blanche Eau de Parfum
6. Ellis Brooklyn West Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Blood orange, water lily, and vetiver.
This scent reminds me of going for a run in my hometown at twilight in early spring. One of my neighbor's used to hang their clothes up to dry in their backyard, and the smell of flowers blooming entangled with fresh laundry is nothing short of intoxicating.
7. The Harmonist Sacred Water Eau de Parfum
Key notes: Citron, mandarin, fresh ginger, magnolia, orange blossom, laminaria blossom, amyris, grey amber, and cedar.
Waves crashing against rocks on a brisk day—that's this fragrance in a nutshell. It's invigorating and fresh, like getting a spritz of saltwater across your face.
8. Acqua Di Parma Blu Mediterraneo Arancia Di Capri Eau De Toilette
9. Boy Smells Flor De La Virgen Genderful Fine Fragrance
Key notes: Pomelo, saffron, lemon rind, fig leaf, ivy leaves, jasmine petals, olibanum, cistus, labdanum, clear musks, and ambrox.
This scent is bright and unexpected, with both feminine and masculine flairs. Pomelo gives this perfume a dash of vivid citrus.
10. Skylar Salt Air Eau De Parfum
11. Philosophy Pure Grace Eau De Toilette
12. Demeter Linen
13. Le Labo Baie 19 Eau De Parfum
14. Maison Margiela Replica at the Barber's Eau De Toilette
Key notes: Aquatic accord, coriander, and red seaweed essence.
Is there a more classically clean smell than aftershave? This smells like you just left an upscale barbershop. Though it sounds like a more masculine scent, it smells incredible on everyone.
15. Atelier Cologne Lemon Island Pure Perfume
16. Chanel Chance Eau Fraîche Eau De Toilette Spray
17. The Nue Co. Forest Lungs Fragrance
Key notes: Vetiver, cedar, benzoin, pine, patchouli, and bergamot.
The only way to describe this scent is invigorating. It embodies the feeling of taking a cold shower to clear your head. That's exactly what it does, too—this unique blend of scents helps you de-stress.
18. Maison Margiela Replica When the Rain Stops Eau De Toilette
19. Ouai Dean Street Eau De Parfum
Key notes: Mandarin, lemon, grapefruit, apricot, rose, magnolia, muguet, violet, amber, linden, blossom, and musk.
Smells like walking down a rainy street in London.
For more refreshing scents, read No Lie: These Refreshing Fragrances Are Better Than a Dip in the Pool