Whenever I think of fruity perfumes, my mind immediately goes to my 13-year-old self's "beauty stash." I was 13 in 2002, so you bet my makeup inventory consisted of glitter eye shadow, glitter powder, the shiniest lip gloss (like MAC's Lipglass or a good ol' Lancôme Juicy Tube), drugstore mascara (still can't go wrong with Maybelline's Great Lash), and of course the sweetest fragrance I could find.
I had a large collection of perfumes and body sprays that smelled like mango, watermelon, strawberry, apple, orange—you name it. I put them in rotation based on my mood or where I was going. Watermelon was to be worn at school dances and parties. Mango and citrus, for pool parties. Apples and strawberries? Good for everyday wear, honestly. I guess the trend back then was to smell good enough to eat?
I'm not here to knock the very sweet fragrances of the early aughts. One whiff of a fruity perfume can send anyone down a nostalgic trip. And listen, those things really did smell good. But in the years since as I've gone from my teens to 20s to now 30s, I've noticed a trend toward more complex scents that can still be sweet but not exactly saccharine. When choosing fragrances for myself, I gravitate more toward fresh floral scents than anything remotely fruity. If fruity was cool when I was a teen, how can it possibly still be cool in my 30s? And how would I even pull it off?
But recently, I've given fruity perfumes a second thought, mostly because they are so different from those early aughts fragrances. Some of them blend fruits with more grounding scents. Others are so light, which is perfect for warmer months. And there are some that are playful iterations of past fragrances. In short, you're not going to be smelling like a fruit salad. I'm sold on them now, especially as I'm looking to change up my routine for the summer.
Ready to get back on the fruity-perfume train? Take a look at some noteworthy scents below.
Marc Jacobs's limited-edition version of the classic Daisy fragrance has notes of mandarin, mirabelle plum, and creamy musks. The addition of citrus makes it super refreshing.
A newer fragrance from Miu Miu, Twist is a fruity floral perfume with apple blossom, bergamot, pink amber, and tonka bean.
Her Intense is a twist on Burberry's original Her perfume. It has added notes of blackberry, jasmine, and benzoin, along with cherry, violet, and cedarwood.
Inspired by "sultry tropical nights," this fragrance has citrus scents of mandarin peel and lemon peel, but it's grounded with sandalwood. It's also "clean" and free of synthetics.
Enclosed in a bow-shaped vessel, this perfume is deliciously sweet. Scents include mandarin, orange blossom, peach, caramel, and cedarwood.
You can't go wrong with a classic Jo Malone fragrance. This one evokes freshly picked blackberries with bay leaves and cedarwood.
With fresh grapefruit, Italian bergamot, and honeysuckle, this fragrance might transport you to summer on an Italian beach. And isn't that just perfect when you're far from the ocean but experiencing wanderlust?
Inspired by the passion and romance of Paris, this perfume has notes of red berries, white datura flower, and white musk. It's a super-romantic scent.
Refreshing grapefruit (or pamplemousse, if you want to pretend you're French) makes this fragrance picture-perfect for warmer months. The addition of rose gives a floral layer to the scent.
This ultra-sophisticated scent has notes of raspberry with rose, pink pepper, vanilla, jasmine, and magnolia. The combo makes for a bold fragrance.
Here's another fragrance to transport you to the Mediterranean—Amalfi, specifically. Scents include citrus fruits like mandarin and lemon, with basil, spearmint, shiso leaf accord, and jasmine.
Yuzu and pomegranate are mixed with peony, lotus flower, magnolia, vegetal amber, acajou, and musk for a scent that's fruity and floral but grounded.
Take this one on the go with you. It has notes of citrus, kalamansi accord, coriander, and musk.
Byredo's Sundazed starts with citrus scents like mandarin and lemon, layered with neroli, jasmine sambac, and musk. And for a sweet infusion, cotton candy is also added to the base.
This bold and sensual fragrance is for someone who wants to stand out. It has fruity notes of pear and sweet Italian orange with tiger orchid, Indonesian patchouli, and caramel.
This fragrance is as close as you're going to get to those fruity perfumes of yesteryear, in the best way possible. It has fruit notes of watermelon and strawberry plus cassis leaves, pink water lily, jasmine, frangipani, vanilla, sandalwood, praline, and driftwood.
This fragrance might be summer in a bottle. It contains pear nectar, musky ambrette, and wood notes.
Don't be fooled by the "sugar" in this fragrance's name. It's complex and warm with citrus, mango, lychee, freesia, tonka bean, amber, and sandalwood.
This light scent contains fruits like apple, citrus, and mandarin, along with florals like freesia, magnolia, and linden flower.
With a name like Candy Gloss, you kind of know what you're going to get with this perfume. It's a sweet and playful fragrance that has notes of cherry, blackcurrant, orange flower, and musk.