June marks the unofficial start of summer (we'll make it official on June 21), and that thought has our noses revving up for early-summer smells. Here are five non-perfume things to smell in June to get into the spirit of the season.
1. Sunscreen with coconut oil
Now that we’re into summer, it’s time to break out the sunscreen. These days, sunscreens come in all kinds of scents (or lack of scent), but we like to kick off summer right with that old-school, in-your-face, Coppertone-to-the-max stuff. The more cocoa butter and coconut, the better. It may not be the sort of thing you’d want to wear unless you're at the beach, but we like to keep a small bottle handy as a surefire pick-me-up. Having a bad day? Get a hit of liquid nostalgia. The sun is shining and won’t set until 8:30 p.m., so how bad can things be?
If you’re of a certain age, you first discovered freesia in a certain body lotion from a certain bath and body store that’s in every mall in America. It wasn’t a bad introduction—and chances are that you might not have crossed paths with this beautiful flower otherwise.
Freesia is a pretty little thing that comes in white, purple, yellow, and pink—all of which can smell slightly different. But they all have the same vibe: peppery, woody, and fresh with a gently sweet aspect. They’re in full bloom in June, so head to your florist (or even your Whole Foods flower section) and grab a bunch of stems. You’ll be sniffing them every chance you get.
3. Early morning
If you live in a temperate climate, June mornings can be sublime. They’re often humid but cool and comfortable, and the morning dew slowly evaporating into the air helps to intensify the smell of nature’s freshness and greenery. Winds are generally low in early morning, so scents hang on the air for a while before the breezes kick up later and carry that morning-fresh scent away.
If you want to experience the best morning scents, head outside as early as possible—ideally around sunrise. And hey, maybe you’ll be the only one out. Good smells, peace, and quiet are a pretty good way to start the day.
Peonies are in bloom in June, and they smell as pretty as they look. Depending on the type, a peony can smell rosy, musky, fresh, or even honeyed. In any case, they’re usually soft, fresh, and sweet. Their unfurling petals look gorgeous spilling out of a short vase, exuding a country-chic charm à la Martha Stewart.
Peonies don’t bloom for long, though, so call your local florist to find out the best time to pick up a bunch.
If you're not opposed to a few bugs, sleeping bags, and things that go hoo in the night, go camping purely for the smell of an evening campfire. Cedar, birch, ash, maple, oak, pine—no matter what you use as kindling, it'll smell great. Roast some marshmallows, listen to the crackle, and smell that ashy air. If you camped when you were a kid, you'll get the extra benefit of nostalgia. Except this is better—it’s like a junior high bonfire without the drama.