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Body Mist Is Back—And It’s All Grown Up

January 1 | 3 minute read

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Words by Amber Kallor

Originally published on | September 14

“I was a menace with a bottle of [Bath & Body Works’] Warm Vanilla Sugar and Cucumber Melon in the gym locker room at my high school,” said Sable Yong, a beauty writer and co-host of the Smell Ya Later  podcast. So too was Bee Shapiro, founder of Ellis Brooklyn, but she was charmed by Victoria’s Secret Love Spell as a teen. It’s a familiar tale for many millennials and Gen Xers who doused themselves in body mist during the ’90s and early aughts.

Much like cargo pants and crop tops, these airy spritzes of yesteryear are staging a comeback – and this time around they look and smell surprisingly sophisticated. “The body mists of today reflect the growing desire to introduce more elevated and complex scents to this fun and carefree fragrance format,” says Dara Quinlan, Vice President of Fine Fragrance Development at Firmenich, the world’s largest privately owned perfume company.

Unlike the saccharine splashes of yore, modern iterations from brands like Ellis Brooklyn, Diptyque, Aveda, and Sol de Janeiro are spiked with less cloying notes such as pink pepper, geranium, Italian bergamot, vetiver, and patchouli. Some are even housed in vanity-worthy glass bottles. The refined packaging and scent profiles are designed to appeal to all ages – including those of us who stocked up on body mists back when beepers, belly button rings and butterfly clips were de rigueur.

These rebranding efforts appear to be resonating with the masses. According to Spate, a trendspotting tool for the beauty and wellness industries, body sprays account for 91,400 searches per month, an increase of 9.9% compared to last year. Ellis Brooklyn reports that sales of its new trio of beach-inspired body mists have outperformed the brand’s initial projections by 700%, while Sol de Janeiro claims to sell one of its perfume mists every seven seconds.

The growing demand for body splashes may be linked to their “approachable price points,” says Quinlan. Mists tend to contain a lower concentration of perfume oil – making them less intense and less expensive than extraits, parfums, eau de parfums, and eau de toilettes, explains Yong. For example, Ellis Brooklyn’s eau de parfums are composed of 20-25% fragrance whereas the brand’s mists contain only 8%, notes Shapiro.

These more delicate blends that are typically diluted with water and alcohol also allow adopters to apply liberally without “being too overwhelmed by the scent,” says Yong. While body mists aren’t necessarily reserved for a specific season or climate, they are especially popular in places like Los Angeles where warmer temperatures call for less potent formulas that leave wearers smelling fresh – not suffocated by fragrance.

Regardless of your locale, body splashes are best applied to bare skin, of which there is no shortage thanks to the recent resurgence of bike shorts, tube tops, low-rise jeans, and other flesh-baring relics of the ’90s and ’00s. Yong recommends spraying your entire body post-shower after using a fragrance-free lotion or oil, as scent sticks better to moisturised skin. Make sure not to skimp when spritzing because mists tend to evaporate quicker than eau de toilettes or parfums. Depending on the ingredients in the formula, the fragrance could last up to six-plus hours but will be strongest during the first two hours of wear, notes Quinlan, who likes using mists as a “layering tool” to change or amplify a scent.

Whether you’re trying the trend for the first time or repeating your olfactory past, body splashes are booming yet again. “I think we all need a little bit of levity and body mists are such a fun, joyful take on scent,” says Shapiro. Even if your days of low-rise jeans are done and you’ve swapped your backpack for something decidedly less bulky, cocooning yourself in a cloud of fragrance can transport you, if only for a moment, to lighter and brighter times.

Related topics and brand tags

FragranceBody careEllis BrooklynDiptyqueSol de Janeiro

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