This Smells Like My Coconut Vacation Dream (Until It Doesn’t)

tom ford soleil blanc review

Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Review: A coconut dream (mostly). Buy it here

I have been obsessed — obsessed! — with Tom Ford’s Soleil Blanc since the first time I smelled it, which I don’t mind saying with at the Sephora at the Jersey Gardens Mall, approximately five minutes after having lunch at Chili’s. I don’t know what drew me to it, but I’ve long had an affinity for the Tom Ford fragrances that don’t rely on dumb vulgarity to make their points: Don’t ask me what it was, because I can’t remember, but when I was editing the beauty section at NYLON I got a bottle of one of his fragrances (#perks), and I loved it so much that when I dropped and broke it, I got on my hands and knees and tried to siphon what I could into a plastic bag. (This did not work.)

Maybe it was the very stylish, very Versace c. 1992 white and gold packaging? All I know is that when I first sprayed Soleil Blanc, I was instantly transported. Where? So many places:

– The community pool where I learned to swim when I was seven
– The Pacific Ocean at Tamarindo, Puerto Rico, where I once ferried a ream of typing paper to an eccentric novelist
– A vacation with an ex-boyfriend in Thailand

tom ford soleil blanc review

But see? That’s true and it’s not true, because Soleil Blanc smells not just like the beach (there are all kinds of beaches!) but like summer vacation. It smells like freedom? Happiness? Sunshine? (Also, definitely, coconut sun cream. (No SPF.) It smells like the first weekend in June after school’s out, the Outer Banks cottage with your cousins, just basically every happy warm-weather memory. Officially, Tom Ford Soleil Blanc “is an addictive solar floral amber alive with seductive refinement and refreshing decadence.” (Is there anything as unnecessarily over the top as how a beauty company describes its fragrances?? Could they just stop? )  There are notes, of bergamot, pink pepper, and benzoin.

(In case you’re not sure if you want Soleil Blanc or Eau de Soleil Blanc:)

Those are the facts. I think the better questions, though, are philosophical: Can we just live at the beach? Would our lives be happier if we did? Would it eventually get so boring that we’d long for the roster of pine-centric Christmas candles from the White Barn?

I have a complaint that suggests an answer to those questions. When I tried this one at Sephora, I remember the disappointment of thinking it had evaporated faster than I wanted to: I have a clear image of getting to my car in the mall parking lot and thinking that it hadn’t even stuck around that long. Au contraire, after a month’s-worth of wearing it at home: If anything, it’s too durable, and after a while — approximately 45 minutes — I just don’t want to smell it anymore; there’s some strange, powder-y level that gives me a headache. In this small but crucial way, this is why Ouai’s Rose Body & Hair Oil will remain my go-to summer scent, despite my love for Soleil Blanc. The Ouai oil gets better and better the longer you wear it; there is nothing that smells better than the Ouai Rose Oil, on an arm that’s been in the sun. Soleil Blanc, though, takes a powdery turn — and I think it ultimately falls victim to the idea that you can have too much of a good thing: Soleil Blanc, the beach, sunshine, all of it. But in smaller doses, they’re all perfection.