I hadn't used a body mist in 20 years, but this summer scent is proving my most complimented to date

I'm as shocked as you are

(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to the best perfumes for women, I'm the first person to hold my hands up and say I'm a bit of a snob. My favourite scents don't tend to be the most popular bestsellers. I like luxury, expensive perfumes—what some might call niche perfumes. So, if you'd have told me at the start of the year that my most complimented perfume of 2024 would be a seriously hyped body mist to say I wouldn't have believed you would be an understatement. And yet, today, I am admitting that my most adored fragrance of not just the summer, but the year so far, is Ouai St. Barts Hair & Body Mist.

Body mists are having a resurgence, I know. You only have to see the millions of social media posts about the cult Sol de Janeiro perfume mists to understand just how popular these more affordable perfume alternatives are right now. But beyond using my SdJ favourites as post-shower fresheners, I haven't actually used a body mist as a perfume since I was about 10 years old. And now, here I am, a self-confessed fragrance snob, who is just one month shy of turning 30, dousing myself in a sweet, moreish body mist every single day.

Ouai St Barts Hair & Body Mist

(Image credit: Shannon Lawlor)

Let me explain how I got here. I've never met a Ouai product I didn't like—I love the chic packaging, I love the brand's iconic volumising hair products, and I have long adored Ouai's masterful art of creating delicious fragrance, whether it be for their hair and body products or their lesser-known (and under-appreciated) eau de parfums. So, when I first saw the pre-launch images of the brand's new sleek and painfully chic-looking body mist for adults, named St. Barts, I was dying to get my hands on it. And when I discovered it promised to smell like a tropical beach, making it the ultimate holiday fragrance? Well, I could barely contain myself.

When St. Barts Hair & Body Mist launched in the US, back in May, I was seeing comments from the brand's strong community on social media saying things like: "Listen, I would chop off my left arm for St. Barts to become a fragrance, a cream, an oil, ANYTHING PLEASE I LOVE IT [sic]" and "I STG I’m gonna just buy like 8 bottles of the St. Barts spray and mix it into my shampoo and conditioner just so my hair will smell like I’m going feral it’s my favorite scent ever [sic].” Then I heard that Ouai had sold through a 60-day supply in less than a month.

Now, I am pleased to announce that Ouai St. Barts Hair & Body Mist is finally available in the UK. And, being the very lucky beauty editor I am, I was sent a bottle (actually, team MCUK was sent three bottles) many weeks ago, meaning I've been trying out this somewhat mystical, hysteria-causing fragrance for a little while now. And I am truly flabbergasted by the response I have had to it.

The three bottles that the Marie Claire UK beauty desk were in possession of caused a great stir. After I spritzed myself in St. Barts for the first time and walked into the office, I had colleagues flocking to me asking after it. A few days later, I popped into our beauty cupboard to fetch something and found Marie Claire UK Senior Health Editor, Ally Head, cradling one of the bottles like it was a precious gem. And then, ashamedly, when I saw her again the following week, I complimented her on her fragrance, only for her to tell me it was St. Barts and I hadn't recognised it (needless to say I was embarrassed). When I left one of the bottles out on my desk before a week's holiday, I returned to find only a drop left.

Over the past few weeks I have drawn one conclusion about St. Barts Hair & Body Mist: it makes people delulu. Why? Sure, the bottle is chic as hell, looks great on the shelf and feels impressively luxe (even though it will only set you back £26), but the beauty of St. Barts truly does come down to its aroma.

Ouai promised me it would smell like a tropical beach, and I certainly wasn't let down. Unlike other 'tropical' scents out there, St. Barts isn't creamy or cloying. It is like breathing in a lungful on sea air, where sweet, tropical flowers hang from trees and bob up and down in the ocean's gentle waves. It is olfactory escapism at its finest. One deep inhale takes me to faraway shores, where my skin is bronzed, I'm stood at the shoreline wriggling my toes in the sand, cocktail in hand, and I don't have a single care in the world. It is impossible to smell St. Barts and not want to go back for more and more and more.

Beyond that, the longevity is far better than you might expect from a standard body mist. One spritz on my skin produces a sillage that can still be detected a couple of hours later.

But look, if you don't like sweet, tropical, summer perfumes, St. Barts might not be the sort of scent you can imagine yourself reaching for, and yet I still have every belief you'll find yourself revelling in its beauty. Don't believe me that a sweet, summery body mist can really be that good? That's fine—but it's your loss entirely.

Shannon Lawlor
Executive Beauty Editor

Shannon Lawlor is the Executive Beauty Editor at Marie Claire. With nearly a decade of experience working for some of the beauty industry’s most esteemed titles, including Who What Wear, Glamour UK, Stylist and Refinery29, Shannon’s aim is to make the conversation around beauty as open, relatable and honest as possible. As a self-confessed lazy girl, Shannon has an affinity for hard-working perfumes, fool-proof make-up products and does-it-all skincare.