The relationship between gender and fragrance was most certainly curated by the beauty industry and societal "norms." Scents are gendered because beauty, in general, is segregated. "Most of us were raised with a certain idea of how men and women should look, smell, and act," says Andrew Glass, CEO and founder of Non Gender Specific. Creating gender binaries, an archaic cultural dictate, is an oversimplification of life, which is by nature complex, nuanced, and messy. "Technically, all scents can be considered unisex," adds Mariya Nurislamova, CEO and cofounder of Scentbird. "However, brands would typically market fruit or floral-heavy fragrances as feminine, whereas scents featuring heady notes like wood, leather, and spices would be considered masculine."
Luckily, the current zeitgeist recognizes non-binary gender, a notion that even top marketing executives in the beauty industry have embraced. Today, anyone can wear any scent (as it should be). And with so many interesting fragrances being marketed to both men and women, it's no wonder one of the biggest trends in perfume right now is the unisex scent.
Keep scrolling for 15 of our all-time favorite unisex fragrances.
Calvin Klein All
"While the unisex fragrances of the '90s were defined by clean notes," says Nurislamova, "often with the odd citrus or aquatic elements thrown into play, unisex fragrances of today are bolder and take more risks." Case in point: Calvin Klein's All. With a light and refreshing profile of citrus mingling with jasmine and amber, it's an updated version of the classic unisex CK One collection.
Non Gender Specific Flooid
As social norms around binary thinking diminish, so too will constructs that govern the relationship between gender and fragrance. And what better way to illustrate that notion than with the aptly named Flooid by Non Gender Specific? Orange and grapefruit are dominant notes, while patchouli, cedar, and amber add warm, mossy undertones.
Louis Vuitton Cactus Garden
Maté, bergamot, and lemongrass combine to form this West Coast-inspired unisex scent from Louis Vuitton: Cactus Garden. Consider it summer in a bottle.
(Note: This product is currently out of stock. For something similar, we recommend one of the other fragrances in the brand's Colognes Perfumes Collection).
Heretic Dirty Grass
Heretic's Dirty Grass mixes black pepper, lemon zest, hemp, and violet leaf. CBD oil infused into the fragrance adds an extra element of earthiness and offers purported relaxing properties.
Chanel Paris - Deauville
Even classic houses like Chanel have added a unisex scent to their portfolio. Les Eaux des Chanel, Paris - Deauville is a fresh and exotic scent where basil mingles with Sicilian orange. One whiff will transport you to coastal Normandy, which just so happened to have inspired the scent.
Maison Margiela Replica: At The Barber’s
Maison Margiela's Replica: At The Barber’s is a modern unisex classic. And as its name suggests, it's reminiscent of a fresh haircut. Notes of leather and lavender create a woody and earthy aromatic sensation that intoxicates.
Jo Malone Lime Basil & Mandarin
The signature fragrance for this London-based line, Jo Malone's Lime Basil & Mandarin infusion combines sweet citrus and peppery basil with notes of amber for warmth. However, in case this doesn't quite suit you, you can try any other of the brand's colognes—they're all unisex.
Le Labo Another 13
This fragrance collaboration with Another Magazine was so popular that Le Labo added it to its portfolio and a new classic was born. Musk, jasmine, amber, and moss give this scent a spicy and earthy profile.
Byredo Super Cedar
Buzzy brand Byredo is known for its unique yet wearable fragrances. While it's difficult to pick a favorite, its popular Super Cedar ranks high on our list. Vetiver and musk provide longevity while rose and cedar offer an intoxicating infusion.
Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Cypress
A woody citrus that combines pine and lemon zest with notes of bergamot and clary sage, Dolce & Gabbana Velvet Cypress is a lush and aromatic scent. Also, it's got great sillage, so a little goes a long way.
Gucci's Oud is a warm and spicy cologne that's intense, sensual, and above all, luxurious. That should come as no surprise since oud is perhaps one of the most expensive perfume ingredients out there. Still, so as not to overpower, the fragrance hints at notes of Bulgarian rose, patchouli, and raspberry, too.
Lush Devil's Nightcap
Although best known for its line of soaps, Lush has a lot more up its sleeve in terms of product offerings. Take this dark cologne, for instance. Verdant and sensual, it has a luxe skin feel. Notes of orange blossom mingle with oakmoss, giving Devil's Nightcap a clean yet musky profile.
Ralph Lauren Ralph's Club Eau de Parfum
Aromatic and elegant, Ralph Lauren's Ralph's Club is a crowd-pleaser. Notes of warm cedarwood and vetiver mingle with fresh lavandin and clary sage to achieve the perfect woodsy scent.