Perfumes aren’t for girls. Colognes aren’t for guys. This societal construct that assigns genders to perfume and cologne isn’t accurate. Instead, fragrance notes determine the femininity and masculinity of a fragrance. The good news is that there are many fragrance blends out there that can be considered unisex or gender-neutral. Keep reading to learn how to find the best gender-neutral fragrances for you!
Debunking fragrance gender myths
People commonly believe that perfume is a feminine scent and cologne is a masculine scent. While, sure, many feminine perfumes and many masculine colognes exist, that’s not always the case. Before you search for gender-neutral fragrances, you should understand the real difference between the two.
Traditionally, we use different fragrance names to indicate the formulas and concentrations. Fragrance classifications include the following:
- Eau de cologne: Eau de cologne contains only 2-5% perfume oil. It’s perfect for carrying a delicate and airy daytime scent. This type of fragrance usually lasts around 2 hours.
- Eau de toilette: Eau de toilette contains 5-15% perfume oil. It’s great for daytime use and usually lasts 3 to 4 hours.
- Eau de parfum: Eau de parfum contains 15-25% perfume oil. It tends to last 4 to 5 hours. It’s one of the most popular types of perfume in the world.
- Parfum: Parfum brings the intensity with 20-40% perfume oil. An elegant parfum can stay potent through extreme conditions, lasting 6-8 hours.
- Extrait de parfum: Extrait de parfum contains 35-45% perfume oil. It will stay on virtually eternally until you wash it off.
Now you can see that the true difference between colognes and perfumes is the strength of the fragrance. Instead of looking for gender in these labels, you can see them for what they are. If you want a stronger unisex fragrance, go for a parfum. If you want a more subtle and light fragrance, go for an eau de cologne.
Defining unisex fragrances
Today, we’re moving away from rigid gender stereotypes and towards neutrality and inclusivity. Floral and fruity scents typically define feminine fragrances, while woodsy and spicy scents typically define masculine fragrances. Unisex fragrances are about intentionally combining the two. No matter what gender you are, you should feel free to wear whatever fragrances you please.
The key to a unisex fragrance is neutrality, simplicity, and balance. If you’re looking to find that equilibrium between feminine and masculine scents, certain fragrance blends can help you accomplish that.
What are fragrance notes?
Fragrance notes - also called perfume notes - are the different scent layers in a fragrance. Fragrances are a three-dimensional structure of scents built of three distinct parts: base notes, heart notes, and top notes. Each note has unique characteristics including evaporation time and smell.
Top notes are the first impression makers of a fragrance. These are the aromas you smell first in a perfume, and they only stick around for about 5 to 15 minutes. Heart notes are the core of any perfume. They begin to appear as the top notes are evaporating and then last for about 60 minutes. Base notes are the foundation of all fragrances that can last for more than 6 hours. They provide depth, longevity, and richness to a fragrance.
Fragrance notes to look for
The perfect unisex fragrance will have a balance of feminine and masculine notes from top to heart to base. The following are some classic unisex fragrance notes that when combined, create beautiful perfume blends for everyone to enjoy. Gender-neutral fragrances aren’t limited to these, but you can use these as inspiration for finding your best unisex fragrance.
Unisex top notes
- Blood orange
Unisex heart notes
- Ylang ylang
Unisex base notes
- White Musk
Top 5 best gender-neutral fragrances from ScentKulture
If you’re looking for a scent that blends femininity and masculinity, leaving gender constructs behind, you’re in luck. Here are some delicious bestselling fragrances from our unisex selection.
- Date Night: Date night is a luxurious yet natural fragrance for any gender. It includes top notes of truffle, gardenia, black currant, ylang-ylang, jasmine, bergamot, mandarin orange, and Amalfi lemon. Its heart notes include orchid, spices, gardenia, fruity notes, ylang-ylang, jasmine, and lotus. Finally, the base notes in this fragrance are Mexican chocolate, patchouli, vanilla, incense, amber, sandalwood, vetiver, and white musk.
- Georgia Peach: Georgia Peach is a free-spirited, light-hearted, and eclectic fragrance that works day and night. It starts with top notes of pêche de vigne accord, Sicilian blood orange, and cardamom. Its heart notes include heliotrope, davana, rum, cognac, and jasmine sambac. It finishes with base notes of sandalwood, benzoin, cashmeran, vanilla, tonka bean, labdanum, styrax, and Indonesian patchouli.
- Rose Jam: This light and floral fragrance will invoke romance, clarity, and energy. Its fragrance notes include rose and sugary jam for a positive and sweet olfactory experience.
- Midnight: On the other end of the spectrum from Rose Jam is Midnight, a dark and sexy fragrance for all genders. It begins with the top note of saffron and continues with heart notes of black rose, truffle, and other floral notes. Its base notes are patchouli, vanilla, agarwood, and oakmoss.
- Boozy Leather: Boozy Leather is both sophisticated and wild. It’s great for arousing your senses on a night out. It contains notes of black leather, labdanum, styrax, cade, clary sage, lavender, rum, incense, and olibanum.
The bottom line
The truth is that fragrances don’t inherently come with gender. We have assigned genders to fragrances over time. We’re here to tell you that you’re free to wear whatever fragrances you like. Unisex fragrances are a great choice for people not wanting to be defined by the societal gender constructs around scents. Pick your favorites from our list of unisex fragrance note recommendations, and use them as inspiration to find your perfect blend that makes you feel like your most confident self.