For the last few years I’ve considered my taste in perfume to fall into a few different categories; gourmand, super sweet (I realise there can be overlap with those two!), ‘unusual’, ‘woody’ and unisex. I think for another time I also need to talk about the scents that I would place in the unusual category! I’ve also noticed that I am more interested in fruit than flower notes at the moment, and also that some of my absolute favourite scents have certain notes in common.
It’s the unisex scents that I want to discuss today. In an article I read by Sali Hughes recently, she explained that the earliest scents and colognes were “made for all”. With that in mind, it really is strange to think that perfumes today mostly have a very strong marketing message to either a male or female audience. I’m talking about designer and celebrity fragrances as opposed to niche scents. When a scent is then considered ‘unisex’, the design house or celebrity seem to show this as a bold choice – which I guess it kind of is! So many of the perfume lovers I talk to don’t pay attention to the typical gender ‘norms’ and wear whatever they like. If I’m honest this might have been an added bonus for me in liking unisex and certain ‘male’ fragrances in the first place – I liked the feeling I was wearing something a bit different and not making the typical choice among my friends. I feel the same about age and scents. I really will wear anything I like regardless of whether or not others see those scents as ‘young’ or as strong reminders of their teenage years! It’s nice to see that in the fragrance community people aren’t afraid to wear what they want…this should now be reflected in the advertising campaigns of most perfumes!
In this post I’m going to discuss my favourite unisex scents, the ones I believe could have been marketed as such and also those that I’d like to add to my collection.
👃🏻 From top to bottom and left to right:
👾Eau by Lady Gaga- I think Lady Gaga can be relied upon to break norms, starting with her first scent, Fame, and the seemingly black liquid! Eau is my favourite of the two and got my attention from the very fact that she said it was designed as unisex. The bottle is beautiful and sleek and the scent is one of my favourite leather fragrances – so well combined with a lime note. I got my 100ml at a good price so this one is worth trying if you haven’t already.
🖤Stash by Sarah Jessica Parker- I think Sarah Jessica Parker, from what I’ve read, really enjoys and is passionate about her first perfume, Lovely, which was launched in 2005. It’s a beautiful and has a real ‘classic’ feel to it with notes of magnolia and lavender. However I remember it being said that what she really wanted was to launch something more bold and unisex which is what she did with Stash a decade later. Stash is so different to anything else among the celebrity fragrance launches. The main note that strikes me is the olibanum; SJP wanted a ‘church’ type smell and the scent really achieves that. Stash also has notes of grapefruit, black pepper and sage. It’s really loved among the perfume community and has been said to smell like niche-quality at what is an incredibly affordable price.
🌳 Ebony Wood from Zara Emotions Collection- I must admit – I did double check to see whether this one was designed as a women’s scent or a unisex one but my suspicions were confirmed that it is the latter. The Zara and Jo Malone collection was highly anticipated and my favourite of the perfumes is Ebony Wood which of course fits into two of my favourite categories with the fact it’s woody and unisex! This scent has so much depth and it’s warm, spicy and perfect for cold weather and Christmas time. Despite that, I wore and enjoyed it last week but it really does have an association with Christmas for me. The notes include ebony, cloves and black pepper and it would work so well on anyone – I’m surprised that my husband hasn’t worn it yet!
☕️ Prerogative by Britney Spears- I love this perfume! It’s actually the scent that I’m wearing as I write this and it’s one that I will always spray lots of and respray throughout the day. The bottle design isn’t particularly one of my favourites but somehow it’s really well-matched to the scent. The main note that appeals to me in this one is the coffee but I love the goji berries in the top and also the sandalwood in the base. This perhaps leans slightly more towards a typically feminine scent in its sweetness.
👔 Closer by Halle Berry- I love Halle by Halle Berry which was her first perfume launch, so I was doubly interested when I knew she was releasing a unisex scent. Closer is so enjoyable with its cashmere and mahogany notes. It’s smart and sharp and I like the fact it smells more like something a man might wear. The advertising campaign reminded me of Kylie’s for her unisex “Inverse” perfume which sadly I didn’t get my hands on and now sells VERY expensively online.
🤍Indi by Katy Perry- Katy Perry’s collection was sweet, fruity and floral until the launch of Indi which she described as androgynous. Indi has become popular among perfume lovers since its launch in 2017 and is seen as another ‘surprise’ among the celebrity releases. I enjoy Indi – but have to be in the mood for it. It has a lot of musk which for me can be a little headache-inducing or mean bad news if I have the beginnings of one already. I was surprised at enjoying the tea note in this which is mixed with plum and woody notes. You can buy this perfume very cheaply so it is worth checking out!
So for the second part of my post I have gathered up scents that I felt could have easily been marketed as unisex.
From left to right and top to bottom;
🐑 L by LAMB- There is just something about this perfume. I love it. To be blunt, when I test it, it’s almost as if I’m trying to ‘breathe it in’ – that’s how good it is! L is a really underrated perfume in my opinion; the notes work so well together and the bottle is beautiful! Let me know if you ever tried it…or any of the Harajuku line for that matter. The notes include rose, pear, lily of the valley and frangapini but I have to say I don’t really find that the reviews I’ve read reflect how I feel about this one. When I smell it I feel it has this incredible depth, fruitiness and the same applies to when I spray – amazing projection and longevity. For me, it smells like there are lots of contrasts within and that’s how I feel it would make a good unisex scent. I can’t quite accept that this one is discontinued so I’m ready to buy a ‘back-up’ bottle and to look for similar scents!
🤎Rogue by Rihanna- I really love Rogue and it was pretty much my ‘going out’ scent for a time in 2017. With the launch of Rogue Man I was curious as to how Rogue wasn’t already something of a unisex or masculine scent itself, because in my view is at least. While I still need to check out the men’s edition, the original scent is a beautiful combination of plum, suede, woods and musk. It’s so well done and would smell great on anyone.
🧡Sweet Spice and Sandalwood by Bespoke London- This time a little more personal bias comes in to the mix, although I suppose with fragrance all opinions are ultimately personal and subjective! I really love a sandalwood note and this scent is so warm and inviting that I love to spray and test it, even though it’s part of Sam’s collection. The Bespoke scents are great value and often available with further discounts and offers at Superdrug.
⚫️Vibrant Leather by Zara- I love a leather note and when Sam bought this for himself just before our wedding, I made a mental note to borrow it for myself. The Zara scents get lots of love among the ‘frag fam’ and Vibrant Leather is my favourite. With bergamot in the opening and also a bamboo note, this scent is simple but perfect and despite not having great longevity I love that we have it in um, ‘our’ collection!
☁️ Cloud by Ariana Grande- I’ve said it a few times, but when a fellow fragrance fan told me that to them Cloud smelt like a boys’ aftershave in the eighties, I actually liked it more, not less! I love the musky eighties vibe. The scent is somehow dry and the woods, lavender and whipped cream mix to create a really unique scent. In actual fact this is said to be similar to BR540, but at what is a very reasonable price there is something very distinctive and likeable about Cloud. I really want Sam to wear it one day as I’m finding it more typically ‘male’ the more that I smell it!
Do you wear scents that weren’t necessarily marketed for your gender? Are there any unisex scents that you love to wear? Do you perhaps share scents with a partner or spouse? Let me know in the comments!