Many people often think that perfumes are designed specifically for women, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. If you study the history of perfume, you’ll see that different fragrances for genders didn’t come into existence until the ’70s.
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We will explore some of the best unisex perfumes that complement both men and women equally. We will also talk a little about the history and the differences between men’s and women’s fragrances in the modern age.
What’s the Difference Between Men’s & Women’s Fragrances?
Scents are usually not created to be feminine or masculine but to recreate a naturally-occurring scent, like fresh-cut grass, a certain spice, or a particular flower. The trend towards different fragrances for men and women did not begin until the 1970s. Perfumes that are woody, musky, and leathery were generally considered to be masculine perfumes. Floral, sweet, and light scents were considered feminine.
A fragrance is defined by the combination of scents that usually form three layers of its perfume: the top, the middle, and the base notes of the fragrance. Top notes are noticed first but fade quickly, middle notes are the most dominant aroma, considered the heart of the fragrance, and the base notes usually linger long after the other notes have faded.
The combination of different scents within these layers makes up a fragrance’s unique profile. A perfume’s scent profile will usually be labeled after the creation process as either male or female for marketing purposes.
What Makes a Fragrance Unisex?
All fragrances start as unisex fragrances. Unisex fragrances provide a unique combination of those top, middle, and base notes typically associated with men or women to strike a perfect balance. Because certain scents might embody masculine or feminine qualities, unisex fragrances do not lean heavily one way or another to provide a unique gender-neutral fragrance.
What is Considered a Good Unisex Perfume?
The best unisex perfumes are surprising and unique because they combine scents in a nontraditional way. The scent wheel has four main categories: floral, woody, oriental, and fresh.
Good unisex perfumes incorporate notes from more than one category on the scent wheel to create complex and interesting scents that don’t lean too heavily towards typically masculine or feminine scents. We’ve previously featured several unisex scents by Eight and Bob, but here we’ve compiled some of our favorite unisex perfume options for every price range.
The Best Unisex Designer Fragrances ($120+)
These are some of the best unisex designer fragrances.
Gucci Mémoire D’une Odeur, which means “Memory of a Scent”, was launched in 2019 with Harry Styles as the face of its campaign. Created by Alberto Morillas, a legend in the perfume world, the fragrance is built around the scent of chamomile with secondary notes of jasmine, vanilla, sandalwood, and cedarwood.
Its dominant chamomile scent makes this fragrance unique, but Memoire D’une Odeur is not for everyone. We love this fragrance for its aromatic minerality. If you appreciate unique, alternative scents, try this at a night out on the town.
With its roots in New York City, Bond No. 9 creates perfume as unique and diverse as the city itself. We love this intense, earthy fragrance with notes of jasmine, saffron, amber, and oud because it is spicy, woodsy, and deeply sensual without being gendered.
It is important to note that Bond No. 9 creates some of the most intensely-perfumed fragrances on the market. This luxurious perfume is ideal for you if you enjoy strong scents or for a special occasion.
Acqua di Parma’s fragrances are some of the most highly sought-after and beloved for their intensity and versatility. This perfume is rich, woodsy, and fresh all at once, with base notes of vetiver and cedar.
Its warm heart notes of neroli and ginger are brightened by top notes of citrusy bergamot and Amalfi lemon. This well-balanced fragrance was inspired by the southern Italian region of Calabria’s citrus trees. It is a great everyday scent because of its clean and refreshing profile.
The Best Mid-Range Unisex Scents ($40 – $120)
Here are some of the best mid-range unisex scents.
A unisex fragrance classic, this unisex cologne was created by Calvin Klein to suit both men and women with one scent. With a clean and refreshing combination of citrus, green, and woody notes, this fragrance complements both sexes.
Notes of green tea combined with rose, violet, musk, and amber create a unique and vibrant fragrance for everyday casual wear.
Created by the German company Muelhens in 1792, 4711 is the oldest Eau de Cologne in the world. A sophisticated yet fruity fragrance, this unisex scent is made up of a combination of citrus fruits, florals, musk, and sandalwood.
Popular for over 225 years, 4711 is a great everyday fragrance for anyone looking for a bewitching scent with social proof that leaves a long-lasting impression. We believe this is one of the best unisex perfumes under $100 on the market.
This fragrance by Cartier is their first unisex perfume and combines intriguing woodsy and floral notes. It features citrusy and spicy top notes of yuzu, bergamot, and coriander. Eau de Cartier’s heart notes are herbaceous and floral with violet and lavender.
Its base notes are sensuous and woodsy cedar, musk, white amber, and patchouli. Here Cartier offers an invigorating everyday scent, perfect for a conference or lunch, at a great value.
The Best Affordable Unisex Scents (under $40)
These are the best affordable scents.
Solo Soprani was created in 1995 as a unisex fragrance with powdery florals and warm spices. Its top and middle notes include bergamot, jasmine, and violet, creating a floral scent.
Its bottom notes include nutmeg and amber, contributing a spicy, intoxicating quality to the fragrance. This is an intriguing and unique scent for casual and formal occasions alike.
The house of Berdoues has been creating perfumes since 1902. With notes of lime, tea, vanilla, and bergamot, this unisex perfume is woodsy and aromatic. Ginger, menthol, and nutmeg add complexity and vibrancy to the scent.
It is a refreshing and invigorating fragrance designed for a casual encounter or a trip out.
Demeter Fragrance Library is known for its realistic recreation of over 200 everyday scents, including everything from dirt to Playdoh. By their nature, many of Demeter’s scents are unisex, including their scent Rain, launched in 2009.
It smells just like the outdoors after heavy rains with the scent of wet earth. Demeter Rain is clean and refreshing, just like its namesake. This unisex perfume is perfect for someone looking for a simple and straightforward scent for casual, everyday wear.
If you’re in the market for a unisex fragrance, any of the above options are sure to impress. With a combination of citrus and woodsy notes, these fragrances can be worn casually by anyone anytime.