Gender-Based Perfumes Are Leaning Obsolete—Try These Exciting Scents Instead

It's time to throw out those perfume clichés. You know, the idea that florals are only for feminine vibes. And that woodsy, earthy, and spicier scents are strictly masculine. Who says fragrance needs to have a gender? And it seems that a lot of the newer fragrance options out there are sticking to this concept.

"Traditionally, the fragrance industry has told consumers what scents they should wear based on their gender. Today, we're finally seeing the mainstream reject these gender norms and more people wearing whatever fragrance notes speak to them rather than how they were initially categorized," explains Carina Chaz, founder and CEO of DedCool. "It's so great to see this celebration of aesthetic freedom by the wearer and how they choose to express themselves through scent."

The 20 Best Unisex Fragrances of 2021, Hands Down


Who What Wear

Additionally, Chaz says customers want even more personalization with their fragrances. "A major trend we're noticing is customers requesting their own scent distinctly unique to them," she says. "DedCool gives the consumer a significant say in how their signature scent gets created, both with our range of fragrances and their ability to be layered, creating a truly custom experience. We want to continue supporting the individual by offering our new Build Your Own Sample Tin that lets you pick six scents and experiment till you find what speaks to you."

And because there are really no gender norms when it comes to fragrances anymore, that means there are even more options to choose from, which can make it feel overwhelming to find the scent that works just for you. Chaz's advice? Don't make a decision off the first spray. "It's imperative for people to live in their fragrances for a few days or so," she says. "Scent can change based on body chemistry, so it's important to sample scent directly on the skin and give it time to adapt before you can really know how if a scent is right for you."

Take a look at some of our favorite unisex fragrances below.

1. DedCool Milk Layering Fragrance

Chaz likes layering this one with DedCool's Madonna Lilly (below). The Milk fragrance can be worn alone or layered to enhance other scents. It has notes of bergamot, white musk, and amber.

2. DedCool Madonna Lilly

On first whiff of this fragrance, you'll recognize black pepper. Then, you'll notice sandalwood and amber. And finally, you'll smell lily petals and citrus.

3. D.S. & Durga Amber Teutonic Eau de Parfum

You'll be transported to the forest with this fragrance. It has notes of Alpine cedar, cardamom, green mandarin, geranium, and musk.

4. Ellis Brooklyn Rives Eau de Parfum

We love Ellis Brooklyn's clean fragrances. Rives is inpsired by the 1920s French Riviera with topnotes of neroli and petitgrain for a citrus and spicy scent, middle notes of orange flower and lavender, and dry notes of cashmere woods and white suede.

5. Kiehl's Original Musk Eau de Toilette Spray

This musk has creamy, fresh citrus scents combined with a floral bouquet and a warm mixture of tonka bean and white patchouli. It's definitely a unique blend that will have people asking, "What are you wearing?!"

6. Maison Louis Marie No.04 Bois de Balincourt Perfume Oil

If you're looking for something earthy and woody, try this one that's a favorite with some of our editors. It has key notes of sandalwood, vetiver, and amber wood, making it a warm and unique fragrance.

7. Byredo Mojave Ghost Eau de Parfum

Byredo's classic Mojave Ghost is inspired by the ghost flower that blooms in the arid desert. It's a woody and aromatic scent with warm notes of sandalwood, musk, amber, and cedarwood plus florals like violet and magnolia.

8. Maison Margiela Replica Under the Lemon Trees

For something that feels super fresh, Maison Margiela's Under the Lemon Trees is so refreshing and bright. It's a blend of kalamansi lime, green tea, citrus, and soft musk that evokes the Southern Italian countryside.

9. Abbott NYC Big Sky Eau de Parfum

Abbott's Big Sky fragrance is inspired by, unsurprisingly, the landscape of Montana. It's described as being "reminiscent of mountain air, grass, and an open campfire." Notes include spice marine, cypress, and vetiver.

10. Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum

Le Labo's Santal 33 is a cult favorite with a rich and woody scent. It has topnotes of violet accord and cardamom; middle notes of iris and ambrox; and base notes of cedarwood, leather, and sandalwood.

11. Vilhelm Parfumerie Black Citrus Eau de Parfum

The description on this fragrance really sold me: It's inspired by "a snapshot of London after a rainshower, when the city scent is filtered through a cool veil of water." How cool and mysterious does that sound? It has topnotes of bergamot and cardamom, middle notes of violet and mate leaf heart, and bottom notes of birch and patchouli.

12. Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Eau de Parfum

Here's another fresh fragrance that will transport you to a far-off land—this time, the Italian Riviera. The fresh and vibrant scent has notes of Tunisian neroli, Italian bergamot, and Sicilian lemon.

13. Clean Reserve Smoked Vetiver

The awesome thing about Clean Reserve fragrances is that they're cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, phthalate-free, and nontoxic. Oh, and did I mention they come in eco-friendly packaging? This unisex fragrance has key notes of vetiver, blonde cedarwood, and myrrh.

14. Heretic Midnight Toker Eau de Parfum

Not only is this fragrance warm and sensual, but it's also calming thanks to 150 milligrams of full-spectrum CBD oil. It has topnotes of pink pepper, black pepper, and nutmeg; middle notes of patchouli, citrus, and makhwaen fruit; and bottom notes of vanilla, sandalwood, styrax, elemi, hibiscus (ambrette) seed, orris root, patchouli, labdanum, and cannabis.

15. Kilian Paris Intoxicated

Reminiscent of a rich cup of Turkish coffee, this fragrance really lives up to its name, Intoxicated. The scent is warm, sweet, and inviting with key notes of cardamom, mocha coffee, and vanilla.

16. Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne

Woody scents are mixed with mineral ones in this Jo Malone cologne. It's reminiscent of the shore and cliffs. Notes include ambrette seeds, sea salt, and sage.

17. Calvin Klein CK One

We could probably say CK One was the unisex fragrance that really broke ground. It launched in 1994 and has been a best seller ever since. It's light, relaxed, and refreshing with notes of bergamot, cardamom, fresh pineapple, papaya, jasmine, violet, rose, nutmeg, and musk.

18. Frédéric Malle Musc Ravager Parfum Spray

Sensual and mysterious, this is the fragrance you'll wear when you want to feel sexy and confident. It has notes of bergamot, mandarin, cinnamon, vanilla, tonka beans, sandalwood, amber, and tonkitone musk.

19. AllSaints Sunset Riot Eau de Parfum

Both woody and floral, AllSaints' eau de parfum is calming and energetic. (Hence the name, Sunset Riot.) The key note is pink pepper paired with orange flower and cedarwood.

20. The Nue Co. Forest Lungs Fragrance

The Nue Co.'s Forest Lungs fragrance is specially formulated to calm the nervous system by replicating the molecular compounds produced by trees that are known to help combat stress and anxiety. It has woody and smoky notes with a little bit of tart citrus.

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