As a society, we’re starting to appreciate that gender stereotypes aren’t very helpful. As such, there’s been a surge of gender-neutral fashion on the catwalks. Yes, we’re talking slouchy suit-jackets, tailored trousers and sharp shirts – the androgynous look is wonderfully wearable! The same applies for fragrances. While the floral, fruity women’s perfumes are never going to go out of style, there are plenty of ‘masculine’ scents that women can wear. Here’s a guide to help you.
What scents to look for?
If you’d like to embrace a balanced, gender-neutral fragrance, look out for the following ingredients.
- Pink pepper. Pink pepper is spicy, with a real kick of flavour. Some of the best designer perfumes have pink pepper in them, and for good reason. This is a solid choice for people who like their scent to pack a punch.
- Vetiver. Vetiver is a star ingredient in many unisex eau de parfums. It’s like lemongrass with a gloriously citrussy undertone, but it’s more complex – it’s got an earthy woodiness to it too. Vetiver-based perfumes make the perfect partner for a bronze make-up palette.
- Sandalwood or cedar. Traditionally, woody base-notes are restricted to masculine scents; but increasing numbers of perfume houses are incorporating them into unisex or feminine fragrances. They provide deep, natural base notes, which counterbalance any sweetness or fruitiness.
- Tobacco. Don’t worry, we’re not talking stale cigarette ash here – no-one wants to smell like that! Tobacco is a smoky, traditional scent that gives a fragrance roundness and complexity. It’s unusual and doesn’t appear in many perfumes, but it’s worth experimenting with; some people love it.
- Spice. There are a variety of spices that are often used in fragrances. Cinnamon conjures up images of the Middle-East as it’s exotic and indulgent. Nutmeg provides a sweeter, tangier note, and ginger can really lift a scent to somewhere new and exciting.
- Mint. Some people, when they see a perfume has mint in it, panic that they’ll smell like toothpaste. However, don’t dismiss this humble kitchen staple. It adds freshness and vibrancy to several men’s fragrances, and it’s worth giving a go.
- Ambergris. Ambergris is a real luxury ingredient (despite the fact that it comes from a sperm whale’s digestive system!). It washes up on the beaches and gives fragrances a wonderful note of sea-salt. Tweed Perfume is a good example of a male scent using ambergris to great effect.
- Oud oil. Oud oil is one of the most exclusive ingredients in the world, and has been used for centuries in perfumes. It comes from a resin produced by trees such as Agarwood – think rich, sensual and aromatic. Although it appears in plenty of female fragrances, it’s still regarded as a somewhat ‘masculine’ scent. It’s perfect if you’re going out in the evening and want to get noticed.
The best way to discover your next favourite gender-neutral fragrance is to test them out. Think outside the box and don’t be put off by the ‘macho’ branding. In truth, many of these so-called male scents work perfectly for everyone.