Fragrances That Transcend Gender

The fragrance industry is one rooted in tradition. Yet, as we journey onward into a new age of inclusivity, some traditions seem less important than others.

While the sheer notion of exotic ingredients and intoxicating combinations is indeed a welcome indulgence, perfumers today are less inclined to carry the industry’s restrictively gender binary rhetoric into the future. Where the shelves were traditionally separated into rich wooden fragrances for men and delicate florals for women, today’s more enlightened and progressive perfume houses are looking beyond the boundaries of gender conformity to develop distinctive perfumes made with everyone in mind.

Discover how the fragrance industry is transcending gender norms. 

Traditionally Gendered Fragrances

We often view powdered, flowery aromas as feminine, with subtle variances depending on what’s popular. And this is actually owing to decades of highly gendered marketing. Women’s perfumes have evolved away from the thick, overwhelming aromas prominent in the 1980s, such as vanilla or amber, and toward fresher, lighter scents today. 

On the other hand, fragrances marketed to males avoid powdered, flowery aromas in favour of musky, sensual undertones, often placing importance on top notes that are grassier and more herbal. Often these scent profiles can be described as piney or woody.

Turning Away From The Western Influence

Jasmine, one of the world’s most costly and highly treasured raw ingredients, is generally associated with femininity. But in India, jasmine is often used as a temple offering or to perfume the home and is welcomed by individuals of all gender identities. Rose is subjected to the same kind of gender bias, yet it is widely preferred by Saudi men as a fragrance for personal use.

The Gen Z Influence

Gen Z is also more willing to embrace scent as a form of self-expression instead of as an instrument of seduction. Younger generations want more of an experience.

When you take away labels, it opens people up to trying new things.

Redefining Fragrance Marketing & Branding

When compared to gendered marketing, nonbinary fragrance marketing has a significant impact on our perception of aroma. Gender fluid fragrances often feature clean, minimalist branding to enable us to project our own understanding and experience onto them. 

To create fragrances that transcend gender, perfumers will first consult a database that lists the various chemical compounds. Then, they identify the ones that produce aromas considered floral or woody and experiment with different combinations.

Fragrances That Transcend Gender

Examples of gender nonconforming fragrances often contain hazelnut, white floral, sandalwood and fig notes. These notes balance fragrances without overpowering them. Meanwhile, sandalwood is theoretically a woody aroma but does not necessarily fit into that category, and while it is not exactly flowery, it does have a delicate quality to it.

While fragrances alone cannot break down the binary, they can inspire us to consider the arbitrary nature of the scents we label “feminine” or “masculine” and how these categorisations influence every other area of our lives. 
Browse our products for all your favourite fragrances that transcend gender stereotypes.

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