Why Is Our Perfume Gendered?

It's another scheming way to get us to pump more money into the ever-expanding beauty industry; buy this perfume because it's for women, this is a men's only scent. From when we first start spending whatever shrapnel we have on beauty products that might make us look or feel a little fancier than before, we are told that women have a certain category of products, while men have their own designated list to choose from. While these differences may potentially have some sense behind them when it comes to, for example, skincare (due to the slight structural differences in our skin), it is far less certain when it comes to fragrance.

In a modern society where notions of gender are becoming a lot more fluid, it seems natural to think that industries such as fashion and beauty will adapt accordingly. It's not about women's products designed to be girly or men's products designed to make them feel more masculine anymore; we are looking for things that are far more gender-neutral. With fragrance, for example, even when it comes down to the design of the bottle, perfumes are still falling into these gendered boxes that, really, have little place in society. I know that aesthetics play a huge role in the beauty industry, and pretty things always catch our eyes and make us swoon a little, but I think it's time we start seeing more gender-neutral, simple (yet still classy and pleasing on the eye) bottle designs making their way onto the shelves.

If we start changing this idea that some fragrances are specifically for men, whilst some are reserved for women only, it'll shift this focus from which stereotype the design is telling us to align with, to allowing us to develop a signature scent. One that is not about whether it was designed for your sex, but about whether the fragrance suits you. It's nice to change your perfumes up a bit (I'm always swapping mine around according to my mood), so why not spritz on a men's fragrance? Why are we limited to floral women's fragrances? Because we're told so by the beauty industry. I was sent this fragrance from Gant, which is a men's eau de toilette, but found that the refreshing lemon, coriander and lavender in particular actually evaporated into a gorgeous fragrance that didn't seem out of place on my skin. Yes, it's traditionally 'masculine', and yes, it was quite heavy at first, but the fragrances lift to something which can actually be a welcomed change in the way you wear your scent. Unfortunately, the bottle does not totally reflect my wishes for a gender-neutral design, but I guess it's what's inside that counts for now (until we start seeing bigger changes!).

It just seems strange at first because it's something we are not used to- we are told not to be used to it- but once you play around with a few different fragrances, you may realise that there are so many products out there that smell amazing on you. Fragrances being divided along gendered lines is only a recent phenomenon, so why don't we start reverting back to the good ol' unisex days? I strongly believe fragrance should not be aligned to your sex, but should represent what suits you.

What do you think of this debate? Would you consider wearing a fragrance designed for the opposite sex?

Pretty and Polished

This post contains press samples.


  1. Hi like the post. I've worn men's fragrance over the years and don't see why not. I have also been using some 'unisex' fragrances which would probably be described as masculine but I love the scent. Last scent I bought was a vetiver gents fragrance, I love the sleek bottle as well as the scent and will be buying it again.

    1. Thanks for your comment! It's interesting to see just how many people do interchange their fragrances like this x

  2. There are very few women's fragrances that I like, but I love men's fragrances. YSL L'Homme is my favourite of all time, and I will spray it on my damn self if I want! In general, cosmetic-type things are so unnecessarily gendered. I often get male customers asking for a moisturizer for men, and I'm like, "Oh, you mean a moisturizer?" It's so bizarre.

    1. Yes gurl! It is all about personal preference, and nothing to do with gender really. Especially with something so subjective like scent. Thanks for your comment :)


© Pretty and Polished. All rights reserved.