Ungendered perfume? We’ve been wearing it for years
Beauty: Fragrances for both men and women are not a new thing
There is a new trend for “ungendered” fragrance, but there shouldn’t be. Not because everyone knows that the stuff in the pink bottle is for girls, and the stuff in the blue bottle is for boys, and I’ll tell on you if you say otherwise, but because the beauty industry is behind consumers in this respect. Fragrance enthusiasts have been wearing what they want for years, without paying a speck of notice to whom the scent is marketed at.
Ungendered fragrances take ingredient elements traditionally associated with male or female scents, and add them together to create something that contains the best of both.
Tom Ford F*cking Fabulous (€245 for 50ml at Brown Thomas), already iconic, is potent, extroverted and precisely as declarative that you have entered the room as the name suggests. It is rich with leather, orris (the sharp but fragrant root of iris), almond and clary sage combined to create something uniquely bold. It is not male nor female, but both – a fragrance for confident wearers.
Jo Loves Smoked Plum and Leather (€84 for 50ml at net-a-porter.com) combines the grown-up, interesting sweetness of plum with the irresistible warmth of leather (think of the rich scent of a well-made leather armchair in a sunlit room) and an underlying smokiness that makes this fragrance completely unique. It works as well as a home fragrance (in candle form) as it does on the skin. This is an incredibly moreish scent which doesn’t feel especially resonant of anything but itself. A head turner.
For men and women who prefer a sweeter fragrance, Jo Malone London Myrrh and Tonka Cologne Intense (€135 for 100ml at Brown Thomas) combines the sweet heat of tonka with the crisp, mysterious, heady bitterness of myrrh. My partner and I had a bit of a mild altercation over this when I brought it home first. In the interest of compromise, we decided to share it. However, the onset of (an attempted) summer has increased my appetite for freshness and a more summery fragrance.
Tory Burch Bel Azur (€87 for 50ml at Debenhams) is marketed to women, but there is nothing inherent in it that should make that the case. If you enjoy a fresh, aquatic scent (usually a feature of male scents), then this is for you. While there is a delightful floral note of peony in here, it is layered with bergamot, vetiver and cedarwood, making it beautifully fresh and crisp while still decidedly ambiguous in gendered terms. It works on anyone who enjoys light, effervescent scents resonant of sun and sea.
Perhaps the perfect spring and summer scent for everyone (personal taste permitting) is Atelier Cologne Cedrat Enivrant (€60 for 30ml at Brown Thomas). The bouncy citrus of cedrat works in unison with an evocative note of lime, but it is the addition of mint leaf and juniper which gives this fragrance an incredibly clean, restorative feel. It is a mood that you can spritz onto your skin, and consequently has no real resonance of age or gender.