Looking for some great unisex fragrances? Here are some the best ones!
I’ve always said that there’s really no such thing as a man’s watch and a woman’s watch. I think many of us with small wrists would happily die on that hill. Is it the same with fragrances though? Is there such a thing as cologne versus perfume?
I don’t know the exact answer to that, but I do know that there are a handful of safely unisex fragrances that also happen to be excellent. The great thing about genderless scents is they’re also often year-rounders.
If you’re looking for a scent that you can share with your wife, girlfriend, or lady roommate, or just one that’s versatile enough for most occasions, check out these unisex fragrances.
Here are our recommendations from the list:
Read on for more info and the complete list…
The 7 Best Unisex Fragrances 2023
So what makes a unisex fragrance anyway?
Well, some are purposefully designed to be worn by both men and women. Typically, perfumes for ladies are either floral or fruity (though summer colognes for men tend to be citrusy, which is technically fruity). Meanwhile, men’s cologne is often warm and woody.
A unisex fragrance strikes a balance between the two. These days, you see a lot of men’s fragrances that use orange or citrus to balance out sandalwood or tobacco, or women’s fragrances that use dark or peppery notes to anchor sweetness.
That being the case, there are even gendered fragrances that can be worn by the opposite sex. It’s about as rare and shocking as finding a pink shirt that a man can wear — so, not shocking at all.
Alright, let’s get to the fragrances!
Let’s start from the top with a topnotch investment piece, then let’s look at some affordable options, followed by our midtier choices that are also perfect for gifting (by midtier, I’m referring to the price, not the quality!).
Best Luxury Unisex Fragrance
Yes, this guy is expensive, but let me tell you why it’s so perfect. If you’re still not convinced, the budget options will soon follow.
I never believed in buying expensive colognes until I came across Blenheim Bouquet. It’s what I’d call a “dressy” scent, the kind you can wear with a tuxedo, but one that isn’t so dark you can’t wear it in the summer. I’m personally not big on marine fragrances, so this checks all of the boxes for me.
It’s from England, and like the humor of our English brothers, Bouquet is dry and classic. It’s unisex, but leans slightly masculine because of some darker, peppery notes. This is tempered by pine and lemon which balances everything out in an understated way.
And like a good British gin, it doesn’t hit your senses particularly hard, but it takes just one martini to get the buzz going. It’s quiet, sweet yet dry, and as elegant smelling as the bottle it comes in.
And speaking of the bottle, you can get it engraved and add a personalized leather sleeve. Blenheim is like the Savile Row of fragrances.
Best Cheap Fragrances
Again, when I say cheap, I’m talking about the price tag. These are all still wonderful unisex fragrances!
Issey Miyake L’eau de Issey
L’eau de Issey by Issey Miyake is interestingly complex. It’s almost reminiscent of the conspicuous million-ingredient fragrances in the go-go ‘80s when Wall Street men were wearing yellow gold 50-millimeter watches. But, it’s way more sophisticated.
Despite the many notes, it’s ultimately grounded in masculine woodsiness and feminine floral citrus.
This scent not only transcends gender and season, but generations. You can share this with your wife, or grandfather and he can share it with your grandmother.
It opens pretty sharp with the citrus, so you want to be light-handed. The background has florals and yuzu, which is a lot like grapefruit and orange, but zero pungentness, and more tartness.
In the ‘90s, this scent helped pioneer yuzu in modern fragrances, which is why it doesn’t smell retro.
It’s like an old school barbershop style (so many ingredients), but not outdated, with a real freshness. It’s the fragrance equivalent of a classic field watch built to modern specs.
Banana Republic Classic
The Banana Republic Classic is admittedly pretty standard, but I think that’s its biggest strength. As with most unisex fragrances, it’s a woody citrus scent.
And with its citrus top notes (grapefruit tempered by bergamot and herbs), floral heart notes, and musky base notes, it’s like a stripped down L’eau de Issey. Though the ginger in the base notes adds a beautiful spice to the profile.
It starts out bright, but gets fresher and lighter pretty quickly. The spices and citrus coexist effortlessly, to the point that you don’t really smell them individually. They all just complement each other.
It’s almost like a really good scented soap. And it definitely works for both men and women.
My only issue with it is that it’s not that long-lasting. And since it starts out so bold, you never want to spray too much initially. Still, for this price point, I have no complaints.
If you’re the kind of guy, or gal, who doesn’t actually like perfume or cologne that much, the Clean Classic is an effective choice. It’s the unisex fragrance for the anti-fragrance set.
Basically, it’s designed to smell like general cleanliness, or as the scent-makers describe it, “like newly laundered tees straight from the dryer.” It’s still a mix of darkness and citrus, but it’s incredibly light.
The base notes include musk, but also amber which adds a warm powderiness (reminiscent of clean laundry) and fougere which ties the base to the citrus undertones of the orange flowers in the middle notes, which are then tied to the blatant citrus of the top notes.
It’s a smooth aroma. Even more, this scent is vegan, phthalate and paraben free, and free of artificial dyes. So it’s physically as clean and crisp as it smells, which is rare for budget fragrances.
Just like other budget fragrances though, it’s not the longest lasting. If you add some essential oil or unscented moisturizer on your skin as a primer, it’ll last longer.
Best Unisex Fragrance for Gifting
These fragrances are moderately-priced enough that make excellent gifts. They aren’t awkwardly expensive, nor are they insultingly cheap.
All that to say, you can also gift these fragrances to yourself.
Boy Smells Violet Ends
Genderful is all about subverting gender expectations in fragrances, and this Boy Smells Violet Ends does just that by creating a fully dark and smokey scent that somehow isn’t purely masculine.
It’s truly uncommon and sophisticated. You’ll notice that many scents go about creating gender neutrality by going light on the feminine elements and the masculine elements. Boy Smells does the opposite, going heavy on both elements, bringing out the power of either depending on who’s wearing it.
It’s a mix of heavy smokiness in the base, like tanned leather and smoked papyrus, and lighter ones as you move up, like incense and bergamot mixed with pepper.
It basically takes the tender, floral, and romantic smell of violet, and remixes it heavily for a sumptuous scent that’s also, somehow, floral and effervescent.
Escentric Molecule 01
A fascinating feat of science, the Escentric Molecule 01 literally has one ingredient, which is Iso E Super. This molecule is sort of like what salt is to food. It boosts the naturally attractive components of your body’s organic aroma, then provides it with clarity and longevity.
I know this sounds insane, but it’s truly impressive. Iso E Super itself has the subtlest, barely there sandalwood aroma, which remixes itself based on your body’s chemistry. Basically, it brings out the natural reaction of your pheromones.
There’s really nothing on the market like this, creating a personalization factor that makes it a great present.
Calvin Klein CK One
Yes, Calvin Klein CK One is a throwback, but one that’s survived the test of time more than the junior high Axe Body Spray flavors from the aughts. It’s classically unisex, with its mix of sweet orange, dark tea, as well as grassy and soapy vetiver.
It’s probably one of the most recognizable formulas when it comes to unisex fragrances. And on top of that, it has a nice entry-level price to match its attainable aroma.
It’s like the Converse Chucks of fragrances. We may have worn it as kids, it may be affordable and border-line predictable, but it does the job in a universally accepted way.
Let’s sum everything up here with this commonly asked question!
What is the best unisex fragrance?
Ones that balance dark woodsiness and florals or sweetness. If it’s also clean and dry, it can take you from season to season. Blenheim Bouquet is a good luxury option. I also recommend Boy Smells Violet Ends, Escentric Molecule 01, and the tried-and-true Calvin Klein CK One and Issey Miyake L’eau de Issey.
Conclusion: Don’t Worry About the Label
At the end of the day, if you’re a guy who loves florals or a lady who loves woodsy scents, you can really wear whatever you want.
I do think that the sophistication in adult fragrances comes from a sense of subtlety, which is why unisex fragrances are so versatile.
Personally, I love a scent that I don’t have to switch out of simply because the weather changes. Most gender neutral fragrances are great for that.
What do you think about wearing fragrance that is marketed towards women? Let me know in the comments!