9 Brands Powering The Gender-Neutral Fragrance Movement (It's About Time)

Much like skincare, the fragrance market has traditionally been dominated by scents exclusively for women and scents exclusively for men — even though the basics don't tend to change. "It's how they are dressed up that changes. Masculine materials are traditionally woods and mosses, whereas flowers and vanillic notes are considered feminine. But in reality a rose on a woman smells like a feminine rose, whereas a rose on a man is a masculine rose," founder of Roja Parfums, Roja Dove, explained to GQ.


But while we've seen some brands introducing men's and women's versions of the same scent (Gucci's Guilty is available for men and women, for example), we've started to see more of a turn towards totally gender-neutral fragrances. As we better understand the concept of gender and know it's not always as clear cut as being masculine or feminine, it's easier than ever before to find the fragrance that you love the most — without having to battle with the concept of it's meant for your gender identity. In fact, studies have even found that a lot of consumers actually prefer to buy fragrances that are considered more gender ambiguous. A 2012 study discovered that the majority of perfume consumers in Sweden blindly favored fragrances classed as being in the middle of the gender spectrum, no matter how they themselves identified.


But while there's still a very obvious gender divide in fragrances, there are some brands who are throwing out the blueprint and creating scents for everyone.

Escentric Molecules prides itself on creating non-binary fragrances

Escentric Molecules offers a huge range of fragrances for everyone, no matter how they identify. The company actually prides itself on creating what it describes as "non-binary scents" for everyone, while also trying to eliminate the idea that scents need to be marketed towards or designed for either men or women. "Fragrance has no gender. Perfumery sells a story, a concept, a dream, a memory — all of which have no distinction between male or female in their ability to enthrall us. So why should we limit the experience of these creative expressions to such binaries?" the brand's website states.


Founder Geza Schoen further explained the company's genderless approach to The Guardian in 2020. "Socialization and cultural education influence where our borders are. Women tend to be taught by their mother, and most men still wear what's popular," Schoen shared. "People were bored. It was time to break with the traditional view."

The company divides its scents into Escentric, which combines molecules and other ingredients to create a fragrance, and Molecule, which are more minimalistic and use very few ingredients. It's no wonder then with its unique approach that this company is such a big hit with a number of famous faces. Amongst the big names said to wear Escentric Molecules scents? Rihanna, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, and Kate Moss. Talk about star power!


Jo Malone is famously for everyone

Owned by Estée Lauder, Jo Malone has been shaking up the fragrance industry since the 1990s, with its founder, Jo Malone, offering something different to the market by never purposefully marketing her scents towards men or women.


"The similarity is that they both have the same mother," Malone said of her fragrances while speaking to The New York Times in 2016. "They both have that person that wants to push boundaries and say, 'I know it's always been like that, but what if?' I live a life of, What if?" Jo Malone fragrances (which are all referred to as colognes) all have a similar, sleek design and the names are also kept super and to the point, so they're suitable for everyone no matter what their pronouns. Just some of the names the brand has opted for? Lime Basil & Mandarin, Pomegranate Noir, and Wood Sage & Sea Salt, while it's extended its offerings into the likes of scented body products and candles. 

Le Labo stands up against gendered marketing

Le Labo is proud to create unisex fragrances, with co-founder Eddie Roschi even highlighting the idea that gender was only brought into the fragrance game for marketing purposes. "Perfumery has always been genderless. Gender was added when fashion houses started developing perfumes and it was a great marketing opportunity to segment the field," Roschi explained during an interview with Emirates Woman in 2020. "Your level of confidence (and your capacity to shield yourself from marketing or what people tell you what to do) is the only limit to wearing any perfume on the market," he added. His co-founder Fabrice Penot also proudly opened up about the brand's ethos to The Discerning Brute in 2011, stating, "All our creations are genderless."


The company has since expanded into several other areas of the beauty world, including creating body lotions, shower gels, and even candles, but still makes a point of using simple packaging to support its proudly genderless ethos.

Experimental Perfume Club is at the forefront of the gender-neutral fragrance movement

Experimental Perfume Club allows people to create their own fragrance without the traditional barriers of feminine and masculine scents. The brand offers base scents that you can wear alone or mix to create your own personalized creation, as well as a more in-depth bespoke option that allows people to make their own fragrance from scratch. This is all without ever including gender in the equation.


Experimental Perfume Club's founder, Emmanuelle Moeglin, explained to The Guardian, "When perfume is stripped of marketing and visual cues, men who visit my lab do not censor themselves from using traditionally 'female' ingredients such as rose and jasmine. The rise of niche perfumery has helped to break gendered olfactory codes." Moeglin also spoke about the process of creating bespoke scents to Dazed. The perfumer shared how she's trying to undo years of big companies deciding which scents are appropriate for men and women, instead of focusing on what the consumer likes. "I think it's this combination of a learning curve of like actually, 'This is what jasmine smells of' get used to it, rose, 'This is what rose smells of' and not what you've been told for many years by brands and marketing," she said in 2019.


Malin + Goetz has been proudly gender neutral since 2004

Andrew Goetz and Matthew Malin created their brand, Malin + Goetz with being totally genderless always in mind. Starting out back in 2004, Goetz explained on the brand's website, "Our gender-neutral approach was clearly unique at the time; and remains extremely unique even today." The two experimented with different concepts in the early days of creating their brand, but always put the focus on keeping their products unisex. "We returned to the original inclusive concept of the apothecary, where products were always gender-neutral, and where quality formulations meant it worked for just about everyone," Goetz explained, noting that the brand's inclusivity goes beyond even gender. "We eliminated dyes, perfumes, and anything unnecessary from our skincare products so that even people with sensitive skin would be able to use our products and be able to achieve healthy skin."


Since then, the brand has become almost as famous for its captivating genderless fragrances as it has for its other beauty products, with to-the-point named scents like strawberry eau de parfum and bergamot eau de parfum being created for everyone.

Ormonde Jayne was degendered by its founder

It's not often you hear about a brand actually undoing its gender identity, but that's exactly what happened to Ormonde Jayne. Its founder, Linda Pilkington, explained her decision to The Guardian in 2020, explaining that she knew it was time to change how the company had been marketing its products. "A man took me by surprise when he chose a very floral, jasmine and freesia scent. Then another man bought our rose-scented Ta'if from a department store. Later, he called to complain he had been sold a woman's perfume. I said, 'If you love it on yourself, does it matter?' I knew then that I had to change our philosophy of categorizing by gender." Ash Ormonde Jayne's website describes the brand, "It's a timeless classic, masculine yet feminine, modern yet elegant — simply stunning."


Today, the brand has a range of different fragrances and candles for everyone to enjoy. Each scent is divided into collections, including the Signature collection and the Four Corners of the Earth collection.

It's all about gender-neutral and ethical fragrances for Lovorika

Lovorika is working hard not only to bring gender neutrality to the fragrance world, but it's also doing amazing things in teaming that with creating ethical fragrances as well. "Lovorika is an ethical fragrance company. We are rooted in the ancient art of natural perfumery, and in the modern holistic approach of aromatherapy. We create gender-neutral fragrances that are 100% plant-based, sustainable and ethical," founder Daphna Rowe explained to Ethical Brand Directory.


The reason Lovorika is so focused on unisex scents? As the brand's website explains, "Scent doesn't understand gender. Regardless of our sex or sexuality we're all a bit masculine; a bit feminine. As society often restricts our acceptance and understanding of both entities within us, we are told through marketing gimmicks what should be worn by women or men. Why do women have to wear sweet florals and men deep woods? Why can't we all wear both?" To keep its aesthetics gender-neutral, the company focuses on glass bottles that wouldn't look out of place on anyone's vanity table, while also offering bespoke services to help people create a signature scent just for them.

Tom Ford is one of the big name brands embracing fragrances suitable for everyone

Tom Ford is one of the biggest brands in the world when it comes to fashion and beauty, and it's also one of the biggest brands embracing the idea of gender-neutral fragrances. Tom Ford offers a wide range of scents that don't come with the caveat of being aimed at men or women, meaning they're suitable for everyone — including those who don't fit with traditional gender norms. A few of the most famous unisex fragrances the company offers? Lost Cherry, Black Orchid, and Rose D'Amalfi, all of which are designed for the consumer as a person, not their gender identity, in mind.


Speaking about his passion for fragrance and not attaching a gender to his scents, Ford explained to Condé Nast Traveller in 2018 while promoting Ombre Leather, "It is unisex, like the Private Blend Collection. My customers do not care if it is labeled masculine or feminine — they want something precious and unique."

Diptyque created one of the world's first gender-neutral perfumes

Diptyque created one of the world's very first genderless fragrances all the way back in 1968, and the brand has been going strong ever since. That very first gender-less fragrance, L'Eau, actually came about because its founders Desmond Knox-Leet and Christiane Gautrot weren't interested in the marketing concept of attaching a gender to their product. "It was really about the pleasure they had to create beautiful products and beautiful fragrances. They didn't want to put a fragrance into a box and say oh this fragrance is going to be a young or urban woman — because for them it's like a piece of art," Diptyque's CEO Fabienne Mauny explained of how the company came to be to Document Journal. "A piece of art is not for a specific public, a piece of art is a piece of art and you like it or you don't, whether you're a man or a woman."


The company has continued on with that concept ever since, and now offers a wide range of different scented products that can be enjoyed by all. In addition to candles and body products, its scents are divided into collections, including Fleur de Peau, Do Son, and Orphéon.