Navigating the fragrance industry can be challenging. Finding something affordable that doesn’t smell like your grandmother’s bathroom or a high school locker room can seem nearly impossible. If you’re looking for a scent that works for both men and women, it’s even more difficult.
I view myself as high femme, and until a couple of years prior, had consistently bought traditionally “female” scents. However, my partner Jenn, who straddles the line between femme and soft butch, and I have since had a lot of conversations about finding a good scent that is gender-neutral, and I am now able to share my research findings with you. Even if you don’t fit neatly into marketers’ boxes, the following tips for finding a gender-neutral perfume.
5 Tips on How to Find the Best Gender-Neutral Perfume
#1. Start Where You Feel Most at Ease
If you feel most at ease speaking with an associate at a fragrance counter in a department store, great! When they ask you what you’re looking for, it helps to avoid using words like “clean,” “low-profile,” and “gender-neutral.”
#2. Look for Your Own Scents at Sephora and Ulta
Alternatively, you can look for your own scents at Sephora and Ulta. Contingent upon where you go, there may be many fragrances on a wall before you — which is overwhelming, yet in addition gives an extremely cool open door to sniff around. Set aside an hour to unwind and take your time, and if you spot a bottle, give it a shot! And don’t worry if you aren’t ready to make a choice right now; Test strips that you can spray with scents and take home are available from almost all fragrance retailers.
It’s easy to walk into a store and buy a scent you think you like, only to find out days later that you don’t like it. Try it out before you buy it.
#3. Be Willing to Request Samples
Take a test drive first because scents change as they linger on your skin. See how the notes of your fragrance change as you wear it to various events and locations, such as work, dates, and other special occasions.
#4. Consider Certain Scent Profiles
Amber, tobacco, tarragon, and neroli are notes that contribute to a musky scent, and tea, lavender, sea salt, and spearmint keep things clean and fresh. It’s much simpler to shop for fragrances online once you know what kinds you like; just read the portrayals and go with your decisions from that point. Numerous businesses will send you free samples to try without charging you for shipping, so you don’t have to buy a full-size bottle.
#5. Start with a Soap or Lotion with the Same Scent
Many businesses produce a series of products with the same scent! If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a perfume or cologne bottle, you can get a lotion or soap in your favorite scent from the store for less money. Due to the fact that they don’t target a particular gender, LUSH is a great place for this; Dirty, their light and (again, counterintuitively) clean scent, is my favorite.
Look Outside the Box
Smaller boutiques won’t have as many fragrances to choose from as big-box stores, but they will have unique brands that Ulta and Sephora don’t. Brands like Alla Violetta Boutique’s subtle scent profiles are a personal favorite of mine. You want a perfume that smells like you at the end of the day. All that matters is that you feel comfortable and confident in wearing it.