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5-Minute Crafts

Whether Women Can Use Men’s Perfume and Vice Versa

Our choice of perfume is individual. The usage of aromas goes beyond the frames of simple deodorizing and smell disguising — people want the perfume to perfectly match their natural body odor. It’s important to understand that between 2 equally nice-smelling perfumes, a person will choose the one that is preferable for them personally. In this case, does it really make sense to divide them into female and male scents?

5-Minute Crafts figured out whether the gender difference is really that important when choosing a perfume.

What history says

The history of perfume goes back more than 4,000 years, but the division into men’s and women’s fragrances is relatively new. Initially, aromatic products from plants, like trees, roots, mosses, and flowers, were all used in the same way. They served the same purpose: deodorization in conditions of not very frequent washing and questionable hygiene.

Gradually, perfume started to be used as one of the components of getting made up. It gave people an opportunity to show their social status and wealth. At the same time, the gender of a person didn’t matter at all. For example, Louis XIV preferred the scent of orange blossom, while Empress Eugenie preferred cologne, which she used for migraines.

In the past, men from elite society were not afraid to lose their masculinity by using floral perfumes. At the same time, women didn’t think that the smell of cologne would deprive them of femininity and elegance. It’s only with the development of marketing that the gender difference started to be paid attention to and we got convinced that there should be separate perfumes “for him” and “for her.”

Is there really a difference between men’s and women’s perfume?

No smell in nature is feminine or masculine by definition. It is a cultural perception from a long series of habits and specifics of gender behavior, which entered into customs over time. Cosmetic companies, in their turn, supported this trend of gender difference and started to actively use it in advertising their products.

Remember how you behave in a perfume department. If you are a woman, you are likely to go to the shelves with feminine aromas. And vice versa — men won’t be standing in this part of the store spraying female perfume on themselves. Branding, the look, marketing tricks — all these come to the foreground to direct your choice based on your gender.

Pay attention to the difference in the presentation of the product. Bottles of masculine perfume almost always look strict and laconic, while feminine perfumes are more elegant, and sophisticated with smooth lines. The color design also plays a role in choosing a perfume.

However, now trends are changing and buyers are becoming freer, and not limited by gender stereotypes. If we consider the gender difference between smells not as 2 separate clusters, but as a certain scale from male to female, then we can see the real preferences of buyers, regardless of the efforts of marketers.

Research has shown that average consumers of perfume will likely choose perfume located in the center of the gender scale. At the same time, it was found that a person’s gender doesn’t really affect personal preferences. Moreover, the latter didn’t differ between women and men, proving that commercial gender categorization is not that important to perfume users.

Which smell to choose

Today we can see how the borders between genders are disappearing. The tendency shows that the fashion world, including the perfume world, pushes forward androgyny and unisex. The first perfume of this type was the cult CK One by Calvin Klein. It was a huge success in the ’90s, thanks to its gender-neutral allure. It was a citrus scent with notes of pineapple, mandarin, bergamot, cardamom, lemon, and papaya.

But one should realize that the appearance of gender-neutral aromas is also a type of division — it’s a separate type that goes along with “feminine” and “masculine” perfumes. It is something that popped up with the help of marketers fitting in the frames of fashion tendencies and the moods of society.

The main thing to take into account when choosing a perfume is your personal choice. Apply the perfume to your skin without rubbing it and wait until the aroma unfolds. When it gets mixed with the smell of your body, you’ll understand whether it is the right perfume for you or whether you’d better continue your search. Don’t be afraid to experiment and look for the “right” smell for you, regardless of whether the package says “for him,” “for her,” or “unisex.”

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