If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
It’s not just a buzzword. Unisex fragrances are making waves and we’re certain they’re here to stay.
Gender expression is becoming way more fluid than it has ever been. Men are painting their nails, rocking dangly earrings and styling their day-to-day look in ways that are typically only seen on women. Folks left and right are finally giving the ‘ole “F U” to gender norms and dressing how they want. With all that said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that unisex fragrances would be popping off as hard as they are right now.
At SPY, we think gender norms are bogus. We play with our gender expressions left and right. A lot of our editors are more than down to show off their feminine side every once in a while when it comes to preferences such as scent, fashion, accessories and even makeup. Hell, our site director is constantly seen with a couple of painted nails just for the fun of it. Simply because: why not? Life’s too short to stay comfortable within a specific binary.
Although we’ve reviewed products deemed super masculine in the past few months such as beard trimmers, beard oils and the best bald head shavers, we wanted to delve into the world of unisex fragrances to help remind our readers that being a guy’s guy is cool and all, but not always the only option. And, yeah, a guy’s guy is most certainly allowed to pull up in a unisex fragrance. Let him live.
That said, over the course of the past couple of months, SPY’s editors have been testing unisex fragrances left and right in hopes to find the very best to wear season after season. You know, so you don’t have to buy unisex fragrance after unisex fragrance and test them all for yourself. We got you, fam! After testing multiple fragrances in total and at least 10 unisex fragrances in the process, we came to a solid conclusion and found the 6 worth checking out right now. See below to find out which they are.
The Best Unisex Fragrances at a Glance
1. Best Overall: Henry Rose Windows Down — $120.00 at Neiman Marcus
2. Runner Up: Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum — $198.00 at Nordstrom
3. Most Affordable: Dossier Aquatic Coconut — $29.00 at Walmart
4. Most Sensual: Robert Piguet Notes Eau de Parfum — $135.00 at Robert Piguet
5. Coolest Brand: Boy Smells Hinoki Fantôme — $98.00 at Bloomingdale’s
6. Most Unique: Vacation by Vacation — $60.00 at Vacation
What Is a Unisex Fragrance?
Scent is something deemed masculine or feminine based on stamped characteristics we’ve gendered as a society. In turn, the best men’s cologne is typically on the muskier side of life, while the best women’s perfumes are normally softer, more floral fragrances. Unisex fragrances more or less throw that notion into the water by creating a hybrid of the two by pairing masculine scents with feminine scents for an in-between aroma that’s harder to pinpoint.
Unisex fragrances are perfect for people looking to express their gender in more of a neutral way but aren’t so comfortable strutting down the streets rocking blue nails and a crop top — yet. 😉
Additionally, unisex fragrances are also great for those who are more into scents associated with the opposite sex but don’t want to delve right into their line of fragrances. For those kinds of people, unisex fragrances offer a nice middle ground.
If you’re looking to find the best unisex fragrances to buy in 2022, you’ve come to the right place. We narrowed down the best unisex fragrances available for purchase online right now so you can find your favorite. Great ready to smell the best you ever have.
1. Henry Rose Windows Down
Best For: Anybody interested in a stellar unisex fragrance.
Why We Chose It: It really does something to our nose. Good things, of course.
- Top Notes: neroli, grapefruit, bergamot
- Mid Notes: orange flower
- Bottom Notes: moss, guaiacwood, musk
Windows Down is a genuine new classic. It reminds us of the perfume our mothers wore when growing up mixed with the masculine scents we were introduced to in high school, merged into one fragrance that transcends gender and exists for everybody. Windows Down is one of Henry Rose’s newest unisex fragrances and has become quite popular in a short amount of time. It feels especially ready for warmer climates, hence the name “Windows Down”. You know what to do — spray it on, get in the car, roll those windows down and enjoy your own scent with this one.
2. Le Labo Santal 33 Eau de Parfum
Best For: Those a little afraid to get knee-deep into unisex fragrances.
Why We Chose It: It’s great for all genders but doesn’t stray too far from a men’s cologne.
- Top Notes: violet accord, cardamom
- Mid Notes: iris, ambrox
- Bottom Notes: cedarwood, leather, sandalwood
Santal 33 is a modern-day unisex fragrance staple. If you’ve been into unisex fragrances for a bit now, we wouldn’t be so shocked to find out that this is already sitting on top of your dresser. It’s truly a scent everybody needs to have in their repertoire. It’s created to intoxicate both men and women, making you the most alluring person in the room. Upon testing, we’ve come to notice that it smells like a sexy open fire, a dream of the Wild West, the movie character that sparked your sexual awakening. The best part of all? It doesn’t stray too far from men’s colognes in our experience. If you’re just getting into unisex fragrances, this is definitely a solid option to begin with.
3. Dossier Aquatic Coconut
Best For: Anyone who is looking for a great unisex fragrance at an extremely affordable price.
Why We Chose It: It’s essentially a dupe that you can trust.
- Top Notes: bergamot, pink pepper, lemon, aquatic accord
- Mid Notes: ylang ylang, heliotrope flower, coconut
- Bottom Notes: musks, cedarwood, benzoin, tonka bean
Dossier creates glorious-smelling unisex fragrances that mimic more expensive brands to get one thing and one thing only across: cheaper fragrances don’t have to smell bad. Aquatic Coconut from Dossier is a scent that mocks Maison Margiela’s Replica Beach Walk, and, boy, does she do an excellent job. In comparison, they two are only slightly off from one another, but given the almost indistinguishable comparisons, you might as well go with Dossier for the fact it’s only $29. The scent is incredibly reminscent of summer nights and works as a fragrance for all that all will genuinely enjoy wearing — for an affordable price.
4. Robert Piguet Notes Eau de Parfum
Best For: The dark and mysterious types.
Why We Chose It: For us, it kind of exudes a genderless sexiness.
- Top Notes: clary sage, bergamot
- Mid Notes: orange blossom, geranium, costus
- Bottom Notes: tonka bean, vetiver, oakmoss
If you’re in the mood for something a little more alluring, the dark, mysterious scent sitting inside a bottle of Robert Piguet Notes is definitely on your side. This is the type of fragrance that had the hairs on the back of our necks stand up upon first whiff. We can’t quite pinpoint it, but it has a general genie-in-a-bottle attraction to it that really draws us in. You don’t want to spray this one too many times, though, one or two spritzes should be enough.
5. Boy Smells Hinoki Fantôme Eau de Parfum
Best For: Any Boy Smells fans out there? This one’s most certainly for you.
Why We Chose It: This fragrance comes from an awesome queer-founded brand that sells some of our favorite products of all time.
- Top Notes: cypress, black pepper, olibanum, tobacco leaves
- Mid Notes: orris, cedarwood atlas, hinoki, fir balsam, patchouli
- Bottom Notes: oakmoss, smoked leather, cypriol, cistus
Recently, Boy Smells, the binary-breaking candle brand we’ve been obsessed with for years now, came full force into the world of unisex fragrance with their release of five scents called “Cologne de Parfum.” While we were obsessed with all of the scents distributed in the initial drop, we became head over heels for Hinoki Fantôme, a fragrance unlike anything we’ve smelled before. It uses an array of different notes to create one of the most out-of-worldly scents we never knew we’d love. This is the kind of bottle that’ll have one spritz leaving folks passing by with a, “who was that?” kind of feeling. Trust us: you’ll keep coming back for bottle after bottle.
6. Vacation by Vacation
Best For: Folks that are obsessed with summer no matter the season.
Why We Chose It: It’s easily one of the coolest, most bizarre unisex fragrances you can purchase.
- Top Notes: petitgrain essence, coconut water, coconut milk
- Mid Notes: bergamot, solar musk, banana, pineapple
- Bottom Notes: pool water, swimsuit lycra, sea salt
Okay, this is a weird one, but it’s also one we’re absolutely obsessed with. Vacation by Vacation is a scent you’ll surely be familiar with upon first spritz. Why? Because it smells exactly like a high-end sunscreen. Don’t let that turn you off, though — this is a scent that exudes summer, even in colder months. We love wearing this scent no matter the time of year for the sheer fact it reminds us of a weekend far, far away in a tropical landscape. One spritz will send you back in time to a vacation you’ll simply never forget.
What to Consider Before Buying Unisex Fragrances in 2022
Before purchasing a unisex fragrance, we need you to consider one thing: have an open mind. If you’re someone that’s been incredibly used to men’s colognes your entire life, unisex fragrances will most certainly be a brand-new territory for you. They’ll smell subtly like the go-to cologne you’ve been using for years and years, but simultaneously, something your mom would wear when you were growing up.
Also, don’t be so shocked if you’re walking down the street and smell yourself on a woman walking by. No, she isn’t the girl you took home from the bar last night, weirdo. She might just be wearing the same scent as you. These scents defy the gender binary, meaning you can wear them, we can wear them, women can wear them, non-binary people can wear them — anyone can wear them.
Unisex fragrances can definitely get on the bizarre side of scents, but once you find you correct one for you, it’s game over. You’ll never go back to a traditional men’s cologne again.
How We Test Unisex Fragrances
While we’re in no way perfumers, we do, in fact, have noses. Noses that work, that is. Essentially, we can tell whether or not something smells good or if it doesn’t. When testing unisex fragrances, we simply spray wherever we typically spray on our bodies (mainly the neck and wrists) and go out and about. You know, take a trip to the grocery store, hang out with friends, hit up a bar — the classics. First and foremost, we see whether or not we can stomach ourselves throughout our time wearing each unisex fragrance. If we can’t stand our own scent or if the scent gives us a serious headache, we simply come to the realization that we do not like the scent.
One of the most important parts of picking the right fragrance (whether unisex or not) also has to do with what others think. Typically, we would say, “to heck with what anyone else thinks!” But, in this case, you don’t want to smell bad, do you? You don’t. That said, getting a second opinion from friends, family and even strangers is important. During testing, we like to see if we get any compliments from anyone. If we don’t we’ll ask friends and family what they think of the scent. If they dislike it, we’ll ask a few more to clarify whether we’ve gone nose blind or not.
In addition, when testing unisex fragrances, we decided to evaluate them through a number of weighted categories. After scoring every product, we compare the final results to determine the overall best options to consider.
- Scent: Is the scent anything special? Does it smell nice? Is the scent too bizarre?
- Scent From Others: When wearing the scent around others, what did they think? Were they turned off by the scent or into it?
- Lastingness: When wearing any fragrance, you want it to last. Did it last a while?
- Strength: You want a fragrance to be strong yet subtle. Was it? Or was it too overbearing or weak?
As mentioned, the SPY team has tested at least 10 unisex fragrances over the course of the past year. For this guide, we chose the 6 best options. We will continue to update this guide as we test new products.
Why Trust SPY When Buying Grooming Products
First off, we love grooming products and self-care. Second, we take our jobs testing and reviewing said grooming products very, very seriously. Our E-Commerce & Special Projects Editor Tyler Schoeber has written and tested tons of products ranging from t-shirts to new liquor to beard oils since he has been at SPY in June 2020, but some of his favorite items to test happen to be in the grooming space.
In addition to our annual product awards, we’re always looking for new grooming brands and under-the-radar products. Already in 2022, we’ve tested the entire Disco skincare line, compared the best bald head shavers, and updated our guide to must-have skincare products. Our grooming editors and product reviewers are always trying out new face washes and beard tools, and we’re very confident in our ability to discern truly great products from the mediocre.
We test so much that we almost over-test. All in all, we want to be sure our readers pick up the best products they can ever experience.
About the Author: Tyler Schoeber
Tyler Schoeber is SPY’s E-Commerce & Special Projects Editor. In addition to testing unisex fragrances, he also is the man behind our social media pages and even shoots a number of photo projects for SPY. In his time at SPY, Tyler has reviewed men’s razors, the latest products from YETI, and of course, the best men’s underwear. Before joining SPY, Tyler covered stories relating to grooming, men’s fashion, travel gear and more at travel sites such as Jetsetter and Smarter Travel.