Monday, May 20, 2024

20 Best Gender-Neutral Fragrances to Keep In Rotation

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1

Best Ginger Scent

Jo Malone London™ Ginger Biscuit Cologne

Ginger Biscuit Cologne

1

Best Ginger Scent

Jo Malone London™ Ginger Biscuit Cologne

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Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: ginger, roasted hazelnut, tonka bean

Size: 3.4 fl oz

The vibe: Spice and gingerbread wouldn’t exactly be a typical combo, but Jo Malone found a way to give the sweet treat a sexy, mature update. Swirling alongside ginger and vanilla are hints of hazelnut, tonka bean, and cinnamon that veers away from the traditional syrupy, headache-inducing gingerbread scents on the market.

Nordstrom rating: 4.6/5 stars

A Nordstrom reviewer said: “Lasts all day long and smells amazing!!! Whenever I wear it I get so many compliments. I love anything vanilla!! I am so tempted to buy a backup!! I hope this comes back next year.”

2

Best Toasted Vanilla Scent

Parfums de Marly Althair Eau de Parfum

Althair Eau de Parfum

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Best Toasted Vanilla Scent

Parfums de Marly Althair Eau de Parfum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: orange blossom, bergamot, cinnamon, bourbon vanilla, elemi, guaiac wood, ambrox, praline, musk

Size: 2.5 fl oz

The vibe: Althar houses everything you’d want a toasty cabin getaway to smell like—vanilla, woods, and musk. At first whiff, vanilla opens the aroma but slowly fades to the background to give the wood, musk, and bergamot notes the spotlight. Althar feels like a rich, luxurious version of your favorite seasonal latte.

Nordstrom rating: 4.8/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “I wish I could jump out of my skin and hug myself when I wear Althair. It’s sultry and mysterious and feels like snuggling up under a fleece blanket on a colder winter night.”Nerisha Penrose, ELLE.com beauty commerce editor

3

Best Spicy Floral Scent

Van Cleef & Arpels Moonlight Rose Eau de Parfum

Moonlight Rose Eau de Parfum

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Best Spicy Floral Scent

Van Cleef & Arpels Moonlight Rose Eau de Parfum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: pink peppercorn, taïf rose, raspberry accord, patchouli, oakmoss

Size: 2.5 fl oz

The vibe: If you already have an expansive collection of rose fragrances, Moonlight Rose stands out from the rest. It’s less florally and is more spicy than the notes lead you to believe.

Fragrantica rating: 3.7/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “Most times, I love my floral scents to smell light and sweet, and my spicier ones to have richer, darker notes. Moonlight Rose meets me in the middle with a strong, bright floral smell that settles into a darker gourmand treat.”— Nerisha Penrose

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4

Best Woody Floral

Boy Smells Woodphoria

Woodphoria

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Best Woody Floral

Boy Smells Woodphoria

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: coconut water, cardamom, black pepper, sandalwood, salted musks, fig leaves, jasmine petals, lily of

Size: 2.2 fl oz

The vibe: While packed with a plethora woods—sandalwood, cedarwood—the salted musk and floral medley pull through more. Woodphoria is strong in composition but light enough to be a daily scent.

Boy Smells rating: 4.57/5 stars

A Boy Smells reviewer says: “The packaging is very nice, the bottle itself sturdy and looks good on my vanity. The scent is one of the best, it makes me feel like a gender neutral woodland fae creature! Floral and woody, it’s like magic.”

5

Best Sweet Rum Scent

MALIN+GOETZ Dark Rum Eau de Parfum

Dark Rum Eau de Parfum

5

Best Sweet Rum Scent

MALIN+GOETZ Dark Rum Eau de Parfum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: bergamot, plum, anise, leather, rum, vanilla, patchouli, amber, milk

Size: 1.7 fl oz

The vibe: Despite the title, Dark Rum by Malin+Goetz has a bright opening. The scent is made of fruity and earthy notes, like plum, patchouli, and amber, that meld seamlessly with the leather, rum, and vanilla ending.

Nordstrom rating: 4.4/5 stars

A Nordstrom reviewer says: “This is a beautiful scent. Warm and slightly fruity and so perfect for autumn. I’ll be wearing this daily all season. Lasts a long time on me and I love that it also suits my partner as I like that he loves it too as it cuts down on the amount of bottles we travel with. Very pleased with this one.”

6

Best Earthy Rose Scent

Dior Gris

Gris

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Best Earthy Rose Scent

Dior Gris

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: oakmoss, rose, patchouli, bergamot, amber, cedar, sandalwood

Size: 4.25 fl oz

The vibe: Mossy, earthy, and sweet, Gris Dior is an elegant scent that can take you from day to night. The opener is where oakmoss and sandalwood hook you, but the scent settles with a brief visit from rose and patchouli. You can read our full review, here.

Dior rating: 4.6/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “This fragrance has an upbeat aroma thanks to the bergamot. However, the rose and patchouli notes give it a sexy floral smell that’s perfect for you—no matter your pronouns. It’s not overpowering, but this earthy fragrance is long lasting.” Danielle James. digital beauty director, ELLE

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Best Spicy Wood Scent

BYREDO Rouge Chaotique Eau de Parfum

Rouge Chaotique Eau de Parfum

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Best Spicy Wood Scent

BYREDO Rouge Chaotique Eau de Parfum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: bergamot, lemon, saffron, plum, praline, oakwood, papyrus

Size: 1.7 fl oz

The vibe: If you like leathery, spicy scents that leave you guessing by the minute, Rouge Chaotique takes you on a ride. Saffron, plum, and a hint of lemon are the first impressions you get as the wood and oud warm up to your skin.

Nordstrom rating: 4.9/5 stars

A Nordstrom reviewer says: “I was waiting for a true gourmand from this brand since forever! Byredo usually goes towards fresh opening scents, unconventional uni fragrances. This one is definitely leaning feminine and is a syrupy bomb! Plum isn’t for everyone, so I’d say it’s not a safe blind buy. It’s leaning heavy and autumn-winter appropriate. Lasts over 24h on clothing and all day on skin. Beautiful!”

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Best Minty Fresh Scent

Diptyque Eau de Minthe (Mint) Eau de Parfum

Eau de Minthe (Mint) Eau de Parfum

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Best Minty Fresh Scent

Diptyque Eau de Minthe (Mint) Eau de Parfum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: patchouli, geranium, mint, rose

Size

: 2.5 fl oz

The vibe: A mint perfume can either smell really overpowering and medicinal or sweet and soft, a la Eau de Minthe by Diptyque. It’s not quite mojito mint, thanks to a blend of fresh floral notes, and leans a tad bit masculine.

Nordstrom rating: 4.1/5 stars

Our expert says: “Sweet, flowery scents instantly induce a headache for me, which is why this is the only perfume I currently wear. It smells a little like a clean, minty aftershave, but the hints of geranium help balance it out, making it a true neutral. Something about the freshness of this scent makes me feel cleaner the minute I put it on.”—Tatjana Freund, Hearst fashion and luxury commerce editor

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Best Smoky Scent

Kilian Paris Smoking Hot

Smoking Hot

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Best Smoky Scent

Kilian Paris Smoking Hot

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: apple hookah flavor, tobacco absolute, bourbon vanilla, pure jungle essence

Size: 1.7 fl oz

The vibe: As the name suggests, Smoking Hot is the compliment you’ll receive from everyone passing by. At its heart is tobacco, a spicy, sexy note that usually overpowers, but plays well with bourbon vanilla.

Nordstrom rating: 5/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “If you could bottle a lingering stare of a sexy man from across the room in a smokey speakeasy in Harlem or Paris—that’s the essence of Smoking Hot. It’s sensual and alluring. Say hello to your new first date fragrance.” — Danielle James

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Best Sweet Musk Scent

Who Is Elijah Nomad

Nomad

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Best Sweet Musk Scent

Who Is Elijah Nomad

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: jasmine, saffron, almond, amberwood, Bulgarian rose, cedar, moss, amber, musk

Size: 1.6 fl oz

The vibe: Nomad is as free and experimental as its name suggests. The scent composition is made of floral, wood, and earthy notes that make you feel fancy and sophisticated no matter what you’re earing.

Who Is Elijah rating: 4.8/5 stars

Our expert say: “This unisex scent from Australian label Who is Elijah reminds me of a cozy campfire in the best way possible. At first whiff, it’s spicy and bright with notes of saffron, jasmine, and almond, then dries down beautifully with a surprisingly soft woody, musky, and ambery finish. It’s a perfect date night fragrance that feels bold, warm, and sexy, but not too in your face (always the vibe I’m going for, TBH).”— Sam Peters, Hearst senior commerce editor

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Best Floral Musk Scent

Gucci Where My Heart Beats Eau de Parfum

Where My Heart Beats Eau de Parfum

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Best Floral Musk Scent

Gucci Where My Heart Beats Eau de Parfum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: peony, violet leaves accord, white musk

Size: 3.3 fl oz

The vibe: Where My Heart Beats is as romantic as the cream bottle it’s housed in. The scent feels like a walk through a botanical garden at night time; soft florals mix with musk to leave an intoxicating sillage.

Nordstrom rating: 5/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “Whenever I have a scent that’s too overpowering, Where My Heart Beats adds a subtle touch of softness without completely masking its darker notes. Musk blankets the skin with warmth for a sexy enhancement to any fragrance cocktail.”— Nerisha Penrose

12

Best Signature Scent

Moodeaux PunkStar Eau de Parfum

PunkStar Eau de Parfum

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Best Signature Scent

Moodeaux PunkStar Eau de Parfum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: apple, blackcurrant, saffron, vanilla, rose, tonka bean, moss

Size: 1.6 fl oz

The vibe: Channel your inner punk with this unique, nocturnal fragrance that works as an every day, signature scent. Punkstar isn’t for those who want to be shy; notes like blackcurrant, saffron, vanilla, rose, and raspberry add a playful burst to the spicy scent.

Moodeaux rating: 5/5 stars

A Moodeaux reviewer said: “Now the scent has been sitting for over an hour, I am in love with it. I was looking for a musky scent, but still fruity to match my personality and this is it. The incense smell comes through just enough but not to over power the other scents. Def a scent that will also linger when I leave the room,or your car or the person’s bed. Excited to step out with this one.”

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Best Lavender Scent

Le Labo Lavande 31 Eau de Parfum

Lavande 31 Eau de Parfum

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Best Lavender Scent

Le Labo Lavande 31 Eau de Parfum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: lavender, bergamot, neroli, amber, musk, tonka

Size: 1.3 fl oz

The vibe: We’ve been spoiled to think of lavender as a spa-only scent. Lavande 32 introduces a new way to enjoy lavender via fresh, floral notes with added richness from tonka bean and musk.

Nordstrom rating: 5/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “When I heard the brand was launching a new scent focused around lavender, I thought it would be more of a spa scent–light, more aromatherapy, perhaps pairing well with sleepytime tea. But if you’ve always loved the smokey, mysterious, slightly dirty tones of Santal 33, but want something a little less ubiquitous, try sniffing this. It smells like that slightly dirty base plus the top notes of your favorite male perfume.”— Kathleen Hou, ELLE beauty director

14

Best Creamy Tropical Scent

World of Chris Collins World of Chris Collins Lost in Paradise Eau de Parfum 1.7 oz/ 50 mL Eau de Parfum Spray

World of Chris Collins Lost in Paradise Eau de Parfum 1.7 oz/ 50 mL Eau de Parfum Spray

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Best Creamy Tropical Scent

World of Chris Collins World of Chris Collins Lost in Paradise Eau de Parfum 1.7 oz/ 50 mL Eau de Parfum Spray

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: coconut water, peach skin, salted musk

Size: 1.7 fl oz

The vibe: No need to book a flight to experience a whiff of the tropics. Lost in Paradise by Chris Collins takes everything you love about vacations—coconut water, juicy fruits, and florals—and bottles it up in a salty-sweet scent you’ll spray over and over again.

Sephora rating: 4.3/5 stars

A Sephora reviewer said: “One of my favorite fragrances! It’s not a rich, milky coconut. It’s like coconut water and sunscreen. Unisex but more feminine leaning. I smelled it once and HAD to have it. So happy I have a full bottle now!”

15

Best Amber Wood Scent

Aesop Ouranon Eau de Parfum

Ouranon Eau de Parfum

15

Best Amber Wood Scent

Aesop Ouranon Eau de Parfum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: petitgrain, elemi, lavender flower, chamomile, frankincense, myrrh, tonka, patchouli

Size: 1.6 fl oz

The vibe: Aesop’s Ouranon finds the perfect balance of spicy and sweet, fruity and earthy. While the sweet notes offer a soft edge, amber and wood are the clear stars of this fragrance cocktail.

Nordstrom rating: 4.7/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “As a first-time Aesop fragrance owner, I was surprised at how frequently I reached for Ouranon. My introduction to Aesop was through hotel bathroom scent that swelled with potent earthy notes. Ouranon is earthy, but it’s still honeyed and a bit leathery. I’m obsessed.” — Nerisha Penrose

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16

Best Mature Fresh Scent

Maison Francis Kurkdjian 724 Eau de Parfum

724 Eau de Parfum

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Best Mature Fresh Scent

Maison Francis Kurkdjian 724 Eau de Parfum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: aldehydes, bergamot oil, white floral accord, jasmine, sandalwood accord, white musks.

Size

: 6.7 fl oz

The vibe: Aquatic and fresh, 724 is the year-round scent that blends with whatever scenery you enter. It’s a bit more complex than the classic, laundry-clean scent, thanks to white florals, musk, and sandalwood.

Nordstrom rating: 4.4/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “For me, it was love at first spritz with this scent and was crowned Best Genderless Perfume for our 2023 Noteworthies. The name plays off of 24/7 and is inspired by urban living. A powdery scent, it has an upbeat aroma that reminds me of days walking through the bustling streets of New York City (sans a subway smell). ”— Danielle James

17

Best Garden Fresh Scent

Relevant: Your Skin Seen 13 Stems

13 Stems

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Best Garden Fresh Scent

Relevant: Your Skin Seen 13 Stems

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: French mimosa, violet leaf, cashmere, crisp amber, white leather

Size: 1.7 fl oz

The vibe: Who needs a trip to a botanical garden with this in your purse? With a name like 13 Stems, you know you can expect florals and greenery to burst with each spritz—and that’s exactly what happens.

Thirteen Lune rating: 4.4/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “Relevant’s 13 Stems scent is my favorite garden fresh perfume. I love that it’s light, very clean, and invigorating, which makes this a energetic way to start your day.”—Nerisha Penrose

18

Best Powerdy Woody Scent

Tom Ford Myrrhe Mystère Eau de Parfum

Myrrhe Mystère Eau de Parfum

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Best Powerdy Woody Scent

Tom Ford Myrrhe Mystère Eau de Parfum

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: Myrrh, Australian sandalwood, vanille accord

Size: 1.7 fl oz

The vibe: Tom Ford fragrances capture your attention from the first spritz—and Myrrhe Mystere is no different. This dark, powdery, spicy scent is the warmth you need for the impending winter chill.

Nordstrom rating: 4.5/5 stars

A Nordstrom reviewer said: “This smells sophisticated and sexy. It is a very warm woody & spicy scent. My boyfriend tried it on and it wears so well on him! Works on me too but a different vibe.”

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Kayali Oudgasm Tobacco Oud | 04

Oudgasm Tobacco Oud | 04

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Kayali Oudgasm Tobacco Oud | 04

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: white honey, tobacco, oud

Size: 1.7 fl oz

The vibe: Don’t wear this scent if you’re not prepared to tell dozens of people what scent you’re wearing. Part of the Oudgasm line, Tobacco Oud is the strongest scent in the lineup, and has a deep, leathery oud base that is as smoky and sexy as a hazy jazz club.

Sephora rating: 5/5 stars

An ELLE editor says: “After smelling each scent in the Oudgasm collection, Tobacco Oud stood out from the rest. I love how sexy and sophisticated it makes me feel, almost like a mysterious character in a rom-com—you know, the one that swiftly disappears after a flirty stare-down at the bar. She doesn’t leave her number behind but you can still smell her heavenly trail.”—Nerisha Penrose

20

Best Earthy Fresh Scent

Henry Rose Dark is Night

Dark is Night

20

Best Earthy Fresh Scent

Henry Rose Dark is Night

Credit: Courtesy of the brands

Key notes: grass, vetiver, freesia, patchouli, vanilla bean

Size: 1.6 fl oz

The vibe: Dark Is Night isn’t too dark to the point where it’s standoff-ish. The scent is actually inviting and warm, courtesy patchouli and vanilla, and brightens with help from fresh grass and freesia.

Henry Rose rating: 4.7/5 stars

A Henry Rose reviewer said: “Exceptionally long-lasting with fantastic projection. So sweet yet sophisticated, it’s like a dream. This fragrance made my day – truly a fabulous experience!”

Headshot of Nerisha Penrose

Nerisha Penrose

Beauty Commerce Editor

Nerisha is the beauty commerce editor at ELLE.com, covering all things beauty (and fashion and music). She has a penchant for sneakers and nude lip glosses, and spends way too much time re-watching 90s sitcoms.

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