Don't Say I Didn't Warn You: 2016 is the Year of Unisex Fragrances

Say it with me: Everything is unisex (and these fragrances companies really get it).
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Publish date:
February 2, 2016
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fragrance, perfume, smell good, unisex fragrances

Say it with me: Everything is unisex.

That, to me, extends especially to fragrances. I wear women's fragrances all the time. Why? Because they're better.

Men's fragrances are created within the confines of what men think they should like, and really, what do they know? They're made to fly off of the fragrance counter after just one quick sniff. Wood, musk, leather, perhaps some citrus if they're feeling sporty. They're not all bad, but it's just hard to find one that really gets creative and stands out.

Plus, I don't think anyone would ever catch a whiff of me and think "you smell like a girl." And if they did, I wouldn't care. There's nothing wrong with smelling like a girl because there's nothing wrong with being a girl.

Besides, have you ever smelled a guy?

I digress.

Some fragrances companies really get it, and don't slap any sort of gender on their scents. Byredo, for instance, has incredible collection of fragrances, none of them gendered, leaving us all free to choose what we actually like, rather than telling us what we should like. Imagine that.

The beginning of 2016 brings us not one, but two unisex fragrances to get down with. I'm throwing in a third, too, because it's my favorite. So hang tight for that. I know you're on the edge of your seat.

ck2 by Calvin Klein

ck2 is like, really good. It hits in a way that a good fragrance should it: It's interesting, hard to pin down, and draws you back in again and again. In some ways, ck2 tries to do everything all at once. What's surprising is that it pulls it off.

At the top, it's got spice from the wasabi note (!), sweetness from mandarin, and some floral business, from violet. In the middle, it's got wet cobblestones, which really comes through throughout the wear.

Hold on, so I was grilling the publicist about the notes in this fragrance, and it turns out that there is actually something to that "wet cobblestones" note. I thought it was just a buzzy term for ozone, but it's not!

The perfumers actually use something called Headspace technology which is a sort of machine-vacuum contraption that captures molecules surrounding a certain object, wet cobblestones, in this case, and breaks them down so that the perfumer can recreate them using different materials. This is how we're able to get notes that are not natural, such as toner, nail polish, and burnt rubber, as seen in some of our favorite fragrances from Comme des and Etat Libre d'Orange. So when they say wet cobblestones, that's really what we're getting. Also what is a cobblestone.

Rounding out the middle, there is orris concrete, which is an essential oil that's a butter consistency found at the root of the violet flower, and rose. Down below, we've got vetiver, incense, and sandalwood. It's on the sweeter end of things, but not sweet in a confectionary or even a citrus kind of way. You know how random bushes and weeds can smell really fragrant and sweet in the spring, especially after rainfall? That's exactly how this smells — naturally sweet.

The throw of the scent, to me, is perfect. You'll smell it on yourself, others will smell it when they're close to you ;), but it's not going to choke anyone out. It's perfect for any season, but I'm so glad it's coming to us just before spring.

Oh, and that bottle! It's appropriate that the bottle is pretty understated since the fragrance is described as "gender neutral," no? It will fit right in with anyone's vanity or bathroom sink. Nice touch.

FRANKIE by Ariana Grande

How in the absolute fuck does this fragrance exist? I am so happy.

Not long after the launch of her own fragrance, Ari, in September, Ariana Grande and her brother, Frankie, launched a gender-neutral fragrance named (you guessed it) Frankie. Frankie, the fragrance, is as bright as Frankie, the person. To me, it smells like Fruit Stripe Gum and Disney World, and that is a very good thing.The fragrance bursts open with apricot, pear, and pink pepper, which are leveled out pretty quickly by cedar and orchid. Sugar, sandalwood, and musk hold it down at the bottom.

The scent is a blast, the bottle is great, but this is what I love about Frankie: Ariana Grande is one of the biggest pop girls in the world right now. She has tons of little gay fans running around that, I am sure, are elated that their favorite pop star has made a fragrance just for them. I know that a ton of young people are giving less of a fuck about society's definitions of gender and the confines that go along with it, but yo, it wasn't that way when I was thirteen.

I always wanted to buy all of Britney's fragrances but never felt like I could, because they weren't "for boys." I always felt left out and overlooked. Like, I was buying all of this woman's albums and DVDs and concert tickets, but it always felt like the Britney brand was exclusively for ladies, and I couldn't be a part of it because I'm not a girl (NOT YET A WOMAN.)

If I was a thirteen year old gay tween, which I am, I would be through the roof at the feeling that one of my favorite pop stars was acknowledging me, in a way. I guess I can't write all of that without including the fact that Lady Gaga actually did the exact same thing in 2014 with the release of Eau De Gaga (lol) her unisex fragrance, but she also acted like it wasn't happening which is just something that I don't have the energy to discuss at the moment.

OKAY — now the moment you've all been waiting for....my favorite unisex fragrance.

Unbreakable by Khloé and Lamar

Unbreakable dropped right before Valentine's Day 2011, so Khloé and Lammy were way ahead of the game in terms of unisex scents.

It's no secret that I love a celebrity scent and I love a Kardashian. All of that aside, this is a really great fragrance that I wear at least once a week. Unbreakable is distinct in ways that many others are not. It's equal parts gourmand, tangy, and spicy, and it's as smooth as it is hypnotizing.

The top notes include green apple, apricot, bergamot, and saffron. Lily, geranium, jasmine, and red berries make up the velvety but not overpowering the heart of the fragrance. The base, though, is what really takes the scent and turns it on its head.

Chocolate, tonka bean, vanilla, and cedar make a dense, sweet anchor that shines through the entirety of the wear. Base notes are usually an understated afterthought used to balance a scent and give it more longevity, but Unbreakable's base is really the star of the show. The top notes have a juicy citrus bite and the white florals in the middle help to take the edge off all the notes that bookend them, balancing everything out so the top isn't too tart, and the base isn't too cloyingly sweet.

Unbreakable is a gem of a fragrance that I wear all the damn time.

Are any of your favorite fragrances unisex? Do you were any scents that were made for the opposite sex? I'm curious so let's chat down in the comments.

Tynan smells like a girl on Twitter @TynanBuck