Perfumes have been part of our history for thousands of years, with their use dating back to ancient Egypt where floral perfumes were used for religious rituals and personal hygiene. Similarly, in ancient Greece, fragrances made from essential oils of flowers and herbs were used by everyone.
However, in the 20th century, the fragrance industry became largely driven by marketing and advertising, with companies marketing scents as inherently masculine or feminine, not because it's scientifically accurate, but because it has proven to be an effective way to sell products.
Perfumes are made up of a combination of various ingredients, such as essential oils, synthetic fragrances, and other compounds. These ingredients have no inherent gender associated with them; they are not inherently masculine or feminine but rather are simply scents that can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of their gender identity.
The idea of genderizing fragrances is mostly seen on "mainstream" perfumes, where marketing gimmicks play a more relevant role in consumers' acceptance. However, niche perfumes tend to focus more on unisex scents that prioritize creativity over gender labels. As people become more aware of the subjectivity of scent, they are starting to demand more inclusive and diverse fragrance options.
Cultural differences also play a role in scent associations. For example, in some cultures, floral scents are associated with masculinity, while in others, they are seen as feminine. Similarly, woodsy or spicy fragrances, which are typically marketed to men in Western cultures, may be considered unisex or even feminine in other parts of the world. We have seen this first hand when showing our unisex perfumes to people from different cultures, the associations change dramatically!
Try Googling "how do I know if a perfume is for men or women?" and you will find funny results like "look at the packaging". Other sites will claim that feminine fragrances display floral, fruity and sweet notes, while masculine fragrances are more intense and have woody and musky notes. You don't need to dig too much to find many women-targeted perfumes with woody notes or masculine fragrances with floral notes or sweet notes like vanilla.
The notion that certain scents are inherently masculine or feminine is a social construct perpetuated by the fragrance industry for marketing purposes. Understanding this can help perfume lovers make more informed choices about the fragrances they choose to wear. Perfumes should be a reflection of one's personality and mood, and there is no need to adhere to gender labels when it comes to fragrance choices.