Entering the Business World

How Women's Fragrances Differ From Men's

If you're just getting into perfumes and colognes, you may not be aware of just what separates men and women's scents. It's easy to ignore the why and just go by the marketing, but there are distinct ways in which these scents are divided. Some are objective, such as the type of scent, but others are very subjective, and it can be interesting to try scents that aren't traditionally supposed to be associated with your gender. Still, wearing a classic male or female scent can be very satisfying, and even then, it helps to know why the scent is classified as such.

The Type of Smell

Scents have been marketed as male or female for decades, with male cologne scents mainly in the woodsy, spicy, or musky ranges and female perfumes in the floral and fruit ranges. In reality, these scents come from a combination of oils and other substances that were tested and formulated specifically to produce that scent; these scents often react differently to men and women's skin and sweat. That means that a scent meant for women could work well on men because a background note may suddenly seem more prominent on his skin. The same goes for women (and of course, anyone of any gender). It could be an interesting experiment for a couple to take the same perfume and both try it, and see how the scent seems as the day goes on.

The Amount of Essential Oil

Cologne is often thought of as a male product and perfume a female product, but it's really the concentration level of essential oils that distinguishes between the two. A cologne has a much lighter concentration of essential oils, while perfumes are more concentrated. Combine that with the type of scent — a light woodsy fragrance versus a heavier floral scent — and you have a classic "men's cologne" and "women's perfume" comparison.

The Expectations of Others

That's not a joke; the expectations of those around you can determine whether a scent is meant for men or women. For example, there's nothing physically preventing a man from wearing a rose-scented perfume, but people may not associate rose scents with men and could end up asking why he chose that particular scent. The rise of unisex perfumes with scents that are often treated as neutral but that share floral or fruit undertones with "women's" perfumes, such as citrus, may make these expectations a lot rarer in coming years.

When you know why a scent is associated with a particular gender, you're better able to pinpoint scents that work really well for you. Whether that means going with a classic women's perfume from Emporio Armani's perfume for her or choosing a cologne with a lighter fragrance, you have a better chance of finding the right combination of essential oils and scent category for your skin.