Kiev – Believe it or not, many moons ago I spent a summer working behind the fragrance counter of a department store. ‘Such and such for men’, ‘So-and-so pour homme’: these were the fragrances I wanted to wear, but they were so clearly intended for the opposite sex. That didn’t stop me, but I did wonder: Why were so-called ‘female’ fragrances generally sweet and floral, and their masculine counterparts woody and warm?
The past few years have witnessed new moves in the beauty market. ‘Recent data suggests the new generation of beauty consumers prefer a non-binary approach,’ writes Nia Warfield for CNBC. She references NPD’s iGen Beauty Consumer report, which found that nearly 40 per cent of adults aged 18-22 have shown interest in gender-neutral beauty products. Even though some options did already exist – let’s not forget that CK One, the first unisex fragrance to gain widespread popularity in the US, was launched back in 1994 – it’s taken a long time for some heritage brands to jump on board. Louis Vuitton, for example, launched its first unisex fragrance only last year.
Newer brands have the upper hand. ‘[They’re] entering the gate with gender fluidity already built into their DNA,’ writes Helen Carefoot for The Washington Post, ‘[…] using advertising that reflects diversity in race and gender, and packaging products in ways that avoid old stereotypes.’