Despite what you may think, not much. How a perfume is dressed up - the bottle and the advertising - is what makes a fragrance into a feminine or a masculine scent. Men's fragrances aren't just for men. In fact, one third of men's fragrances sold are worn by women.
The fresh fragrance family is one that is truly unisex with its clean notes of greens, aquatics and citrus so tends to appeal to both genders. One of the most well know is Davidoff Cool Water, and you can also try Simply Blue in this family.
Oriental and chypre fragrances are traditionally quite heavy - they are very sensual and warm up well on the skin so are well suited to both sexes. Orientals are known for their rich, exotic, spicy and foody notes while chypres are defined as citrusy, mossy, woody and animalic. Our product picks: CK Be (woody oriental), Beyoncé Heat (vanilla oriental), Revlon Unforgettable (floriental), Thierry Mugler Angel (gourmand oriental), Rihanna Rebelle (fruity oriental) and YSL Black Opium (oriental vanilla).
Our society does however classify florals (especially white flowers) as more female, and fougère fragrances (fresh, mossy, woody) as more masculine. But this doesn’t mean that these notes are not included in the development of either male or female fragrances. Some well-known floral fragrances include Clinique Happy, Coty Exclamation, Paco Rabanne Lady Million, Elizabeth Arden Pretty and Lentheric Hoity Toity.
The only difference between the two sexes worth noting is that men tend to a slightly more alkaline skin than women. The smell of a fragrance can be affected if the alkalinity level is too high. It’s just a matter of trying out which suits your skin the best.