Always thought cologne was just for men?

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Have you always assumed cologne was just for men? If so, you’re not alone.

It’s a very common association and reflected in a lot of perfume marketing. But technically, cologne isn’t a men’s fragrance.

RELATED: The male fragrance guide

So what is cologne?

The first recorded cologne was created by Giovanni Maria Farina in the 18th century and named after his hometown of Cologne, Germany. It was originally a mix of citrus oils with other substances like lavender and neroli.

Despite the fact that cologne is used as shorthand to mean all men’s perfume, it is actually just the common name for eau de cologne which is a name that refers to the concentration of the fragrance. It categorises perfume in the same way that fragrances are classified as eau de toilette, eau de parfum and eau fraiche. Eau de cologne typically refers to perfumes with a low concentration of around two to six per cent and normally last for about two hours.

Why choose a cologne?

So from the definition alone, colognes doesn’t seem too desirable. Why would we want to ditch our beautiful perfumes for a cologne if it fades so quickly?

As it turns out, there are quite a few benefits.

Because they are a lighter fragrance, colognes can be a great option if you don’t like strong perfume. It also means they tend to be more affordable.

You may also want to opt for a cologne as the weather heats up. They tend to be composed of citrus notes and so are light and refreshing to wear in the heat.

Their lightness also comes in handy if you’re stuck in a small space like a car or office and don’t want to overwhelm everyone with the intensity of your fragrance.

Are there even colognes for women?

Now I know what you’re thinking, that’s all well and good but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any women’s cologne!

They can be a bit tricky to find, but there are colognes made specifically for women. Unisex cologones are quite common though – so you and your partner could share one if you wanted!

RELATED: The best unisex fragrances for men and women

We’ve gathered up some of the best women’s and unisex colognes. Maybe you’ll find some fragrance inspiration or even your next staple scent…


L’Occitane Lavender Eau de Cologne

This cologne has fresh citrus fruit notes with wood and musk undertones. It can be splashed on if you want to apply a generous amount, or has the optional of a spray. It is generally for women but some men also love it!

Avon Imari Cologne Spray

This floral and oriental women’s cologne oozes passion. It features notes of citrus, jasmine, vanilla and musk with some hints of spice.

The Body Shop Fuji Green Tea™ Eau de Cologne

This refreshing, unisex cologne has striking top notes of green tea, bergamot, lemon and mandarin. Notes of camellia, jasmine and violet will also leave a crisp and lasting impression.

Aerin Bamboo Rose Eau de Cologne

200mL, $250, David Jones

That’s right, you can still get your favourite rose scent in a cologne! This women’s cologne has refreshing sicilian bergamot and mandarin blossom top notes which fuse with dewy green leaves. There are heart notes of rose and jasmine before the lingering pink pepper, amber and musk base notes.

Jo Malone London Lime Basil & Mandarin Cologne

This unisex cologne is Jo Malone London’s signature fragrance and Sienna Miller’s go-to. Notes of lime and mandarin are underlined by base notes of peppery basil and smoky amberwood.

Hermes Eau de Pamplemousse Rose

100mL, $160, David Jones

This unisex cologne features core notes of grapefruit along with the floral notes of rose petals.

Tommy Girl by Tommy Hilfiger

This cologne is for women and features top notes of mandarin, tangerine, apple blossom, camellia leaves, spearmint and blackcurrant buds. It has heart notes of heather, jasmine, magnolia, rose, violet and honeysuckle and base notes of cedarwood and sandalwood.

Do you ladies wear cologne? Which one is your favourite?

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