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Sniff And Tell: 3 Women-Owned Perfume Brands You Need To Know About

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UCLA chapter.

If I ask you whether you associate the word “perfume” with women or men, you would probably say “women.” While the majority of fragrances are marketed towards us, and we make up the largest consumers of fragrance products, the same can’t be said for representation in the actual industry. The perfume industry has traditionally been dominated by male perfumers, and the effects can be seen in commercials (“sexy,” “alluring” and “sophisticated” scents), social media marketing and even TikToks raving about perfumes men “go crazy for.” Women have so much creativity and talent to offer, which is why I’m so excited that there’s a rise in women-led perfume brands. Here are some of the brands that are killing it right now:

Thin Wild Mercury

I’ve been itching to get my hands on Thin Wild Mercury’s sample set for over a year; everyone’s obsessed with the four scents perfumer Cathleen Cardinali released in 2019. More than anything, I love the concept behind the brand’s first collection: it aims to tell the stories of renowned neighborhoods of Los Angeles in the 1960s and 70s. If you know someone who loves vintage shops, Joan Didion books and rock music from the 60s and 70s, introducing them to Thin Wild Mercury is a must. And if you have an individuality complex, rest assured that you won’t smell these scents on anyone else (mostly because they’re always out of stock). 

Note: “Laurel Canyon, 1966” was inspired by Stevie Nicks and apparently it has people feeling like they should be “frolicking with [their] lover smoking weed” in a “youthful and a little rebellious” manner. Sounds way too good to be true. 

Henry Rose

Michelle Pfeiffer’s brand Henry Rose intimidates, intrigues and fascinates me. Do I think they excessively “green-wash” their company? Undoubtedly yes. If you took a shot anytime their website talks about their fragrances exceeding the strictest health regulations, you would be dead before your package arrived. However, I do appreciate their approach to transparency and most of all, their phenomenal social media marketing. Please go take a look at their Instagram (scroll a bit for the good ones). For a brand that emphasizes being so pure, their feed sure has a lot of nudity, sexual undertones and a slightly unsettling vibe (in a good way). With that being said, their 11 scents are thoughtfully categorized into three sample sets based on scent categories: fresh, warm and full.

Note: The perfume names are fun to read. “Flora Carnivora” and “Dark is Night” made me laugh in lecture. Very L.A. Some of my suggestions: “Cold is Winter,” “Bright is Light” and “Flesh Vegan.”


Founded by Carina Chaz in 2016 (in Los Angeles!), DedCool offers approachable and unique unisex fragrances. DedCool’s perfumes are cruelty-free, vegan and manufactured in-house in small batches to make the brand’s carbon footprint as minimal as possible. Their bottles are unique and so are the scents. Their bestsellers include “Milk,”(try to get past the name) “Taunt” and “Red Dakota.” “Milk” is for the people who don’t like perfume but want to smell good, “Taunt” is a citrusy light vanilla scent (often compared to fruit loops) and “Red Dakota” is for the aggressive citrus lover. The brand has recently become available at Sephora so make sure to check them out the next time you visit! 

Note: If you’re looking to upgrade your laundry game significantly, DedCool sells amazing detergent (for a steep price of $35). 

If I wasn’t so into fragrance, I would probably think that the designer perfumes at Sephora were the best possible options. But perfume is truly an art form and such a powerful statement. If you happen to be looking for your signature scent, I hope you take it as an opportunity to make it a fun and creative journey by researching some female perfumers!

Hannah is a third-year student at UCLA, majoring in Psychology. In her free time, she loves going to the beach, grabbing coffee, and painting her nails.