If your scent secret is that you borrow from your man’s stash, let’s just say: Your secret is out. First, in honor of all the women who may sometimes creep on the men’s cologne counter, Gwyneth Paltrow created the boyfriend jean of the fragrance world with goop’s Edition 01. And with essential oils getting serious notice for their reported stress-relieving and muscle-soothing powers, the line between “masculine” and “feminine” scents is blurring as more and more people whip up their own individual mixtures that are all about feeling good as well as smelling great.
Blending custom scents for friends, in fact, was how Patrick Kelly got started. Scrappy and self-taught, the 30-year-old Los Angeles-based perfumer’s deep appreciation for nature’s alluring aromas snowballed into what is now his two-year-old baby: Sigil Scent, a unisex collection of organic, wildcrafted, handmade eau de parfums, plus a body spray and a room spray. They’re nuanced, pure, original, and eco-friendly—and might just break you of that Guerlain Vetiver habit. (Or even the occasional Drakkar Noir—no judgment.)
Sigil Scent is also long-wearing—a major plus for a clean fragrance, since (toxic) denatured alcohol is usually what makes a scent last longer. Some non-toxic brands use water, which creates a blend that you have to reapply often, but Sigil Scent has found a better-for-you solution with staying power: corn-based alcohol.
In other words, these fragrances pass the feel-good test as well as the smell-good test, which is more than you can say about many of the offerings at the department store cologne counter.
And because Kelly’s love of scents grew out of his passion for the outdoors—everything from hiking, climbing, and camping in the desert or mountains to tending his grandmother’s garden as a kid—he’s serious about sustainability.
“I’m conscious of not wanting to alienate people, but I think it’s so important to vote for organic, non-GMO, and truly sustainable cultivation methods,” he says. To that end, Sigil is a One Percent for the Planet partner company, meaning it donates 1 percent of top-line sales to enviro-focused nonprofits. In Kelly’s words: “We protect the places we play in and want to cultivate from so they don’t go bye-bye!”
And if you have intention-setting on the brain as the New Year approaches, Sigil Scent is right there with you, Kelly says. “In an esoteric or magical sense, a ‘sigil’ is created by its artist and imbued with deep meaning and intention, so at its heart our brand is about creating scents with meaning that are steeped in intent.”
For each of the six fragrances, he designed a symbol, intention word, and color. The best seller, Ground, for instance, is like a bottled version of the magical world of FernGully, with oakmoss, vetiver, amyris, and lots of citrus.
The Aura scent evokes peaceful isolation in the desert, with Indian agarwood, Ecuadorian palo santo, and organic pink grapefruit. And Balance has a rich, musky quality from the cistus flower, as well as notes of palmarosa, wild-crafted tobacco, and labdanum.
And the words have meaning. “Certainly wear them because they smell awesome, but you could also pick a color or word or symbol or intention that you want to channel or feel,” advises Kelly. “It’s a little hippie, I know, but I really connect with this multisensory experience of perfume.” Consider this your high-vibe, gender-bending inspo to take your essential oil experiments to the next level.
If you’re ready to clean up the rest of your personal care routine, good news: There’s a clean beauty revolution under way! And here are the three most important things to swap out as you transition to a all-natural regimen.