Ciara and Russell Wilsons R&C Fragrance Duo.
Ciara and Russell Wilson's "R&C Fragrance Duo" are bound together by the sexy magic of magnets. R&C

On her debut album, Speak, the poet Lindsay Lohan pondered rare earth and irresistible attraction. "Is it gravity, chemistry, physically pulling me?" she asks in the song, "Magnet." Magnets are prolific for their mysterious yet immediately understood connection. While magnets are key ingredients in beauty products, from kinetic facial masks to lashes and nail polish, the fragrance world mostly uses them to secure bottle tops. But the Pacific Northwest's first celebrity perfumes—unisex and designed for layering—dare to be different.

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Ciara and Russell Wilson's perfume bottles immediately distinguish them from the other celebrity couple fragrances—and other beauty products.

The Nordstrom rep who sold me the R&C Fragrance Duo, which launched last fall, thought I wanted R & Co. hair products until I mentioned their bottles' chrome, double-helix design. Sadly, you can't buy the pair of distinct smells separately in stores, but the Wilsons authorized solo purchases online in April ($45 each, or $90 for the set). A portion of sales is said to benefit Russell's Why Not You Foundation. We don't know what percentage, as the foundation's PR rep declined to answer The Stranger's questions about how much they benefit, and how proceeds are split among the foundation's priorities, such as Why Not You Academy's Des Moines campus.

R&C Fragrance fills new space in the celebrity perfume world. They're a little spendier than most celebrity partnerships but more affordable than luxury labels with similarly potent sillage. The Wilsons seemingly have the perfume passion of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton, but for better or worse are free from Elizabeth Arden and Parlux. The olfactive noses belonging to Catherine Selig and Linda Chinery helped develop R&C. Selig's credits include the controversial singer Melanie Martinez's sold-out Cry Baby perfume. R&C's bottle manufacturer, Hampton Beauty, is best known for KKW Fragrance's award-winning vessels.

R&C's layering approach is a first for celebrity fragrance's still-exclusively cishet couples, but they're not the celebrity perfume world's first unisex scents. They're not the Knowles-Carters, where Beyoncé's collection is bigger and separate from Jay-Z's; they're not the McGraw-Hills, where Tim's collection includes scents inspired by Faith; and they're not the Kardashian-Odoms, whose pre-blended mix felt tragically codependent. Instead, the Wilsons are chemically cousins to Kendall Jenner's horse girl trio, Frankie Grande's release in Ariana's gourmand line, or indie label Xyrena's collabs with the drag queen Tatianna, and the late & great Aaliyah's estate.

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As a 2000s-era pop-loving gay, it brings me no joy to report I prefer The Seahawk over The Princess. Russell's juice almost sounds like a cocktail: bergamot, black tea, and ambroxan (a chemical found in precious ambergris); pear blossom, lavender, and water lily; and vetiver, musk and patchouli. I'm not a huge patchouli fan, but Russell and his team use it well. Ciara hops on the pink pepper trend, using it alongside red berries and freesia; jasmine, peony, and gardenia; and vanilla, sandalwood, and musk. I expected a floral pepper bomb but found a hard-to-place savory-fresh concoction that subverts expectations for traditional men's cologne profiles.


I'm told my natural scent isn't strong, but somewhere between earthy musk and green floral, with a salty metal heart from fresh sweat. When I mixed R&C evenly, they subtly activated the other's floral notes without going full bouquet. Less is more here: I over-applied in the late morning and could smell them well into the night. Unfortunately, my car broke down on this test day. The tow truck driver and I wore related but divergent perfume stories: his was an oud & spice cologne boosted by his cab's citrus/white floral air freshener. I'm not an oud fan, but it wasn't my worst tow truck ride.

I'd tried C first (or &C, since her flask has the ampersand) and liked her better the second time. She's nuanced: people I asked told me I smelled good, but they couldn't place why they thought so. My partner said he smelled oranges from C after I'd walked in the sun. I subscribe to Mother Monster's perfume philosophy and not to parrot a press release, but I get why R is described as "effortlessly sexy." I felt expensive. I felt the bourbon connoisseur fantasy. I felt like I could start a podcast. C feels good for essential in-person work, while R feels good for easing back into social life. Neither works well with sunscreen, so wait for cooler weather to bust these out.

R&C's vials could be bike handles, weight grips, bespoke salt & pepper shakers, or toys Fantasy and Taboo keep behind glass. Chrome fits SpongeBob SquarePants' future aesthetic, with a DNA design only Futurama's Bender would find offensive. The magnetic bottles are an obvious artistic statement on the Wilsons' relationship: they hold a healthy bond that splits when needed, reunites effortlessly, and withstands outside interference. If the magnets were too weak, the bottles would always fall away. Too strong, and you'd have to pry them apart, or risk shattering them if they snap back together. The bottles stand tallest when they're together, and not just because they can't support their own weight. Objet d'art indeed.

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