The role of pheromones and attraction in perfume
What are pheromones? We know they kind of have something to do with attraction, right? But knowing how they actually work and how perfume’s involved is a whole other ball game. Luckily, we’ve got the founder of IME Natural Perfume, Tonia Walker, on board to help us figure it all out...
First up, pheromones
We communicate through pheromones without even realising all the time. They're little chemical messengers released from the body that have an effect on another member of the same species. Tonia explains that it’s like having a sixth sense; we can’t see, touch or feel pheromones, but they can influence our feelings of wellbeing, confidence and sexual desire. “[It’s] a feeling you get from an undetectable smell you associate with another person,” Tonia says.“It’s human nature at its most primal instincts.”
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So if pheromones have an effect on sexual desire, do we know what can spark them?
George Preti of the Philadelphia Monell Chemical Senses Center has said that researchers have been hoping to find a human sex pheromone for decades. “That doesn’t mean a human sex pheromone doesn’t exist,” he told Smithsonian Magazine. “It just means we haven’t found one yet.”
A human sex pheromone doesn’t seem too out of reach though – considering researchers may have found a turn-off pheromone. One particular study had a group of women watch a sad scene from a movie before vials of their tears were placed under the noses of a group of men. The researchers suspected the scent would elicit empathy, but found instead that the men’s sexual arousal and testosterone levels were reduced – the scent of the tears alone signalled to the men that romance was off the table.
There isn’t really a surefire ‘sexy scent’ recipe known to fire up your pheromones. “The fact is, our sense of smell is emotional, and there is no logic to emotion,” Tonia says. “So finding a fragrance attractive on someone really comes down to what that fragrance reminds you of or how it makes you feel. If it’s a good feeling then the person wearing it is going to look that little bit more attractive than without it.”
But just because there isn’t a guaranteed 'sexy scent' recipe doesn’t mean there aren’t important notes to know...
“There are sexy go-to notes you can use when setting out to create a ‘love potion’,” Tonia says. She cites rose as the love enhancer, jasmine for confidence and euphoria, geranium to balance hormones and get the blood pumping, and spices like cardamom and cinnamon can also balance hormones while adding extra spice.
Looking to cause a stir with a new scent? For something spicy, beautyheaven loves The Body Shop Red Musk Perfume Oil, IME’s kalliope perfume and Estée Lauder Cinnabar. Or for something more floral, beautyheaven loves Elizabeth Arden Blue Grass Eau De Parfum, DKNY Be Delicious Fresh Blossom and Crabtree & Evelyn Rose Eau De Parfum.
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Let’s get down to tactics. According to Tonia, you can get strategic with your perfume. So if you’ve got an upcoming Tinder date, or some big Valentine’s Day plans, take note...
“Be strategic in the sense of picking a perfume that compliments you, one that you love and that makes you smile at that particular time,” Tonia says. “You will radiate beauty and confidence, and I don’t know any woman who doesn’t feel sexy when they feel beautiful and confident. Or at least a little cheeky.”
But you shouldn’t try to guess a potential partner’s scent preference. “Perfume is very personal, so choosing a fragrance based on another person’s opinion could definitely have the opposite effect,” says Tonia.
And as for strategic application? “My advice is, spritz anywhere you like, just not the face and eyes,” says Tonia. “Spritzing on your pulse points is fine except the fragrance diffuses a lot quicker as they are heat points on your body, so I also like to spritz the back of my neck, collarbone & hair. For an all over lingering effect without being too overpowering. You could also spritz behind the knees & a little on your clothes.”
Did you learn something new about pheromones and attraction? Do you get strategic with the kinds of perfumes you buy?