Wednesday, August 5, 2009

By popular demand: Pheromones again

As part of an experiment held by Dial soap, nine women at a lounge in New York were blindfolded and asked to select a date by sniffing scent strips.

"Three men had just showered using a body wash with synthesized pheromones, three had used a body wash without pheromones, and the rest had worked up a sweat and not washed at all. They then rubbed their arms on scent strips, and handed them to the women to sniff.
One participant, Michelle Hotaling, 24, chose a man who had used the pheromone body wash. “In appearance and personality he was not someone I would otherwise be convinced to go out with,” she said, once her blindfold came off. “But his scent was a factor that would push my decision to say,
‘Yes.’ ”
Me thinks she needs to go out more...

"The pheromone of choice for men is a family of steroids, related to testosterone, found near the axillary glands in the underarm area. For women, a commonly used compound is estratetraenol, a derivative of the sex hormone estradiol."

Read the whole article here along with historical references on the marketing of pheromones in personal care products.

Related reading on Perfume Shrine: Pheromone-ladden Body Washes and the Myth of Cumin as Related to Sweat

Pic via Getty Images


  1. out of nine? No controls, presumably, for diet (which can change one's body odor as in garlic, asparagus, etc) or much of anything else? IMHO this is b.s. -- a soap company using laughable research to back up the marketing of a substance that may not even exist, or, if it does, may have no effect on human behavior whatsoever?

    Smoke 'n' mirrors, imho. In other words, "more research is needed." Not that that ever stopped consumer product manufacturers before.

  2. P,

    exactly, that stroke me as a failured approach as well! LOL!! It's not like more than one person out of the specimen group actually liked it and that is not conclusive by any means. It's quite funny how companies are playing with age-old fears on attraction and the desire to find the "magic pill" for whatever ailment, real or imaginary. (please note the "he's not like anything I'd go out with, but..." part; I think it says it all)

  3. So, according to the article, men and women are attracted by two different pheromones? IF that is true and perfumers would start putting them into their frags I might seriously reconsider my habit of crossspraying :D

  4. Well, I don't think the article actually reports any results. However, if you take it at face value that only one woman chose a man who had used the pheromone body wash, this would suggest that the pheromone body wash was making men decidedly unattractive! I.e. there were nine women, nine men. If the choice of man was completely random, you'd expect one third (i.e. 3 out of 9) of the women to choose a man who used the pheromone body wash. But if only one out of nine women chose a man who used the body wash, then the stuff must make the men truly unappealing. :-)

  5. Merlino,

    too funny! I guess there is always a catch someplace and leave it to us to find it! LOL


  6. J,

    honey, I think you're being way too scientific for this kind of mock "research" they're doing, LOL. You don't belong to this low level of market "appraisal". It's all ad copy and marketing...nothing more, and of course you're absolutely right: It must be a very unsuccessful product if it only scored one positive reaction!!

  7. Sheryl23:45

    Pheromones work for me. I was a skeptic, but tried a sample of a cologne called Alphaero. It seems to work. Since trying it, I've been researching and piecing the story together. It seems axillary bacteria in men create byproducts from sweat that can create calm and confidence in women.

  8. Sheryl,

    that's very interesting!
    By all means do mail me (using the email in profile) with your findings when you're done. We could do a co-project, if you'd like, on this, for this venue or elsewhere. It's certainly a very interesting and poorly researched (so far) issue.

  9. Anonymous00:18

    i have used the pheromone and the perfume i have bought do not work. I have also been in a sailboat from the US to the caribbean with electronic failure so the only way to wash is with a bucket and water. after 3 days believe me the pheromones do not perform as well as marketing people would like to believe, quite the contrary. anyway keep the good work.

  10. Since aggressiveness is often associated with sex and good mate choice, this pheromone can create a sexual vibe and increase sexual tension. Nutty


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