Is Pheromone Perfume the Key to Escaping the Friend Zone? I Tried It To Find Out

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As Christian Dior once famously said, “A woman's perfume tells more about her than her handwriting.”

For centuries, perfumes and fragrances have played an essential role in human culture, not only as a form of grooming but as an indication of social status, expressing individuality, and attracting partners. While smelling good has always been linked to attractiveness in Western cultures, Pure Instinct Roll-on Pheromone Unisex Perfume Oil ($17) takes the art of perfumery to another level with an added boost of pheromones specifically formulated to help you smell irresistible—literally.

After this viral perfume took the internet by storm via TikTok, with over 100 million views for #pheromoneperfume, I knew I had to try it for myself to see what all of the hype was about.

What, exactly, is pheromone perfume?

Though relatively new to TikTok, pheromones have been used as a tool for communicating in the animal kingdom since the dawn of time. “Pheromones are chemical substances produced by animals which, in turn, affect the behavior, physiology, or development of the same species,” explains Mindy Yang, Perfumarie CEO. When it comes to humans, pheromones are believed to play a role in influencing our decision-making process by altering our mood and physiological responses, particularly in social contexts related to attraction and mating.

@not.kez BEST PERFUME EVER??? #fyp #pheromoneperfume #bestperfume2022 #pureinstinctpheromone #tiktokmademebuyit ♬ Elevator Music - Bohoman

“Natural pheromones are created by the human body every day, and are most commonly exuded through sweat glands,” explains Sue Phillips, CEO of Scenterprises Inc. Axillary sweat (or excessive armpit sweat) is believed to provide a “chemical signature” which, when inhaled by an outside party, can have subtle (but not life-altering) affects on people and their mood. In one recent study, researchers discovered that adult humans could identify their soiled T-shirts out of 100 identical shirts, just by scent alone. “While there is some evidence to suggest that humans do produce and respond to pheromones, the extent and nature of their effects remain a subject of ongoing scientific investigation and debate,” says Yang.

As much as I’d love to save money on expensive perfumes and deodorants, letting my natural aromas flow after a sweltering day at the beach or a hot yoga sesh is basically my own version of scent hell (and if I’m not turned on by it, the self-conscious tween who doused herself in Tommy Girl after middle school gym class would agree the boys aren’t either). Thankfully, that’s where pheromone perfume comes in.

What separates Pure Instinct perfume oil from other scents on the market is that in addition to its light and fruity scent, the formula is infused with man-made pheromones. This means you’ll have the advantage of smelling sweet combined plus the bonus effects of mimicking naturally produced pheromones… without having to compromise on your everyday hygiene routine.

@faithhousley No one told me it would work THIS well!? #fyp #MadewithKAContest #foryou ♬ Lose Yourself Mario Remix - There I Ruined It


What happened when I tried it

When I rolled the perfume on my skin for the first time, I was struck by how much the smell reminded me of strawberry Lip Smacker’s chapstick from the 90s. While other Amazon reviews reported smelling a light peach smell, the unisex oil is designed to blend with your skin’s PH to create a one-of-a-kind scent…and apparently, 99-cent gas station chapstick is my personal brand. After experimenting with combining my new potion with other perfumes and body sprays, as some reviewers recommended, Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Bum Bum Hair & Body Mist proved to be my winning combo.

After scrolling through countless pages of Amazon reviews claiming it was “raining men up in here,” I put the perfume to the ultimate test: Wearing it around a man I had sexual tension with. And not just any man, but a man with whom I’ve had a decade-long friendship at a time when we’d both recently broken up with significant others.While I can picture all of the hopeless romantics out there running away with fantasies of grandeur, the realists are surely scoffing at the notion knowing that it’s probably easier to escape from Azkaban than it is to escape the friend zone.

Upon meeting, the initial hug got me a, “you look nice,” while the rest of the evening played out to a similar melody of bashing our exes and marveling at how all our friends are married and have babies. But, perfume or not, that’s life as a single thirty-something-year-old woman.

So... did it work?

While rocking a perfume that’s every bit as unique and attractive as you are might seem too good to be true, scientists say there is some method to the madness, however, the research is still inconclusive. Truthfully, while the scent was pleasant, it wouldn’t necessarily be the first perfume I would reach for in a closet overflowing with fine fragrances.

While my personal experiment with yet another “potential boyfriend” was a flop, I did get a few glances, flirtations, and drink offers from strangers at a bar which, in turn, did make me feel more confident. While I didn’t exactly feel as if this perfume was bringing all the boys to my yard, I think half of the effectiveness of this product can be credited to the placebo effect—a boost of self-confidence that can only be generated from knowing that you have a secret potion helping you ooze goddess-like energy. From the Amazon listing, you can see that they market this perfume as “confidence in a bottle.” And to me, that’s exactly what it was.

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