Last Updated: Thu Jul 28, 2011 00:44 am (KSA) 21:44 pm (GMT)

Basra Haider / Arabian Beauty: Nothing wrong with a woman smelling like herself. Why smell like someone else?

The modern day fragrance industry exploded with the production of synthetic materials and by the onset of the 19th century, it was no longer only accessible to the rich. The marketing of fragrances as making us smell good and having the powers to attract the opposite sex has helped build this multi-billion dollar industry.

Women readily “mask” their own odor which we have been told is unattractive even though by nature it plays a strong role in attracting the right partner. Because of their biology, women are naturally conscious of their own fragrances; some women even actively dislike the way they smell. But you’d be surprised how many men are turned on by a woman’s natural odor.

Studies have shown that women have a more acute sense of smell and gather much information regarding the right choice of partner, through the smell of a man’s underarm sweat. For example, the smell of a man’s underarm differs when he is sexually aroused, and a woman can pick up on his interest level in her and decide if she is also interested in him even before he may ask her out. A man also uses his nose to choose a mate, for example; studies have shown that a woman seems more attractive to him during certain times of her menstrual cycle.

But excessive habit of using fragrance to mask our smell, it seems may be more detrimental to women than men. Studies have shown that when body odor was masked by perfume in men, women could still pick up on the original smell of sweat and get the information they required on choosing a potential partner. But, men were unable to do the same; they were unable to pick up on a woman’s natural scent.

A woman excessively masking her own smell with perfumes to attract a man may unwittingly be doing the opposite -- that is confusing his ability to register the information he needs to successfully play the mating game. Smelling like someone else by drowning your own smell underneath layers of fragrance may just explain why so many women complain about attracting the wrong type of man!

In the eighties, the craze for famine hygiene products was at an all time high. All kinds of lotions, cleanser and potions were on the market that would mask a women’s natural – and particularly, healthy vaginal -- smell. Until, of course, later it was discovered that the bacteria that we were getting rid of was actually “good” and that over cleansing was causing yeast infections and was stripping the natural balance of “things” down there and our body’s ability to produce pheromones.

Pheromones are chemicals naturally produced and released through our sweat glands. Another person receives them subconsciously which sends a message to the brain to cause attraction. They are invisible and supposedly odorless but they are believed to cause sexual and non-sexual desires.

Unfortunately, due to our excessive use of deodorants and soaps and perfumes filled with strong chemicals we do not produce enough pheromones. Insects have been known to transmit pheromones over long distances to attract mates. Many women say privately that they can “will” their special pheromones to reach the men they desire – and that the men, picking up on the scent, will immediately think deeply of the females transmitting those pheromones.

Many perfumes are now adding pheromones and pheromone inducing ingredients to their formulations to compensate, allowing our habit of deodorant and our love of artificial smell to continue.

Perhaps, the solution is to use fragrance in moderation and be discerning, and only stick to those perfumes that enhance one’s own natural pheromones.

You are after all wanting to attract someone to the real you and not mask yourself with some other “smell.”

(Basra Haider covers the beauty business. She can be reached at:

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