scented things, like a lit candle and dropper of oil, in an article about the most attractive smells
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The 7 Most Attractive Scents, According To Science

Yes, it has been studied.

by Lauren Schumacker
Originally Published: 

You might not think that scent has all that much of an effect on attraction or seduction, but you'd be wrong. When humans are attracted to others, it impacts all your senses including that of scent. Additionally, you've probably noticed that scents can intermingle with memories and emotions, bringing you right back to what you were feeling in that moment that your body links with that particular scent. Scent is very powerful. And some of the most attractive scents, according to science, might be surprising.

A 2017 paper published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology noted that sight, smell, and hearing are all important senses when it comes to deeming someone attractive and that, especially for women, another person's scent can be especially important. Some scents are more successful than others, however, and not all of the scents that women (or men) rank as attractive or seductive are ones that you might expect.

Every person has their own natural scents that can play a role in attraction, as well. Perfumes and colognes, for instance, mix with your natural scent, which can make a seemingly lovely fragrance smell not as great or a so-so fragrance smell intoxicating. While all scents may not smell best on you — and much of the research is done from a heterosexual perspective, meaning more research is needed — there are some that just might make you more attractive to others.


Rose oil

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In a small, but interesting study published in PLOS One, researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that the smell of rose oil caused study participants to rank photos of faces as more attractive than less-desirable smells, like fish oil. It's worth noting that this study used a rose essential oil, not artificially-scented rose perfumes.


Orange fruits and veggies

Men who eat lots of fruits and vegetables, especially orange fruits and vegetables, have sweat that smells better to women. A 2016 study published in Evolution and Human Behavior found that a diet rich in carotenoids resulted in better-smelling sweat, especially when compared with a diet high in carbs. Carotenoids are the compounds in yellow and orange vegetables and fruits that give the food its color and have also been found to make faces appear more attractive. One more reason to eat your fruits and veggies.



Perhaps unsurprisingly, musk is another scent that can make you seem more attractive — particularly, as studies have shown, if you’re a heterosexual man looking to attract a heterosexual woman. The actual scent comes from the anal glands of animals, but the primal scent can make women more attracted to men because it conjures up thoughts of sex.


Lily Of The Valley

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Back in 1993, a study found that the scent of lily of the valley can boost stimulation and reduce feelings of “apathy.” Additionally, it seems that men in general are attracted to women with “floral-sweet” scents.



You may or may not think that you’re all that familiar with the scent of vetiver, but it's a scent that's commonly used in men’s fragrance products. British Vogue reported that many women (and men as well) find vetiver attractive. It's a bit woodsier than some scents and blends well with other well-loved scents.



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Sweet, but not too sweet and goes well with a lot of things, vanilla is a classic, simple scent and fits that ideal “floral-sweet” scent that supposedly is an attractive scent to men if you’re a woman.



While you might not think you want to smell like an orchard, apparently, men find fruity scents attractive. Look for a perfume formulated with plenty of fruity undertones to take advantage.

Wearing certain scents can help you feel more confident as well, making you all the more attractive.

Studies referenced:

Seubert, Janina; Gregory,Kristen; Chamberland, Jessica; Dessirier, Jean-Marc; Lundström, Johan N.(2014) Odor Valence Linearly Modulates Attractiveness, but Not Age Assessment, of Invariant Facial Features in a Memory-Based Rating Task. Plus One,

Zuniga, Andrea and Stevenson Richard (2017). Diet quality and the attractiveness of male body odor. Evolution and Human Behavior,

Muscarella, Frank and Koncsol, Stephen (2011) A Rose by Any Other Name: Scent preferences, Gender, and Sexual Orientation. Electronic Journal of Human Sexuality,

Narula, Anubhav P. S. (2019) Fragrance and Attraction. Sex, Smoke, and Spirits: The Role of Chemistry,

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