News, Culture & Society

You’ve been wearing perfume wrong!

When you have a hot date lined up, it makes sense that you want to turn up smelling as good as look in the hope of impressing you prospective love interest. 

But finding the perfect scent to attract a partner involves more than splashing on your favourite perfume, according to olfactory expert Dr Caroline Allen of the Institute of Neuroscience at Newcastle University. 

Dr Allen is working with dating site on the launch of a pop up called Eau Mon Garcon, housing the scents of six of its single men to explore the role of smell in the science of attraction and help daters follow their natural instincts. 

And she has exclusively revealed to Femail how unlikely scents such as garlic or the aftershave Mum bought for Christmas for male daters, could be the key to dating success.

Here she reveals the rather unusual ways to make sure your scent is giving off the right impression.  

Finding the perfect scent to attract a partner involves more than splashing on your favourite perfume, according to olfactory expert Dr Caroline Allen of Newcastle University (stock image)


A recent study found that female family members who selected fragrances for their male relatives, made them smell more pleasant than the fragrances they had selected for themselves. 

So if your brother, cousin, or nephew is heading out on a date then perhaps suggest they dig out the perfume their mum bought them last Christmas.

There is evidence that the same fragrance smells different on different people and that you smell better when wearing a fragrance you have chosen over a randomly selected one. 

What role does genetics play? 

There is some evidence so suggest that the fragrances you like and choose to wear may give clues to your genetic make-up, and this may be important for choosing a partner. 

Specific genes related to immune function have been suggested to be important in partner choice, with some studies finding that individuals prefer the body odour of someone with a different genetic profile to themselves. 

There is an evolutionary-based theory that those with different genetic profiles make better biological mates, potentially leading to healthier children. However, these are only hypotheses at this stage and further studies need to be done.

Interestingly, studies have also found that people with different genes prefer different types of fragrances. This suggests our preferences might be, to a certain extent, driven by our biology, and that the fragrances we choose to wear may be advertising our genetic make-up to any potential dates. 

So women might want to reconsider wearing a perfume someone has bought as a gift for an all-important date and opt for an old favourite instead.


The food you eat can influence the way your body odour smells, and not always in a way that you would expect. Researchers recently found that individuals who ate garlic were rated as having more pleasant and attractive smelling body odour. 

This may be because garlic has beneficial health properties, while other studies have found that healthier individuals smell more pleasant. 

I’m not suggesting you eat several cloves, but it might be worth considering incorporating it into a healthier diet and making some lifestyle changes if you want to alter the way that you smell in the long term – and potentially appear more attractive to a date.


Studies show that wearing a fragrance doesn’t just affect the way that you smell, it can also affect how you feel and in turn those crucial first impressions.

One study looked at how body odour alters men’s self-confidence and how attractive women find them. After watching a series of videos of the men, women voted those wearing deodorant as more attractive. 

Although they did not know which men were wearing deodorant, the findings suggest that their body language had changed in ways that made them appear to be more confident.


Another study also found that people wearing a perfume showed changes in body language, which were related to perceptions of self-confidence – for example less touching of their hair and face. So next time you’re feeling a little nervous about a date, reach for your favourite fragrance and it may just give you a much-needed boost of self-confidence.

Even if your date can't smell it, you will feel more confident and fidget less if you wear perfume and deodorant to your meeting (stock image) 

Even if your date can’t smell it, you will feel more confident and fidget less if you wear perfume and deodorant to your meeting (stock image) 


Unsurprisingly, your personal grooming may have an effect on the way that you smell. One study found that individuals with unshaved armpits smelled more intense than those who were clean shaven. 

We often find that more intense smells are rated as less pleasant, so you might want to consider this when deciding whether shaving is right for you


Findings have shown that dominance, neuroticism and extraversion – which are all important personality traits when searching for a date – can all be rated relatively accurately from body odour. 

Studies have asked individuals to provide an odour sample and complete personality questionnaires. Others were then asked to rate the odour sample using the same questionnaire and the results were surprisingly accurate. It seems your natural instincts play a bigger role than you think.

Dating service Match is set to open a unique Central London pop-up store exploring the role of smell in finding and attracting a partner. Female visitors to ‘Eau.M.G.’ (‘Eau Mon Garcon’) will be able to sample six different bottled scents created from the natural odours of male Match members in the hope of sniffing out a partner. The store will be open for four days in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, helping to match new couples based on their instinctive attraction to the different pheromones bottled in each. Visit for more information about the shop, the singles and for a three-day free trial of Match