Does Cologne Make You More Attractive?

Cologne makes you more attractive according to science. The type of cologne you wear is important as well since mass-pleasing perfumes are generally perceived as attractive. These colognes are typically made with pleasant notes such as vanilla or lavender.

It is generally assumed that cologne makes you more attractive. Cologne brands’ marketing says both men and women are more sexually attractive while wearing cologne. The science on this assumption is split, however.

But can cologne make you more attractive? It does make you more attractive, how many ‘attraction points’ do you get or how do you quantify this attraction in the first place? This article looks deeper into these questions.

Do guys wear cologne to impress? This is always one of the first questions I get asked following my fragrance passion. I wear colognes for me. Most of them aren’t even that mass-appealing as I love niche colognes and unusual scents, as described by friends. I can’t speak for all men, but when a guy wears cologne around you, it has something to do with general attractiveness.

We’ve often been told that the right cologne is the cherry on the cake of a good outfit.

Women can appear more attractive while wearing perfume as well. Most guys have something to say about women who wear a pleasant cologne and they even see it as a good opportunity to give a compliment.

Cologne and attraction – the never-ending debate

Cologne and attraction are matters that are difficult to quantify. They are part of the subjective nature of life where everybody sees them differently. Much like art, colognes are rarely either loved or hated by everybody in the same way.

Yet, we know that scents that arouse women include vanilla, cinnamon, and lavender. Perfumes for sexual attraction include plenty of vanilla, ambergris, and cinnamon. Perfumes to attract females were historically made with plenty of lavender. ‘Perfumes that turn ladies on’ are generally referred to as mass-pleasing perfumes that are sweet and fresh. There are even books written on the best perfumes to attract females.

Does science say anything about cologne and perceived attraction?

Guys and girls wear cologne to work. It’s now the case that cologne isn’t stocked for special occasions as it was often the case with the aristocracy. Perfumes are worn daily.

A study on fragrances shows perfume does improve attraction level, but a bit differently than you might think. This research says perfume reacts with body odor and it’s this final reaction that can qualify as attractive. Women rated men who wore perfumes but the same perfume can be interpreted differently from one person to another. This is why always advocated finding the right fragrance for you, even if you know this might not be a perfume that works for somebody else.

Science says perfume makes you more attractive.

Another study says it’s not about the perfume but about how it makes you feel. Men were the subjects of this study as well. It turns out men behaved in a self-confident way while wearing perfume. They even thought they were more attractive to women during the study. Most women found men sexually attractive according to this study.

Of course, these studies should be taken with a grain of salt. It’s obvious men are going to be more self-aware if they are part of a study. You alter your behavior if you know someone is watching you.

But the conclusion according to science is that perfume makes you more attractive. A deeper understanding of the scientific literature involves thinking about how perfume reacts with your body’s odor and with your skin.

This is where the line needs to be drawn. Cologne makes women and men more attractive when it blends well with the natural body odor.

‘Bro science’ and cologne attractiveness

If science says all those who wear perfume are attractive, why are some people turned off by the smell of cologne?

This is one of those questions with no direct answers in science.

While there are scents that arouse women, there are also perfumes that turn women off. A bad smell certainly won’t help your attraction level. But a good smell can improve your perceived level of attraction. Still, even the best vanilla perfume or lavender perfume scent can seem unattractive to some.

In my view, there are 2 main reasons why people don’t like perfume (apart from allergies and triggering reactions).

  1. People aren’t used to cologne scents

People are subject to tradition, habits, and their own beliefs. We always interpret the world according to how we were in our childhood years, teens, and so on.

Some of these interpretations shape our sense of smell. If you used to play next to daisies as a child, you are likely to be found to their smell. If you used to smell perfume all the time as a child, you are much more aware of what you like, what you don’t like. Most importantly, you become less reactive to the smell of perfume on someone.

  1. Untrained scent distinction

Does a good wine taste good to somebody who doesn’t know wine? Or does good wine taste good to a person who doesn’t like wine? Probably note. No matter how good or how expensive a certain wine is, most people can’t truly appreciate it in all of its glory.

The same applies to cologne. You know you are wearing a very good cologne, a masterful blend of notes, and a ray of sunshine to your day. But some people don’t like it. The case may be that they don’t know how to perceive it. To them, it’s just perfume.


The truth is somewhere between bro science and actual science when it comes to becoming more attractive by wearing cologne. Not everybody is going to perceive cologne on a person as attractive. But some people are going to like it. In this case, ‘like’ is defined as ‘sexually attractive. But as cologne fans, we know that not all types of perfume are made for sexual attraction.

Some are made with a nostalgic blend of notes that may have nothing to do with attraction. Science still has to catch up with the nuances in perfumery. Truth be told, this might never happen given just how many faces cologne has. Until then, we spray cologne knowing existing research says it makes us more attractive, but only if it blends well with our body’s natural odor.