The Problem With Pheromone-Infused Soap

God bless stock imagery. Photo: iStockphoto

Dial is making soap infused with synthesized pheromones called Dial for Men Magnetic Attraction Enhancing Body Wash. The soap is supposed to attract women. Apparently Dial does not make a version of this soap for ladies, possibly either because women don't need extra pheromones to get lucky or because they just don't give a crap about us. Anyway, scientists cannot determine whether these fake pheromones actually work. Real pheromones are still a bit of a mystery. But back to the soap: Dial did a test where blindfolded women smelled scent strips rubbed on men who had either just showered with a body wash containing the synthesized pheromones, showered with a pheromone-free body wash, or had just worked up a sweat and not bathed (yum!). The women were asked to decide, based on the scent strips, who they were attracted to. One woman chose a guy who had used Dial's magic soap. “In appearance and personality he was not someone I would otherwise be convinced to go out with,” she told the Times. Well yes, but she didn't get to look at him or talk to him — she just smelled a piece of paper that had been rubbed on him. Let's hear from an expert:

“For humans, though, it’s usually love at first sight, not love at first smell,” said Dr. Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist. “There are many factors to sex appeal, and romance and scent is among them. But from studying the brain, I would argue that our brains are largely built for visual stimuli.”

While Dr. Fisher believes pheromones may not initially be an aphrodisiac, someone’s scent can certainly be a turnoff, or a turn-on, once courtship has been established, she said.

So if you're not hot, the pheromone soap won't help you get women. Unless you are pursuing the blind.

Banking on a Chemical Reaction [NYT]