How to get that irresistable scent
June 22, 2006 6:41 PM   Subscribe

Girls: How do you like a guy to smell? What products should I use?

Im asking this because I was thinking of looking into that body spray stuff because I think it may be more deodoranty than cologne and therefore better for everyday use because now that summers' started I may break into the odd sweat throughout the day and I dont intend to take a shower everytime that happens, but I also dont want to smell like sweat and I think I need something more than just deodorant...
Its happened to everyone: someone smells irresistable and you in turn find them irresistable based on nothing other than how they smell: so, what do you think they were using? Also ancient natural remedies welcome!
posted by GleepGlop to Health & Fitness (64 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I always get told that Axe is good, but how you interface with whatever scent you choose is important.
posted by SpecialK at 6:50 PM on June 22, 2006

Please (please) do not douse yourself in body spray. It's a serious turn-off (at least for me) and kind of puts a wall of odor between you and whatever girl you're trying to get involved with.

The best guy I ever smelled was wearing, believe it or not, a little bit of French lilac. It was really different, and smelled delicious on him. I'd say, experiment with different single-note scents and ask female friends to smell you (ladies love to smell guys and you'll know right away whether it's a good scent for you or not).
posted by nekton at 6:52 PM on June 22, 2006

Speaking on behalf of my wife of 19 years, she prefers (as do I) that I smell like me, which means I use only unscented products.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 6:56 PM on June 22, 2006

Agreed on the unscented products, extending even to deodorant.

Deodorant for men can smell really foul in a weird Old Spice way. Go for unscented Arm and Hammer anti-perspirant if you want one of those instead of a deodorant.
posted by brina at 7:00 PM on June 22, 2006

Hmm yes thats another factor, how much you put on. No I wont be dousing myself with anything.
posted by GleepGlop at 7:00 PM on June 22, 2006

I prefer my boyfriend to use scented shower gel as opposed to cologne or body spray. He smells really good with the pine type scents. But the biggest part of how fragrance reacts to you is your own pheremones and things, so try different things out.

I have to repeat what was said up thread, please don't douse yourself in a spray of any kind. If you must use a spray, spritz it once in front of you and then walk through it. Never spray it directly on youself.
posted by nadawi at 7:01 PM on June 22, 2006

Echoing nekton. For the love of all that's holy, stay away from body sprays. Nothing is grosser than a guy who smells like sweat and a cologne factory. A guy who just smells like sweat is infinitely preferable.

If you must use something, a very, very simple smell is best. Food smells are good--I could see a simple almond or spicy cinnamon/clove smell working great. I think The Body Shop and Aveda both have essential oil stations where you can mix and match a bunch of different scents to find one you like.

I actually stopped using scented deodorant myself (I'm a girl) because I would sweat pretty heavily, and then I'd smell of body odor and unbearably strong floral scent. Not pretty. Don't do that.
posted by fuzzbean at 7:09 PM on June 22, 2006

I use plain Ivory soap and have had several comments on how good I smell.
posted by Zebtron at 7:24 PM on June 22, 2006

I love that nice, clean ivory-type smell. But use the same thing all the time, so it reminds her of you.
posted by sweetkid at 7:27 PM on June 22, 2006

I second (or third) the lilac and also put a vote in for pine. Do wear deoderant tho. Sweaty male can be over powering.
posted by zia at 7:30 PM on June 22, 2006

TOTALLY don't douse yourself with shit!!!! Take showers, use soap, use deodorant, wash your clothes and we'll drool over you. Seriously. NOTHING smells sexier than a clean man without cologne.
posted by tristeza at 7:32 PM on June 22, 2006

Oh! I know this one!!

No cologne. No body spray.

Yes Flex Balsam shampoo (Revlon). It is très cheap and just wonderful. I have no idea what they are pretending that this should smell like (wood?), but it smells great, on men and to men, I have discovered. Just strong enough to be noticed, not so gross as to make you hate it after a little while.

(An old boyfriend always smelled great and it turned out it was Head and Shoulders shampoo, which I thought was very weird. But it was really nice.)
posted by theredpen at 7:36 PM on June 22, 2006

I love a man who smells clean. Unscented deodorant and Ivory, Irish Spring, some basic soap should do the trick. I love the soap I can only get a whiff of when my nose is right up near him.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 7:38 PM on June 22, 2006

Yep, please don't be taken in by adverts - clean smells better than cologne/aftershave any day.
posted by fish tick at 7:38 PM on June 22, 2006

Clean smell all the way. As an additional bonus, you'll make the lives of any people who have a sensitivity to perfumes much better.
posted by Meagan at 7:41 PM on June 22, 2006

My tastes run toward the nature boy, so I like scents that smell roughly like something I recognize from the actual world. So, wear some sort of unscented deodorant if you need to not sweat, but using pine tar soap/shampoo, or those cinnamon oatmeal soap bars, or practically anything made by Kiss My Face or things of the lemon/lavender variety (yes even for dudes, you can't really smell them much, there's just a hint of something interesting there). Sage and cedar smells are good, but for some people they're just a little too close to the patchouli/sandalwood school of supperhippiedom.
posted by jessamyn at 7:43 PM on June 22, 2006

I like Mitchum unscented deodorant sticks. They smell like absolutely nothing. Perfection.
posted by evariste at 7:46 PM on June 22, 2006

cool water by davidoff. mmmmm, heavenly.
posted by elle.jeezy at 7:49 PM on June 22, 2006

I can't advise you on what to use, but I would suggest once you find something that works, to stick to it. I get hit by a rush of memories every time I ever smell either cigarette smoke (college boyfriend) or Obsession for men (high school boyfriend). I haven't seen either of them for over ten years now, and normally they're both about as emotionally meaningful to me as a chapter on ancient Roman history, but the fragrance-memory connection is still unbelievably strong, and not entirely unwelcome.

But it does work both ways. Unfortunately I can't bear the smell of Ivory soap now, though, because a horrible creature who used to live in a frightening roominghouse where I lived always used it, not on himself (he was inevitably filthy) but to obsessively clean everything else. It's not a clean smell to me now - it's disgusting.
posted by orange swan at 7:57 PM on June 22, 2006

Tossing in my vote for preferred smell = clean. Shower regularly and if you must use a spray of some kind, find one that is light and smells like soap.
posted by saucy at 7:59 PM on June 22, 2006

If you do any scent--like a dab of something for a date--by all means, dab it under your ear. This female says there is nothing more divine than going in for a hug or a kiss and getting a secret whiff of something sexy.
posted by sian at 8:03 PM on June 22, 2006

Another vote for clean unperfumed smell, no cologne or body sprays. Smelling of your soap or shampoo is fine. Cologne seems, well, a bit cheesy.
posted by Joh at 8:04 PM on June 22, 2006

Definitely go with a nice high-end herbal scented soap and unscented deodorant. Lavender, for example, smells good on people of both genders. Avoid cologne - on men it generally just smells like some sort of industrial cleaning solution - I don't know why but most men who wear it, put on waaaay too much.

Oh, and go easy on eating garlic.
posted by echolalia67 at 8:29 PM on June 22, 2006

I am very sensitive to perfumes and colognes of any type. My fiance uses a very lightly scented body wash and everything else (deodorant, laundry detergent, lotion) is unscented. I love the clean smell. No cologne or body sprays please. Ugh.

He misses being able to use Gain to wash his clothes, but I let him take a stroll down the detergent aisle when we go grocery shopping. :)
posted by chiababe at 8:45 PM on June 22, 2006

Another member of the chorus for smelling clean checking in as it is the easiest thing to not screw up.

There are great colognes out there for guys but fragrance is such a personal thing that what makes you irresistable to me could turn the next girl off. Having said that, if the chemistry's right, I'm still a sucker for Eternity for Men, and my gay boyfriend wears Armani Mania, which seems to work on the boys and the girls. ;)
posted by phoenixc at 8:45 PM on June 22, 2006

If you go/went to a party school or something similar, Axe or Tag all the way. The smarter/more upper class your school or social circle there is less of a chance a body spray will be accepted. If you don't want to use bodyspray go for a distinctive body wash or shampoo if you want to have a particular smell about you.
posted by Suparnova at 8:53 PM on June 22, 2006

This is one of those questions that I never would have thought to ask, but am grateful that someone did.
posted by utsutsu at 8:58 PM on June 22, 2006

Irish Spring is great, when combined with the right pheromones.

I also happen to like certain varieties of Old Spice, however.
posted by limeonaire at 9:22 PM on June 22, 2006

There is nothing wrong with the smell of clean sweat. As long as you bathe or shower regularly, you'll be fine.
posted by brujita at 9:54 PM on June 22, 2006

I echo all the anti-cologne/body sprays voices. However, I dated a guy whose smell drove me crazy with lust... I had to smell all of his grooming products and eventually found that it was his lotion... plain ole Jergens. Mm-mm, good.
posted by tentacle at 9:55 PM on June 22, 2006

A guy who smells like soap drives me nuts!
posted by mileena at 10:05 PM on June 22, 2006

Grandpa's Pine Tar Soap is the greatest men's product ever. It makes you smell like baseball, and chicks dig the long ball!
posted by mikemonteiro at 10:17 PM on June 22, 2006

What brujita said. There's nothing wrong with the smell of fresh sweat. It's stale sweat that's gross. (Bacterial growth, primarily, is responsible for this.) Shower every day, keep your hair clean, avoid heavy (or any) scents, and you will smell good even if you get a little sweaty in between showers.
posted by jaed at 10:33 PM on June 22, 2006

a hint of old spice... it reminds girls of their dad / grandpa.
posted by maxpower at 11:38 PM on June 22, 2006

yuck! I don't want to be reminded of my dad and especially not my grandfather if i'm with someone romantically.

I will join in on the chorus of "just smell clean" regular body wash (maybe from the bathe and body works mens line, or the body shop or any other natural line) is enough. I love not being able to smell a man until they get close and then saying "wow you smell great!" the correct response to that is "I do? I just shower" or "It must be my freshly washed shirt" That's sexy!
posted by lannanh at 12:01 AM on June 23, 2006

Axe and Tag are great ways to filter out the kind of boy you already know you don't want to date.

They make a man smell of target market. Mmm, the scent of a "99 Most Grievous Extreme Self-Mutilations" viewer.

I like a clean soap smell, or a Jergen's lotion smell, or the kind of cologne that is so faint one must put their nose in the hollow of the neck to detect it.
posted by Sallyfur at 12:40 AM on June 23, 2006

My girlfriend (at a time the relationship was brand new) said she loved the way I smelled.

What worked for me was a subtle mixture of Axe bodyspray (Dimension or Click, everything else smells like lemon or ass) and Armani Mania EDT.

posted by slimepuppy at 1:48 AM on June 23, 2006

A guy I know always smells great, no matter what he wore. It was always kind of a mystery to me because I could definitely smell him but it was never overpowering - which can be difficult to do.
His wife told me the secret: One spritz of cologne over his shoulder and he would kind of walk back into it. One other spritz at knee level in front and walk forward.
Sounds really goofy but it worked for him. I could never smell him coming but the scent lingered when he left.
He also used unscented soaps etc and changed his cologne depending on his wardrobe - a really sophisticated scent with suits, something lighter but similar for casual clothes.
posted by jaimystery at 3:39 AM on June 23, 2006

Do not use Old Spice. Ever.
posted by essexjan at 4:22 AM on June 23, 2006

cool water by davidoff. mmmmm, heavenly.

I have no personal opinion on this, but a female friend of mine recently told me the following anecdote...

my friend: (sniffing) Ugh, what is that? Have you been using Cool Water?
some other person: What?....Oh no, my cat pissed on my backpack last week - I can't get the smell out.
my friend: Oh, right - thank god, I thought you'd gone crazy.

Make of that what you will...
posted by backOfYourMind at 4:24 AM on June 23, 2006

I've been complimented a couple times for purely using Irish Springs in the shower.
posted by Atreides at 4:40 AM on June 23, 2006

Its happened to everyone: someone smells irresistable and you in turn find them irresistable based on nothing other than how they smell

Because they clicked on an almost entirely genetic level that is nothing you can't emulate with smelly store products! I truly think the reason women like "clean smelling" men is because we can get at the true smell of a person. I know I'm a hypersensitive freak but I can often identify people by their smell, I'm sure to some extent this is true for a lot of people, even if its entirely subconscious. I'm not talking sweaty stink, but the natural scent everyone puts off that is a little different for each person.

So, yes, as said before: bathe regularly and do not use cologne!! Nothing is so entirely off-putting as getting close to a guy who then smells like fermented flowers or some other putrescence of chemical. Gah.

But, if you are hell bent on using some particular product: in a very informal survey of women I know, and it does comes up in conversation, Old Spice wins hands down as the best identifiable smell for a guy to have on him. Clearly, your mileage may vary, but this was my impression from over two dozen women and it worked for my boyfriend (plus his natural smell which was just perfect to my nose).
posted by nelleish at 4:47 AM on June 23, 2006

ack, nothing you CAN emulate.
posted by nelleish at 4:48 AM on June 23, 2006

The smell of fresh-from-the-laundry clothes and soap is perfect.

However, if you're going to do the cologne spray, spray it into the air and walk into it....naked (or at least with your shirt off). Let it dry, and make sure it doesn't get into your clothes. Do not use daily.

I knew guys in high school who'd OD on Cool Water. They'd spray it on themselves, and get it on their clothes. Clothes that they didn't wash everyday (jackets, pants). The smell accumulated, and everything they owned smelled like Cool Water. They couldn't smell it on themselves, because their noses were always filled with the scent of it. So, they sprayed more on. Do not do this.
posted by hooray at 5:33 AM on June 23, 2006

Seconding slimepuppy on the Armani Mania eau de toilette for men, it's so good. Fresh but intense, such a nice blend. Acqua di Gio is excellent too, but a little sharper for the bergamot. This one's very nice too. Ok, any Armani fragrance for men. Sorry I sound like an advertiser.

Basic cheap supermarket-brand unscented shower gel (or lightly scented, the kind that you can only smell during and right after the shower, then fades away) + unscented roll-on or cream deodorant plus very light touch of good perfume on the neck area - that's what I think works best.

Sure you spend more for a designer fragrance than a bottle of Axe but it smells tons better, has no chemical-smelling crap in it, and you use it less so it lasts longer.

I hate with a passion anything smelling strongly of sandalwood or pine. I have no idea how Old Spice smells, from the sound of it I'm not missing much!
posted by funambulist at 5:45 AM on June 23, 2006

Do any guys over the age of 17 actually use Axe?

Another vote for Ivory in the shower and unscented Mitchum to kill any potential sweat smells. That stuff is scary effective.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:45 AM on June 23, 2006

I like shower gel (I tend to pick out the white ones for my husband - oatmeal and honey, coconut milk, something like that but not vanilla, which has been rejected) for smelling clean plus a little extra something. There is also this $3 Gillette after shave lotion, which smells really neutrally good but you have to get in close to smell it. Which is the point, isn't it?

I have gotten him a couple of Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs scents that are more in the leather/tobacco range without any perfumey-chemical foofiness, and a dash of that is very nice. All that Axe stuff smells like grandmother to me, that powderiness.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:47 AM on June 23, 2006

Not a girl, but whenever I smell Acqua di Gio I instantly think "clubby douchebag with crusty gel-hair and shiny shirt". If it's in the city at night I'd say I'm right 75% of the time.

For the record I like:

1) Green Speed stick applied every other day (on a girl this KILLS ME).

2) Black pepper. Not a cologne, but literally pepper. Seriously. Rub some on your hands and then shake it off. That's how a man should smell.

I should qualify this by saying I also went through a phase where I brewed my coffee with cayenne pepper so maybe it's just me. And I sort of like the smell of BO.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:52 AM on June 23, 2006

CunningLinguist, 24 here and yes. But I use it in moderation and generally complement it with something nicer. (as mentioned earlier)

Then again over here in the UK it's called Lynx, so god only knows if what I'm recommending smells the same over the pond.

It is completely personal. (I get wobbly at the knees when a lady wears Oceanus perfume.) Most importantly people should never ignore the power of olfactory sensations, no matter what your preference is.
posted by slimepuppy at 7:03 AM on June 23, 2006

Man, didn't know there were so many hatin' on the cologne here at Metafilter. I'm a fan of cologne as long as it's subtle (that's the same for women as well). I used to go crazy over Escape for Men, but it's been years so I might not like it anymore.

I had a boyfriend who wore some sort of Mountain Fresh deodorant. I think it was by Mitchum. It was amazing.

I think the most important thing is to be aware of how you're smelling and to take precautions and/or action. I've met quite a few men who don't seem to have any idea that a Pigpen-like cloud of body odor is surrounding them.
posted by witchstone at 7:03 AM on June 23, 2006

Well, my GF might be odd, but this is the combo she likes. If you're trying to impress a woman by this alone, you'll need to know BEFOREHAND what she likes because they're all different (I just struck that part lucky, since it's all I had anyways):

- Lectric shave original
- Adidas Dynamic Pulse Body Spray

However, I can assure you, that combo is probably a rare thing for a woman to like. Lucky for me it's dirt cheap...
posted by shepd at 7:05 AM on June 23, 2006

Go light on the Old Spice.
posted by onepapertiger at 7:07 AM on June 23, 2006

I would bear in mind that people answering this question on mefi are very unlikely to be representative of the population at large. I'm not so sure your average girl is so much into the clean/soap-only thing.
posted by reklaw at 7:23 AM on June 23, 2006

The GF buys me Nivea for Men roll on deodorant at the european food store, and I love it. Its just a "clean" smell, only mild perfume, and does the trick.

Also, Emporio Armani. Never met a girl that didn't love it.

Axe/Tag/etc. smell like cheap.
posted by kableh at 8:07 AM on June 23, 2006

I've always preferred just a good aftershave smell to anything else.
posted by agregoli at 8:44 AM on June 23, 2006

AXE/TAG: The smell of desperation.
posted by Wild_Eep at 9:08 AM on June 23, 2006

I knew a guy in college that could get any woman's number if he got close enough for them to smell him. His secret was Ivory soap and Pantene shampoo. (Extra bonus - silkiest hair in the world!)
posted by synapse at 9:29 AM on June 23, 2006

Whatever Abercrombie sells - something woodsy smelling. When hubsby wears that out on our date, I gots to get home now.
posted by orangemiles at 9:36 AM on June 23, 2006

If you can find it, I swear by Burt's Bees Herbal Deodorant. It's basically just some sage and lemon oils, mixed with a little alcohol to make it sprayable. Not overpowering in the least.
posted by al_fresco at 10:00 AM on June 23, 2006

The real answer is going to depend on how any scents react with your body chemistry. Take 2 people at random and have them put on the exact same fragrance and they can (and probably will) smell vastly different.

I'd say start with clean everything as a base, neutral soap and laundry, unscented deoderant (mitchum is hand down the best unscented deoderant in my anecdotal experience), and then layer any scents on top of that. Like a painter would start with a blank canvas...

With that that in mind you are going to have to actually try colognes on your skin. Sure, use the spray cards most deparment/beauty shops will have for sampling, but when you narrow it down to a few, make sure you walk around with a good spray on your skin for a day. The character of any halfways decent scent will change over the course of the day.

And for the love of god stay far, far away from Axe/Tag/Lynx; it is far, far too strong and chemical smelling.

Look here for plenty of good info:
posted by 1024x768 at 11:37 AM on June 23, 2006

Second the Adidas Body Spray. I'm very clean, clothes clean, the only thing I do is spray on the Adidas like normal deodorant. I can't tell you how many women have asked me how I smell so good.
posted by patrickje at 2:13 PM on June 23, 2006

Count me as another girl whose a fan of subtly worn cologne - so much so that I dabbed a bit of Issey Miyake for men on my wrists for a few years. On men, I prefer nature/woodsy scents to spicy ones. Chanel's Allure for men is nice.
posted by sophie at 4:23 PM on June 23, 2006

Bee and Flower Sandalwood scented soap. Available for cheapcheap at asian grocers.
posted by ersatzkat at 7:36 PM on June 23, 2006

Cologne is gross. Body spay is disgusssstttinggg.

That said, I love the way Old Spice deodorant smells on guys. You only smell it when you get close, and its delicious.
posted by radioamy at 12:57 PM on June 24, 2006

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