Here are answers to questions about what pheromones are, what they can do for you, and how to use them. To purchase Pherone’s highly-effective pheromone cologne formulas, click here. For our FAQ on ordering and shipping, click here.

Do you have a question about pheromones or about Pherone Formulas which isn’t answered here? If so, send your question to Due to the volume of mail we receive we cannot answer all questions individually, but we will add answers to this page on a regular basis.

What are pheromones?

Pheromones are small organic molecules which act as a form of chemical communication between two animals of the same species. They are typically secreted onto the skin or hair, and then travel through the air and have an effect when inhaled. Very tiny amounts of pheromones can have large effects when inhaled.

There is a special organ in the nose called the vomeronasal organ (or VNO) which detects and reacts with pheromones, though recent research shows that pheromones may be able to work even without interacting with the VNO. You do not have to smell a pheromone to be affected by it – it has been shown that even very tiny quantities which are too diluted to have any odor still have an effect on the brain.

There are several types of pheromones which have been identified:

  • Primer pheromones – these cause a shift in the hormonal system of the receiver.In 1971 researcher Martha McClinock (now at University of Chicago) published a study showing that menstrual cycles of women who lived together became synchronized. This was later shown to be caused by pheromones.
  • Releaser pheromones – these can produce specific behavior patterns, such as sexual attraction, avoidance, etc.In many lower animals, small amounts of releaser pheromones are sufficient to cause the animal to behave in a certain way. The first pheromone, which was discovered in 1956, was a sex attractant releaser pheromone for silkworm moths which causes male moths to beat their wings rapidly in a mating “flutter dance”. This eliciting of specific behavior has not been demonstrated in more complex animals like humans.
  • Information pheromones – these convey information about the individual producing the pheromones to the individual receiving them.This information can include social status, health status, sexual status, youth or age, etc.
  • Additionally pheromones can have other effects, such as producing feelings of calmness, happiness, stimulation, or, if misused, anxiety.

What can pheromones do for me?

Some people find that others don’t notice them, or on the other hand that they have too much physical presence and make other people anxious. Some people want more attention or respect from members of the opposite or same sex. Some want to make others feel relaxed and comfortable in their presence.

In all these situations, the right combination of pheromones, applied properly can help.

In our own research, we’ve found that different people benefit from different combinations of pheromones. That’s why we don’t just have one formula for men and one for women — people are different and they need different formulas to get the effects they desire.

Can pheromones increase my attractiveness?

Studies show that they can. Used properly, pheromones can help others to see you as attractive, high-status, youthful, or easy to talk to. They can facilitate conversations, interest and positive feelings. All of these can increase attractiveness.

Can pheromones increase the amount of sexual interactions I experience?

Yes. Numerous studies have shown significant increases in sexual attractiveness and in sexual activities when certain pheromones are used.

In a recent study with one of our Pherone Formulas for Men to Attract Women, we found that 70% of the men in the study got more attention from women and 60% got more sexual activity.

Can pheromones control other people?

No, pheromones can’t control other people. As we mentioned before (see “What are pheromones?”), there is no evidence for the existence of human releaser-pheromones which elicit specific behaviors. On the other hand, there is ample evidence for the effectiveness of human information pheromones and mood-affecting pheromones. So while pheromones can’t control people, they can affect them in a positive or negative way. This is why pheromones must be used with care – the same pheromone can case a positive or negative reaction depending on how much of it is used!

Is there something wrong with using pheromones?

Pherone believes that the responsible use of pheromones is reasonable and proper. Pheromones only do what perfumes, eye-makeup, hairstyles, clothing and posture do – make subtle positive changes in the impression a person makes on other people. To the extent that pheromones make others feel good, they benefit not only the wearer, but everyone he comes in contact with.

Is androstenone the pheromone to get?

Androstenone is the most commonly found pheromone on the market, but it’s not the one that works best for every situation. Many manufacturers claim that their products contain “the most” androstenone and that androstenone is what everyone should get.

In fact, androstenone is a male pheromone mainly useful for attracting attention and creating a powerful or dominant aura. In people who already produce a lot of their own androstenone or who actually are powerful and dominant, adding more androstenone is likely to make them seem overbearing and threatening rather than more attractive.

Women also respond to androstenone differently at different times of the month. Some studies have shown that women have a negative response to androstenone during times when they are menstruating or close to those times.

Formulas which only include androstenone don’t take advantage of the unique and powerful effects of other pheromones. Androstenol, for example, has been shown to elevate luteinizing hormone in women who are exposed to it, and luteinizing hormone is an indicator of sexual desire.

Androstenone also is not the best pheromone for women to use if they want to attract men, although small amounts can be useful for creating an aura of power.

What are copulins?

Copulins are pheromones which are composed of aromatic compounds found in vaginal secretions. (Note that the copulins used by Pherone are entirely synthetic, as are all our pheromones.)

Research has shown that:

  • When men inhale copulins it can increase their testosterone levels by about 150%, almost instantaneously.
  • In the presence of copulins, men judge women to be more attractive.

This means that copulins can be useful for women to use to attract men, and for men to use on themselves to temporarily increase their testosterone levels.

Not all copulins are created equal however: for maximum pheromone effect, a precise ratio of specific aromatic compounds must be maintained. This set of compounds and ratios simulates a young, fertile woman at her time of ovulation.

What do pheromones smell like?

Here are a few interesting facts about the way pheromones smell:

  • Pheromones work in very minute concentrations — they are effective even in amounts too small to smell.
  • Pheromones are sexually dimorphic in terms of odor perception. In other words, male pheromones usually have more of an odor to men, and more of an effect on women. Female pheromones usually have more of an odor to women and more of an effect on men.
  • Pheromones which smell bad to men may smell good to women, and vice versa.
  • Some pheromones seem to always smell good to women, while others (androstenone, for example) smell bad to women except during the time of the month when they are ovulating.
  • About 40%-50% of men cannot smell androstenone, so be careful: It’s easy to over-apply when you can’t smell it!

What pheromones does Pherone use?

We use a variety of pheromones in our Pherone Formulas. These include androstenone, androstenol and androsterone, as well as other compounds which are proprietary.

We don’t disclose our formulas because we have invested considerable time and effort into the research required to create them. But we do promise that you will find Pherone Formulas to be the most effective pheromones available. We guarantee it!

Are the pheromones in Pherone Formulas human pheromones?

Pherone Formulas contain synthesized pheromones which are identical to pheromones secreted by humans. All pheromones used by Pherone have been verified through sophisticated analytical techniques and are at least 98% pure.

What are the ingredients of Pherone Formulas?

Pherone uses top-quality ingredients with no compromises. Our pheromone formulas contain dipropylene glycol (a food-grade mosturizing compound), purified water and research-quality pheromones. Nothing else. We do not use denatured alcohol or any other toxic substances. Our pheromones are at least 98% pure, as verified by continuous analytical monitoring, and our purity rates are typically over 99%.

Our copulin products are formulated using research-grade aromatic compounds which are at least 99% pure.

What is the shelf-life of Pherone Formulas?

The pheromones used in Pherone Formulas are relatively stable compounds, and have a shelf life of approximately 3 years from the date of purchase. After 3 years, the products will still work, though potency may be reduced.

What do Pherone Formulas smell like?

Pherone Formulas contain only pheromones (and/or copulins, in the case of Formulas W-1 and W-9). There are no other fragrances added.

This means that Pherone Formulas smell like pheromones. See above for more information on What do pheromones smell like?

Some people like the smell of pheromones, others prefer to disguise their smell by using a cologne or essential oil “cover scent”, particularly when using formulas containing androstenone or copulins. A number of our female customers have reported that they enjoy the smell of pheromones, particularly of Pherone Formula V-5.

Are Pherone formulas suitable for vegetarians?

All pheromones used in Pherone Formulas are synthesized without the use of any animal-derived products. You can consider Pherone Formulas to be vegan, suitable for all vegetarians.

Pherone does no animal testing. All our products are “cruelty-free”!

What's the best way to wear Pherone Formulas?

We recommend that you start with one to two dabs applied to clothing, and never use more than one to two drops.

A dab is obtained by inverting the Pherone Formula bottle and wetting a fingertip with it, then rubbing the fingertip on the clothing or skin. A drop is a drop as dispensed by the dropper bottle.

Note that pheromones applied to clothing stay on the clothing for a period of time. They may persist even through two or three washings, so be careful not to apply too much. Build-up especially of Pherone Formulas containing androstenone can lead to an over-application.

If you choose to apply to the skin, the best way to fully remove the pheromones is by using a pad or cotton ball moistened with rubbing alcohol.

What studies confirm that pheromones and Pherone Formulas really work?

Here are some references which support the statements made on this site about pheromones and Pherone formulas. The following is not meant to be complete, but gives an idea of the kind of studies which Pherone has used to develop our products. Information about our own proprietary studies is also included below.

  • Activity of human pheromones, efficacy in sexual attraction
    The fact that human pheromones exist and have powerful effects in several areas, including sexual attraction, has been demonstrated in a variety of studies.
    Incresed attractiveness:A clearly titled paper, “Evidence that androstadienone, a putative human chemosignal, modulates women’s attributions of men’s attractiveness” (Hormones and Behavior Volume 54, Issue 5, November 2008, Pages 597-601) concludes, “We tested the effects of androstadienone at a speed-dating event in which men and women interacted in a series of brief dyadic encounters. Men were rated more attractive when assessed by women who had been exposed to androstadienone, an effect that was seen in two out of three studies. The results suggest that androstadienone can influence women’s attraction to men, and also that research into the modulatory effects of androstadienone should be made within ecologically valid contexts.”
    In the abstract of the article Effect of putative male pheromones on female ratings of male attractiveness: Influence of oral contraceptives and the menstrual cycle (Neuroendocrinology Letters 2002), the authors state, “The results of this study suggest that exposure to natural male axillary pheromones can significantly enhance female perceptions of various aspects of male attractiveness”.
    For a better background in pheromone research, this review article, Human Pheromones: Integrating Neuroendocrinology and James V. Kohl, Michaela Atzmueller, Bernhard Fink & Karl Grammer (Neuroendocrinology Letters 2001) is a good starting point. In their conclusion they state that, “Human life and interactions are influenced by pheromones whether or not affect or effect are part of our consciousness.”
    In another excellent overview, “Human pheromones and sexual attraction” (European Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Reproductive Biology, Volume 118, Issue 2 , Pages 135-142, 1 February 2005), the authors state in their abstract that: “…recent studies have found that pheromones may play an important role in the behavioural and reproduction biology of humans.” In their conclusion, they go further and say that, “Human sociosexual interactions are influenced by pheromones, even if they cannot be detected consciously.”
  • Copulins: increase testosterone by 150%
    This result comes from a study by Astrid Jütte of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Urban Ethology at the University of Vienna. An English language summary of the article was unpublished and is no longer online, but it is discussed in the above referenced paper “Human pheromones and sexual attraction”, which is available here.
    Another study also found that female pheromones increase men’s testosterone levels. In the abstract of “Scent of a Woman Men’s Testosterone Responses to Olfactory Ovulation Cues” by Saul Miller, Department of Psychology, Florida State University (Psychological Science February 2010 vol. 21 no. 2 276-283) the author notes, “Men exposed to the scent of an ovulating woman subsequently displayed higher levels of testosterone than did men exposed to the scent of a nonovulating woman or a control scent. Hence, olfactory cues signaling women’s levels of reproductive fertility were associated with specific endocrinological responses in men—responses that have been linked to sexual behavior and the initiation of romantic courtship.”
  • Pheromones: elevate mood in women, cause relaxation
    One such result was published by Martha McClintock, the David Lee Shillinglaw Distinguished Service Professor in Psychology at the University of Chicago, Horm Behav. 2000 Feb;37(1):57-78, Psychological state and mood effects of steroidal chemosignals in women and men. They state that, “In a second experiment on women, we replicated that Delta4,16-androstadien-3-one modulated their general mood state, even when women were not aware of its odor and gave identical olfactory descriptions for the steroid and the control carrier solutions.” They also say that these compounds are “psychologically potent”.
    Similar results for other putative pheromonal compounds have been found by other researchers.
    For example, as early as 1990, it was identified that androstenol, then called “Osmone 1” had a relaxing effect on women, as described in the article “A whiff of happiness: Can smelling a molecule contained in human sweat ease anxiety and stress? Some scientists think so, and argue that ‘osmotherapy’ may also help people to slim or stop smoking” (New Scientist Magazine, issue 1730, 25 August 1990), “Researchers in the University of Warwick’s chemistry department believe the answer is to sniff the ‘body’s own remedy’, a steroid molecule in human sweat which they claim alters mood much as tranquillisers do.”
  • Androstenol: affects the hypothalamus (sex center) of the brain, not the olfactory (smell center)
    Ivanka Savic at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden performed PET scans of the brains of heterosexual women who were exposed to androstenol and found that “Androstenol caused activation of a portion of the hypothalamus, which according to animal data mediates the pheromone triggered mating behavior”. Androstenol – a Steroid Derived Odor Activates the Hypothalamus in Women (PLoS One. 2010; 5(2): e8651.)
  • Androstenone as an alpha-male pheromone
    In the literature, Filsinger EE, Braun JJ, Monte WC., (Percept Mot Skills 1990; 70:216–8) Sex differences in response to the odor of alpha androstenone, found that some men gave a more positive rating to other men in the presence of androstenone. Some studies have shown a female preference for androstenone, while other studies have found that women respond negatively to this pheromone except when they are ovulating (see: Maiworm RE. Influence of androstenone, androstenol, menstrual cycle, and oral contraceptives on the attractivity ratings of female probands. Paper presented at the Ninth Congress of ECRO; 1990). Many users of androstenone have anecdotally reported positive results. Pherone has conducted its own study of the activity of androstenone, and has found that some sub-populations within the study achieved positive results with androstenone.
  • Pheromones as “spacers” or territorial markers.
    That other men will “stand aside” or give space to someone as a result of pheromones has often been noted anecdotally, and is supported by studies such as Gustavson AR, Dawson ME, Bonett DG. Androstenol, a putative human pheromone, affects human (Homo sapiens) male choice performance. (J Comp Psychol 1987; 101:210-212)
  • Pherone’s own studies
    Some results from Pherone’s own research studies are cited on this web site. Pherone conducts proprietary studies which are designed to help us verify and increase the efficacy of our products, and to determine which population sub-groups can most benefit from specific product formulas.
    Pherone does not represent that our studies are independently verified. We do, however, conduct our studies in good faith and report our results accurately.

For more information on Pherone Pheromone Cologne Formulas, go to our Products Section.