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I Tried Pheromone Perfume to See If It Could Make Me a Sex Magnet

With nothing to lose and all the cuties to gain, I put the TikTok-viral pheromone oil to the test.
Pure instinct pheromone review
Composite by VICE Staff

It’s not every day that I get a compliment on my toes, my outfit, and my teeth. But it’s also not every day that I’m dripping in extra pheromones, which is what happened when I doused myself in Pure Instinct’s pheromone oil in the hopes of having a weekend filled with even more competitive flirting than normal. 

For context: Pheromones, aka the chemical compounds released by animals to elicit specific responses and reactions from other animals, are powerful shit in the wild—but I wanted to try them in the concentrated form of a fragrance to see whether their powers could truly be harnessed in practical, horny ways. They’re evolutionary olfactory magic at its finest; an invisible mode of non-verbal communication that the science folk in this article in the National Library of Medicine could tell you a lot more about, and which I’ll sum up for us horny layfolk in simpler terms: pheromones are the parts of your natural musk that help you get laid. I don’t feel like my natural pheromones are on the fritz. I would assume they’re continuing to do what they do best, which is send chemical signals to other humans to let them know that I, too, am a human, and also maybe a human they want to make out with. 


I tried this ambrosia as we approached spring, the horniest season, and a time when all stops must be pulled out to smash and be smashed to the heavens, or at least until the cold winds of Cuffing Season roll in. I had one to two more months left until I hit that 85 degree weather, started pounding nutcrackers, and engaging in all of the socially active scenarios summer entails. Even my TikTok algorithm knows this, because I was getting served countless viral videos about Pure Instinct’s pheromone perfume, with one user citing it as her hack to finally getting asked out in a Target. So I decided to give it a test run through various situations—some planned, some spontaneous—to see if it could actually turn me into a Don Juan for the weekend. 

$16.95 at Amazon

$16.95 at Amazon

I initially wanted to explore a few different pheromone perfume options (and considered vabbing for hot a second), but I kept coming back to Pure Instinct’s unisex perfume blend thanks to its impassioned reviews and affordable pricing (the classic perfume is just over $16). 

The reviews were also encouraging. “Insaaaaane,” one reviewer writes on Amazon, God’s largest digital marketplaces and the esteemed vendor of meat-themed socks and large puppet claws. If ever there were a place to find and vet the TikTok-viral perfume, I knew it would be there. “My dog is currently attempting to dry hump my leg as I type this,” one of the perfume's 79,800-plus reviewers explained. “I thought I was caught in The Matrix,” wrote another. It elicited such a range of experiences, ranging from the lightly horny (husband and wife bone more than usual) to the absurd (woman fantasizes about becoming the “Werewolf-Zombie-Apocalypse-Queen” due to the perfume’s power), that I knew it was the true musky king of pheromone-slinging products. 

pure instincts perfume

Photo by Author

First impressions

I started applying my Pure Instinct perfume on a Thursday night, which is one of the horniest times of the week, as it edges Friday. The aroma was definitely distinct, and unlike any perfume I’ve smelled before. Maybe that’s because the “pheromones [are] imported from Italy,” as Pure Instinct explains in its ingredient list breakdown, which also includes soybean oil, safflower, and grapeseed oil. Or, maybe it’s because the aroma is subject to change depending on how it interacts with your body’s own natural oils. Personally, I think I smelled like a blend of lightly herbaceous oils, and the sweat that comes off of your ceramic plate at IHOP once you get to the bottom of the dollar pancake pile (aka horny and warm). 

I was feeling pretty fuggo that night, because I had destroyed a bunch of Bush Administration-era zits on my face the day before. Still, I agreed to grab a few drinks with friends in a Bushwick bar. It was hard to see if the perfume was having any effect, initially—no one was being mean to me (working?) but no one was showering me with rubies (not working?), and it wasn’t until the evening’s end that a nice dude in a ponytail and an Iron Maiden shirt asked for my number, and I started to wonder if there was really something to my secret tincture. I felt not only flattered, but more like a wizard than usual—two big wins in my book. 


What was rad

Over the course of the next few days, I wore a dab of my oil while doing activities that were a little more blasé, in order to test it outside of the typically hornier environment of a bar. I wore it while grocery shopping and dropping off a disposable camera; I wore it to the park, and to the laundromat, where I shared another unexpected romantic moment with a curly haired angel. 

“Big load?” they said, as I hoisted my IKEA bag of socks over my shoulder. I took them up on their offer for a stick of gum, and debated asking them to carry my laundry home “to my locker.” But, fearful of becoming a horny despot, I calmed myself down instead and walked away. 

After totaling up all my Flirt Points from the weekend, I was surprised to see that every single day could claim at least one romantic interaction, if not more, which was pretty impressive. Granted, sometimes that interaction was the neighborhood lowrider cyclist, telling me I had “rocking toes”; other times it was a totally unexpected number exchange from a hot rando—but all times, it was so enjoyable. 

What was tricky

I’m a very committed perfume-wearer, and rarely stray from my signature scent, which is a musky but clean cologne from the Icelandic perfumery Fischersund. By comparison, this scent might not be my absolute go-to were it not for its remarkable ability to attract hot people with ponytails. Now that I know the ~effects~ of the pheromone oil, I’m considering blending the two together to see what could happen. 


There’s no time to be wasted on the streets of New York City when it comes to flirting, period, but especially now that it’s peak-winter/hibernation season. As a consumer, I’m always wary of snake oil products and gummies/chocolate that promise to amp up your sex drive with a blend of self-described adaptogenic ingedients and vitamins—simply put, there’s a lot to get lost in. But as a horny consumer, I’m down to give anything a go, especially when it has so many raving testimonials online, and a #pheromoneperfume hashtag with over 45 million views. At around $16, I had little to lose and everything to gain. 

Was it the confidence? The pheromones? The mercy of God’s large puppet claw, pushing me together with my newfound weekend crushes before Cuffing Season? I did have a noticeably more flirtatious weekend wearing Pure Instinct, and placebo effect or not, I consider myself a convert.

Pure Instinct Pheromone Infused Essential Oil is available for purchase on Amazon.

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