Scent has become essential.
American women now spend more than $2.5 million annually on fragrances, and more than 80 percent of women polled recently by Opinion Research Corp. reported that they regularly use perfume or cologne, and apply it more than once daily.
The research, commissioned by Self magazine, also found that the average woman owns five scents and is also likely to indulge in body creams and bath gels perfumed with with their favorite fragrances.
How are scent selections made? Simply on the aroma rather than the cachet of a designer or celebrity, the research found.
"Wearing scent to please yourself and the person you love, rather than as a 'man trap,' signals a healthy self-esteem among American women," Edwin T. Morris, a fragrance historian and consultant and aromatherapist, tells the magazine in its current issue.
As for men, 21 percent of those queried by a Fragrance Foundation/Gallup Organization survey said they use a particular cologne to entice women. And though single men say they splash on a fragrance regularly, the rate drops after they pair up.
And that's probably the way women prefer it. Only 22 percent polled say they find scents sexy on men.