The research looked into the fragrance-buying habits of 146 women in the Netherlands and the US, and found that their current fragrance choice was not a matter to be shared – rather guarded like a best-kept secret.
Although the study findings, which are published in the journal Food Quality and Preference and targeted at student fragrance designers, will be of no surprise to women, the male researchers involved in the academic research expressed surprise and fascination at what was news to them.
This is only news to males
A female member of the research team – who refused to share the secret of her favorite fragrance -gives her male colleagues the wake-up call she believes they need.
"Buying perfume for another woman is like buying a swimsuit for someone else," said BYU campus news manager Emily Hellewell.
"Swimsuits, like perfume choices, are very personal and it's not a gift you would give a friend."
What to think of women gifting fragrance to one another…
Underlining the taboo of women sharing fragrance or even gifting it, the study findings point to the fact that the women gifting a fragrance either does not like herself or no longer values the perfume in question.
The research goes further to suggest that a woman gifting another woman fragrance may even suggest the recipient has a negative smell that they need to address.
"Women treasure fragrances as a vital pillar of their personal identity," said Bryan Howell, co-author of the report, and who also states that he came across the ‘revelation’ when he was researching information about fragrance-packaging preferences.
"They may use the same fragrance for many years, and some women keep their fragrance choice a secret so their friends won't wear it."
Women will buy fragrance for men though
Howell also points out further research findings that suggest if a woman likes a fragrance she will either buy it for herself or a close male friend or family member or a boyfriend. But a fragrance they dislike may end up being gifted to another woman.
"While women hold fragrances as personally intimate and respect other women's intimate choices, they happily want to influence what fragrances men wear," Howell said.
"Assuming it is for a spouse or boyfriend, they want to pick fragrances they also like since they'll be around that person often."