Fawad Khan
Fawad KhanVarinder Chawla

If men out there are always confused about what women find masculine, a new study conducted by the University of Stirling in Scotland shows the way.

According to the study, a man who applies deodorant would be found more masculine by women as compared to a man who doesn't wear a deodorant. Interestingly, it found said that women rated the odour as a more significant determinant of masculinity than a man's facial features.

The researchers engaged 130 female and male participants, who were asked to rate the level of masculinity and femininity of facial features by seeing photographs. An additional 239 men and women were asked to rate the masculinity and femininity of the opposite sex based on odour samples.

While a majority of men found women who smelled good attractive, even women prioritised odour masculinity above facial masculinity, the study found.

The research also said that women appear to be more smell-sensitive than men. However, men improved their masculinity ratings when they applied deodorants. Men who were low in face masculinity significantly increased their odour masculinity by applying a deodorant, but the highly masculine men showed no increase after deodorant application, according to the Science Daily.

"We're all aware that fragrances are often marketed as being feminine or masculine — take Old Spice for instance, who have recently parodied this with their hyper-masculine adverts, claiming that their product will allow you to smell like a super masculine guy," Caroline Allen, the lead author of the study and psychology researcher at the University of Stirling, said.

The study suggested that when women apply a deodorant it does increase their rated body odour femininity, as would be expected. "Though it seems as though something else is at play when it comes to male body odour and male deodorants. Only those men who were rated low in masculinity to start with showed a significant increase after applying their deodorants, and the men who were highly masculine initially showed no increase after deodorant application," Caroline added.

The men can thus superficially raise their masculinity quotient by choosing the right deodorant.

"Our evolutionary preferences have likely shaped this difference in fragrance design: research findings show that we actually don't like high levels of masculinity which are often associated with aggressiveness and hostility, but we show no upper limit on our femininity preferences," the study said.