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Can a perfume help you lose weight, or is that a fragrant claim?

Detail from an ad for Prends Moi, a perfume the maker claims will help you lose weight.

Prends Moi

If the difference between an eau de parfum and an eau de toilette wasn't confusing enough already, a French natural beauty brand has introduced a new head-scratcher: the eau de minceur.

An article in London's Daily Mail reports that Prends-Moi, the world's first "weight-loss fragrance," has a waiting list into the thousands.

With no sign of tongue anywhere near cheek, the article encourages readers to spritz the scent in the morning and, more importantly, whenever the desire for a snack arises.

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A lilac-coloured info box at the bottom of the page lists an array of vague and highly subjective results ("82% felt a feeling of comfort after application") collected by recruiting women between the ages of 18 and 70 who were not on a diet and used the perfume regularly for 28 days.

With a name like Prends-Moi ("Take me" in French), the perfume sounds more convincing as a romantic aide than an appetite suppressant. Apparently, the secret ingredient, betaphroline, activates endorphin release such that women will feel happy enough to decline dessert.

The fragrance, developed by French perfume house Robertet, costs approximately $47 for 100 ml., an online magazine for young women that appreciates the fine art of snark, had fun at the Daily Mail's expense, questioning whether a perfume can actually persuade our "brain-gnomes" that we are not hungry.

The Frequently Asked Questions of the perfume's website includes the statement, "Prends-Moi does not change your appetite for the three balanced meals you should have every day but will reduce snacking." How it taps into our hunger and satiety cues, differentiating between muesli and a Mars bar, remains unclear.

A contributor to the fragrance blog Perfume-Smellin' Things discovered Prends-moi last year and described its notes of bergamot, grapefruit and jasmine as "upbeat and happy to the core."

Scent gimmicks are nothing new, to be sure. Among the most famous is Vulva, conceived by German company Vivaeros to replicate the most intimate scent of a woman.

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But of all the questionable numbers sprinkled throughout the Daily Mail's coverage of Prends-Moi, the 6,000-person wait list might just be the scariest. Come on, people: If you actually believe in an eau de minceur, you'd probably be better off dabbing on snake oil.

What do you think? Can a perfume really help you slim down?

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