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Perfume Ingredients: Oil-Based vs. Alcohol-Based

Perfumes with a pink background.


Most of us, who’ve walked into department stores, are hit with that strong scent of perfume. This is the type of scent that leaves you overwhelmed and making a run for a different area in the mall or shopping center. Sometimes, it can even be a certain person who walks by you and you cannot help but wince and wrinkle your nose. Or you might possibly wonder what perfume ingredients are causing you to almost gag! Yes, we have all been in these situations before. There are several factors which play into the strong smell of perfume, especially on different people as well. Thus, today, we want to discuss with you the differences between oil-base and alcohol-based perfumes. 


Oil-based perfumes are typically roll-on applicators. Oil-based is referencing the neutral carrier oil paired with the fragrance inside the roll-on bottle. For example, the carrier oil could be Jojoba oil and the fragrance could be French Vanilla. When the perfume is applied, the Jojoba or carrier oil is absorbed into your skin which leaves the fragrance on top. With the fragrance on top of your skin, it gives off the intended scent. Most people believe that roll-on perfumes are less powerful because the product easily soaks into your skin. Typically, only people who are closer to you, can smell the fragrance when using a roll-on perfume. There is also a moisturizing benefit when using a roll-on perfume!


Unlike oil-based perfumes, alcohol-based perfumes do not typically contain carrier oils like Jojoba or Coconut oil. Instead, alcohol-based usually contains ethanol which allows for a stronger scent than a roll-on. The stronger scent is due to the projection of the alcohol evaporating around you, instead of absorbing into your skin. The alcohol also allows for people to experience different top, middle, and bottom notes. In other words, this allows for different scents coming from one perfume. Some people believe the fragrance in alcohol-based perfumes it too much. However, this might be due to the alcohol and not the fragrance at all! The strength also depends on how much you spritz on yourself. Due to the strong scent of alcohol-based perfume, you only should spray once or twice. 


After looking at some of the differences between alcohol-based and oil-based perfumes, you might be asking yourself, “which one should I choose?”. There is no wrong or right answer to this question as it is merely a preference. An alcohol-based perfume will give you a stronger and more powerful scent. Whereas, oil-based perfumes will last longer on your skin with a more accurate scent that will unfold like a flower. Alcohol-based will last about 1-3 hours as it quickly evaporates and oil-based will last up to approximately 15 hours. Additionally, the alcohol will dry out your skin, whereas, the oil will moisturize. Ultimately, it comes down to how much you want everyone to smell you. The alcohol will give off that strong scent quickly and the oil will sIT close to your skin.

If you want to learn how to make your own, personalized perfume, check out our DIY Homemade Perfume with fragrance Oils.