Fragrance has always been a hit. Once used only by royalty and noblemen, perfume is now de rigeur among the masses, rich and not-so-rich alike. There are different formulations and strengths of the same scent available and with so many to choose from, finding the perfect mix can be overwhelming. Here is a guide from Scent Split perfumes to determining which type of perfume is best for you and why designer perfumes may not always be the better option.
What is a Designer Perfume?
Designer perfume refers to any perfume or scent that is created by a fashion designer. The designer him/herself does not necessarily have to be the actual creator of the scent but as long as the final product carries the designer’s name, it can be called designer perfume. In many cases, a perfumer called a “nose” is hired by the designer to create the scent on his/her behalf.
Designer perfume is grouped into different categories. These are: perfume or parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, eau fraiche, and in rare cases, perfume oil. The main difference between these categories is the concentration of alcohol in the formula. Perfumes, or at least, the types of perfumes that are available today, are made with essential oils (sometimes called perfume extracts) and alcohol.
Alcohol is a necessary ingredient in perfume to produce the clear (if sometimes tinted) liquid. Alcohol acts as a solvent, breaking down the components of the perfume and helping make it easier to spray. Additives may also be added to the perfume to make it last longer, stabilize the essential oils, and preserve the liquid.
While alcohol works well for most perfumes, it can also be an allergen for people who have sensitive skin.
Parfum has the highest concentration of essential oils among the different perfume types. It contains about 20%-30% oils in the blend. Because of the high concentration of fragrance oils, parfums tend to be the most expensive. They also last the longest, sometimes up to 24 hours. Parfums are usually preferred by people who have sensitive skin.
Eau de parfum or eau de perfume contains about 15%-20% essential oil. It is more affordable than parfum and can last up to 8 hours. Eau de toilette is arguably the most popular of these categories because it is a light formula that is affordable and readily available. It lasts for about 2 to 4 hours after spraying. The high alcohol content of the eau de toilette variety causes the perfume to dissipate faster, which means that the top and middle notes quickly give way to the base notes.
The eau de cologne is the second lightest concentration of fragrance oils at just 2%-4%. Many types of perfumes in this category are formulated for men. It’s affordable and can last from 1 to 2 hours. The lightest formulation is the eau fraiche, although this is not a common product found in most perfume lines. It only contains about 1%-2% fragrance oils and is mixed with fresh water.
The last category is the fairly new perfume oils. This type of perfume does not contain water or alcohol and is purely oil-based. The oil that replaces the water and alcohol in other formulations is called the carrier oil. Perfume oils contain as much as 20% fragrance or essential oils and as a result, create a more concentrated and full-bodied fragrance. This type of perfume has a good strength and sillage, which means it will linger far longer than most alcohol-based scents.
One common misconception about perfume oils is that they are not as robust as alcohol-based types. The truth is that because alcohol dissipates the scent, the molecules of the perfume are sprayed into the air. As a result, any fine mist that contains the perfume can land on other objects aside from a person’s skin. Sprayed perfume can land on clothes, hair, shoes, accessories, the floor, walls, and every other object within spraying distance. The dissipation makes the scent easier to detect, which is why when alcohol-based perfume is used, you can smell it right away.
Perfume oil, on the other hand, stays on the surface where it is applied, usually with the use of a roller. If applied on the wrists, that’s where the scent will stay and from which it can be smelled. When you use perfume oil, only those who are closest to you (apart from you) can smell it.
Why Perfume Oils Could Be a Better Option for You
There are several reasons why perfume oils are superior to designer perfumes that come in parfum and eau de toilette varieties. Here’s why:
Perfume oils have superior long-lasting power over designer perfumes because the former do not have alcohol content. The essential or fragrance oils they contain are kept in their highest concentration and are made more stable by the carrier oil that is mixed with the formula.
Lack of Throw
The throw refers to the circulation of a scent within a space once perfume is sprayed. Perfume oils do not have this throw, which can be advantageous. One, perfume oils will not contaminate any other surface that does not need to be scented. This includes clothes, furniture, curtains, floors, walls, live plants, and yes, other people. If you happen to live with people who are sensitive to perfume, perfume oils are the best option to use.
Perfume oils do not contain alcohol that could cause sensitivity issues or allergies to certain people.
Oil-based perfumes allow you to retain the scent longer. They are also best for people who have dry skin. Since dry skin does not retain alcohol-based scents well, it does better with oil-based perfumes.