the ultimate guide to perfume oils
Are you unsure what exactly perfume oils are? What are they made from and how are they different from traditional perfumes? Don’t stress – you’re not the only one. Luckily, we’ve put together the ultimate guide to perfume oils to answer your questions.
What are perfume oils?
- Chemical free - perfume oils provide a fresh twist on personal aroma, without the harsh, chemical scent of perfumes and colognes.
- Naturally derived – perfume oils are much easier on the skin and less likely to cause allergic reactions than alcohol-based perfumes thanks to their naturally derived formulas.
- Alcohol free - whereas traditional perfumes and colognes are made up of 80 to 97% alcohol, perfume oils are alcohol-free, providing a naturally clean and rich scent.
- Long lasting - you get a longer lasting fragrance with perfume oils, as well as longer shelf-life.
What is in perfume oils?
Have you ever stopped to think about what goes into the perfumes and colognes that you see for sale at chain retail outlets and duty-free stores at the airport?
Most products would contain enough chemicals to put an animal to sleep – imagine the damage a spray of that perfume would do to your skin!
Luckily, perfume oils are a high-quality, natural alternative to old-style perfumes and colognes.
Types of perfume oils
Perfume oils can be divided into three main categories, with most perfume makers following similar principles:
Essential oils are the essence of plants and form the basis of the purest perfume oils.
Popular oils are sandalwood, frankincense, magnolia and jasmine (to name a few), which provide a natural and unadulterated aroma. Being 100% pure, you are not only treated to the lovely scents of these plants but will also enjoy the many health benefits that are commonly associated with these popular oils.
While essential oils are entirely pure, some will be tempered with a clear, non-toxic diluter, such as patchouli and rose, as the pure oil is too strong for the skin.
Nature identical perfume oils are based on distinct fragrances that can’t be directly obtained from the source, like a tree, plant or flower. The resulting perfume is a combination of essential and laboratory-created oils to achieve the desired aroma.
An example of this is musk, which, decades ago, was made from the glands of musk deer. Thankfully, this practice has fallen out of favour, with musk perfume oils now derived from special combinations in specific ratios to smell as close to the original as possible. This is the art of the perfume maker.
Synthetic oils are derived from the chemical structure of essential oils, which are extracted and duplicated in a laboratory.
When a specific outcome is required, essential oils will be blended with small portions of synthetic oils to achieve the desired fragrance.
While the scientific names for these synthetic oils might make you squeamish, they’re actually just posh ways of saying a product’s botanical name; Sodium Gluconate and Potassium Sorbate are salt, while Tocopherol is actually vitamin E. Due to government legislation, the scientific names for these ingredients must be printed.
Why do formulas change?
Don’t you hate it when your favourite fragrance suddenly changes its formula? While it’s frustrating for the consumer, this is usually a last resort for the perfume maker; where the National Fragrance Association (IFRA) suddenly deems a particular ingredient is no longer suitable.
For example, the IFRA may decide to place a ban on an ingredient in a Frankincense perfume, meaning the entire formula needs to be altered. The perfume maker must now scramble to replace the missing ingredient while retaining the original aroma.
This is why your favourite perfumes might come with ‘new formula’ stickers attached or be branded under an entirely different name. Welcome to the world of perfume making!
Want to learn more?
If you're still unsure whether perfume oils are right for you, check out this great introduction to using perfume oils:
All in all, perfume oils are a high-quality, natural alternative to outdated, chemical-ridden perfumes and colognes. By choosing perfume oils, you will carry a pleasant aroma that is kind to your skin and will be appreciated by everyone you meet.