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- Perfume or fragrance oils are the alcohol-free, all-natural types of perfume based on raw fragrant plant-derived ingredients.
- They are longer-lasting with 6-15 hours of wear on average, more affordable, and gentler to the skin.
- You apply perfume oils directly onto the skin, on the pulse points, and you can layer to create your signature scent.
The mystery of a fragrance oil arises from the fact that it does not have an alcohol base. Without it, the perfume tends to be more concentrated, sticks more easily to the skin, and has less of a tendency to cause a reaction on your skin.
The best perfume oils will develop on your skin as the day goes by and reveal deeper notes that will linger much longer than those in classic perfumes. Fragrance oils will undoubtedly charm you with every developing note and make you fall in love with this conveniently magical beauty trend. Here’s where to begin when looking for that perfect perfume oil to add to your fragrance collection.
Your Guide to Perfume Oils: Contents
- 13 Best Fragrance Oils for Women
- What Is a Fragrance Oil?
- Perfume Oil Benefits
- Perfume Oil vs. Perfume vs. Body Spray
- How to Use Perfume Oils Correctly?
- How to DIY Your Own Perfume Oil?
13 Best Fragrance Oils for Women to Try
From floral to fruity, we’ve rounded up the best perfume oils for women to carry around wherever they go.
1. Best Warm & Spicy: MALIN+GOETZ Dark Rum Perfume Oil
This perfume oil comes in a practical rollerball bottle that just slides into your pocket or a purse. Simply roll the fragrance oil on your wrists or neck whenever you need a little pick-me-up to feel even more beautiful than you already are.
The scent itself is intense, as it combines the rich sweetness of rum with top notes of bergamot and plum. What comes as a surprise is the incorporation of leather and milk notes that invite warm feelings of embrace. Although this unusual scent combination might not be everyone’s favorite, once you do recognize the intoxicating effect it can have, we’re confident you’ll never go anywhere without it. The best perfume oil for fall and winter, pick it up at Nordstrom!
2. Best Two-in-One: Tom Ford Soleil Blanc Shimmering Body Oil
This body oil isn’t just a perfume oil but also the perfect way to get that amazingly beautiful shimmery glow on your skin with every application. The fragrance itself evokes the feelings of lounging on a sandy beach while the sun kisses your gold-infused skin. Its compelling blend of bold sandalwood and gentle white florals will be all you’re going to want to smell on your skin.
Customers also love the fact that this perfume oil absorbs really quickly, which is important if you’re applying it all over your body. Feeling greasy is never good, which is why Tom Ford has made sure this product soaks in straight away, but also provides intense hydrating effects without ever feeling sticky. We really love the Rose Gold Oil that’s warm and spicy, but there are also two more options to choose from. Get it at Sephora!
3. Best Luxury: Gucci The Alchemist’s Garden – Ode On Melancholy Perfume Oil
Gucci has always been known for their incredibly high-end products, however, we dare to say that this intricate perfume oil takes the cake. Created with Spanish perfumer Alberto Morillas, it was inspired by traditional perfume-making and alchemy’s magic and offers the first-row glimpse into the world of highly personalized haute couture fragrances.
This particular fragrance oil is one that can be combined with other perfume oils of the series to create incredibly sensual perfume notes that perfectly suit your skin. On its own, Ode on Melancholy quickly draws you in with layers of warm wood notes that linger not only on your skin but also in the air around you.
4. Best Floral: Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Dry Oil for Body and Hair
Another perfume oil that not only gives you an exciting fragrance to wear but also nourishes your skin and hair. This little gem draws on its perfume counterpart’s floral and coffee notes (Black Opium) while meeting your skin’s needs every day. Smoothing and softening properties are packaged in a perfect little treat for all the senses.
This fragrance oil carefully carries notes of vanilla bean that create the ideal balance with the strong and intoxicating coffee. The combination not only seduces but also invigorates in a way that simply needs to be experienced. Find it online at Sephora!
5. Best Citrus: Byredo Bal d’Afrique Roll-On Perfumed Oil
Now, this is something else. Inspired by the City of Love in the later years of the 1920s and its obsession with the African continent’s cultures, Byredo presents this perfume oil as its crown jewel. With the first whiff of this amazing fragrance, you’ll notice exciting citrus notes of bergamot, lemon, and neroli, combined with the sweetness of jasmine and violet petals. The darker, deeper notes of musk and black amber reveal earthy aromas that you simply can’t escape.
Those who have used this perfume oil either adore it or don’t understand the appeal at all. If you’re looking for that one of a kind fragrance that’s equally as intense as it is romantic, this is the best perfume oil for you. Beware, this fragrance will stay all day long and will make sure that you are noticed. Pick it up from Nordstrom or Net-a-Porter!
6. Best Fresh: By Rosie Jane Leila Lou Oil
Leila Lou is the perfect embodiment of the nostalgic flower fields and lazy mornings that make you feel equal parts casual and sexy. Doesn’t that sound like every girl’s dream? We think so too. It’s perfect to wear during the day, as it’s casual enough to wear on your business meetings as well as for a quick cup of coffee with your best friend.
The notes of jasmine, intensely sweet pear, and grass that seems like it was cut just seconds ago all work together to get you into a great mood each morning. The customers enjoy when wearing this fresh and uplifting fragrance oil because it stays on the skin for a long time and intensifies as your body gets warmer. Grab it online at Sephora!
7. Best Woody: Le Labo ‘Santal 33’ Perfume Oil
Another perfume oil that has recognized the mysterious and appealing nature of leather! Le Labo combines it with sandalwood, iris, and cardamom to give you a unisex fragrance that not only smells divine but is also great for sensitive skin.
This fragrance oil is the pinnacle of tailored perfumes, as it’s hand-blended to provide the most luxurious experience. If you like perfumes that invite the feelings of importance and impact but are also balanced enough not to be overbearing, this smoky yet smooth fragrance will find itself in your shopping cart more times than you’d be willing to admit. Pick it up from Net-a-Porter or Nordstrom!
8. Best Lightweight: Philosophy Amazing Grace Satin-Finish Body Oil Mist
Not exactly a perfume oil most expect, as it is packaged in a mist bottle as opposed to a rollerball bottle, however, this body oil mist delivers on every account. It is infused with fragrance and natural oils to help care for your skin and, at the same time, lightly scent it.
The formula of this product is very lightweight and absorbs into the skin almost instantaneously. With that said, it’s important to highlight that it is not ideal for those looking for an intense and long-lasting scent that will linger all day long. You’ll most likely want to reapply the mist as you go about your day. However, we feel that the fragrance it provides is well worth the slight hassle. Find it online at Sephora!
9. Best Tuberose Scent: Christian Louboutin Bikini Questa Sera Perfume Oil
Christian Louboutin certainly needs no introduction seeing how there are not many women in the world that haven’t dreamt about walking in those red-sole high heels. Now, Louboutin strikes again, and this time in the perfume oil department. The company has created fragrance oil versions of its three signature perfumes, one of which is the Bikini Questa Sera.
Invoking the lustrous sensation of being caressed, this perfume oil creates not only amazing notes that will engulf your sense of smell but also plays with the sense of touch. The application of this oil isn’t just reserved for your pulse points; rather, it invites the wearer to play with the placement as a way to unleash an individualized experience of perfume oil wearing contained in a stunning little bottle. Get it from Nordstrom or Net-a-Porter!
10. Best Unisex: Maison Louis Marie No.02 Le Long Fond Perfume Oil
Another unisex fragrance was born from the long-gone memories of life in exotic places. In an attempt to connect the longing for childhood with rich, botanical aromas, Le long Fond layers intense patchouli with hinoki wood accord. Cedarwood underscores the character of this amazingly savory perfume oil, which is a perfect counterpart to strong, intense personalities that typically like to wear this fragrance.
The smell of this fragrance oil will captivate even those that aren’t fans of long-lasting, deep aromas. We had to share this ingenious creation with you, as there is just something enchanting about it. It’s available at Sephora and Amazon.
11. Best Floral Citrus: Tom Ford Neroli Portofino Body Oil
Tom Ford’s perfumed body oil was specifically envisioned to be layered with the equally successful eau de parfum under the same name. The synergy between these two fragrances produces a long-lasting scent that will blow you away.
Even as such, this fragrance oil deserves to stand on its own, as its gorgeously scented and provides superb hydrating properties. With the added components of grape seed oil, olive oil, and sate seed extract, your skin will feel amazingly supple and fresh from the very first application. Even though some would describe the fragrance as vintage, we assure you there is nothing old about this divine floral fragrance. Get it from Nordstrom or Net-a-Porter!
12. Best Classic Floral: Dior Miss Dior Body Oil
Miss Dior Body Oil is intended to be used on skin and hair. However, this isn’t your typical body oil – the perfume oil features two distinct phases of the product that need to be shaken together for satin skin with a lustrous Miss Dior scent everyone adores. The water phase (Centifolia rose water) helps hydrate and rejuvenate, while the dry oil phase deeply nourishes and leaves the skin and hair with a flawless sheen.
The fragrance is perfect for those summer nights filled with dance and music when you feel like you’re on top of the world and need a fragrance to match it. Intense enough to get you noticed but at the same time has a deeper hidden quality that comes to life exactly when and how you want it too. You can find it at Sephora.
13. Best Skin-Soothing: Fresh Fresh Life Body Oil
Ah, the citruses. There are a few things in this world that awaken the senses like citrusy fragrances. This moisturizing body oil will renew your skin and make sure it is hydrated the entire day. Packed with amazing ingredients such as apricot kernel oil, vitamin E, and ginseng root extract, this fragrance oil has it all.
The notes of this perfume oil are all about that citrus life. Refreshing, modern, crisp – whatever you want to call the fragrance, the main thing you need to know is that you’ll definitely love it. If you put it on while your skin is still wet from the shower, you’ll make sure to get enough hydration to never feel dry or itchy.
What Is a Fragrance Oil?
Also known as perfume oil or aroma oil, fragrance oil is a blend of synthetic or natural scents that are typically diluted with a carrier oil (vegetable or mineral oil). The main difference between a fragrance oil and a standard spray perfume is that perfumes have high alcohol content, which further dilutes the scent.
The oils that are used for the production of perfume oils are extracted from raw materials. Since there is no alcohol, they tend to linger longer on the skin and develop its notes in a different manner to alcohol-based fragrances.
There are four main categories of scent families, each consisting of multiple subtypes:
- Rich, exotic aromas
- Commonly described as seductive
- Sweet and earthy notes
- Common notes: Myrrh, Vanilla, Anise
- Warm, incense-like scents
- Can be described as bitter
- Aromatic, smoky notes
- Common notes: Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vetiver
- Clean, citrusy scents
- Typically described as fresh and clean
- Zesty, aquatic notes
- Common notes: Grapefruit, Sage, Bergamot
- Most commonly used in perfumes
- Have a powdery note
- Can be slightly spicy
- Common notes: Rose, Jasmine, Orange blossom
The reason why it’s important to understand scent families is that each has specific qualities. People tend to be drawn to one over another when picking their own fragrance oil. If you know which scent family you prefer and the components of that specific family, it is easier to find the best perfume oil that really suits you.
Reasons Why to Choose a Perfume Oil
Even though roll-on perfume oils have long lived in the shadow of spray perfumes with an alcohol base, the trend seems to be slowly reversing. Here’s why you should choose a perfume oil over a regular perfume:
The best perfume oils will be superbly concentrated and made to stick to your skin. This means that, unlike spray-on perfumes and eau de toilettes, the fragrance will continue to build and develop on your skin during the day, and you won’t have to reapply it.
Great for Sensitive Skin
We’re confident we don’t have to explain the harmful effects alcohol can have on our delicate skin. Most spray perfumes will not be a good choice for those with dry, irritated, or sensitive skin, as the ingredients will only continue to worsen the already present issues. However, perfume oils are a fantastic alternative for any skin type, as they are typically moisturizing and nourishing.
Get More for Less
Let’s face it, high-quality perfumes can be incredibly expensive. Oil fragrances are usually much more realistically priced, allowing you to either save money or buy more. Not only are they conveniently packaged into small rollerball bottles, but they also offer control over how much product you want to apply. No more spraying the air and walking through it, leaving most of the perfume on the floor and the nearby furniture.
Higher Concentration but Not Overpowering
It might sound counterintuitive, but it’s true. Perfume oils are indeed made to have higher concentrations, but they will never leave you with a coughing fit. This is because fragrance oils stick to your skin and develop with the warmth of your body, unlike alcohol-based fragrances that tend to disperse widely, as they don’t cling to the skin so well.
Perfume Oil vs. Perfume vs. Body Spray
There are several differences you should be aware of when discussing the three fragrance products.
The first and most obvious difference between these products is the base with which they are made. Perfume oils do not contain alcohol at all. They use carrier oils to develop aromas.
As a rule, perfumes and body sprays (that are not perfumed oil body sprays) have a high percentage of alcohol, which ultimately affects how your skin receives the fragrance and how you and others around perceive the scent.
Concentrations of aromas are important to distinguish in this context. Even though all three products may have the same fragrance formula, the perfume oil will likely have the highest concentration. Regular scented body sprays will have the lowest concentration and will remain detectable for the shortest amount of time.
Effects on the Skin
If you have dry, sensitive, or reactive skin, there is a high likelihood that your skin won’t love an alcohol-loaded product. Not only may your skin react poorly to a perfume or a body spray, but the fragrance you want to get from it won’t go that far, especially with dry skin.
The reason behind this is the fact that dry skin isn’t able to hold onto the scent, as there isn’t enough moisture to do so. When you add alcohol in the mix, the result is even more dehydrated skin. Oil-based perfumes are much better in this respect, as they simultaneously nourish the skin and allow proper adherence of the fragrance.
How the Scent Develops
There are major differences in how the scent develops when we compare a perfume spray, fragrance oil, and a body spray.
The best oil perfumes will develop very quickly and reveal the core notes. Those lighter and fresher notes will give way to reveal a more constant scent that lingers and deepens in synch with your body temperature. This is why it’s recommended to put perfume oil on pulse spots when the temperature is higher.
When it comes to perfumes and body sprays, the situation is significantly different. As the alcohol evaporates, each aroma category will reveal itself gradually until you’re left with the base notes alone.
In the first case, you get to enjoy all of the subtleties of the fragrances for a long time, which tend to grow and wane the way your body temperature dictates. In the case of body sprays and perfumes, you will experience distinct fragrances at different times, but only the core aromas will linger.
How to Use Perfume Oils Correctly?
Yes, there is a correct and incorrect way of using perfume oils. Here’s what to do to get the most out of your fragrance oil:
When using perfume oils, you want to give them time to develop on your skin. If you have an important date you want to smell divine for, make sure you put on your best fragrance oil at least 30 minutes earlier. This will be enough to allow the oils from the perfume to mix with the oils in your skin and create the scent you’re after.
Skin, Not Clothes
Apply fragrance oils to your skin and not to your clothes. Oils do not mesh well with fabrics and will leave a stain if you’re not careful. Also, make sure to wait a bit before you put on the outfit for the day to help the oil penetrate the skin and to be less likely to cause issues with stains.
Choose your pulse points to take advantage of the warmth to develop the scent. Fragrance oils will reach their most potent phase when the body temperature is at its highest in those spots. Great spots to apply your perfume oil on are behind the ears, behind your knees, or in the crevice of your elbows.
Even though they are typically more concentrated than perfumes that have alcohol, you’ll find that the perfume oils are not as intense as you might think. So, if you’re looking for a stronger scent that will get you noticed, layer similar fragrances under or over your perfume oil (body lotions, body mists, washes, etc.).
How to DIY Your Own Perfume Oil?
Did you know that you can make your very own custom perfume oil? No? Well, we’re here to show you how in just a few easy steps!
Step 1: Know What You’re Working with
It’s crucial to know the ingredients you are working with along with how they may react on your skin. Some essential oils can be irritating to your skin or even cause photosensitivity (citrus-based oils are typically not recommended to put directly on the skin unless diluted properly), so knowing how the oils behave will go a long way.
Step 2: Know Your Scent Composition
Even though creating your own perfume oils isn’t nuclear physics, it is important to understand what makes a scent. There are base notes, heart notes, and head/ top notes.
• Base notes are those that will last the longest on your skin and provide the perfect foundation for the shorter-living notes.
• Heart notes are ones that make us fall in love with a certain perfume. They develop and linger for up to 45 minutes before waning.
• The top notes are those we detect in the first instance of putting on a fragrance. These notes are short-lived and will only last for 10 to 15 minutes.
Knowing this basic information will help you figure out which notes you want to include in your DIY fragrance oil and how.
Step 3: Pick Your Oils
It’s completely up to you how you choose to blend together the scents, but there are certain guidelines you’ll want to follow if you aim to create a truly wonderful little gem.
• When choosing your top notes, go for the fresh, citrusy scents (lemon, bergamot) that are more ‘’in your face’’ but dissipate soon, so they’re not overpowering.
• Heart notes are typically made out of floral (jasmine, rose, iris, ylang-ylang) or herbal notes (chamomile, lavender) since they will provide the ‘’it’’ factor.
• For the base notes, choose woodsy, smoky scents (sandalwood, cedarwood) or musky notes (cedarwood, vetiver) that will be able to carry the whole composition.
Step 4: Follow the Recipe
You will need exactly 80 drops of some type of carrier oil, 10 drops of essential oil base notes, and 5 drops of heart and 5 drops of top notes, respectively.
Add the ingredients in the order they are listed and shake the bottle vigorously to help the oils blend. Ensure that your fragrant creation is stored in a dark, cool place to keep its potency.
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