Monday Question – Do You Enjoy Perfume Oils And Solids?

Perfume essences need a carrier substance. Usually that is alcohol, but there also are solid waxes and oils.

What base do you prefer?

Are you all for sprayable alcohol?

Do you prefer portable solids?

Or are you partial to skin-friendly oils?

Is your favorite perfume available in your favorite incarnation?



My Answer:

For ease and practicability, nothing beats alcohol-based fragrance. Spritz and go, no more worries. Also alcohol is the carrier of choice for the large majority of available perfumes.

I like the skin-saving properties of oils though. I have very reactive skin and alcohol tends to exacerbate any sensitivities I might experience from the perfume and is an irritant in itself.

The disadvantage of oils lie in the fact that I don’t dare to wear a silk scarf that day (I know, a classic first world problem!).

Solids have the great advantage of being easily transportable and spill-free, oils are sensual and caring, alcohol-based perfumes are quick and easy to apply.

I like it when a brand offers more than one option for the same scent (like Aftelier, Diptyque, Téo Cabanel…).

What is your preferred form of perfume?


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61 Responses to Monday Question – Do You Enjoy Perfume Oils And Solids?

  1. Other than oils potentially staining clothing I feel whilst not evaporating like alcohol do make scent more intimate as alcohol allows a scent to shout and let it all out. Some fragrances need to be out there like one hit wonder whereas others need to never go away but be only ever on back burner

  2. Jordan River says:

    Oils are all about constant reapplication. Ha, that’s what I thought but no they are not. I learnt that less is more after over-application. Noora, any genuine Oud oil, Ancient Resins, Sandalwood and Spikenard are in rotation. You can find oil variants of most everything at Zaharasperfume. A very difficult site to navigate as it is full of PDF catalogues but chances are your favourite ‘fume is there as an oil. You could also wear a chamois instead of a silk scarf?

  3. Jackie b says:

    I like it when there is a spray and a solid. Solids wear closer to the skin so sometimes I layer them. Solids are great for travelling and I love the little pots!

  4. Azar says:

    I wish all of my favorite fragrances were available in oil form. Sadly they are not. I like the intimate quality of oils and also I find they last a long time on my skin. I prefer oils to alcohol for many other reasons. If I take my time with application I don’t have to worry about staining any more than I do with alcohol based perfumes. I also enjoy using skin safe perfumed oils in my hair. My hair is quite long and serves as a giant wick for the scent.

  5. Sandra says:

    I do not have any experience with oils. Wish I did though as it sounds much nicer.

  6. Lady Jane Grey says:

    I only have one solid parfum – Tolu by O.J. I found the scent stays closer to my skin on this way, on the other hand it’s more difficult to dose it. The alcohol-way is the easiest one of course, but with no doubt my favorite is the oil application. There are scents out there I couldn’t even imagine to use in alcohol-dilution : like Amytis Nabucco. I’m also a big admirer of attars – my beloved Asrar (by Amouage) has to be an oil… It’s by far the most sensuous/meditative application of a parfum, isn’t it ?

  7. Walter Proetzel says:

    I have never tried oils or solids. But I am interested in experiencing something different.

  8. Farouche says:

    I love L’Artisan Premier Figuier dry oil and sleep in it every night. I’m on my third bottle now, and sometimes add a touch of the solid behind my ears to enhance the figgy goodness. This scent means sweet dreams for me.

  9. arline says:

    I think if I had to choose, I would choose oils for sure, BUT my fav, does not come in an oil. I actually use both daily, as I mentioned in another post. There is something fun about spraying, and something intimate about using the oil.

    I don’t want to choose. 🙂

  10. Tara says:

    I quite like the idea of layering my perfume over the matching scented oil. I wish the likes of Guerlain and Chanel would catch on to the idea. I don’t own any perfumeed oils, but I love the sound of the ones by Aftelier.

  11. Suzanne says:

    I never thought that I’d like perfume in an oil format until I tried Aroma M Geisha Rouge, and I found it long lasting and surprisingly detectable in terms of the sillage (of course, it’s a spicy clove scent, so that alone counts for some of its ability to waft so beautifully). Also, the act of massaging the oil onto my wrists does make the act of applying perfume seem more sensual. 🙂 Another oil perfume that I love is Regina Harris Frankincense Rose Maroc, which has such a gorgeous bottle that the ritual of applying it would be even more special (if one owned a bottle … which I don’t, though I think about that one a lot).

    You’d think that, for these same reasons, I would enjoy solid perfumes. But I had a couple from Pacifica and never really enjoyed using them in that format. They didn’t seem to absorb into the skin as well.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I have the same experience with some solids as you, Suz. The exception are Mandy Aftel’s solid perfumes, they are of amazing consistency. They are truly fantastic to use.

  12. lucasai says:

    I never used a perfume solid or perfumed oil. I think I’d rather prefer the classic sprayable alcohol.

  13. Michael says:

    I much prefer alcohol-based perfumes. Oils perform very flat and two-dimensional on my skin, and in some cases the oil lends a peculiar smell to the perfume that to my nose makes all the perfumes in that range smell very similar. (as an example, I find quite a few of the DSH perfumes to have a very similar smell)

    • Olfactoria says:

      The diffusion is better in alcohol for sure, but some scents lend themselves well to the oil carrier in my experience (for example: orientals) that might be overwhelming when sprayed.

  14. Vanessa says:

    I think on the whole I tend to avoid oils because I find them a bit sticky. On a grander scale, I have a REN body oil with macadamia oil or something wonderful which never seemed to sink into my skin, and remains unfinished for that reason. Indeed my general aversion to the feeling of stickiness may have a lot to do with why I haven’t moisturised as much as I should down the years. The products available today are so much more ‘light feel’ and easily absorbed, or so it seems to me. And going back to perfume oils, the staining issue (real or perceived) is also a bit of a concern – with the orange ones in particular!

    • Olfactoria says:

      I see your point, V. The stickiness is a factor, but many highly concentrated EdP’s also leave a “sticky” sheen of oil on the skin (Profumum Roma, Puredistance…). A silk scarf worst nightmare. 😉

  15. haefennasiel says:

    I like oils because they don’t sting so much and the scent lasts longer. It’s a real pity The Body Shop discontinued their line of perfume oils here many years ago – it was a treasure trove!

  16. hajusuuri says:

    The first and only time I applied perfume oil, I got a terrible rash and ever since then, I have not used perfume oils nor solids. I apply perfumes using the spray and walk into the mist method. I recently ordered Arabian Oud Ghroob (sp?) which is only available in oil format so I will likely need to make my own atomizer-friendly version.

  17. Tomate Farcie says:

    I’m loving “Le Soft” perfume solids. The come in a push up format. Great for traveling, and scent selection is quite good

  18. Like you, Birgit, I prefer to spray and think no more about it. But in the last year I have had the opportunity through generous friends to try a few solids. And I like that they wear closer to the skin. I don’t have experience with many oils as of yet. That’s the next fun thing to experiment with 🙂

  19. Undina says:

    I associate oils with indie perfumes which I don’t like as a rule – hence no oils for me. Solids… They are kind of OK but with me not using the same scent morethan once a month I will be concerned how hygienic my solid would be in a year.

  20. Ines says:

    I like oils and solids in theory but in practice I always go for the spritzing kind. 🙂
    I especially like solids and how you need to apply them and sort of massage them into skin, leaving it both fragranced and hydrated but I rarely actually do that.
    I think it’s mostly because I don’t get enough of sillage when I do it…

  21. SallyM says:

    I love oils – so very rich and they sit much better on my skin, lasting longer than alcohol based perfumes. Thanks to a new perfumista friend, I have just discoverd Madini perfume oils (from Morocco) – the sandalwood, ambergris and mimosa oils are fantastic!

  22. Martha says:

    I enjoy applying solids and oils, and scarves aren’t an issue, because I apply most perfume to my stomach. 🙂 And I like the limited projection; I live in a somewhat perfume-phobic town.

    Also, I prefer to avoid the Quart Baggie when I travel, so that means that I try to avoid liquids. My little toiletry kit is stocked with a solid shampoo bar, solid hand moisturizer, little toothpaste-replacement pellets, and so on. So of course I want to own a few solid perfumes, too.

  23. Philipp says:

    The only solids I have ever tried were the Serge Lutens wax samples and I was disappointed by them. I felt they did not represent the actual (alcohol-based) fragrances very well. I prefer alcohol as the carrier of my scents.

    • Olfactoria says:

      I don’t think the SL wax samples are meant as full representations of the perfume, more of a teaser… 🙂
      But of course it is true that solids have a more intimate aura and are not as enveloping and “far-reaching” as alcohol-based scents.

  24. Walter Proetzel says:

    My commet to this topic is that I will try oils fragrance and I have learned that the ASAQ perfumes are more refined and of a higher quality and potency compared to most others with the exception of Amouage which is probably best of breed.

  25. My preferred concentration is alcohol-based. I use a lot of oils as moisturizers, but don’t really think of them as the fragrance that I wear. As for solids, I must admit that I never really liked them for the same reason that I don’t really like sticking my grubby fingers in pots of cream and lotion 😦

    On another note, many apologies for the long absence! Have been insanely busy with classes this semester. It’s been a long time since I’ve had to run after 100 students and I’m afraid that my social and private life has taken a back seat! In any case, I hope that you are well!

    • Olfactoria says:

      Hi dear Daisy! So lovely to hear from you! I figured you would be very busy with work, no apology needed ever, although I missed you of course! I am sending off a package for you today. (Hearing from you finally got my behind in gear, I should have sent it ages ago! 🙂 )
      B xxx

      • I missed you too! Oooh, a package! Mail is always very exciting! I think if only my classes didn’t finish up so late in the evening, I would be better. Most nights, they wrap up at 8:30pm or 10pm, which means I get home around 10 or 11pm. Horrible for keeping up with friends! But thank you for being so understanding!

  26. citypark says:

    I have some solids (Lush, Bulgari) and oils and I like to wear them from time to time. They behave differently on skin, I think one needs more application than alcohol based sprays but in Summer I got a positive remark on the amber oil I was wearing; I had applied a lot though.

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