One of the two primary types of perfume available on the market, oil-based perfumes are composed of a neutral carrier oil and the perfume essence, where the oil acts as a solvent for the perfume. This sets oil-based perfumes apart from alcohol-based perfumes, where alcohol is the solvent instead of oil. Oil and alcohol are two vastly different solvents with different properties, and as a result there are many differences between oil-based and alcohol-based perfumes.
Oil-based perfumes are often more potent and require less perfume application than alcohol-based perfumes. Recently, my coworkers and I have been using an oil-based fragrance we are developing out of a bottle that contains a prototype. We noticed that after a month of continuous use the amount of perfume in the bottle barely diminished. Unlike alcohol-based perfumes, oil-based perfumes have a skin conditioning effect. Some carrier oils such as jojoba and baobab oil have natural skin conditioning properties, also providing skin with a healthy shine after use. Another difference between oil-based and alcohol-based perfumes is the way it smells on skin. Alcohol-based perfumes are typically sharper in scent and grow more subtle over time, whereas oil-based fragrances are often considered richer and more nuanced.
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