Perfum -"Per Fumum" Latin meaning "through the smoke". In ancient times, fragrant resins were burned as incense offerings. That was the origin. Today, we understand perfume to be a solution containing 30 % to 15% perfume oil and 70% to 85% alcohol, respectively.
What happened to perfumes between the origin and today? What is the secret? OIL. The answer is oil-based perfumes. If you’ll think back through history, some of the precious gifts of Kings, Queen and other nobility were perfume oils. Even Jesus was brought oils of frankincense and myrrah. Understand that oil penetrates any porous material (e.g. paper, wood, hair, skin, etc.); therefore, oil-based perfumes will penetrate the skin, causing the fragrance to stay. Alcohol is a drying agent. Alcohol dries (evaporates) from the most porous material within a short period of time.
The history of perfume oils dates back to ancient Egypt when these fine scented oils were presented to royalty as gifts. In modern times, however, when the word "perfume" is said, most people think of department store fragrances, which consist mainly of the concentrated oil and alcohol solution.
Nevertheless, as more and more people are finding out about them, perfume oils are experiencing great popularity.
Perfume oils are highly concentrated and up to ten times more concentrated than department store perfumes. This quality allows oils to last longer than their eau de perfume counterparts.
Perfumes have alcohol in them (2/3 of a perfume is alcohol and 90% of a cologne is alcohol), which creates different smell effects. Most body oils use carrier oils like jojoba or grapeseed oil in place of alcohol. In some fragrances, the smell can change as the alcohol evaporates different scent notes through time. With oils, the scent is more constant.
A noticeable difference between perfumes and perfume oils is price. Perfumes have a very high markup and great profit margins, which is perhaps why many celebrities have embarked on the trend of creating their own perfumes and colognes. Perfume oils can be sold very cheaply, or even more expensively than the perfumes, depending on how they are positioned in the market.
Just because a perfume or cologne smells good on you, doesn't mean that the oil version will. Perfumes only have a small percentage of oil, so they are quite different than pure body oils. This interaction between the fragrance and your body may produce a different scent perception altogether.
Clearly, department store perfumes are very nicely packaged and thus make great gifts for friends and family. Many perfume oils are sold in less attractive containers, which is part of the reason for their lower price.
Perfumes are only intended for use on the body, but perfume oils can be used to create a variety of scented products, like soap, candles, bath oils, air fresheners, and many other types of scented products. Be aware that there are different types of fragrance oils and that pure uncut oils are not safe for use on the skin.
In summary, whether you choose to use perfume oils or not will depend on the factors above. Try out a small sample first and who knows, you might just discover a delightful new product to add to your personal inventory.