If your fragrance isn't lasting, you'll want to know about perfume oils—here are the 10 best

They're the ultimate luxury

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When it comes to shopping for the best perfume, typically there’s one thing most people always ask: “how long does it last?” No matter your note preferences, whether you like niche perfumes or the most popular perfumes, the one thing that really counts is its longevity. And I get it, perfumes are expensive so you don’t want them to disappear within minutes of application. 

Although there are some impressively long-lasting perfumes out there, there’s a type of fragrance that often out-lasts them: perfume oils. While this isn't an exact science—there are a lot of factors that go into whether a perfume lasts a long time—it's true in a lot of instances. Not only do they last well, but they’re also really handy on-the-go thanks to the nifty rollerball or pipette applications. 

To give you all the info you need on perfume oils, we called in the help of master perfumer, Nic Mastenbroek, to explain all. But before you shop, be sure to read up on exactly how to apply perfume to get the most bang for your buck. 

What is a perfume oil? 

Turns out that perfume oil doesn’t just refer to one thing, “it’s a bit of catch-all term and could mean a number of things,” says Mastenbroek. “Fragrance houses, who sell to other brands, are used to selling kilos of fragrance oil, which we consider to be the pure, 100% undiluted version of a fragrance,” she explains. 

However, brands that sell fragrance oils typically dilute this pure fragrance. Most commonly blended with alcohol, which forms an eau de toilette, eau de parfum or extrait de parfum at different percentage concentration levels. “Some brands combine the fragrance oils with other carrier liquids, for instance coconut or almond oil,” Mastenbroek explains. This is often how we think of perfume oils, and Mastenbroek refers to these as oil-based perfumes, which makes technical sense. 

“One common misnomer to mention is when brands call their perfumes 'fragrance oils', they are possibly implying they are made up of 100% natural essential oils, when in fact their fragrances contain a mixture of natural essential oils and synthetic aroma ingredients,” she caveats. 

Do perfume oils differ from an extrait de parfum? 

In short: yes. Perfume oils and an extrait de parfum are different. The latter takes a “pure fragrance oil and combines it with an odourless carrier/solvent, typically about 40% concentration”, says Mastenbroek. 

Do perfume oils last longer?

As is true with all fragrances, there’s no solid rule as to which type of perfume lasts longer than others. “It all depends on the style of fragrance, the quality of the ingredients and the dosage,” Mastenbroek notes. 

Having said that, she does say that an oil-based perfume can last longer on the skin because of the way it is applied, with the oils being pushed into the skin rather than a toilette or parfum being spritzed. 

What are the limitations or disadvantages or using a perfume oil?

“Depending on what you want, some people may prefer an alcohol-based perfume because it projects more strongly from the skin, which is due to the alcohol evaporating and ‘lifting’ the fragrance from the skin,” says Mastenbroek. With an oil-based perfume, she explains that you don’t get that same burst of fragrance as when you spray an alcohol-based perfume. 

“One benefit of an oil-based perfume is the fact there is no alcohol present, which is a positive thing for some people on religious/cultural grounds,” Mastenbroek adds. There are some perfume oils in this list that contain alcohol, however, so always double check the ingredients or with the brand if you want an alcohol-free formula. 

The best perfume oils, reviewed by a beauty editor

Best perfume oils

(Image credit: Tori Crowther)

2. Susanne Kaufmann X Byredo Bregenzerwald Fragrance Oil 

Susanne Kaufmann X Byredo Bregenzerwald Perfume Oil

(Image credit: Susanne Kaufmann X Byredo)

Susanne Kaufmann x Byredo Bregenzerwald Fragrance Oil

Reasons to buy

+
Unique 
+
Acts as a wellness product too 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not particularly punchy

I mean, could this Byredo X Susanne Kaufmann collaboration be any more of a dream? The answer to that is no. As Marie Claire’s Executive Beauty Editor, Shannon Lawlor, has explained previously, this particularly fragrance oil is a beauty and wellness product all wrapped into one. Named after the forest of Bregenzerwald in the Austrian Alps, the scent transports you to total tranquility. One where you can almost feel your feet on the ground and freshness in the air; a stark difference from many of our day-to-day realities. 

This is what makes it so special and unique. I use it on pulse points when I’m in need of a little grounding rather than wanting to smell a certain way. With notes of elemi (a fragrant resin), galbanum and sweet fig, it’s undeniably earthy with bursts of freshness. If you’re looking for something a little bit different and a whole lot special, this is the one. 

2. Le Labo Santal 33 Perfume Oil

Le Labo Santal 33 Perfume Oil - best perfume oils

(Image credit: Le Labo)

Le Labo Santal 33 Perfume Oil

Reasons to buy

+
Great for mixing with moisturiser

Reasons to avoid

-
Not great for on-the-go application

As a classic fragrance brand, Le Labo is often what springs to mind when the topic of perfume oils arises. Unlike many other perfume oils which come in a rollerball applicator, this oil is housed in a dropper bottle. This fragrance is intense, so ideal if you’re a little spritz happy with your fragrances. I adore adding a few drops into my favourite body moisturiser, which not only hydrates my whole body but also makes the scent last all day. In Le Labo's cult Santal 33 scent, this one is perfect for those who love a fresh but long-lasting sandalwood scent.

3. Malin + Goetz Strawberry Perfume Oil 

Malin + Goetz Strawberry Perfume Oil - best perfume oils

(Image credit: Malin + Goetz)

Malin + Goetz Strawberry Perfume Oil

Reasons to buy

+
The most beautiful strawberry scent without being too sweet
+
More affordable option

Reasons to avoid

-
Won't be for you if you like traditionally more masculine scents 

I was so pleasantly surprised by this scent, and it’s not left my fragrance rotation since entering it. If I’m being honest, I would never have blind bought this with the name of Strawberry as I’m not a sweet scent kind of gal. But, I would have been massively missing out if I’d not tried it. When the brand says strawberry with a twist, it is onto something. That’s all thanks to a base of cedarwood, oakmoss and orris root, which balances out the strawberry burst. It’s a fantastic perfume for compliments and people are often surprised by it. It’s one of the more affordable perfume oils out there and despite this, it lasts a really long time. Given that it’s a rollerball applicator, it’s super easy to reapply out and about, too. 

& Other Stories Sardonyx Fire Perfume Oil

(Image credit: & Other Stories)

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Available in lots of different scents 

Reasons to avoid

-
Small size, but this is reflected in the price 

& Other Stories never fail to impress when it comes to its beauty line and this perfume oil is no different. 

There are 6 scents to choose from, but Sardonyx Fire will always be a favourite for me. With notes of guava, rose (my fave), jasmine, patchouli, saffron and vanilla, I find it quite refreshing whilst still being quite sexy—ideal for before work as well as date night.

It’s the most affordable from the bunch but doesn’t lack any of the elevated scent or chic packaging. I also love that you can mix-and-match with other products from the scent family, like layering body wash and lotion with the fragrance. I will say, I don’t find this lasts as long, but given the price tag, you can reapply more than you would with more expensive scents. Plus, you can layer it with all of the other Sardonyx Fire scented goodies. 

5. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle The Body Oil 

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle The Body Oil

(Image credit: Chanel)

Chanel Coco Mademoiselle The Body Oil

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful bottle 
+
Works as a 2-in-1

Reasons to avoid

-
Not travel-friendly
-
Is more of a body product than a straight-up perfume oil

This isn’t a perfume oil I’d carry around in my bag like all of the others for obvious reasons, but it’s well worth acknowledging.  Most people know and love the Mademoiselle scent, so I won’t go into it too much. As you’d expect due to the formula, the oil isn’t quite as strong as the perfume but you get a lovely burst of wearable floral that feels expensively fresh. I’m always pleasantly surprised by how moisturising it is. 

A note on the packaging, it’s very different to the Chanel Illuminating Oil. The latter is housed in a glass bottle with embossed detail whereas the Mademoiselle Oil is in a plastic bottle, but I personally love it. The completely transparent bottle with white and gold lid is beautiful and elevates any vanity or bathroom cabinet. I will say the spray mechanism is not elegant, though. You won’t get a lovely spritz across your body, so I’d recommend you spray into your hands and moisturise into your body that way. 

6. Sana Jadin Tiger By Her Side Rollerball 

Sana Jadin Tiger By Her Side Rollerball

(Image credit: Sana Jardin)

Sana Jadin Tiger By Her Side Rollerball

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful packaging 
+
Great gift 

Reasons to avoid

-
If you try and gift it, you'll end up keeping it for yourself

Sana Jardin perfumes will always be special to me; the unique yet wearable scents, the sustainable ethos and the beautiful packaging—I’m such a huge fan. So you better believe I am a huge stan of the rollerball versions so I can carry this iconic scent with me everywhere. I’m often raving about Tiger By Her Side. It’s a really special scent to me and is exactly as the brand describes it to be: rich, spicy and empowering. Take this to your next job interview or first date for that added confidence boost, and thank me later. 

7. Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 Elixirs

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Elixir

(Image credit: Harvey Nichols)

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Baccarat Rouge 540 Elixirs

Reasons to buy

+
Great gift 
+
Extremely long-lasting 

Reasons to avoid

-
Very expensive

It doesn’t get much better than this Maison Francis Kurkdjian Elixir in my opinion, especially if you’re already a fan of Baccarat Rouge 540's warming scent. A tiny dab of this on my neck and each wrist in the morning and I’ll be getting compliments right through until dinner. 

My only disappointment with this is that I feel like the scent becomes quite alcohol heavy after a while of using it, whether that’s because it has exposure to air or skin contact. Having said that, being such a small size, you’ll likely use it up pretty quickly. I’m currently on my 4th bottle, so it really is that good. This only comes as a set of four, which makes it far more expensive than many others, but means you’ve got a rollerball for your bag, desk, vanity and even one to gift. 

8. Diptyque Satin Oil 

Diptyque Satin Oil

(Image credit: Diptyque)

Diptyque Satin Oil

Reasons to buy

+
Big bottle that lasts 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not ideal on-the-go
-
Isn't a straight 'fragrance' product

Another perfume body oil 2-in-1 is this beautiful product from Diptyque. Inspired by Rhodes, this transports me back to summer holidays despite how miserable the weather actually is outside. With notes of jasmine, ylang ylang and amber, it’s vibrant and fresh. Because it's a dry oil, I particularly love to apply this to my skin and then follow with my favourite Diptyque perfume to make the scent last all day long. 

9. To The Fairest Ordre Cosmique Satin Body Oil