Does Perfume Have Alcohol In It? (Quick Read)

Written By Nazia Haque

Perfumes are mystique creations. It’s incredible how we can easily acknowledge the beauty of a fragrance just by smelling and not looking.

Sometimes, just a spray can make us smell divine. But it does make us wonder what goes into making this magic happen.

There are many other things that you should know about perfumes and alcohol, so keep reading to find out.

Does Perfume Have Alcohol In It? (Quick Read)

Does Perfume Have Alcohol In It?

Yes, perfume has alcohol in it because alcohols help to dilute the highly concentrated aromas. It makes the scent suitable for skin with a more pleasant smell. However, not every fragrance has alcohol in them. The perfumes diluted in oil rather than alcohol have lower silage.

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Why Do Perfumes Have Alcohol?

The ingredients used in perfumes are very concentrated, which makes them challenging to smell. Also, they are not safe to use on the skin.

So, perfumes need to be diluted to make them suitable to use and make them smell pleasant.

That’s what alcohol does; it helps to dilute the perfumes without changing their formula.

Alcohol is the most common diluting agent to dissolve fragrance oil and water in perfumes.

It helps to break down perfume ingredients, so they are thoroughly mixed.

As the alcohol evaporates almost instantly, that makes it an ideal base for perfumes.

Furthermore, alcohol not only diffuses but also lifts perfume notes.

Most fragrances have a mixture of about 10-20% perfume oils mixed with alcohol and water. So about 60-80% of alcohol goes into making perfumes.

Alcohol increases the silage in the perfumes, which means it helps to keep the scents long-lasting.

Perfumes that are not diluted in alcohol have lower silage, so the scent stays close to the body, and even though it’s strong, it’s not as strong as alcohol diffused ones.

On the other hand, perfumes that have alcohol in them, when sprayed, create a perfume cloud leaving no one unnoticed of your fragrance.

Alcohol helps to merge oils and aromatic products, giving us a blend of beautiful smelling fragrances.

What Type Of Alcohol is Used in Perfume?

Alcohol is one of the main ingredients in perfumes. It is an excellent solvent for dissolving all the ingredients in a fragrance.

Not only the alcohol helps to dissolve the ingredients to give us the crystal clear perfume. But it also helps to maintain the mixture by keeping them all together.

Furthermore, when you apply perfume to your skin, the alcohol helps bring out the scent notes.

As the alcohol evaporates into the air, it carries the scent with it into the air. That’s how your fragrance can fill the room you’re inside.

But perfumes with alcohol evaporate quicker than perfumes with just fragrance oils. Here are the alcohols mostly used in perfumes:


It is the most common alcohol used in perfumes. It is used with rectified spirit or water.

The extracts which are used for odors in perfumes are very concentrated. So, their smell is very strong. Ethanol warms the scent and releases it evenly.

Isopropyl Myristate:

It has a light texture which makes it suitable for spray bottles. Also, it has good absorption and an ideal choice for a perfume base.

Mono Propylene Glycol:

It is an excellent solvent, so the ingredients dissolve quickly. It is mainly used to manage and control evaporation so that the fragrance doesn’t evaporate quickly.

To make the best perfume, the perfume makers need to choose the alcohol with the best solvent quality. It not only gives the perfect smell but also enhances the quality.

Why Does Your Perfume Smell Like Alcohol?

Many factors can make your perfume smell different from when you had initially bought it or from the samples.

Even your body scent and the environment can change or affect the smell of your perfume to a great deal.

However, you might even smell alcohol from your fragrance that wasn’t there before.

Since alcohol has a heavy scent, perfumes contain alcohol. If the proportion of alcohol is very high in your fragrance, this could highlight the smell of alcohol more.

When the alcohol content is low in the perfume, its smell will not be noticeable at all.

It is also known that alcohol evaporates very quickly, so it can leave behind its smell pretty distinctively.

Also, alcohol in large bottles is more volatile than in small bottles. So, when it evaporates, it settles at the cap, so that’s the first thing you smell when you open the bottle after a long time.

When the essence of other aromatic ingredients is less, alcohol’s smell is more prominent in perfumes.

Furthermore, if you don’t store your perfumes properly, then they will oxidize. So, when you open it, the first thing you smell is alcohol.

Alcohols have a significant impact on perfumes, so it needs to be in the right amount. It is also essential that alcohol is refining.

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Can We Make Perfume Without Alcohol?

Yes, we can make perfume without alcohol because it is also possible to use just the essential oil. Such fragrances are known as oil-based perfumes. Oil-based perfumes have their pros and cons as well. But it’s a better choice for those who face skin irritation due to alcohol.

Most perfumes contain alcohol since a fragrance is created by mixing a solvent, a fixative, and a fragrant compound.

The most common solvent used in making a perfume is alcohol, and it does its job pretty well.

However, alcohol has side effects as well. So you may face skin irritation, rashes, or allergies because of alcohol.

Furthermore, many people prefer to skip alcohol-based perfumes due to religious reasons.

Nevertheless, it is possible to have completely alcohol-free perfumes. And those perfumes are oil-based perfumes. Such scents are purely made of essential oils. Essential oils are organic as they are plant extracts.

Also, there are many health benefits of essential oils as they accompany therapeutic practices. So, oil-based perfumes do not have unwanted side effects like alcohol-based ones.

However, alcohol-free perfumes are not long-lasting, and the scents don’t cover the radius as the latter.

Also, oil-based perfumes are more expensive than alcohol-based perfumes.

Can You Use Rubbing Alcohol For Perfume?

Yes, you can use rubbing alcohol for perfume because it is also alcohol. It is also known as isopropyl alcohol which you can use on the skin; hence it is safe. However, rubbing alcohol can leave a harsh smell, and it doesn’t mix with other ingredients properly.

The rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is completely safe since it’s for the skin. It is found in hand sanitizer and disinfection products.

Also, the rubbing alcohol projects the scents nicely as it has a good sense of middle and base notes.

However, it has no lasting effects, and initially, it doesn’t have a pleasant smell. The reason it gives off a harsh smell is that it doesn’t mix with other ingredients properly. There is a high quantity of water in rubbing alcohol, enabling it to blend thoroughly.

However, the boozy smell is more in rubbing alcohol than in perfume alcohol. But after it evaporates, the scent settles into a more pleasant one. Also, rubbing alcohols are available in drug stores as well.

Does Perfume Oil Contain Alcohol?

No, perfume oil does not contain alcohol because it is oil-based. A perfume oil contains neutral and odorless carrier oils like coconut or jojoba. However, a perfume spray is alcohol-based and contains ethanol, often mixed with water. They have different characteristics.

Perfume oil doesn’t contain alcohol, but perfume can contain both perfume oil and alcohol.

However, you can get oil-based perfumes to have pros and cons compared to alcohol-based ones.

All perfumes are from perfume oils diluted in alcohols. The perfume oil itself is also diluted but in carrier oils only.

Perfume oils are highly concentrated, this makes them last longer, and the scent is more constant.

Perfumes with alcohol can create more smell effects as it evaporates, carrying different scent notes.

Also, oil-based perfumes are more affordable and keep the fragrance close to your skin. It has a subtle composition as it blurs the top notes keeping the scent distinct.

Oil-based perfumes are typically used in roll-on applicators. When applied, the carrier oil is absorbed in your skin and leaves the scent on top. The fragrance on top of your skin will give the intended scent.

It can be a dilemma to choose between the two; however, you need to understand your preference.

An alcohol-based perfume can give a more potent scent because it evaporates rapidly instead of staying on our skin.

On the other hand, oil-based perfumes last longer on our skin with a more distinct scent.

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Perfumes can be our dearest companions because they can splendidly complement our personality.

It’s no wonder a lot of creativity goes into creating the fragrance of our dreams.

And alcohol is also part of helping perfumes do wonders. However, there are perfumes made without alcohol.

Perfumes need to be diluted, and alcohol is the best agent to do such tasks.

Though alcohol brings out fantastic factors in perfumes like spreading the scent and dissolving the ingredients well.

However, there are oil-based perfumes that don’t use alcohol at all. Since everything has its pros and cons.

But this article intends to showcase the aspects of alcohol with perfumes. I hope you had a good read and got helpful insights.

Please do share your comments in the comment section below to help each other grow.

About The Author
Nazia is passionate about perfumes. Her love for perfumes started with her father whom she lost in 2017. She’d often reminisce his memories with the help of his fragrances’. Writing about fragrances makes her happy as she can share its wonders with the world. She also loves reading sci-fi novels and traveling.

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