Roll-On Vs. Spray Vs. Solid Perfume
Roll-ons, sprays, or solid perfumes - which is better?
The eternal question!
If you're shopping for perfume online, you've probably heard that oil-based and solid perfumes last longer, and thus are the superior choice.
Well, I hate to break it to you - but that's not necessarily true. It's one of the many myths about perfume that has been repeated so many times on the internet that most people accept it as a fact.
Now, it may be true for some types of fragrances (as a natural perfumer I can't speak to the chemical makeup of synthetic fragrance materials,) or, it may be true for some people, depending on the chemistry of their skin, but I find that the longevity of a scent usually has more to do with the ingredients of the fragrance itself than how it's applied to the skin.
A scent with rich, strong ingredients will contain larger fragrance molecules that take longer to evaporate, which means that they release their scent on your skin for a longer period of time.
A scent with fleeting, light ingredients will be full of smaller fragrance molecules that evaporate and disappear more quickly.
Ideally, you want a fragrance blend to have enough of those rich, heavy base note ingredients to last on your skin for a few hours, regardless of how you apply it to your skin. Some base note ingredients can even extend the wear time of those fleeting top notes when combined in the right proportions.
Again, I'm only speaking about completely natural fragrance compositions here - synthetic fragrances often have other chemicals added to extend the wear time of the lighter notes.
But if you're here reading this, I'm going to assume that you're looking for something natural. And if you want a completely natural perfume, but you don't want any of those rich, heavy base note ingredients (often these scents are on the "earthy" side which is unappealing for some,) your perfume is simply not going to last very long, whether it's a spray, roll-on, or a solid.
Here's the thing - another myth about perfume that has been accepted as fact over the years is that the quality of a fragrance is directly related to how long you can smell it on you.
No. You see, back in the day all perfumes were all-natural, of course! But when synthetic fragrance materials were invented, perfume manufacturers realized that they could save a lot of money by convincing people that the longer wear time of these cheap synthetics was an improvement in the quality of their products.
The idea that perfume needs to last forever to be considered "high quality" is simply a marketing gimmick.
What if instead you could entertain the idea that the impermanent nature of a natural fragrance is part of what makes it beautiful?
Nothing in life is permanent. (Except, I suppose, the phthalates and petrochemicals potentially lurking in your overly strong, synthetic, mass produced perfume. But I hope we can all agree that there's nothing sexy about leaving a trace of hormone disruptors and carcinogens in your wake.)
Fragrances evaporate, plants die, bodies smell. That's life. But the journey you take when you apply real flowers to your skin is something that you can relive over and over, and it never gets old.
Yes. I am saying all of this to challenge your preconceived notions about what makes a perfume good or bad or "high quality" or "not worth the money."
But I'm also saying it because I want to let you know that I am now making all of my natural perfumes available as roll-ons, sprays, and solids!
Because there isn't one better option!
My personal favorite is the alcohol-based spray. My fragrances can be so intricate that I sometimes feel the details get lost in the oil, whereas the alcohol seems to better preserve the integrity of my raw materials. I also just enjoy being able to spray them over my clothes and in my hair because I think the scent makes more of an impact when I can spritz it all over!
When I had a retail store, I knew that I couldn't stock everything on my shelves, so I chose alcohol as the base for all of my fragrances. But now that I don't have a store, I can easily make whatever you prefer when you order online!
To help you decide what you might prefer, let's go through some of the pros and cons of each type of perfume. (Read on for all of the details!)
Alcohol based spray perfume
Sillage is a perfume term for the trail of scent that you carry around and leave behind. Because you can spritz a spray perfume anywhere, it has the potential to make a bigger statement, and can actually make your natural perfume seem stronger.
You can avoid applying it to your skin if you have sensitivities.
If you have issues with fragrances causing rashes on your skin, you might still be able to enjoy them by spraying them on an article of clothing that doesn't touch your skin. That said, I suggest avoiding any ingredients that you know you can't tolerate. This is why I list all of the ingredients for all of my fragrances. In the 8 years that I've been working with natural fragrance materials, there's only one ingredient I've found that I personally can't tolerate, but boy, do I want to avoid it going forward because that rash was no fun at all. If you haven't been able to narrow down what's causing a reaction but you still want to enjoy perfume, a spray applied in a way that doesn't touch your skin might be a safer choice. (Think, a scarf, or jacket... something outward facing!)
They can evaporate more quickly
If you have a small bottle of spray perfume that you don't wear very often, you may notice that it tends to disappear over time. A solid or oil based perfume will not evaporate as quickly the alcohol sprays. If you don't wear perfume often, an oil based roll-on or solid might be a more economical choice.
They can dry your skin
This isn't an issue for me because I also happen to make a lot of kick-ass moisturizers which I apply to my body daily. But if you have extremely dry skin, an alcohol based spray might exacerbate the problem. You'll probably want to go for the oil or solid. Or, you could just get yourself some butter. Always an option!
Oil based roll-ons
Oil based roll-on perfumes are more mellow and intimate than sprays, and can easily be applied when you're on the go without disturbing the people around you. If you're in a situation (or an office environment) where you want to discreetly smell amazing, the oil is probably a better option.
As I mentioned above, an oil based perfume is probably a better option if your skin is dry. Fragrance does last longer on well moisturized skin, so you may find that the oil does last longer on you. It's really different for everyone, which is why I'm so happy that I can offer more options now!
They're more prone to leakage.
This doesn't always happen, but the slippery nature of the oil can mean that it has more potential to slip right out of the bottle, especially if the lid isn't perfectly tight. So if you're looking for a scent that you can keep in your bag worry free, the solid is probably your best bet.
You can only apply them to your skin
So, there's obviously a lot of overlap with all of these pros and cons. As I mentioned earlier, if you want something that you can apply to your clothing, or in your hair, you're going to want to go for the spray. An oil based fragrance will make an oily stain if you apply it to fabric. (And sorry, I'm not a laundry expert so if you have an oil stain, I wish you the best of luck with that.)
The most travel friendly
There is zero chance of a solid perfume leaking. Toss it in your bag or suitcase and hit the road. Just don't leave it in a hot car or in direct sunlight, because then it will no longer be solid.
Less packaging waste
If you want to avoid ending up with plastic spray pumps or roll-on lids that can't be recycled, go for the solid. It's simply a glass jar with a metal lid that you can repurpose or recycle when the perfume is all gone.
The most intimate
Solid perfumes are the most intimate fragrance application, and can really only be enjoyed by those closest to you. You may find that the scent lasts longer on your skin, but if you want more people to smell you, you'll probably want to go for the spray, which has more sillage.
The worst for sensitive skin
Sorry, but solid perfumes are often the worst choice if you're sensitive to fragrances, because they are more concentrated. It takes a higher dilution of fragrance to scent a solid, and the higher the dilution, the more likely it is to cause a reaction on your skin. The best bet for sensitive skin is probably a spray misted lightly over something that doesn't touch your skin.
So as you can see, there isn't one type of perfume that's better than all of the others.
I encourage you to stay open, try a little bit of everything, and see what you like the best!
You may even find that it depends on the scent. Some blends may feel more appropriate to spritz on, while you might appreciate the more mellow aspects of some fragrances in oil. Or, you might want to layer a spray or oil over a solid!
There's no right or wrong answer, as long as you're enjoying the journey.
I look forward to sending some options your way!