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What is solid perfume and is it right for me?

by Melissa Mroczek 21 Apr 2022

If you've heard of solid perfume or solid body scent but aren't sure exactly what it is, if it's right for you or how to wear it, we are here to help! We'll give you the basics of perfume vs. solid perfume vs. body spray, what the difference is, and how to use each one to create your own personal signature scent experience.

First things first. Let's talk about traditional perfumes and colognes for a minute to set the baseline.

Understanding the basic types of perfume + cologne

Traditional perfumes, colognes or eau de toilettes are in a liquid form that you spray onto your body. They contain some proportion of alcohol and distilled water, along with the fragrance oil. The fragrance type is dependent on the percentage of fragrance in the overall mix. Cost is also directly proportional to that percent of fragrance present.

Parfum Extrait / perfume extract: 20-50% concentration of fragrance oil

Esprit de Parfum: 15-30% concentration

Eau de Parfum / parfum de toilette: 10-30% concentration

Eau de Toilette: 5-20% concentration

Eau de Cologne: 3-8% concentration 

Perfume mist / Eau Parfumeé: 5-8% concentration, but does not contain alcohol as a solvent

Splash / Aftershave / Body Spray: 1-3% concentration

As the percent of fragrance decreases, so does the intensity and longevity of the product (and usually the price). It's important to know that different perfume houses or perfumers typically define the percentages for each of their fragrance lines within their brand. So while an eau de parfum has a higher concentration of fragrance than an eau de toilette, the precise percentages will differ (sometimes dramatically) among perfumers or brands. One makers eau de toilette may be stronger than another's eau de parfum.

For most types of perfume or cologne, alcohol acts as a diffusing agent to deliver the fragrance, along with a trace of water. For example, colognes have about 3–5% perfume oil mixed with 80–90% alcohol with about 5 to 15 percent water in the mix.

You can also find perfume oils or l'huile parfum for the higher concentration perfume formulas, that are strong and best worn close to the skin as opposed to sprayed on clothing, body and hair. They are made of perfume oil blended with a carrier oil and are often rolled or dabbed onto the skin. You will often find l'huile parfum in a roller ball or dropper application. You will also find Parfum Extrait or perfume extracts in oil form, because of their high fragrance potency - a little goes a long, long way.

Ok, so everybody clear on the basics of body fragrance? Good.

Now enter a new body fragrance product: the solid perfume. 

What is a solid body scent or solid perfume?

Solid fragrance is a new product that is actually really old. It dates back to ancient Egyptian times, but has gained popularity again in the past few years for several reasons - it's easy to use, easy to travel with, lasts a long time and is more intimate than a traditional spray perfume.

What exactly is solid perfume? Solid perfumes, cream perfumes or solid colognes are perfumes in a solid state rather than the liquid mix of alcohol and water or fragrance and carrier oil used in a typical perfume application, regardless of their concentration. Solid perfumes often have a consistency similar to a lip balm or body balms, except they are much more fragrant than a body balm due to the higher concentration of fragrance oils. The substance that gives the solid perfume its base comes from a blend of wax, butters and oils that are melted to blend and combine with the fragrance oils. Rather than spraying the scent, you melt the solid fragrance with your finger and then apply directly to skin. There is no alcohol to evaporate, so the fragrance tends to linger on the skin for hours as the butters and waxes absorb.

Benefits of solid body scent

There are lots of benefits of using a solid perfume for your personal fragrance experience.

Skin friendly. They don't contain alcohol, which can be drying or aggravating for some skin conditions or sensitive skin. The solid base is made from hydrating + moisturizing natural waxes, butters and oils so they can even be a hidden blessing.

Portable. Solid perfumes are perfect for travel because of their small size and non-liquid base. They aren't subject to travel restrictions, so airport security won't have any reason to confiscate that amazing solid scent! They are also so easy to toss in a purse, backpack or even your pocket, if you're truly scent-obsessed (hey, we get it).

Leak-proof. No liquid means no leaking. However, solid perfume can melt if exposed to excessive heat (for example being left in a hot car in warm weather) so be sure to keep it in a cool, dark place.

Long-lasting. The concentrated formula and targeted application means you won't waste that precious fragrance by spraying in dead air. Because the scent is stronger, you don't need a lot and what you do apply will last longer on the skin as there is no alcohol or water to evaporate the fragrance.

Eco-friendly. The compact packaging and dense product means there is very little waste with a solid perfume. They can often be refilled or the packaging could be re-used to hold other tiny treasures. The durable nature of most solid body scents also means that they are less breakable and require considerably less packing material when being shipped at purchase. 

Is solid perfume better than spray or roll-on?

Well the answer is: it depends. It depends on your specific goals and your body's needs. If you want a large scent trail, then a parfum spray is probably your go-to. However, if you are sensitive to alcohol or want a closer-held signature fragrance, then a solid body scent could be perfect. It depends on how you want to wear a fragrance and even on a particular fragrance. We find that deeper, muskier, more exotic (like our Blackout Solid Perfume + Cologne) or woodsy scents (like our White Oka Forest Solid Perfume + Cologne) lend well to solid body scent. (Think notes of patchouli, musk, amber, sandalwood, fir, cedar.) Softer skin scents - closely held fragrances that can only be smelled when you are close enough for a kiss - are also especially nice in a solid fragrance form, because they are intentionally designed to be more intimate ‘natural skin’ scents. (Think notes of white musk, vetiver, dry wood or linen.) The ability to layer multiple solid perfumes or solid scents with sprays is another way to customize your fragrance. 

How to wear solid perfume 

It's easy to use solid perfume, and it's a great start if you are easing into wearing fragrance. Because you control exactly how much you use and where you apply it, it's super-easy to get your perfect scent profile. From subtle skin scent to a  bolder sillage, solid body scent is the perfect product to use.

Wrists. Apply to wrists or inner forearm for fragrance that moves with you.

Behind the Ears. If you want to catch a subtle whiff of fragrance through out the day, behind the ears is our favorite place to use solid body scent or perfume balm.

Neck. No surprise here. For scent that lasts and defines you, apply to your neck, throat and clavicles.

Chest. For intimate fragrance, apply to chest, décolletage or upper ribcage.

Pulse Points. Behind knees, inner ankles, elbows, back of the neck, armpit creases and inner thighs are less traditional spots for fragrance, but the warmth of these pulse points makes them a great option for enhanced body scent.

Beard or Mustache. Because solid fragrances are made from a base of wax, butters and oils, they can be fragrant hydration for beard and mustache. Solid body scent can play a similar role to aftershave, for the less-shaven.

Feet. You might not think of this one, but applying solid perfume to the arches or top of feet can be a fun way to carry your scent all the way from head to (literal) toe. 

We like to layer a couple of solid body scents in different areas of the body for a perfectly curated and customized experience. You can also layer solid scent on your pulse points with a lighter spritz of body spray, cologne or hair perfume in your clothing, beard or hair. The ability to customize and adjust your personal fragrance signature is the true beauty of using solid body scent. You may not get the wide sillage (aka scent trail) of a spray perfume or cologne, but the highly intimate nature and long-lasting staying power of solid body scents and perfume balms is so, so worth it.

Is solid perfume or solid cologne right for me?

Again the answer is: it depends. If you like the idea of a personal fragrance that is portable and easy to re-apply, then a solid might be just what you want. However, if you don't have a relatively cool and dark place to store it (i.e. you are going hiking, camping or to the beach) then it may not be the right choice. Also, if your skin is sensitive to alcohols and other additives in perfume and you've had to give up personal fragrance, a solid perfume or cologne could alleviate your skin irritations and allow you to enjoy a body fragrance again. In the end, think through where you will apply it, when you want to use it, and the conditions in which you will be using and storing it - if it's right give it a shot! Ultimately, solid perfume is another alternative to expand your personal fragrance horizon.

Shop our solid perfume and cologne

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