Your perfume mixes a myriad of essential oils, aroma compounds, and solvents to give you that irresistibly beautiful smell. Yet, to achieve that perfect fragrance, perfume makers should be skilled at mastering the right proportions of each mixture. Hence, a perfume maker should know all the right ingredients that go into making a perfume.
Alcohol is one of the main ingredients in perfumes. It is a solvent component of perfume making, used to dilute the perfume.
Why Use Alcohol
One may even say alcohol bears two distinct functions in perfumes. It is first used as a solvent to break down the solid ingredients, thus liquefying it and giving you the crystal clear liquid finish of your perfume.
In addition to breaking down the solid ingredients to make them liquids, alcohol also helps to maintain the mixture. So if you think it separates the mixture when it breaks down the solids, you are off the mark. The alcohol rather keeps the mixture together.
The functions of alcohol don’t end at the perfume-making process. When the perfume is applied to your skin, the alcohol works to bring out the notes of the scent and fragrance. As the alcohol evaporates into the air, it also carries the scent into the air with it.
As alcohol is added to the perfume oils, it allows the perfume to evaporate quicker than it would have if it only contained the fragrance oils on.
Perfume Alcohol Types
Most commonly a mixture of ethanol and water or rectified spirit, a higher concentrate of ethanol, are the alcohol types that go into a perfume. However, beyond the use of ethanol and its higher concentration, there are also two other variations of alcohol types that are important and used in perfume making. These include isopropyl myristate and mono propylene glycol.
Ethanol And Rectified Spirit
Denatured ethanol and rectified spirit are the main vessels to which the perfume fragrance oils are carried. Essentially, the oils are what carry and deliver the fragrance. To better explain, For example, you go for a perfume with rose fragrance. The fragrance is carried in the essential oils that are extracted from the rose flower.
Generally, an authentic perfume with rose notes housed in a 0.5-ounce bottle is extracted from up to 600 roses. So you can imagine the deep scent. However, to effectively transport the scent, you need a vessel such as the ethanol or the rectified spirit. The alcohol evaporates quickly when the perfume is applied to your skin and rapidly warmed. This, in turn, prompts the release of the fragrance evenly on your skin surface.
Isopropyl myristate is also ideal as it is favored for its lighter texture, making it great for spray top bottles. This variation of alcohol is great in preparation for perfumes when good absorption is essential. It is ideally used as a perfume base.
Mono Propylene Glycol
Mono propylene glycol on the other hand is also a great solvent. It boasts great qualities that allow fragrance oils to be solubilized in it. Mono propylene is ideally used to manage and control evaporation. It ensures the fragrance doesn’t fade off quickly.
How Is The Alcohol Type Used In Perfume
Perfume makers have mastered the art of identifying the best alcohol variants to add to perfumes. This process doesn’t just make the process perfect but also enhances the quality off the finished product. So when alcohol is mixing, certain things are always considered.
To make the best liquid perfumes, a perfume maker must choose the alcohol with the best solvent qualities. In other words, the alcohol should be able to breakdown any types of essential oils even the most resinous ones.
A perfume maker can also venture out to use other fragrance sources in addition to essential oils or other than essential oils. This process also allows them to enhance the interactions and results of the added alcohol. Plus, the further out you branch, the more likely you are to create a masterpiece.
In fact, if you search deeper, you will come across fragrance aromas and other sources of scents beyond essential oils. And these scents, normally tend to be different from those produced by essential oils. All perfume makers d then is to ensure the sources are safe for the skin.
The Other Side of Alcohol In Perfume
As much value as it adds to perfumes, alcohol also has its shortcomings. While evaporation process brings out the smell and the full effects of the perfume, it is this same evaporation process that makes alcohol-based perfume last not as long as a fragrance oil-based perfume.
Additionally, as mentioned above, the alcohol enhances the perfume smell giving it more strength than it actually has. This, in turn, can bring about powerful scents that may be overbearing for some people. The concentrated and elevated scents along with other factors also increase the chances of allergic reactions if you have sensitive skin or a sensitive respiratory system.
And because of its strong evaporative qualities, the prolonged use of alcohol-based perfumes can also strip of skin moisture thus, leaving it dry. Plus, the alcohol content and its tendency to evaporate makes the shelf life alcohol-based perfumes a little shorter compared to other perfume types. And note, alcohol is also flammable. Yes, even when added to perfume as a solvent, the alcohol content in the fragrance is still flammable.
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