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Attention Perfume Lovers: Here's The Lowdown On Alcohol-Free Scents

Alcohol-free perfumes are the new frontier for those who want to know exactly what goes into their beauty products. Here's our round up of five perfumes to get you started

People have strong opinions about alcohol in certain aspects of their lives. Tipplers perk up their ears and go, “Fantastic!”. Skincare lovers avoid it like the plague. With heightened awareness of ingredients that go into beauty products because of certain lifestyle choices and the clean beauty movement, alcohol is becoming increasingly spotlighted in perfumery.

So, what is the purpose of using alcohol in perfumes?

Alcohol is mainly used in perfume for two purposes. One, as a solvent to extract essential oils from raw ingredients such as flower petals, after which they are evaporated off. And two, to dilute the perfume to an appropriate concentration and strength. This means that lighter eau de toilettes (EDT) will likely have a higher alcohol content than eau de parfums (EDP) or colognes.

To a certain extent, alcohol also acts as a preservative, and carrier, to help disperse the scent evenly across the surface of your skin.

Who is alcohol-free perfume best for?

If you are into the clean beauty movement, and are particular about getting alcohol on your skin, these serve up as a great option.

And for people with certain lifestyle or religious restrictions, who have opted out of wearing perfumes because of its alcohol content, alcohol-free perfumes from niche perfume houses are a good alternative. They are likely able to give you a more complicated scent and is a safer option than what you can get mixing essential oils on your own.

Here are five alcohol-free perfume variants to try:


Hermetica Megaflower EDP, $175 – $265, from Robinsons Heeren
This floral, oriental fragrance smells like sparkling orange flowers that is balanced with warm vetiver oil. The scent is pretty intense when you first spray it on, but it does mellow out without a significant change in fragrance notes because of the way alcohol-free perfume house Hermetica creates it, where it uses both natural and synthetic molecules to ensure the scent’s stability and longevity. Diptyque L’Ombre dans l’Eau Perfume Oil Roll-On, $72.00, from Escentials
Perfume oils are a common variant of alcohol-free perfumes. This blackcurrant, rose scent from Diptyque comes in a convenient rollerball format. Hermes Twilly d’Hermes Alcohol-free Deodorant Stick, $89.00, from Escentials
Deodorant sticks like this one from Hermes is a good alcohol-free alternative to your usual department store or luxury brand fragrances. Twilly d’Hermes is a refreshing floral scent with notes of ginger, tuberose and sandalwood. Le Labo Bergamote 22 Liquid Balm, approx. US$101.38 (S$139.50), from Net-a-Porter
Luxury niche fragrance brand Le Labo’s alcohol-free perfume comes in a balm, rollerball format. This handmade balm has notes of vetiver, orange blossom and cedar wood, and a base of safflower oil and candelilla wax. Lush Inhale, $39, from Lush
With notes of melon, neroli, rose and ylang ylang, this is a fruity floral fragrance oil. The alcohol base is substituted by jojoba oil, to help the scent settle and linger on skin.