to top

Perfume Oils vs. Sprays: What’s the Difference?

Perfume oils vs. sprays

   Whenever I work with Nomaterra at a sales event, I always notice how many people have trouble deciding between a perfume oil or a spray of their favorite scent. They go from spritzing, to rolling, and back again asking themselves, “Can I travel with this?,” “Which will last longer?,” and “Which one is stronger?” For this reason, I’ve constructed the list below clarifying any questions and dispelling any myths once and for all on the difference between perfume oils and sprays. Our ultimate perfume oils vs. sprays guide will help you decide which is the right fit for you.


perfume oils vs. sprays, customer smelling fragrance


   1. Which one smells better: the oil or the spray?

Both the oil and the spray versions are created with the same fragrance formula, at the same high concentration, so in theory, they should smell the same. However, the alcohol in the sprays does make certain ingredients “pop” more or seem sharper, while the coconut oil in our perfume oils softens certain ingredients. Ultimately, it comes down to your your body chemistry, and how each version smells on your skin.


   2. Do they develop differently on the skin?

Yes. The oil develops very quickly on the skin revealing its main notes right away. It has a tendency to dampen the fresh, lighter top notes leading to a scent that is more constant. The alcohol in sprays evaporates different scent notes one at a time, starting with the top notes (usually citrus notes), then the heart notes, and finally the base notes, which linger the longest. We like to compare this to making a delicious meal vs. going to a restaurant and having a delicious meal. When you make a dish at home, you see, smell and experience all the different ingredients that go into making your special dish. Like a spray, you experience each note and essence individually. At a restaurant, you aren’t experiencing each ingredient separately, but as a whole, when it comes to you and you enjoy the blend of flavors with each bite. That consistent taste of your dish is alike to the experience of a perfume oil on your skin, same but delicious. 


   3. Will those around me perceive them differently?

Yes. The perfume oil remains very close to your skin. It is a much more intimate choice, perceptible only by those close to you. This is a great option for those in professions where the perfume needs to be subdued, such as nurses, teachers, and the like. It’s a great way to wear perfume without others necessarily knowing you are wearing perfume. The perfume spray is a much more noticeable choice. It leaves a trail of fragrance behind you—ideal for those who like to smell good, and love others to know it. The spray version puts the fragrance in evidence and will most likely gain you compliments on your new perfume.


   4. Does one last longer than the other?

No, but there is a lot of dissonance on this subject. Some people defend that because the oil version moisturizes the skin it doesn’t fade as fast as the spray version would and therefore lasts longer. However, since the spray’s presence is more voluminous, some claim that the spray lasts longer. Ultimately, it comes down to your skin’s chemistry, and which lasts longer on you. Theoretically, because our perfume oils and sprays are made with the same concentration of perfume extract, they should last the same amount of time. Personally I have tried both the spray and the oil version of my personal favorite, Miami Orange Blossom and on my normal/oily skin, they lasted about the same time (7 hours).


perfume oils, perfume roll-ons


   5. Which can I pack in my carry-on?

Both! Our perfume oils come in a 10ml (0.5oz) size glass container, and our perfume sprays come in a 50ml (1.7oz) or 100ml (3.4oz) size glass container. All of these sizes meet the TSA requirement of 3.4oz or below. Our roll-ons are most portable, because of their small size and ease of touching up while on-the-go.


   6. Is there a difference in price?

Yes. Oil perfumes are typically the more affordable version of a fragrance. They usually come in smaller bottles and are roll on. The spray versions come in larger, thicker, glass bottles that elevate the final price. Additionally, the larger the size of the bottle, the more value you get for the quantity of perfume.


Beauty Editor, Gina Way, shares a great tip on applying perfume oils and sprays with NY Mag:

“After you’ve dabbed an oil or balm on your pulse points, spritz on an eau de cologne in the same scent.” Or keep a portable roller-ball or solid in your purse to touch up before an evening event or a much-needed lunch break.”

 perfume spray, perfume oils vs. sprays


The final questions are for you to answer:

  • How do I want to apply my perfume: spray or roll on?
  • How do I want others to perceive my perfume: discreetly or lavishly?
  • Is my skin type the best match for my choice of perfume?
  • What season am I going to be wearing this perfume?

  Fragrance is a highly personal product and it is important to match your personality and lifestyle to how you wear your fragrance. Want to find out where to try out Nomaterra’s perfume oils, sprays, and our scents? Sign up for the Nomaterra newsletter to stay up-to-date on our upcoming events, new retailers, or try the entire collection of scents in the comfort of your home with our adventure set sample pack.  

Leave us a comment below and tell us where you stand in the perfume oils vs. sprays debate. Do you have a favorite? 


Written by Alvaro Olmedo

  • Angeline

    How do I know if my skin type the best match for my choice of perfume?

    August 23, 2016 at 4:39 am Reply
  • Melissa Pham

    Great post! Thank you for sharing. Hope to hear more from you.

    October 2, 2016 at 1:49 pm Reply

Leave a Comment