What Ingredient Makes Perfumes Last?

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Perfumers use fixatives to make perfumes last longer by slowing the rate of evaporation. These can be natural or synthetic. We’ll cover more on this in the article below!

Many people think that how long a perfume lasts comes down to the amount you wear but that’s not the whole story, and simply dousing yourself with a lot of scent is a good way to lose friends ….

Everyone wants to buy a perfume that is going to stay on their skin and smell delightful for longer! But how do creators go about this? What ingredient makes perfumes last longer but still keep the key notes of the perfume?

What Ingredient Makes Perfumes Last?

The short answer is that there is no single ingredient that does the magic.

Find out more about what prevents a perfume from being long lasting and also the main ways perfumers are able to create long lasting smells for us all below!

How Perfumers Create a Long Lasting Scent

Let’s simplify this a bit (hopefully not too much).

To make a perfume long-lasting, you essentially need to make it evaporate more slowly. There are two main things that affect evaporation rates:

  1. Environmental – what is the ambient temperature and humidity of the air, the skin, what clothes are being warn, your personal body chemistry. Clearly, these factors are out of the control of the perfumer! (Although perhaps not yours – read on..)
  2. Chemical – the actual scented chemistry of the ingredients themselves. Now we’re getting somewhere!

Some ingredients are naturally less volatile (evaporate more slowly). So clearly, the choice of main ingredients can make a big difference

Examples Of Long Lasting Ingredients

Examples Of Long Lasting Ingredients

There are many different types of ingredients that help the perfume last longer without being added purely as a fixative. Here are a few examples:

  • Jasmine – This is a very well known scent with many variations to choose from. This is taken from a more natural ingredient and is used for base notes in many perfumes. Jasmine flowers are picked in the thousands to create this scent and it takes an incredible amount of time and effort for the maximum effect.
  • Citrus – this is another fine example of an important ingredient to make the scents last longer. These tend to be sourced from different fruits which create different scents. The citrus ingredients are typically used for the top notes to create this clean and delightful ‘sunshine’ feel as you wear it.
  • Oud – this is a very desirable ingredient for a lot of perfume lovers. Oud has a musk smell – captivating with great strength. It creates a woody scent and anything other than the natural production is nothing in comparison to this original ingredient.
  • Lavender – this is an ingredient which is very popular across the world because of its calming and nurturing properties

How To Make Perfume Last Longer With Vaseline

As we said earlier, your own environment and skin condition can impact the longevity of perfumes and colognes. One interesting trick if you have dry skin, is to dab a little Vaseline (petroleum jelly) onto the pulse points before applying the perfume. You can also use coconut oil or other (unscented!) moisturizers.


As we said earlier, fixatives are also added to the mix to slow the rate of evaporation down.

You’ll recall that perfumes typically are thought of with three main sets of notes:

  • Top Notes (these evaporate quickly)
  • Middle Notes
  • Base Notes (these evaporate most slowly)

Clearly, this is a balancing act. If you add a fixative that slows the evaporation of one set of ingredients, this can effect the entire experience as it changes the balance during the dry-down period.

Let’s divide fixatives into two main types:

  • Natural. Natural fixatives are typically made from tree or plant resins (such as Myrrh or Oud)
  • Synthetic. Where you need a degree in chemistry to understand them (Benzyl benzoate anyone?)

Unsurprisingly, there is a strong economic incentive to using synthetic fixatives as they are much cheaper to produce.

Historically though, some of the chemical fixatives have had their own strong, noticeable scent profile which complicated the perfumery process.

More and more compounds are being produced now however that have less odor and hence can ‘fix’ the oils in a perfume without adding to the scent profile.


Another factor to take into account in all this is the concentration that is used in the perfume. Perhaps not surprisingly, if a perfume has a higher concentration then the scent will be stronger and the time to dissipate will be longer.

Typically, concentrated essential oils will evaporate a lot less quickly than perfumes with a higher alcohol content.

Before You Go….

We’ve covered how perfumers use fixatives to make perfumes last longer, which is great news if you’ve handed over a lot of your hard-earned cash for a tiny bottle. But what is it that makes perfumes so expensive? Read our next article to find out!

What Makes Perfume So Expensive?

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Ingredient Makes Perfume Last Longer?

Perfumers use fixatives to make perfumes last longer by slowing the rate of evaporation. These can be natural or synthetic.

What Makes Some Perfumes Last Longer Than Others?

One key factor is concentration. Perfumes come in different concentrations. For example, an eau de parfum (with its higher concentration) will last longer than an eau de toilette (which has a much lower concentration).

How To Make Natural Perfume Last Longer?

For homemade perfume, choose a resin-based fixative such as essential oil of oud, sandalwood, or ambergris.

What Makes Perfume Last Longer On Your Skin?

Add a little Coconut Oil or Vaseline (petroleum jelly) to the pulse points before applying perfume or cologne

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