There are few things more compelling than a slow reveal. Femme fatales and Knowles sisters agree–keep it discreet until it really counts. If Katy Perry is your run-of-the-mill eau de parfum, relying on a shock and awe campaign to make a statement, then consider Solange as your perfume oils muse: intimate, impactful, and with an air of independence.
The enigma of perfume oils lies in the fact that they are what they say they are: oils. Without the alcohol base, the actual fragrance leans syrupy > spritzy, making for a more concentrated scent, an application that sticks to skin, and a less sensitizing product overall. Perfume oils’ fragrance layers deepen with your skin throughout the day because they take much longer to fade away, allowing them to unveil their personality past the top notes. What results is a trail-less scent only felt between you and those you choose to embrace—kind of like a sexy secret...What better way to kick off cuffing season? Here’s how to start your journey:
If you're a Byredo aficionado
Perfume oil might have a little of that crunchy, too-botanical aura around it still, but as we welcome the trend into the 21st century, it’s alright if one would like to forgo the cloying scents of frankincense and myrrh. Kuumba Made, an unbelievably economical line of perfume oils, has crafted Persian Garden for this very purpose. Hints of soil and pepperiness, mixed with an unexpectedly clean white musk sing in such harmony, that many say it comes close to Byredo’s Gypsy Water! (Bonus point: Keep the gorgeous scent, lose Gypsy Water's outdated name.)
In fact, if you're looking for that Byredo tinge to all your scents, go all in on NEMAT’s White Musk. A popular base note amongst Mr. Gorham’s perfumes, NEMAT’s version runs for less than $20, and you can use your leftover cash to find other oils to layer and create your own DIY fine fragrance. Ben Gorham, is that you?
If you can't decide what your signature scent is
The eternal rift of the perfumed world between florals and woods is no longer thanks to 1509 by Sophia. A exemplary alliance of the two families, it takes seconds for skin to warm to its wisp of baby’s breath, grounded by a surprising complement—amber oil. Mature, endearing; wear it for a casual but elegant first impression.
But, if you like your florals with a little less tenderness, Guaiac by Red Flower is your brutally honest option. Its blend of rose and guaiac wood makes for a layered scent that switches from tart to dark with ease.
If you're really ready for fall
New York's Santal 33 allegiance is well-documented, but let's move beyond it for a second. Bright finishes are key to making spicier scents more wearable, which is why Le Long Fond by Maison Louis Marie is perfect for woody novices and experts alike. Its cedar and hinoki wood make it a deeper scent than its sister Bois de Balincourt, but its white musk and lemony undertones still leave you feeling clean. It serves as an ideal base for layering if you want to bring dimension to lighter perfumes, like MLM’s Cassis.
For a sootier turn, Lurk's TRN V4 is a great introduction (until Coqui Coqui makes a perfume oil of their incredible Tabaco Eau de Cologne). Though you can probably predict its hazy, intriguing vibe from its tobacco top notes, TRN V4 rounds out to a refreshing citrus thanks to hints of neroli. In short, it’s the cold-beach bonfire you always wanted, but couldn’t manage to create outside of your Nancy Meyers fantasies.
If you like a little frill
Even though I’d consider myself a Bal D’Afrique kind of girl, I do enjoy a dreamy, plush fragrance like Nemat’s Narcissus every now and again. Though it’s one floral note, it comes off as precious and lush, not like spring in a bottle. On mornings when my mood is a little whimsical and perhaps a little bittersweet, I mindfully apply Narcissus to my pulse points, turn on Air’s Playground Love, and accept my role as the Sofia Coppola muse I was meant to be.
Scent with oil, cleanse with oil. Read here to find every cleansing oil for your hair, face and body.