Home Cosmetic Science Talk Formulating General ‘Eau de Parfum’ in O/W Emulsions?

  • ‘Eau de Parfum’ in O/W Emulsions?

    Posted by Doreen on May 11, 2017 at 6:26 pm


    I’ve been preparing skin care products for about a year now, for own use and for my family.
    I only make non scented moisturizers for myself, because most ‘scent-ingredients’ are too irritating for my skin. However, some family members do want scented products, so I’m looking for an answer for my following question.

    (I don’t know how it is elsewhere, but here in Europe, perfumes are categorized as follows (from light to strong):
    - eau de Cologne;
    - eau de Toilette;
    - eau de Parfum;
    - Parfum.)
    Instead of using essential oils for example, is it possible to use your own perfume in an emulsion if the % oil is high enough, like in Parfum or Eau de Parfum? I can imagine that the top note of the fragrance will evaporate quickly. I do hope it is possible to make a stable scented emulsion this way though.

    Thanks in advance for helping me with this.

    belassi replied 7 years, 1 month ago 3 Members · 9 Replies
  • 9 Replies
  • belassi

    May 11, 2017 at 7:06 pm

    Well, yes, but it would be too costly for an actual product. The profit on perfume is astronomical. You can easily buy ‘knock off’ versions of fragrances, at least you can in my country. I use a knock-off of a very popular fragrance in my hand cream.

  • Doreen

    May 11, 2017 at 7:24 pm

    So would it even be ok to use an eau de toilette, which is mostly alcohol/water based? Doesn’t the scent change too much, will it remain stable?
    How much % of a knock off fragrance do you usually use in the hand cream?

    I was experimenting with real vanilla pods, because it’s about the only fragrant ingredient that’s actually beneficial for skin. but I can hardly smell it. And way too expensive. But your answer is very good news to me. I have so many bottles of perfume (mostly edt and edp’s), glad I can use them this way too.

  • belassi

    May 11, 2017 at 10:03 pm

    You can’t use an alcohol-based perfume in a hand cream, unless the alcohol content has been included in the formulation and is an integral component, and even then, such use requires an airless dispenser package as otherwise the alcohol evaporates out of the cream and leaves a dried crumbly mess.
    I use 1% fragrance in hand cream and 0.1-0.2% in facial products, because the nose is sitting in the middle of the face and finds 1% way excessive.

  • Doreen

    May 12, 2017 at 5:07 am

    The knock off fragrance in the hand cream you use is oil based then? I do use airless dispensers by the way, so I might as well give it a try in a small batch…

  • johnb

    May 12, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Probably the best way to cause an emulsion to split and separate is to mix it with alcohol.

    Use a perfume compount from a reliable supplier rather than play around with oddments from your dressing table as the results are almost certain to be disappointing.

    In regard to using vanilla pods as a perfume, as you have found already, this will fail. Vanilla-like perfumes are probably the most difficult to incorporate into anything other than a simple alcohol based product. Vanillin, the “active” and essential component of the vanilla fragrance accord readily discolours forming unpleasant brown shades and a loss of odour.

  • Doreen

    May 16, 2017 at 9:31 am

    Thanks! I will look for a strictly oil based perfume oil then.
    Too bad vanilla is hard to work with, if you don’t want to use alcohol. The smell is so nice, I had really hoped it would work.

  • belassi

    May 16, 2017 at 3:59 pm

    Yes, ask for fragrance “oils”.
    You can easily buy vanilla fragrance that isn’t in alcohol. However you can’t use it in high-pH products such as natural soap because it will discolour. Combining vanilla with other fragrances can easily fool the nose, by the way. I tried combining vanilla fragrance and peppermint, everyone thought it was mint chocolate.

  • Doreen

    May 26, 2017 at 10:02 am

    @Belassi and what about lower pH, regarding vanilla? Say pH 5?
    I just ordered hypoallergenic almond scented oil. Don’t know if that whole ‘hypoallergenic’ claim really means something. I always thought volatile/aromatic ingredients, no matter if they’re synthetic or natural, are irritants. But I do like almond scent, so I’m curious! :-) 

  • belassi

    May 26, 2017 at 2:34 pm

    If you use vanilla you will have to test to see what happens. It is more prone to changes than other fragrances.

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