The 8 Best Perfume Oils of 2023, Editor Tested & Reviewed

With options from The 7 Virtues, By Rosie Jane, and more

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The Best Perfume Oils, Editor Tested & Reviewed

Byrdie / Alli Waataja

When you think of your signature scent or highly-coveted perfumes that generate tons of buzz, chances are an eau de parfum—or traditional spray fragrance—comes to mind. This type of perfume is undoubtedly the most popular, but if you’re anything like me, you might have some grievances with this format. For one, spritzing on a scent isn’t the most precise application method. Have you ever accidentally gotten it a little too close to your mouth or eyes? Guilty. And if you’re a collector, storing bulky bottles can quickly create a cluttered-looking space. What about when you want to re-apply during the day but you don’t have a travel size and taking the full bottle with you just simply isn't practical? 

So, what’s the alternative? Perfume oils. Unlike eau de parfums and eau de toilettes, which house the fragrance in an alcohol base, Krupa Koestline, a clean cosmetic chemist, explains that perfume oils house the fragrance in what’s called a carrier oil. “It’s very concentrated and applied directly on the skin, usually via a roller ball,” she says. She also explains that this format boasts several benefits, like better lasting power, more concentrated scents, and better portability. And while the market for perfume oils is still relatively small, just like all cosmetics, some are better than others. 

To help you select a perfume oil that’s best for you, I did extensive research on the available options before selecting many to put to the test. I evaluated each one based on its scent, how the oil feels on the skin, how well it applies, and its lasting power. I also consulted other Byrdie editors to share their insights on the ones they’ve tested. Below, find our comprehensive list of the very best perfume oils.  

Best Overall

The 7 Virtues Lotus Pear Perfume Oil

The 7 Virtues Lotus Pear Perfume Oil


What We Like
  • Fresh, juicy scent

  • Silky oil

  • Excellent projection

  • Jade gemstone roller detail

What We Don't Like
  • Could be a bit more long-lasting

After falling head over heels for the eau de parfum version of this heavenly scent, I knew I needed to get my hands on the perfume oil—and I’m so glad I did. The scent is hands down the best thing about this pick—it’s fresh and juicy with just subtle hints of floral and sweet notes. Pear and lotus flower combine with notes of gardenia and peach to create an addictive fragrance that’s bright and happy for every day. I think it would appeal to a wide range of fragrance lovers with different preferences, making it a great place to start if you’re new to perfume oils.

I love that the oil itself is lightweight and silky, and the component is accented with a jade gemstone as the roller ball. The packaging also feels chic and luxe while remaining compact enough to keep with you on the go. While the wear time doesn’t blow me away (I can usually smell it on me for about 4 hours), it’s on par with most perfume oils I’ve tried, and considering how well the gorgeous scent projects, how easy it is to apply, and how high-quality it feels overall, I can easily look past it. And as a major added bonus, the brand does so much good in the world—the launch of this scent, in particular, is helping to end period poverty for 700 girls and young women in Nepal. If it isn’t already obvious, I can’t recommend checking out this perfume oil enough. 

Price at time of publish: $69

Key Notes: Pear, lotus flower, gardenia | Size: 20 ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes 

Best for Daytime

Byredo Blanche L'Huile Parfum

Byredo Blanche L'Huile Parfum


What We Like
  • Light, wearable scent

  • Good wear time

  • Great for layering

What We Don't Like
  • Very pricey for the amount of product given

Although fragrance is deeply personal, there are some scents that are pretty universally appreciated. According to Dominique Hobdy, Senior Commerce Editor, this is one of them—and I agree. “When I go to dinner at a friend's house, I bring a bottle of Clean Slate Riesling simply because it's hard to dislike,” she says. “When it comes to my fragrance collection, Blanche functions in the same way. It's a no-fuss, clean, fresh scent that's pretty hard to deny. It's perfect for layering and palatable but, somehow, not at all boring. The floral top notes and musk base make for a lovely, skin-like scent that blends effortlessly.” 

Though it’s undeniably pricey for the amount of product in the component, the oil itself is fairly potent, so you don’t need to use too much to get the effect. If you’re in the market for a versatile fragrance oil that’s simple and sophisticated, and fitting for every occasion, you can’t go wrong with this one. 

Price at time of publish: $78

Key Notes: Aldehyde, rose, musk, sandalwood, peony | Size: 7.5 ml | Cruelty-Free: No 

Best for Nighttime

Lumira No352 Perfume Oil

Lumira No352 Perfume Oil


What We Like
  • Nice projection

  • Recyclable packaging

  • Great for mixing

  • Great for men and women

What We Don't Like
  • A bit pricey for the amount of product you get

If you’re looking for a perfume oil to accompany you on a night out, this is the one for you. The fragrance leans a bit more traditionally masculine, though I think it’s absolutely wearable for men and women. Notes of leather, cedarwood, ground spices, musk, lavender, and more work in harmony to create a musky, sensual scent with a hint of sweetness that comes to life when it settles into the skin. It wears well for a few hours, and the small recyclable glass bottle is easy to keep in your bag, so you can reapply it as needed. I also appreciate that the scent is apparent, but it’s not in-your-face and headache-inducing—it has just the right amount of projection. And lastly, it works great as a layering fragrance—I like mixing it with sweeter scents to give them a nighttime twist. 

Price at time of publish: $60

Key Notes: Musk, leather, spices, lavender, amber accord | Size: 10 ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes 

Best Floral

Phlur Missing Person Fragrance Oil

Phlur Missing Person Fragrance Oil


What We Like
  • Wearable scent for day and night

  • Not overpowering

  • Crafted with sustainability in mind

  • Wears well for several hours

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't have much projection

Considering how viral the eau de parfum version of this scent went last year, it’s no surprise that the brand is building a franchise for the fragrance—my favorite member being this perfume oil. If you’re unfamiliar with the scent, it’s a floral musk that resembles the lingering scent of skin. It’s intimately familiar, and it features a blend of musks, jasmine, neroli blossom, orange flower, sandalwood, and more, which create a romantic yet wearable fragrance. 

The formula itself contains nature-identical jasmine, a more sustainable alternative to real jasmine, as well as sustainably sourced sandalwood. The oil is lightweight, non-greasy, and it lasts well on the skin. Though I wish it had a bit more projection, I can appreciate that it stays close to the wearer, making it a fantastic choice for those who like to keep their scents close. 

Price at time of publish: $45

Key Notes: Skin musk, jasmine, sandalwood, neroli blossom, orange flower, white musk | Size: 9.5 ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes 

Best Sweet

By Rosie Jane Dulce Perfume Oil

By Rosie Jane Dulce Perfume Oil


What We Like
  • Warm, comforting scent

  • Not headache-inducing

  • Nuanced sweet scent

What We Don't Like
  • Not the most long-lasting

A few weeks ago, the original perfume version of this fragrance arrived at my home. Since then, I’ve barely been able to put it down. I fell so hard for the scent that I knew I needed a portable version, and what better than this little perfume oil? I, along with tons of TikToker’s agree—this isn’t your average sweet perfume. Yes, it opens with a burst of warm vanilla, but let it sit for a minute, and you’ll notice that notes of chocolate, nude musk, and hinoki wood give it a unique twist. It’s sugary, but it’s balanced out by a subtle woodiness that makes it wearable. I love that it feels warm and cozy for cool days and nights, but it’s also versatile enough that it somehow reminds me of enjoying a chocolate ice cream cone in the dead of summer. In other words, it’s great for year-round wear. If you’ve been searching for a sweet, comforting perfume oil, I highly suggest trying this one. 

Price at time of publish: $45

Key Notes: Vanilla, chocolate, hinoki wood | Size: 7 ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes 

Best Beachy

Nest New York Balinese Coconut Perfume Oil

Nest New York Balinese Coconut Perfume Oil


What We Like
  • Comes in two sizes

  • Coconut forward but not too sweet

What We Don't Like
  • Not long-wearing

If you like beachy scents that feature tropical notes but aren’t overly sweet, I think you’ll really enjoy this perfume oil from Nest New York. Though it’s a coconut-forward fragrance, it’s not super milky or sugary, rather it smells like real, fresh coconut as opposed to artificial takes on the fruit. Gardenia creates a slight floral flare, and the addition of salted musk really solidifies it as a beachy, summer fragrance. Picture sitting by the ocean, drinking coconut water, and applying a generous layer of sunscreen—that’s what this smells like. That subtle SPF component cuts the sweetness to make it slightly more sophisticated than other coconut fragrances, making it wearable for a broader audience. 

I also appreciate that this oil comes in two sizes—one is a roller ball that’s easy to pop into a bag, while the other is a small jar with a dropper that can sit on your vanity. I wish it was more long-wearing, but I believe that the uniqueness of the scent makes it worth trying out. 

Price at time of publish: $35, $98

Key Notes: Coconut, tropical tiare (gardenia) blossom, salted musk | Size: 6, 30 ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes 

Best Spicy

Lumira Cuban Tobacco Perfume Oil

Lumira Cuban Tobacco Perfume Oil


What We Like
  • Unique, nuanced scent

  • Great for men and women

  • Recyclable packing

What We Don't Like
  • A bit pricey for the amount of product you get

I’m a sucker for unique, spicy scents, so it’s not surprising that it didn’t take me very long to fall in love with this one. I love that you can really detect the variety of spices in the fragrance. At first, I’m hit with obvious clove and tobacco, but as it meshes with my skin, I begin to notice hints of patchouli, cardamon, and tangerine. In some ways, it reminds me of a home fragrance, or rather what a really fancy boutique hotel lobby would smell like. But somehow, it smells beautiful on the skin, and I love applying it before heading out to dinner. If you enjoy spicy scents, I encourage you to try this excellent one from Lumira. Bonus points to the brand for focusing on sourcing ingredients sustainably and creating recyclable packaging. 

Price at time of publish: $60

Key Notes: Patchouli, clove bud, cardamom, tangerine, tobacco, vanilla | Size: 10 ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes 

Best Boozy

Malin + Goetz Dark Rum Perfume Oil



What We Like
  • Unique scent

  • Wears well

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Fragrance is quite strong

Senior Commerce Editor, Dominique Hobdy, and I share a love for this incredibly one-of-a-kind fragrance. “Not long after reading about just how good Dark Rum is, I stumbled on the Malin + Goetz store during a random stroll in Williamsburg, and I knew this was my shot,” she says. “I did not, however, expect to be blown away by this sultry and unique scent. I was instantly enamored by how full-bodied and juicy it was while still giving off an air of sophistication. Notes of ripe plum, rum, and creamy milk give it heart and soul, while the bergamot and leather ground the scent. The oil lingers for most of the day, and I even bought the body wash because, well, it was absolutely necessary.” 

She put it perfectly—it’s equal parts sultry and juicy with the perfect boozy finish to give it a distinguished flare. The scent isn’t subtle, so beware if you’re sensitive to strong fragrances, but I adore how well this one projects, even in the oil format, which typically contains the fragrance close to the skin. If you enjoy unique and bold scents and you’re looking for one in an easy-to-swipe-on format, this is the one for you. 

Price at time of publish: $32

Key Notes: Plum, bergamot, rum, leather, amber, patchouli  | Size: 9 ml | Cruelty-Free: Yes 

Final Verdict

My best overall pick is The 7 Virtues Lotus Pear Perfume Oil. The fragrance is fresh and juicy with a subtle sweetness, it offers nice projection, the oil is smooth and luxe-feeling on the skin, and the packaging is unique and elevated. But if you’re looking for a more woody, nighttime-appropriate perfume oil that you can keep in your bag on a night out, I say go for the Lumira No352

Meet the Expert

Krupa Koestline is a clean cosmetic chemist and the founder of KKT Consultants, a consulting company that works with beauty brands to formulate products with health and sustainability in mind. With over a decade of experience, she has created award-winning formulations with an emphasis on sustainability utilizing the latest innovations for brands like Kopari, Peach & Lily, and Tower 28. 

How We Tested

In order to recommend the best perfume oils, I did extensive research before testing more than a dozen options. During testing, I evaluated each one based on its scent, how the oil feels on the skin, how well it applies, and its lasting power. I also consulted other Byrdie editors to share their insights on the ones they’ve tested and used in their daily lives. 

What to Look for When Buying Perfume Oil


This is pretty obvious, but just like you would with a traditional spray fragrance, you’ll want to carefully consider what your perfume oil smells like because no matter how convenient it is to apply and keep on hand if you don’t love the scent, you won’t use it. Fragrance oils are slowly becoming more popular, so do some research to see if your favorite perfume comes in an oil format. For example, after seeing how well-loved Missing Person became, Phlur launched it in an oil format—it’s a great option if you enjoy florals. If you prefer something more subtle for every day, go for the Byredo Blanche L'Huile Parfum. And if you’re looking for a warm and sweet scent, try out By Rosie Jane Dulce Perfume Oil

Application Method

More often than not, perfume oils are housed in roller ball packaging for easy application. However, some options (like the Nest New York Balinese Coconut Perfume Oil) come in larger sizes with dropper applicators. Both methods work well, but keep in mind that a roller ball applicator is better for on-the-go application. 

  • How is perfume oil different from traditional perfume?

    Though perfume oils and spray-on fragrances both serve the same purpose, they’re inherently different. “Traditional perfumes, including eau de parfums (EDP), eau de toilettes (EDT), and even colognes, have an alcohol base,” says Koestline. She explains that the highest concentration of the actual fragrance oil in these formulas usually lies between 10 and 20 percent, whereas the concentration of the fragrance in perfume oils is higher—somewhere between 20 and 30 percent. Put simply, the same amount of perfume oil will yield a more potent fragrance than an eau de parfum or an eau de toilette. 

    Another key difference between the different formulations is the projection or sillage. “The ‘sillage’ or how far the scent is extended beyond the person wearing it is weaker [in perfume oils], explains Koestline. “That means you may not smell it until you’re standing closer to a person wearing perfume oil compared to an EDP.”

  • Are perfume oils more long-lasting than traditional perfumes?

    The short answer is yes, generally, perfume oils last a bit longer than EDPs and EDTs. “Perfume oil tends to last longer as it’s applied directly on the skin and interacts with the oils on your skin more. It doesn’t have any alcohol that dissipates,” says Koestline. 

  • What's the shelf life of perfume oil?

    “There is no real average shelf life for perfume oils or EDPs as each fragrance molecule behaves differently, Koestline explains. “Some perfume oils, if stored in a dark, airtight container, can last for years.”

    “But in general, EDPs have a longer shelf life than perfume oils because the alcohol content helps prevent the oxidation of aromatic compounds. For both perfume oils and EDPs, when it ‘goes bad,’ the scent will smell different; some become rancid, others may smell metallic, and some may smell like just alcohol.”

  • Are perfume oils and essential oils the same thing?

    Some people confuse perfume oils and essential oils for being one and the same, but they’re not. “Perfume oils should not be confused with essential oils,” warns Koestline. “Essential oils are more volatile and are not stabilized with other ingredients the way perfume oils are. You should also never apply pure essential oils on your skin as it can be irritating.”

Why Trust Byrdie

Alyssa Kaplan is an experienced writer in the beauty industry and product tester specializing in cosmetics. She received a bachelor’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she studied marketing and product development in the cosmetics industry as well as fashion business marketing. Alyssa has been a commerce writer at Byrdie since 2022, where she covers all things beauty. 

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