Alcohol-free perfumes are a thing: everything you need to know about the water-based alternative

By us, and at large, fragrance is typically spoken to as seasonal by way of aroma—citrus in summer, orientals in winter, and florals for spring (ground-breaking). What’s less spoken about on the note of seasonality is a scent’s form and contents, which, come warmer, sunnier days—and a shift from alcohol-based perfumes to water—could make all the difference.

Traditionally what varies between parfums, eau de parfums, eau de toilettes, and eau de colognes is their concentration of essential oils, in that order. Parfum, also known as extrait de parfum, contains 20 to 30 percent fragrance, eau de parfum between 15 to 20 percent, eau de toilette between five and 15 percent, and, well… the pattern continues. What they all have in common, is that they’re then made to the perfect strength and diffusion with denatured alcohol (which is similar to ethanol and definitely not something you’d splash into a martini glass).

We’re not here to villainise alcohol in fragrance—it’s industry standard and in the majority of our favourite scents—but we are here to let you know that thanks to 218-year-old Parisian beauty dispensary L’Officine Universelle Buly 1803, you have options.

Enter Buly 1803’s one-of-a-kind Eau Triple, the first ever water-based perfume. Created to shake up the traditionally alcohol-based industry, the brand’s trailblazing alternative delivers on scents that won’t irritate or dehydrate the skin and hair. Plus, the lack of alcohol means that each scent’s intended fragrance is fully realised upon spritzing and settling into the skin, rather than transforming into something you might not have committed to at first whiff.

Perfect for summer, a water-based fragrance is kinder to sun-kissed skin and hair, ever so slightly more refreshing, definitely more hydrating, and more delicate in its linger. If you’re chasing a fresh summer scent, spritz on Eau Triple Mexican Tuberose Perfume for a wash of white florals, Eau Triple Kiso Yuzu Pefume for a citrus cocktail of yuzu and mint, Eau Triple Al Kassir Perfume to transport yourself to exotic lands, or try Eau Triple Berkane Orange Blossom Perfume for a burst of orange blossom and breeze of neroli.

As oil and water famously separate à la Brangelina, the key is to shake before spritzing, reintroducing the perfumes’ perfectly balanced water emulsion. As for wear time, you can expect similar to that of an eau de toilette.

Come winter—and further exploration into fragrance form—the rise of the perfume oil may very well be on the cards. But more on that then.


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