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Clarification on solvent, diluent, and carrier agent


New member
Oct 27, 2022
I'm completely new into perfume making, and I was reading a lot on this forum so far that was helpful.

There are lots of things to learn, but I think this question must be answered in order for me to move forward. There are lots of terminologies floating around in perfumery, like essential, absolute, and fragrance oils (yes, I noticed mainly essential and fragrance oils are frequently used as the same thing), and carrier agents, diluents, solvents, and fixatives.

I cannot seem to understand the roles of carrier agents, diluents, and solvents.

To give some context, I met with a brand that sells extrait de parfums, and they - in theory - don't use alcohol as carrier agent, and it was very impressive. It comes in an atomizer format, and most frequently I read about if a perfume comes in an atomizer, it uses alcohol as the carrier, and to skip alcohol it uses carrier oils, and comes in the roller format.

I was doing some research, and cannot find an alternative to alcohol as carrier (afraid to use diluent and solvent words).

The product uses the following ingredients:

Both of them appear to be solvents, hence the question.

Thanks in advance!


Basenotes Plus
Basenotes Plus
Dec 5, 2007
Alcohol is a solvent too.
DPG is problematic in a sprayer, IPM is less so.
To formulate without any alcohol is to change / restrict the palette of raw materials available to use, because not everything can be solved into these other solvents.
It is possible to have a perfume that has little to no alcohol, some solvents, and a lot of perfume molecules, making it an extrait of some type.
You would use vastly different materials and ratios than if you were to make a regular alcoholic style perfume and dilute to 15% for sale.

It all depends upon what you want to sell. And what story and claims you want to say about the products.

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