The skinny on solid perfume

By Ann

When e-mailing recently with several perfume pals about a scent in solid perfume form, it got me thinking a bit more about it. Yes, those little pots, compacts, etc., are just so darned cute, and it’s wonderfully portable, but what about the fragrance itself?
The last time I had any solid perfume, it was the ’70s and Coty’s Sweet Earth compacts were all the rage (mmmm, honeysuckle and ylang-ylang, anyone?). I’m sure they’ve changed, formula-wise, over the years, but wanted to see what experience you all have had.
Do you find it wears almost as long as the juice? Does it have as much (or any) development like a traditional spray/splash? Will it tend to dry out or last a pretty good while? And which ones are your favorites? And, dare I ask, is it possible to make your own? Not being a very crafty person, I have no idea if this is do-able.
One thing that holds me back a bit, is that in our intense summer heat here in the South, I feel like I’d need to keep it in the fridge, lest I come home one evening to solid perfume soup.
But I have to admit, I’m rather intrigued. Their low sillage makes them good for anti-perfume offices, and that gives them a certain appeal.
I know the Pacifica line has several solids, and Diptyque and By Kilian have some gorgeous ones in elegant black compacts, but they’re a bit on the pricey side.
Thanks, everyone, and have a great Monday!!

  • helenviolette says:

    Chiming in late- I have a By Kilian (Beyond Love)- and it is much quieter and does not have great longevity. Smells wonderful when I put it on, but it is gone in a few short hours.

  • Jayne58 says:

    Funny you should mention this. I recently got very nostalgic about the Sweet Earth compacts. I remember ‘borrowing’ my mother’s Ylang ylang, jasmine and honeysuckle compact and wearing these scents to my first solo outings and, along with “Up on the Roof”, “Summer Breeze” and “I heard it on the grapevine”, these formed part of the backdrop to my growing up years. I would so love to smell these again, to recapture some of that jasmine blowing through my mind. Sigh.

    Shakes self vigorously. Anyhow, I hear that the Vermont Country Store have re-issued the flowers and woods compacts and wonder if anyone has given them a try and can report back on them, before paying to ship them this side of the planet.

  • I have a bunch of Sweet Anthem solids. I enjoy wearing them quite a bit. Perfume tends to really last on my skin, so having something with a bit lower sillage and lasting power is interesting and allows me to try more than one thing in a single day, which I don’t usually get to do. Also, I find her solid blends really moisturizing.

    • Ann says:

      I envy you with your long-wearing skin. Seems only the things I dislike last forever; the ones I love are gone like that! It’s nice to hear that the Sweet Anthems moisturize as well — definitely a plus! Thanks. BTW, where can you get those?

  • Aparatchick says:

    Ann, I live in Central Florida and no, you don’t have to worry about solids turning into soup! 🙂 I store mine in a drawer and they’re fine. I love them for travel (no spills!) and in any situation where I want a scent to stay close to the skin. Pacifica makes especially nice solids which are very reasonably priced. I miss the Crazy Libellule solids which I believe have been discontinued. They were in a swivel case – like a lipstick – and their Encens Mystic was one of my favorite incenses.

    • oh! I have a bunch of the Crazy Libellules too. They’re great and so convenient for travel/throwing in your purse.

      • Ann says:

        You guys are so lucky — by the time I’d heard about the Crazy Libellule sticks (I always read this brand as Lillebelle for some odd reason) they were already gone. Waaah!

  • jen says:

    From what I understand, the By Kilian ones are quite intense.

    I hadn’t really given too much thought to how long they last in the solid form vs. liquid. Food for thought!


    • Ann says:

      Jen, I didn’t know that. My Saks carries them, so next time I’m in there, I’ll try a swipe (with clean fingers, of course!).

  • Julie says:

    I have a few Pacifica solids (Tibetan Mountain Temple and Brazilian Mango Grapefruit) and an Yves Rocher Vanilla and since they are simple fragrances anyway, I don’t think they are much different from a spray. I keep them in my purse for emergencies since I’m afraid of glass vials or decants breaking or spilling. Haven’t had any problems with them melting or leaking. It doesn’t get that hot here and it’s possible that I just haven’t opened them up on a particularly hot day.

    • Ann says:

      Thanks, Julie, very good to know. I knew of the Pacifica ones but didn’t realize that Yves Rocher made them, too.

  • Lisa D says:

    I live in the desert. The Mojave. Nuff said.

  • Gina says:

    The Soap and Paper Factory has a solid perfume I refer to as “The Whale”. It has a whale on the lid, very cool. I adore this stuff – smells like freshly lemon-waxed wood. I know that might not sound that amazing to most, but it’s one worth ordering blind! I’ve bought it for many of my friends both male and female.

    • Aparatchick says:

      I have their solid with the pipe on the tin – a nice tobacco scent and well done.

    • Ann says:

      Hi, not familiar at all with that line — but the two you guys mention do sound nice! Thanks for sharing.

  • Joanna says:

    I have a few Diptyque and Pacifica solids. They do tend to be softer and not develop much on the skin but I like them for extemely hot days when liquid scents tend to develop too much, (Heat seems to intensify fragrances on my skin.) Also sometimes I’ll layer the traditional liquid scent over the solid for a touch more staying power. Diptyque’s Eau Duelle solid and the Madagascar Spice from Pacifica are a couple of my favorites.

    • Joanna says:

      Sorry that posted as a link. I had to double check that I was spelling Eau Duelle correctly and cut and pasted it.

    • Ann says:

      Hey, Joanna! I like your idea of layering them with a liquid for longer-lasting scent. I really like Eau Duelle; I bet it is nice in a solid. Thanks!

  • annie says:

    I’ve only had 7 solids,in my entire lifetime…4 Pacifica & 3 Tova,and found them to be great for low-key/hospital situations,but ALL had a short shelf life…This most likely, would not be the case with high-end products….still love them for thier ‘subtle whisper of fragrance’…..PS…would LOVE th see my avatar again,along with some pretty flowers,or sumpin’…jus’ sayin’…..

    • Ann says:

      Hi, Annie. I’m with you — I miss my little high-heeled purple lady-thing avatar. The solids do sound great for situations like you mentioned. If I do get one, I’d better plan on using it up quickly, then. Thanks!

  • Tania says:

    Solids are handy for air travel, where the low sillage is a plus as well. But I prefer liquids most days. I do find solid scents can dry out or melt, depending on formula (the old Lush scents dried out, the new ones are a bit too soft). And my solids sometimes ‘fade’, leaving little scent, just the smell of the carrier as it gets stale. So they don’t always keep well. I have some Aftelier solids which smell of almost nothing now, whereas my Aftelier perfumes of the same ‘vintage’ are still fine.

    • Ann says:

      Tania, thanks so much for the good info. It sounds like if you get a solid, don’t stick it in back in a drawer (as I tend to do) and save it for later. Use it or lose it!

      • tania says:

        Yep, that makes sense! I wish I had, especially those Aftelier solids. It’s not like they were cheap… 🙂

  • FragrantWitch says:

    Hey lady! Good topic. I have found that solids don’t have the development of a spray and do have a tendency to leak if warmed too much. However, I have made my own with a fair amount of success! As pyramus says, instructions abound on the Internet- if I can find the original link I used I will forward it on. I did make one intended for keeping in the fridge- it was mint/citrus for headaches, nausea, and general hot and bothered-ness. It was great!

    • Ann says:

      Hi Ms. M! So glad you stopped by. Would love the “recipe” for that mint-citrus one if it’s not too much trouble; it sounds fabulous.

  • I have LUSH Breath Of God and The Smell Of Freedom. Not enough scent and annoying to apply. Give me a spray any day.

    • Ann says:

      I hear you — solids aren’t the way to go for a wallop of scent.
      I’m glad you mentioned Lush; now that I think about it, I had a Karma solid perfume somewhere around here, but it’s probably dried up by now.

  • pyramus says:

    A number of Lush scents are available in solids: I have the carnation-y Potion, which smells good but is actually too solid to apply easily (it should be a little softer and creamier).

    You can easily make your own with essential oils and two carriers, one to set up solid (beeswax, usually) and another to soften it (usually jojoba or sweet almond oil). Lots of instructions on the Internet. I don’t think you’d have as much success mixing a commercial scent with the carriers, but I guess it couldn’t hurt to try.

    Solid scents in my experience do not develop the way liquid fragrances do. They generally have very little in the way of top notes, which are suppressed by the oiliness of the carriers: they tend to accentuate the base notes.

    • I agree with Pyramus on the recipe. I’ve made lip-balms this way. You have to be ready to add more beeswax and oil in tiny increments til you get just the consistency you want. I wonder how this would work with a commercial scent. I’d say, don’t start off experimenting with your priciest jewel.

    • Ann says:

      Great! Very good to know, ladies; thanks for the tips. And that makes sense about the base notes — if you adore them in a certain scent, it’d probably be nice in a solid perfume.

    • tammy says:

      That explains why I love them so much, then. I am generally not a fan of most top notes, but love the heavier basenotes.

  • Kim Blevins says:

    I know I’m biased but I really love the solid perfume, Satin Sheets by Scentsy. It is Vanilla and Sandalwood and has amazing staying power.

  • nozknoz says:

    I have an Amouage Dia solid. It’s VERY quiet, compared with spritzing. Beautiful compact, though, and one doesn’t have to worry about spillage.

    • Ann says:

      Oooh, I didn’t know that Amouage made solids; good to know that. Many of their scents are just too “big” for me, but maybe in the solid form they would be about right.

  • Eldarwen22 says:

    I’ve had a couple way back when well before my perfumista days. For the life of me, I can’t remember what they were or what they smelled like. From what I remember, they were a big mess. They become a big mess when you carry them in a purse or a book bag, they kind of do have the tendancy to get crushed.

    • Ann says:

      I could see that they could get messy fast. I’ll definitely have to experiment with one or two inexpensive ones. Thanks!