What Ingredients Are Typically Used in Perfume?

The ingredients typically used in perfumes include ethyl alcohol, benzyl benzoate, phthalates, distilled water, essential oils and synthetic fragrances. Water is the main ingredient in many perfumes, and the other ingredients help build and stabilize the scent of the perfume.

Ethyl alcohol, or pure alcohol, is used as a carrier for the varying compounds of a perfume. Benzyl benzoate, a plant-based alcohol, is used to help perfumes maintain a consistent smell over time, and phthalates perform a similar function.

Distilled water is water from which chemicals and minerals are removed so they have no effect on the scent of the perfume. This makes up the body of most perfumes.

Essential oils are derived from plants, spices and other natural sources. Some popular ones are amber, bergamot and lavender. There are also synthetic versions of these oils.

Instead of essential oils, some perfume manufacturers use synthetic fragrances, including limonene, galaxolide and musk xylene.