Microcaps Bottle on Background Fine Fragrances
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How does water-based perfume perform in comparison to ethanol-based perfume?

In the past the performance of water-based perfume was often stated as a main downside in comparison to ethanol-based fine fragrances. Common reason for this is the limitation of the fragrance loading in the final water-based product. However, with Microcaps‘ Perfume Pearls it is now possible to reach fragrance-loadings up to above 20%. So how does this new kind of water-based perfume perform in comparison to conventional ethanol-based Eau de Toilette (EdT)?

The setup of the performance test

LUZI, a professional fragrance house, tested Microcaps‘ water-based perfume beads in direct comparison to ethanol-based perfumes. LUZI’s perfumers analyzed the intensity of the scent in an interval of 0, 15, 180 and 360 minutes after applying it. They then rated the intensity of the scent on a scale from 1 – very low to 10 – very intense. Since scents can be very different they tested two different fine fragrances (Perfume A and B).

Perfume A: „An oriental journey“

moodboard for perfume A in water-based perfume test
AI based moodboard for „An oriental journey“ – Source: Bing Image creator

Perfume A is an oriental, luxurious fine fragrance. The scent-journey begins with a captivating blend of sparkling bergamot and spicy cardamom in the top notes. As the adventure unfolds, opulent jasmine, sensual rose, and exclusive saffron take center stage in the heart of the scent. Finally, it concludes with a dry amber note, accompanied by bold cedarwood and earthy oakmoss in the base. This fragrance offers a continuous journey of luxury and perfection through its top- heart- and base notes.

Performance comparison between water-based and ethanol-based perfume

Performance comparison of „Perfume A“ over six hours time

To compare the performance and long lastingness of the conventional ethanol-based fine fragrance (EdT Oriental 18%) with water-based Perfume Pearls technology (EdT Perfume Pearls 18%), perfumers from LUZI sprayed corresponding samples of “Perfume A” in comparable quantities on blotters and evaluated the intensity and fragrance performance over 6 hours. They stated that “…it was very easy to see that the conventional Fine Fragrances lose intensity in the same way depending on the dosage.” The sample of Microcaps’ Perfume Pearls started a little weaker than the Fine Fragrance with comparable dosage but showed in the progression of the 6h a convergence of performance, especially in terms of intensity. The testers also were positively surprised by the fact that the performance of the water-based product was relatively constant from the beginning to the end of the test, while the ethanol-based product continuously changed its fragrance image.

Perfume B: „The floral dream“

Moodboard for Perfume B in water-based perfume performance test
AI based moodboard for „The floral dream“ – Source: Bing Image creator

The second perfume differs from the first with a warmer experience. Top notes unfurl with an elegant blend of effervescent bergamot, crisp apple, and succulent nectarine. The heart of the fragrance exudes charm through a lavish bouquet of jasmine and velvety gardenia. The final concoction of warm, arid amber, precious musk, and earthy patchouli in the base bestows enduring distinctiveness upon this composition. Let us look at the data of this test.

Performance comparison between water-based and ethanol-based perfume

Performance comparison of „Perfume B“ over six hours time

To test the long lastingness of the conventional ethanol-based Fine Fragrance (EdT Floral ethanol 15%) with the new water-based Perfume Pearls (EdT Floral Perfume Pearls 15%), LUZI’s perfumers again sprayed corresponding samples in same quantities on blotters. They then evaluated the fragrance performance again over six hours in relation to a freshly sprayed ethanol-based Fine Fragrance. The perfumers found that at the beginning the Microcaps‘ water-based Perfume Pearls perfume was more gentle and less intensive. This changed after a few minutes. While after approximately six hours the intensity of both the ethanol-based EdT and the water-based perfume were comparable strong, they found the performance of the water-based product relatively constant from the beginning to the end. Therefore, they stated that Microcaps‘ technology „shows an incredible long lastingness.“ Meanwhile, they measured a continuous change of the fragrance image of the ethanol-based product, what is well known for ethanol-based perfumes.

Summary of the performance test

Overall, the data shows that Microcaps‘ technology clearly offers a solution to the current downsides of water-based, ethanol free perfume. The performance difference to conventional perfume is minimal. On the other hand, the Perfume Pearls delivered a much steadier performance that is comparable to ethanol-based perfume. It does this while holding a much steadier scent-profile that is not dependent on the volatility of ethanol. The perfumers clearly confirmed that with this advanced technology water-based perfume is no longer „second class“. It can compete and even surpass ethanol-based perfume depending on the wanted effect and the chosen scent.

Should your perfume brand offer water-based Perfume Pearls?

We answer this question with a confident „YES“. Data clearly tells that the time has come to shift towards water-based perfume. The reasons for this conclusion are many. Perfumers who conduct tests and underline a comparable scent-performance are only one of them. Additionally, consumers told us unequivocally that they are ready for a water-based version of their favorite scents. They underlined this with showing a readiness to pay 20% more for an ethanol-free version of their favorite scent. Last but not least, also retail- and luxury-perfumeries confirmed to us in expert interviews that the visual look, the additional value and the possibility to apply the perfume to both skin and hair would perform well in their shelves. All these facts gather to a clear picture: Brands should make themselves ready for the future – water-based, ethanol-free Perfume Beads.