Fixatives in Perfumes


Fixatives in Perfumes


Fixatives play a crucial role in perfumes. They are mainly used to extend the longevity of a fragrance, allowing it to last longer on the skin while maintaining its original scent. Fixatives work by reducing the evaporation rate of fragrance components, ensuring that the top, middle, and base notes are released in a balanced manner, thus providing a lasting and stable fragrance. Here is a detailed introduction to fixatives.

Types of Fixatives

Fixatives can be divided into two main categories: natural fixatives and synthetic fixatives.


Natural Fixatives

Natural fixatives are usually derived from plants or animals. They not only have excellent fixing effects but also add unique aromas to the perfume. Common natural fixatives include:


1. **Ambergris**: This is a waxy substance formed from the secretions of sperm whales. It has an excellent fixing effect and a unique aroma with oceanic and animalic notes.

2. **Musk**: Traditionally made from the secretions of deer musk glands, now often synthetic. Natural musk has a strong and lasting aroma, making it an excellent fixative.

3. **Sandalwood**: This woody fragrance not only has a rich aroma but also significantly extends the longevity of perfumes.

4. **Frankincense and Myrrh**: These resinous fragrances not only fix the scent but also add depth and complexity to perfumes.


Synthetic Fixatives

Due to the difficulty and high cost of obtaining natural fixatives, synthetic fixatives have gained widespread use. Common synthetic fixatives include:


1. **Hedione**: This compound has floral and fruity notes and is often used in floral perfumes.

2. **Indole**: This compound has a jasmine-like aroma and is often used in floral and oriental perfumes.

3. **Iso E Super**: A synthetic compound with a woody aroma, widely used in modern perfume formulations.

4. **Coumarin**: This compound has vanilla and grassy notes and is often used in oriental and fougère perfumes.


The Working Principle of Fixatives

The main function of fixatives is to reduce the evaporation rate of fragrance components through their chemical structure and physical properties. Perfumes usually consist of top notes, middle notes, and base notes. The top notes evaporate the fastest, while the base notes evaporate the slowest. Fixatives slow down the evaporation of the middle and base notes, making the fragrance last longer and more balanced.


1. **Increasing Molecular Weight and Boiling Point**: Fixatives usually have higher molecular weights and boiling points, making them less volatile and slowing down the evaporation of other fragrance components.

2. **Enhancing Molecular Interactions**: Fixatives can create stronger interactions between fragrance molecules (such as hydrogen bonds and van der Waals forces), stabilizing the fragrance molecules and reducing their volatility.


Application of Fixatives in Perfumes


In the process of creating perfumes, perfumers select appropriate fixatives based on the type of perfume and the desired effect. Floral perfumes usually use lighter fixatives like Hedione, while woody and oriental perfumes might use stronger fixatives like sandalwood and coumarin.


Besides extending the longevity of perfumes, fixatives can also enhance the depth and complexity of the fragrance. By choosing and combining different types of fixatives, perfumers can create perfumes with rich layers and lasting aromas.



Fixatives play an indispensable role in perfumes. They not only extend the longevity of perfumes but also increase the fragrance's layers and complexity. Whether natural or synthetic, fixatives are important tools for perfumers. Understanding and mastering the use of fixatives is key to creating high-quality perfumes. By selecting and combining fixatives wisely, perfumes can maintain their charming scent over time.

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