Difference Between Perfume & Musk

Updated April 17, 2017

If you have gone to a department store and have been to the fragrance section you might find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed and confused. There are so many perfumes to choose from that you may not know the difference between all of the scents.

Perfume Oil

All perfumes whether they are natural or synthetically made have perfume oil in them. By itself perfume oil is too strong so it must be diluted. It is this process that determines the different strengths of perfume.

Perfume Composition

The mixture that is used to dilute most perfumes is water and ethanol. Other ingredients used are called lipids and include, wax, jojoba oil and fractionated coconut oil.


Musk Oil

Most musk oil used today has a synthetic musk ingredient in it to give the aroma of real musk. Musk oil originally came from the musk gland found on the abdomen of the Asia Musk Deer, Tolapi Deer and Chinese wild deer. The gland is size of an orange and can only be obtained from an adult male deer.

How Real Musk Oil is Made

Musk oil used to be made by either drying the gland or boiling it in oil, but the actual gland can no longer be used to make the oil since killing the deer for this purpose is now illegal.

Musk Features

Musk acts as an amplifier of the intensity and duration of other types of scents. It is because of this that it makes the scent more potent and therefore it is highly sought after as a fixative in perfume. Musk also has a high molecular weight and thus is often used because it has a slow sustained release of fragrance.

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