16 Roll-On Fragrances That Help You Get the Most Out of Your Scent

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Somehow, we all collectively learned that the “proper” way to apply perfume is to spritz it thrice into the air, then walk through it. Some get fancy and add a little spritz to pulse points, like the wrists, neck and temples. Others like to mist their scents on their clothes or hair. And while all of those techniques generally work just fine, rollerballs and “skin” scents are having a moment — and for good reason. The best rollerball fragrances aren’t just more portable and easier to use: They have a few additional, more subtle benefits, too. As it turns out, that’s thanks to a mix of formulation and format.

“Distinctions between rollerballs and sprays can stem from variations in concentration, carrier oils or emulsifiers,” says Melike Aktas Atilgan, a professional aromatherapist and co-founder of Yoursy and The Banyo Co. This is also the reason why your Love Spell body mist was always imperceptible by lunchtime in high school: It was less concentrated than, say, a typical eau de parfum. “Sprays typically rely on liquid emulsifiers such as alcohol, while rollerballs predominantly feature oil-based emulsifiers. Rollerballs, (especially ones that) incorporate oils for a smooth application, can influence the evolution of the scent.”

That’s often why you’ll find essential oils come in a rollerball format, too: Not only are they more diluted to allow for direct-to-skin application without a high risk of irritation, but they often offer specific aromatherapeutic benefits, if you’re into that sort of thing. “Historically, cultures like the Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used essential oils in perfumes and medicine, recognizing their beneficial effects on mood and well-being,” says Aktas Atilgan.

Kevin Keller, co-founder of Fulton & Roark, also notes that fragrances you apply directly to your skin are specifically “meant to intermingle with your natural body chemistry to create an intimate scent that is all your own.” Just look at the success of Glossier You, one of Sephora’s top-selling perfumes. It’s meant to be more of a “personal skin-scent enhancer” than its own specific scent.

Plus, Keller says, you can enjoy the added benefit of knowing your clothes won’t smell like whatever perfume you wore the last time you had it on. “You also have more control over how much scent you apply, meaning you’ll smell great for those closest to you without the entire room taking notice.”

While you can absolutely grab any favorite scent in a rollerball format, Dsm-Firmenich perfumer Alexis Grugeon says that amber, woody vanilla scents really shine when applied directly to the skin: “Musk in a rollerball (format) can give an extra comforting boost during a cold day.”

Ahead, the best rollerball scents to tote around with you on all your travels through winter and beyond.

D.S. & D Urga I Don’t Know What Rollerball, $75, available here

Glossier You Rollerball, $28, available here

Violette Avec Amour Huile de Parfum, $56,

Flamingo Estate Night Blooming Fragrance Oil, $34, available here

Maison Louis Marie No.04 Bois de Balincourt Perfume Oil Rollerball, $65, available here

Jennifer Fisher My Scent Rollerball Oil, $65, available here

Dior Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet Eau de Toilette Roller-Pearl, $45, available here 

Perfumera Curandera Roll-On Santo Perfume, $35, available here

Frama Beratan Perfume Oil, $80, available here

UA Body Kupaloke Tuberose Roller Perfume, $24, available here 

Givenchy Irresistible Eau de Parfum Rollerball, $40, available here

Le Labo Another 13 Liquid Balm, $105, available here

Marc Jacobs Daisy Rollerball, $35, available here

Pink Mahogany Sleep, Come Easily Rollerball, $35, available here

Aesop Marrakech Intense Parfum, $105, available here

Byredo Gypsy Water Roll-On Perfume, $78, available here

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