The 13 Best Rollerball Perfumes of 2023

Gucci Bloom is a timeless scent that can be worn from the office to date night.

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roller balls

Joy Kim

Rollerball perfumes are one of those sneaky pocket-sized tools that offer an instant refresh after a sweaty commute and can provide a confidence boost before a first date. A single dab and suddenly you have your life together — something oil-blotting sheets and powder compacts can’t quite do. They also allow you to sample a scent before investing in a pricey, full-sized bottle.

Whether you’re trying to discover your signature scent, need a TSA-approved liquid, or are shopping for someone else, we took the time to find the best rollerball perfumes that will leave you smelling and feeling fantastic. 

The subtle, sweet scent of Gucci Bloom tops our list for the way it attracts praise like a magnet, and how the classic smell seems to complement all life events, from working in the office to going out with friends. But we wanted to give you plenty of options, so we asked for recommendations and tips from experts in the fragrance industry; plus, we threw in a couple of our favorites. Ahead, find the rollerball perfumes you’ll never want to leave home without.

Best Overall

Gucci Bloom Eau de Parfum For Her Rollerball

gucci-bloom-eau-de-parfum-for-her-rollerball

Sephora

What We Love: It’s a classic, long-lasting floral scent you can wear throughout every season.

What We Don’t Love: The scent might be too sweet for some.

If purchasing a tailored suit means you’ve entered adulthood in the fashion world, Gucci Bloom is the fragrance equivalent. While the name suggests springtime, the mature scent is a classic choice that pairs perfectly with any season. Hints of fresh jasmine intertwine with sweet rangoon creeper for a naturally sweet, sophisticated scent that even non-floral fans will still enjoy (myself included).

We’d compare the perfume to an airy English garden rather than a full-on rose bouquet, but if you’re completely opposed to florals, you may want to choose one of the other options on this list.

Price at time of publish: $35

Type: Eau de Parfum | Notes: Rangoon creeper, Jasmine bud, Tuberose | Size: 0.25 oz.

Best Budget

Ariana Grande Ari Eau De Parfum Rollerball

ariana-grande-ari-eau-de-parfum-rollerball

Amazon

What We Love: It has a beautiful, warm scent that is comparable to more expensive fragrances.

What We Don’t Love: The scent doesn’t last longer than a few hours.

Ariana Grande released this signature scent back in 2015, and it instantly became a classic. Pear, raspberries, and rose buds dominate the popular perfume — but don’t be turned away thinking it’s a juvenile fragrance. While floral middle notes give it a sweet aroma, hints of musky vanilla come to the foreground once dried to create a light, clean perfume. We’re glad it’s one of the more affordable options on the list because it doesn’t last longer than a few hours, so you could find yourself reapplying (and repurchasing) often. 

Price at time of publish: $20

Type: Eau de Parfum | Notes: Crispy pear, Pink grapefruit, Rose buds, Vanilla orchid | Size: 0.25 oz.

Best Splurge

Le Labo Another 13 Liquid Balm

le-labo-another-13-liquid-balm

Le Labo

What We Love: It’s an addictive, unique scent that attracts lots of compliments. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s easy to over apply since it can be hard to smell on yourself.

Similar to your mannerisms, this sneaky perfume is one you might not notice after application — but everyone around you will. Hints of jasmine balance the heavier amber and musky notes for a one-of-a-kind smell that delicately lingers on skin. If you’re a fan of woody fragrances, like Le Labo Santal, but can sometimes feel overwhelmed by how strong they smell, this is a milder, lighter option that still gives you a comforting, cedar scent. 

Keep in mind that even though it can be hard to smell the fragrance on yourself, try not to over-apply. I’ve found that others pick up on the musky, amber scent more than I do when wearing this.

Price at time of publish: $98

Type: Eau de Parfum | Notes: Ambroxan, Jasmine petals, Musk, Moss, Amber | Size: 0.3 oz.

Best Modern Floral

The 7 Virtues Blackberry Lily Gemstone Perfume Oil

the-7-virtues-blackberry-lily-gemstone-perfume-oil

Sephora

What We Love: The amethyst gemstone roller adds an aromatherapy-like quality to this blackberry oil-based perfume.

What We Don’t Love: The bottle is prone to leaking. 

We love the initial blackberry scent that draws you into this perfume, and the formula’s use of jojoba oil to nourish the skin. As the perfume dries down, hints of lily of the valley and geranium peak through before warm caramel and amber base notes take hold for a finish that’s still fruit-forward, but not in an artificial, Lip Smackers-type way. 

What differentiates this from other rollerballs is the amethyst gemstone which makes the experience of applying the perfume feel like a mini aromatherapy session. This crystal is said to spark creativity, so maybe dab this on the next time you have writer’s block or need some outfit inspo. Be sure to screw the cap back on extra tight, though, because the bottle is prone to leaking. 

Price at time of publish: $69

Type: Eau de Parfum | Notes: Blackberry, Lily of the valley, Geranium | Size: 0.67 oz.

Best Fruity

B Fragranced Embellish Eau De Parfum 10ml - Rollerball

b-fragranced-embellish-eau-de-parfum-10ml---rollerball

B Fragranced

What We Love: Fruit-forward notes balance nicely against sandalwood for a romantic scent.

What We Don’t Love: It might be too sweet for everyday wear.

For nights when you want to make a lasting impression, this is the perfume to wear. We envision wearing the feminine, fruity fragrance (which features notes of apple, peach, and citron) on date nights, to parties, and for special occasions. Base notes of amber and sandalwood tone down the scent so it’s not too sweet, but since it’s still fruit-forward, it may not be best for daily wear. However, we think saving it for special events makes it that much more special.

Price at time of publish: $24

Type: Eau de Parfum | Notes: Apple, Peach, Citron | Size: 0.3 oz.

Best Gourmand

Prada Candy Eau de Parfum 10ml

prada-candy-eau-de-parfum-10ml

Prada

What We Love: It has a sweet and fun caramel scent that’s not overpowering.

What We Don’t Love: While not overwhelming, it’s still strong so we don’t recommend this for everyday wear.

Just like grabbing your favorite ice cream or chocolate when you need a lift, Prada Candy whips together all the smells of your favorite desserts for a perfect pick-me-up. Benzoin envelops you in a warm, vanilla scent and even though the fragrance smells like caramel when first applied, cosmetic chemist Ginger King tells us it dries down to a white musk which prevents it from being overly sweet. 

Trust us when we say the playful perfume is still sophisticated, and won’t leave you smelling like a scratch 'n sniff sticker. That said, it may not be subtle enough to wear everywhere, so we suggest saving it for special occasions or for when you need a quick serotonin boost. 

Price at time of publish: $30

Type: Eau de Parfum | Notes: White musks, Benzoin, Caramel accord  | Size: 0.3 oz.

Best Light

Marc Jacobs Daisy Rollerball

marc-jacobs-daisy-rollerball

Sephora

What We Love: The light, floral scent is perfect for those new to perfume, or those who are looking to layer scents.

What We Don’t Love: It’s not long-lasting.

If Clean Girl Aesthetic had a signature scent, it would be Marc Jacobs Daisy. Something about the classic, airy perfume makes me feel like I’ve crossed everything off in my planner, and I’d consider it a training wheels fragrance for anyone entering their perfume discovery era. Although floral scents can be divisive, this one is lightweight and leans more toward a warm, welcoming aroma that’s slightly fruity (think: Walking through a field of flowers, not a floral shop). Just know it won’t stick to your skin longer than a few hours, but we think it’s worth the reapply. 

Price at time of publish: $31

Type: Eau de toilette | Notes: Strawberry, Violet leaves, Jasmine, White woods | Size: 0.33 oz.

Best Woody

Costa Brazil Aroma Jungle Oil Rollerball

costa-brazil-aroma-jungle-oil-rollerball

Neiman Marcus

What We Love: The spicy, woody scent is unlike anything else, and it’s long-lasting.

What We Don’t Love: Though woody scents are inherently strong, this one is very strong.

To me, the best scents are sometimes indescribable and can only be compared to a feeling or memory — like this woody, slightly floral fragrance that reminds one of our editors of a Fleetwood Mac album cover. Also recommended by Linda Levy, president of The Fragrance Foundation, as one of her favorites, the spicy aroma is warm and inviting with a hint of sweetness for a perfume that appeals to all. Note that woody scents are inherently strong, so sensitive noses beware.

Price at time of publish: $78

Type: Eau de Parfum | Notes: White Jungle Flora, Patchouli, Vetiver, and Amber Accords | Size: 0.32 oz.

Best Fresh

Byredo Gypsy Water Eau de Parfum Roll On Oil

byredo-gypsy-water-eau-de-parfum-roll-on-oil

Saks Fifth Avenue

What We Love: It’s a light, everyday scent that smells beautiful without being overpowering. 

What We Don’t Love: This scent fades a little too quickly for our liking. 

Fresh doesn’t always mean eucalyptus leaves and cucumber water — we love how Byredo creates a new take on the genre by adding a slightly woody and peppery twist that’s uplifted by lemon and sandalwood. The resulting fragrance is similar to how a pine forest smells after it rains, with bergamot balancing out the warm incense notes for an overall creamy scent. 

While we found that the fragrance stays with you throughout the day, we do wish it was a tad stronger. However, we think that its lightness strengthens the case to make it your signature, everyday scent. If you’re looking for something with a larger projection, we suggest trying Byredo Oud Immortal

Price at time of publish: $78

Type: Eau de Parfum | Notes: Bergamot, Incense, Amber wood | Size: 0.25 oz.

Best Unisex

Malin + Goetz Dark Rum Perfume Oil

malin---goetz-dark-rum-perfume-oil

Nordstrom

What We Love: Feminine notes of plum and bergamot blend with more masculine hints of rum and leather for a unisex fragrance.

What We Don’t Love: The smell is a little strong for those used to a lighter fragrances.

You probably won’t ever meet a scent quite like this — or find one that will receive so many compliments. While the perfume starts out strong with heady aromas of patchouli, rum, and leather, it quickly mellows out thanks to creamy milk. 

Though you may be tempted to reserve the warm and spicy scent for cooler months, it actually is ideal for year round wear because hints of fresh bergamot brighten the fragrance overall. A little goes a long way for this long-lasting perfume, and while the rum smell is nicely muted, it can still be strong for some.

Price at time of publish: $32

Type: Eau de Parfum | Notes: Bergamot, Plum, Rum | Size: 0.3 oz.

Best Vegan

Lake & Skye 11 11 Fragrance Oil Rollerball

Lake and Skye 11 11 Fragrance Oil Rollerball

Ulta

What We Love: Lake & Skye uses a transparent ingredient list to create a fresh scent that’s free of sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. 

What We Don’t Love: The perfume is very subtle and won’t last for a long time.

If you’re in the neighborhood for a perfume whose formula is as clean as its scent, the PETA-certified Lake & Skye 11 11 provides a crisp fragrance similar to a cool, coastal breeze. Light and airy, its simplicity goes hand-in-hand with the coastal grandmother trend. You may even feel a little more relaxed after applying this fragrance since the formula takes inspiration from the teaching of Kundalini yoga. We just wish the scent lasted as long as our zen, but the subtle fragrance does make it a great option for wearing into the office.

Price at time of publish: $48

Type: Eau de Parfum | Notes: Blend of white ambers | Size: 0.33 oz.

Best Oil

Blade + Bloom First Flowers Rich Fragrance Oil

blade---bloom-first-flowers-rich-fragrance-oil

Blade + Bloom

What We Love: It’s a fresh-scented essential oil that will help you feel energized.

What We Don’t Love: Essential oils can sometimes cause skin irritation.

An essential oil rollerball just might be the trick to encapsulating that post-massage feeling of bliss. Plus, they’re also a more affordable option than alcohol-based perfumes, and they can be good for those who get headaches from fragrances. First Flowers from Blade + Bloom combines neroli (an essential oil made from orange blossoms) with rosewood, coriander, and amber for an energizing, floral scent. While essential oil formulas use plant-derived ingredients, they can sometimes be irritating to certain people’s skin, so it’s always best to do a patch test before applying one.

Price at time of publish: $24

Type: Essential Oil | Notes: Neroli and Rosewood | Size: 0.34 oz.

Best Set

Nest New York Mini Fragrance Discovery Set

nest-new-york-mini-fragrance-discovery-set

Sephora

What We Love: This set is filled with Nest’s best-selling fragrances, so you can discover which one you love the most.

What We Don’t Love: Some reviewers feel the scents in this set smell too similar to each other.

Like choosing a treat from a box of chocolates, there’s something so fun about a variety pack — but instead of coming out with a couple of duds, we’re sure you’ll love every fragrance in this set. It includes seven of Nest’s best-selling scents, making it ideal for an introductory foray into the world of perfume. Nest New York's Founder, Laura Slatkin, previously told InStyle that she crafts fine fragrances for everything from walking your dog to traveling, and this set lets you explore which one is best for every life occasion.

We’re particularly fond of Golden Nectar for a sweeter, floral scent that’s just heavy enough for a night out. Or, opt for the Wisteria Blue — a lighter, crisper choice for everyday wear. Hopefully, Nest will come out with another discovery set with a little more variety, as some reviewers feel that the scents offered in this set smell very similar.

Price at time of publish: $40

Type: Eau de parfum | Perfume Count: 7 | Size: seven 0.1 oz. bottles

What to Keep in Mind

Scent

Since scent is so personal, it makes recommending perfume a little difficult. Understanding the four basic scent profiles — floral, woody, fresh, and fruity — can help. Gucci Bloom Eau de Parfum For Her Rollerball (our top pick) and Marc Jacobs Daisy slot into the first category with notes like rose and jasmine. A choice like Costa Brazil Aroma Jungle Oil, on the other hand, with a woody profile will have warmer notes such as patchouli and vanilla. If you have a more sensitive nose, opt for a lighter, fresh scent like Byredo Gypsy Water, because these won’t overwhelm your senses.

Sensitivities

Just like when you try a serum or moisturizer, if you have sensitive skin, King recommends patch testing and checking for skin redness or itchiness when using a new perfume. Bee Shapiro, founder of Ellis Brooklyn, adds that very strong citrus notes, for example, can irritate some. While any fragrance can cause an adverse reaction, those with sensitive skin should especially avoid rollerballs with essential oils as they are known to cause irritation more than other fragrances.

Your Questions, Answered

Are rollerballs less effective than spray perfumes?

No, it’s all about the fragrance oil concentration, which, according to King, needs to meet a requirement of 20 to 30 percent to be called a perfume. Alcohol is used as a diluent, she says, so the greater the amount of perfume oils, the stronger the fragrance. Shapiro explains that since each brand can vary in concentration and notes, you can’t definitively say a spray is better than a rollerball or vice versa. It all depends on preference. For example, you might opt for a rollerball over a spray if you’re using a fragrance oil, since, as Levy points out, it's easier to target an area on your skin using an oil.

“From a formulation perspective, since the chemist does not have to worry about the sprayability of a roller ball, more creativity can be employed as they can use more emollient oil or even add skin actives,” adds King. 

How do you make a perfume last longer?

King recommends applying body lotion — scented or unscented — before applying perfume so the fragrance sticks to the skin better. “This is called fragrance layering,” she says. “It also makes the scent smell ‘softer’ without the initial alcoholic smell.”

Do rollerball perfumes expire sooner than sprays?

The short answer is no, but it depends on the formula. “Rollerballs can still have alcohol to prevent them from going bad. If it's just perfume oil and some other oils, without proper preservation, the diluent oils can go rancid over time,” explains King. 

Also, she explains since rollerballs come in about 0.3 oz-sized bottles, people are likely to use them up faster than sprays, so they won’t be sitting around as long. Most fragrance manufacturers recommended throwing out any fragrance older than three years, but since it can vary based on a couple of factors like formula, we laid out some tips for determining when it’s time to toss.

Why Shop With Us

Irene Richardson is a writer with over five years of experience covering fashion and beauty trends. For this story, she researched rollerball perfumes from dozens of brands, read reviews, personally tried several on the list, and consulted three experts in the fragrance industry — founder of Ellis Brooklyn, Bee Shapiro; cosmetic formulator, Ginger King; and president of The Fragrance Foundation, Linda Levy.

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