Making your own long-lasting perfume is an art. The basic ingredients are always the same and preparation is easy, as long as you know how to combine the essential oils to reach your preferred scent.
As a rule of thumb, mainly for beginners, start with two or three essential oils. Once you have mastered this art, and feel more confident, you can juggle more essential oils of different categories to give depth to your eau de toilette.
A “well-structured” perfume has deep notes (also referred to as bottom or base notes), complemented by middle (or heart) notes, and top notes.
Vanilla, musk, patchouli, and frankincense are examples of essential oils that can provide a solid base for your perfume. Deep notes should make up about 50 percent of your blend. Those aromas will linger for the whole day. Middle notes will actually bond the deep notes and top notes together. They will transport you through the perfume journey. A good proportion for heart notes is 30 percent.
You can throw into your blend some magnolia, gardenia, rose, jasmine, rosemary, or ylang-ylang for a full-bodied scent. Finish with 20 percent of top notes. Those are the notes that will overwhelm your senses at first and then fade to bring in the deeper notes. Think of lighter fragrances for your top notes, floral or citrus, fresh and light, such as tangerine, lime, bergamot, cherry, apple, peach, and so forth.
You could start with a sampler kit and play with its essential oils until you are ready to invest in a bigger collection.
Try a blend of geranium, gardenia, jasmine, and rose essential oils for a spring flowery scent. Alternatively, try a blend of lemon, lemon balm, citronella, bergamot, and orange blossom essential oils for a citrusy, uplifting fragrance. If you like deeper notes, then cedarwood, sandalwood, and patchouli essential oils might be your choice. For a warm, yummy scent, incorporate vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove essential oils.
Because essential oils are extremely concentrated (100 percent pure), make sure you work in a properly ventilated area. Do not inhale undiluted essential oils, and always read about the benefits and hazards of your essential oils before you start manipulating them. It is not advisable to put essential oils directly on the skin unless they are first diluted with a carrier oil to avoid sensitization.
Once you have created one or more scents that satisfy your senses, you will need to dilute them into an actual perfume. Because rubbing alcohol evaporates, it is a great carrier for a scent. Blend it with water for a more fragrant result.
Vodka is also a good substitute for rubbing alcohol; even the cheapest vodka is food grade, which makes it superior to commercial rubbing alcohol and less polluted with unwanted chemicals. You can also make an alcohol-free perfume, using instead an ingredient such as propanediol or Cyclomethicone, or simply a carrier oil of your choice, such as jojoba, for a natural oil perfume.
Your Own Oil Perfume
Once you have created a scent that speaks to your senses, transforming it into a perfume is a breeze. Oil perfumes are easy to make and can be more concentrated than volatile fragrances.
- 3 tablespoons (50 ml) jojoba oil
- 20 drops (1 ml) of your own essential oils blend
- Pour the jojoba oil into a small roll-on container, or a dropper bottle. Add your essential oils, fasten the lid, and shake well. Let the oils fuse for a day or two.
- Place a couple of drops of your perfume on warm body spots, such as behind the ears and on the inside of the wrists.
Perfumed balms are easy to make and store well. Three main ingredients are needed: a solid base such as beeswax or shea butter; a liquid oil that will soften the solid phase, such as almond oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil; and a scent made by mixing a few of your favorite essential oils.
- 3 ounces (100 ml) shea butter
- 1 ounce (30 ml) almond oil
- ½ teaspoon tangerine essential oil
- ½ teaspoon grapefruit essential oil
- 20 drops (1 ml) peppermint essential oil
- In a double boiler, melt the shea butter, and then add the almond oil. Mix quickly with a whisk, turn off the heat, and continue whisking as you add the essential oils.
- Transfer the mixture to a tin box and allow it to cool before fastening the lid.
- Use as a solid perfume by rubbing little amounts on warm body spots such as behind the ears and inside the wrists.
Custom Eau de Toilette
It is very easy to make your own eau de toilette at a fraction of the cost and with fully known ingredients and all-natural fragrances.
- 2 ounces (60 ml) distilled water
- 1 ounce (30 ml) rubbing alcohol
- ½ teaspoon your own essential oils blend
- Create your own essential oils using solid ingredients such as cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, or lemon rind or zest, drop them into a glass jar, cover with rubbing alcohol, seal the lid, and leave for a week, away from sunlight and in a cool place. Shake frequently to help the oils transfer into the alcohol. Then filter through a cheesecloth and transfer to an amber bottle.
- If you are using a blend of essential oils, allow the scents to “fuse” for a couple of days before adding them to your mixture.
- Mix the water and essential oils, shake well, and store in a dark-colored glass perfume bottle.
- Use this mixture as you would any other eau de toilette. Do not spray on the face or on irritated skin.
Fresh Scent Body Spray
The perspiration caused by summer heat can be embarrassing, and a handy body spray can be a great relief. This recipe combines the fresh, clean smell of citrusy ingredients with the astringent effects of witch hazel and the antiseptic properties of green tea. Rubbing alcohol or vodka will help reduce the bacterial load on the skin surface and counteract body odor.
- ½ cup rubbing alcohol or vodka
- 2 ounces (60 ml) witch hazel
- 2 ounces (60 ml) green tea
- 20 drops (1 ml) grapefruit essential oil
- 20 drops (1 ml) tangerine essential oil
Note: You can substitute lavender essential oil for the citrusy essential oils in this recipe for a more gender-neutral scent.
- Mix all the above ingredients and transfer the mixture to a spray bottle.
- Allow the ingredients to “fuse” for a couple of days before using.
- Use this spray every day, if you like, especially on hot days when you’ve been perspiring. Always shake the bottle before spraying.
Body odor develops as the body releases accumulated toxins through sweat and sebum secretions. Since the skin folds are poorly ventilated, skin flora (bacteria normally present on the skin surface) tends to proliferate within those folds, where moisture and sweat are optimal. Baking soda is a strong odor-neutralizing agent. It has multiple domestic uses such as eliminating odors, as a laundry detergent ingredient, and, of course, in baking. It also has cosmetic applications, including deodorants for odor control. The addition of two antiseptic essential oils will allow for the disinfecting effect of rubbing alcohol and limit bacterial proliferation. This synergistic effect is maximized by the addition of an astringent agent that will reduce the size of skin pores and limit the secretion of sebum. The addition of reducing the size of skin pores and limiting the secretion of sebum. The addition of glycerin will counteract the drying effect of the rubbing alcohol.
- 2 ounces (60 ml) witch hazel
- 2 ounces (60 ml) of green tea
- 2 ounces (60 ml) of rubbing alcohol
- 1 teaspoon vegetable-derived glycerin
- 10 drops (0.5 ml) tea tree essential oil
- 10 drops (0.5 ml) thyme essential oil
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- Pour all the liquid ingredients into a spray bottle. Slowly add the baking soda. Shake the bottle gently to dissolve and mix all the ingredients.
- Shake the bottle vigorously before each use. Spray one to two times under the arms and allow the moisture to dry before dressing.