How To Make Natural DIY Perfume

Published by VIVE for the Aloha Way Magazine

Pretty bottles of perfume may litter our vanities, but do we know what’s actually in them?

More often than not, fancy packaging masks the chemicals and synthetic fragrances that cost us big money.

Those essential oils you see lining your health food store shelves are good for something after all! You probably already know your favorite scents, so it’s not hard to play mixologist and concoct your own fragrance oil or eau de parfum. The cherry on top is that your creation will be all-natural and free of chemicals, which are the last things we should be spraying onto our skin.

Any DIY perfume recipe is going to start with the essentials—essential oil that is.

The combinations are endless, but there are a few guidelines you should follow. We’re talking about balancing your base notes, middle (heart) notes, and top notes. Once you’ve got your perfect combination, you just have to choose how you want to apply it. Roller ball, solid perfume, or bottled perfume?

Let’s first address how to even start mixing and matching your essential oils. Thankfully, Julia Zangrilli of NOVA created an easy chart to help:

A simple way to tell if you like the combination of scents is to dip paper scent strips into the essential oils and wave them together under your nose. That will give you a good idea of how they smell together. Top notes fade the quickest while base notes last the longest.

Don’t know where to start? Basenotes.net has catalogued and broken down the scent profile for commercial perfumes on the market. Find a perfume you’ve liked in the past and take inspiration from how that scent is built! For example, Liliana by Tocca is a great go-to scent for summer, and just a peek at its notes reveals bergamot top notes, gardenia middle notes, and sandalwood base notes. Of course, there are multiple notes in each category, but simplifying things makes it easy to add your own spin to it. Don’t like gardenia? Substitute rose!

You’ll also need a carrier oil to mix with your essential oil blend. A great carrier oil is jojoba oil because of its long shelf life and stability. Another option is using fractionated coconut oil, which is not considered to be an all-natural oil because it has been distilled, but it remains a great carrier oil because it is highly stable, odorless and colorless. It also boasts a long shelf life, and unlike all natural, virgin coconut oil, it will not harden into a solid at room temperature. Mixing jojoba oil and fractionated coconut oil is a popular option for DIY fragrance oil roll-ons.

For the following three types of perfumes, use this ratio for a 10 ml bottle (which can be multiplied or divided for other container sizes):

Top, Middle, Bottom note ratios are 15-20-65 or 30-20-50

For example, 30 total drops = 4-6-20 drops or 9-6-15 drops

photo credit: Stephanie_K on Flikr

photo credit: Stephanie_K on Flikr

How to Make a Roll-On Fragrance

To make your roll-on, you’ll need to purchase a glass roll tubes and a dropper along with your carrier oils and essential oils.  

Ingredients

2 teaspoons of carrier oil (about 5 ml per teaspoons). If you’re mixing oils, try 1 1/2 teaspoons of fractionated coconut oil with 1/2 teaspoon of jojoba oil
12-25 drops of essential oils (depending on how strong you want the scent)

Preparation

Snap on the top and shake to combine. Apply throughout the day at pulse points to refresh your fragrance. Your natural body heat will actually activate and spread the scent more.

photo credit: A Beautiful Mess

photo credit: A Beautiful Mess

How to Make a Solid Perfume

Solid perfumes can easily be kept in tins or tubes, making it easy for travel without fear of spilling.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of carrier oil
1 tablespoon of beeswax
25-45 drops of essential oils (depending on how strong you want the scent)

Use a small stainless steel bowl to melt your wax and carrier oil in a double boiler (as if you’re melting chocolate). Mix the wax and oil thoroughly before adding your essential oils and mixing. Pour your perfume into small containers—quickly before they set! 

How to Make Bottled Perfume

Making your own requires some patience, but it is well worth it for an all-natural, personalized perfume. 

Ingredients

2 tablespoons of carrier oil
6 tablespoons of high-quality vodka
2.5 tablespoons of distilled or spring water
Coffee filter
Funnel
30 drops (approximately) of essential oils
2 dark-colored glass bottles

Preparation

Clean your bottles in dishwasher on high or in hot, soapy water. Pop them in the oven at 110°C/230°F until dry. Cap one bottle for later, and fill the other with your carrier oil.

Add your essential oils in the order of base notes, middle notes, and then top notes. Top off with the vodka, cap it, and give the whole bottle a good shake (it’s your arm workout for the day). Now comes the wait.

Let the fragrances mingle for anywhere from 48 hours to 6 weeks. More time equals a stronger scent. (It’s like how a wine has to age). Try to avoid the temptation to check too often, added oxygen may change the developing scent.

Once your bottle is done maturing, blend the scent with the spring water. Shake again and filter it into the other glass bottle for storage.

photo credit: Inhabitat

photo credit: Inhabitat

Tips for extending the life of your perfume:

Store your fragrances and essential oils in dark-colored bottles (think dark amber and cobalt) and out of direct sunlight.

Make sure to cap your oils tightly to prevent any heat, light, oxygen, and/or moisture from seeping in.

Jojoba oil has shelf life of about two to four years when stored properly. Fractionated coconut oil lasts indefinitely in correct storage, but some oils like argan oil only lasts around six months.

Next time someone asks what scent you’re wearing, you can say it’s an exclusive scent, just for you!

Photo Credit: Green Moms Collective, NOVA, Stephanie_K on Flikr, A Beautiful Mess, Inhabit.