Store-bought perfume can be expensive, and you might not find exactly the scent you're looking for. So instead, you can create your own perfume using your favorite essential oils. Essential oil perfume is quick and easy to make, and the combinations are virtually endless. Simply keep track of how many drops of each essential oil you add to the carrier oil (the skin-friendly base oil that's used to dilute the essential oils), so you'll know how to replicate the recipe in the future. Besides creating your own signature scent, essential oil perfume can make a great personalized gift.
Scent is a powerful thing. It can evoke strong memories and emotions, positive and negative, and even change our level of attraction to the people around us. Research has shown that our sense of smell is so powerful, in fact, that we are 100 times more likely to remember something we smell than something we see, hear, or touch. Not surprisingly, then, the perfume industry is a thriving one.
But first you have to know how perfumes work. A fragrance is made up of three types of scents in different proportions: top notes (30%), middle notes (50%), and base notes (20%). Top notes are what you smell first, and they fade faster. Middle notes come next and are considered the core of your fragrance. Base notes are what help the middle notes last longer; they accentuate and extend the longevity of the middle notes. Popular top notes: basil, bergamot, grapefruit, lavender, lemon, lime, mint, neroli, rosemary, sweet orange. Popular middle notes: black pepper, cardamom, chamomile, bay, fennel, geranium, juniper, nutmeg, yarrow. Popular base notes: cedarwood, cypress, ginger, patchouli, pine, sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver.
Then you have to know your scent inspiration. If you’re in need of a little inspiration to get started, here are some possible essential-oil scent combinations to try, depending on your mood, personality, and personal preferences:
Sweet & Summery – lavender, chamomile, cardamom, cedarwood, geranium
Bright & refreshing – peppermint, rosemary, lemon, sage, juniper
Wild & Woody – spruce, juniper, cedarwood, vetiver, bergamot
Now the fun part! Creating your signature scent. Actually making the perfume is simple. Though you can use original ingredients like flower petals, essential oils are the easiest route if you’re making perfume for the first time.
What you will need:
- Liquid measuring cup (optional)
- Eyedropper (if your essential oil bottles don't have one built in)
- Pin or other small, sharp object
- Small glass bottle with a lid
- Carrier oil (such as jojoba oil, olive oil, or grape seed oil)
- Essential oils of your choosing
- Vitamin E capsule
Prepare Your Bottle. Clean out an old perfume bottle or other small glass bottle or jar. You can make as much or as little perfume as you want, but typically a bottle that fits around 4 ounces is ideal.
Add the Carrier Oil. Take your carrier oil, and add around 2 to 3 ounces of it to your glass bottle. The measurement doesn't have to be precise. But do note that the more carrier oil you use, the more essential oils you'll need to achieve your desired scent.
Add the Base Note. Now it's time to add drops of essential oil that will create the base note of the fragrance (the longest-lasting part of the scent). Cinnamon, jasmine, cedarwood, rose, vanilla, myrrh, and clove essential oils all make excellent base notes.
Add the Middle Note. Essential oil for the middle note (the scent that comes out a little while after applying the fragrance) is next.
Add the Top Note. The top note (the scent you smell right away after application) is the last essential oil to complete your perfume. Again, you'll want to add around 15 drops to your perfume bottle.
Add a Fixative. Your homemade perfume is not complete without a fixative, which preserves the perfume and keeps it fresh. An effective and skin-friendly fixative is a vitamin E capsule. Simply stick a small pin or other sharp object into the capsule, and squeeze out the contents into your perfume bottle.
Shake to Combine. Place the lid on your perfume bottle, and give it a good shake to combine all of the ingredients. If you make more than one bottle of essential oil perfume at a time, place an ingredients label on the bottle to help you remember which scent is inside. You can use the perfume right away. However, if you let it rest for a couple of weeks, the oils will have time to blend and the scent will be stronger and last longer when you wear it.