To make your very own simple perfume at home isn’t difficult, in fact you may already have some of the ingredients available right now.
Commercial perfume such as Dior or Ralph Lauren is primarily made from a special perfumers base- which put simply, is very strong, very pure, and very high proof denatured alcohol.Of course there are many other chemical additives and extenders, which vary from perfume to perfume, but carry out the purpose of both preserving and *fixing* the scent.
A note: Before you reach for the gin, I’ve tried making perfume from shop bought bottles of vodka, gin etc. in the past, and although I met with some level of success, the proof of the alcohol really wasn’t strong enough to be effectively miscible with the fragrance oils. So for now, we’ll talk about making an oil based perfume, as the ingredients are readily to hand in local health shops and maybe even your own fridge right now!
Oil based perfume is the most ancient form of scent, being the perfume of choice for the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Eygptians- in fact the oldest perfume yet discovered was discovered in Cyprus in 2003 and dates back more than 4000 years. These precious ancient perfumes would most definitely have been oil based! (And very aptly were discovered on the island reputed to be the birthplace of Aphrodite- but this is a story for another day…)
Before you begin your blend, you’ll need to get hold of the following components:
- A non-pungent base oil– (Olive oil won’t do unless you want to smell like salad dressing!) Grape Seed Oil and Sweet Almond Oil are both usually readily available in health shops, and inexpensive. Watch out for Jojoba Oil, which although lovely will solidify if it gets cool which can be a bit disconcerting if you wanted a liquid rather than a solid perfume.
- Essential Oils- good quality essential oils can be very expensive as they are pure distilled plant essences- especially Rose Maroc, Sandalwood, Violet leaf, and Oakmoss- and some are fairly obscure and would need to be sourced online- however it is always possible to find some nice smelling more common ones in your local shops. Relatively inexpensive oils which smell pleasant include: Neroli, Sweet Orange, Ginger, Vanilla, Grapefruit, Lemon, Geranium, Ylang Ylang, Frankincense, Cedarwood, Jasmine, Chamomile, mint, and lavender.
- A beautiful bottle to put your fragrance in! Do remember, oil based perfumes aren’t really suitable for atomizers as the oil is too dense to spray and will only clog it all up.
- Three quarter fill your bottle with your base oil.
- Add drops of your essential oils to your base oil, shaking the bottle after every fresh application- it’s best to be cautious with your oils as they are very strong, and even one drop too much can have a devastating effect on the final scent. Smell your concoction as you go along until you discover your perfect blend!
- When you’ve got your perfect blend you can top up the bottle with a little more of your base oil if you like. This is fine as the perfume will smell a little stronger when it is applied to your skin, so this will mellow it out somewhat.
Hints and tips
Try to think of your finished perfume as a three dimensional object, a symphony, rather than a flat painting. You may already have heard of top notes, heart notes, and base notes– these are terms used by perfumers to describe the different layers of scent within a fragrance.
Top notes- these reach our sense of smell first, forming an initial first impression and then dissipating relatively quickly. Examples of common top notes include: Lemon, Mandarin, Neroli, Peppermint, grapefruit, teatree.
Middle notes- these form the real “heart” of the fragrance and are commonly floral, imparting warmth and fullness. Common heart or middle notes include: Jasmine, Orange flower, geranium, Rose, Violet leaf, Melissa, Myrtle.
Base notes- intense base notes evolve over time and remain when all the other smells have faded. They are heady, thick, sometimes mysterious, and often derived from barks, resins, saps and grasses. Some common base notes are: Sandalwood, Vanilla, Musks, Oakmoss, Cedarwood, Francincense, Ginger, Glove, Rosewood, Clove, Patchouli.
Natural Oil based perfumes are wonderfully therapeutic and don’t contain any of the nasty parabens and other preservatives and sythetic extenders etc. that are too often found in commercial perfumes- however, this does mean that the fragrance doesn’t always last quite as long on the skin.
All is not lost though! Nature is a wonderful provider- and there are actually several essential oils which are able to act as natural “fixatives” or “extenders”. So while you wouldn’t want to put much into your finished product as they tend to be very pungent, a drop or two here and there can help to hold your scent, so that it is able to party (nearly!) as long as you are…
Some natural fixatives you may want to consider adding to your perfume are:
- Sandalwood (Very popular, with good reason; woody, heady, seductive and smooth.)
- Patchouli (Deep, spicy and musky; common in the 60’s- perhaps a little “hippyish”!?)
- Oris Root (woody, faint violet undertones)
- Vetiver (earthy, woody, soothing)
- Vanilla- (lovely, a very common base for commercial perfume, although of course these are usually synthetic, often blended with musks.)
- Benzoin (sweet woods, undertones of vanilla and resin)
- Cedarwood (gorgeous, fresh Christmas-tree type smell!)
- Ylang Ylang (heady and floral, be sparing with this!)
- Myrrh (exotic, heady, resinous, woody; use sparingly)
- Frankincense (woody, sappy, but lighter and fresher than many woody scents with almost floral undertones- very nice.)
- Orange Oil to the Rescue! If you make a mistake and add a drop too much of one particular scent, you could try adding a drop or two of Orange Oil- as it’s widely believed that Orange Oil has the unique qualities of being able to cancel out mistakes in perfumery somewhat, toning them down. Personally, I think there’s some truth in this!
If you’ve got this far, well done for creating your own signature perfume!
Now all that remains is to name your creation…Will you call if after yourself, creating an eponymous perfume like Chanel No 5, or will you go for something a little more abstract and mysterious like “Angel” by Thierry Mugler or “Flowerbomb” by Viktor and Rolf (two of my favourites!)
Remember, perfumery is a complex art; actually in many ways it’s more like a science- so don’t worry if your first attempt isn’t brilliant. There are thousands of different scents for you to choose from and mix together, so with perseverance you’ll soon be able to create delicious fragrances for all your friends!
From a very early age Sylvan Brown has been fascinated by fragrance- so after years pursuing an informal obsession with scent, she decided to blossom into a full time professional perfumer.
Making your own oil based perfume is a fun thing to do and aside from that you can also make your own fragrance. Thank you for sharing this step by step process on making your own oil based perfume! Very informative!
Very simple and lucrative
Hi! This is Ajay Rustagi from India. I seek your guidance for making perfume for for our climatic zone n conditions.
I am honored to be associated with you. Thank you for sharing.
Kitts Mageza,South Africa
Thank you for your advise in this matter, I have recently started to replace many of products with natural ones and this is an absolutely lovely idea. Many thanks!
I love the oral tutorial,i will love to perfect it more want. Want to
go into that field. love fragrance
It’s so interesting. I will try it out.
Thank you for sharing. I would love to make my own signature, currently i am just mixing fragrances that are prepared already with solvent. I want my own signature. How can i get intouch with you and are there any one on one lessons?
My sister is also in the perfume industry and it has been a good business for her. Long live the perfume business! 🙂
This is a helped for me since I am fund of perfumes. Hope I can start my perfume making as early as possible. Thanks for your kindness of sharing ideas.
Very useful informative stuff!! Thanks so much!
How can I dilute an oil frangrance? With tha ingredient so I spray it….appreciatte any help.
Hi..thank for good info sharing..I made a homemade herbal oil with garlic n onion with other oils…n i heated them n sit for 8 hours then I filled in bottles…I wan to know how long can v store this oil in shelf??I made it in large batch…pls help me out in this matter. Thank u
i really am needing to make perfumes to give as gift with each y7oga outfit i sell, im excited ,,,i just need the ingredienc of some of thre perfumes my cloents say they liketo wear ,,il suprise them woth a home made one from me ..lol //
In reply to Roberta Makaroff.
Top note is green apple; middle notes are osmanthus and orchid; base notes are musk, sandalwood, amber and vanilla.
Would unscented organic coconut oil work instead of almond? I’m making a perfume for my boyfriend’s birthday but He is allergic to most nuts and the last thing i wanna do is give him a rash.
Hey Great share,,,
Well, I made a herbal perfume and its fragrance is so long lasting. I feel very confident after wearing this perfume.
Herbal Perfume Ingredients:
• Approximately 12-20 drops total of Base Essential Oils like: Cedarwood, Vanilla, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang, Sandlewood, etc
• 1 tsp of [url:1]homemade vanilla extract (optional)
• 25-30 drops of middle tone oils like Rose, Lavender, Chamomile or Geranium
• 12-15 drops of top note oils like Bergamot, Wild Orange or Neroli
• 4 ounces of alcohol to preserve and meld scents- I used non-GMO spiced rum
What to do:
1. Mix all oils together in an opaque bottle to get a scent you like. Let this mixture stay in the bottle alone for a few days to let scents meld.
2. Add the alcohol and cap tightly.
3. Shake and put in a cool, dark place for at least a month (preferable). This is optional but helps the alcohol scent fade and the scents of the oils intensify.
Lol..neroli inexpensive oil lol