Homemade Perfume
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How to make perfume [ edit this section ]

Why spend a fortune on perfume or cologne when you can make your own for cheap. Brand name perfume/cologne can cost from $50-100, why spend that much when you can create your own fragrance with vodka and essential oils.

Instead of wearing a fragrance that everyone else wears you can make your own unique blend. Your own aromatic creations also makes a thoughtful gift.

You can use any bottle you want for your home-made perfume.
You can use any bottle you want for your home-made perfume.
An example of a brand-name perfume.
An example of a brand-name perfume.
What you'll need
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Ingredients:

  • Vodka (the higher percentage alcohol the better) or Everclear if you can get it - In place of Vodka, surgical spirit/ rubbing alcohol may be used. I think the higher alcohol content in rubbing alcohol is better for taking up the scent.
  • Essential oils*, fragrance oils**, infused oils, even flavor*** extracts (make sure it's pure) such as vanilla extract. My local grocery store sells essential oils, which seems a bit unusual, you can probably find them at natural food stores, you know the ones that sell herbal stuff. There is also a store in the mall where I live, called Sage that sells aromatherapy stuff, with a wide selection of essential oils. The internet is always a good place to buy stuff too. You could steep things directly into the alcohol too since essential oils are expensive. Rubbing alcohol has a slightly stronger scent then vodka because of its higher alcohol content, but after you add the scents, you wouldn't notice it. It is meant to be used topically so I don't see a problem with using it for perfume. Steeping things directly in the alcohol is a great idea, that would be like a tincture, especially since essential oils are rather pricey.
  • Distilled or spring water
  • Glycerin - In place of glycerin, you can use any baby-oil is good for your skin. Glycerin is odorless, so it wont affect your perfume. If you use baby oil, most of them come aromatized. Try finding one that´s scentless (or with very little smell). Glycerin or baby oil, wont make your perfume last longer, what they actually do is increase the evaporation time (making the mixture evaporate in a longer period of time). The more glycerin you use, the longer the smell will last, but, also, the greasier you will feel while applying it. I use to buy essences already mixed. For instance, I use 10 ml of XS scent (imitation, of course) and mix it up with 340 ml of Cereal Alcohol (98°). Some mixes will be almost transparent, so, if you want to give some color to it, just dip a PILOT tip in it for 2 seconds, shake, and voila! Glycerin or baby oil should be about 10 ml per half liter alcohol. A good place to buy glycerin is your local pharmacy.

Other stuff

  • pretty glass bottles to put the finished product in, preferably colored glass, reuse bottles or find them at the dollar store.
  • glass jar for mixing fragrance in
  • measuring cup/spoons
  • a dropper if you have one
  • funnel
  • aluminum foil or wrapping paper if you are using clear glass bottles
  • a pencil and paper for jotting down your recipe
  • a discerning nose is helpful

*You can also make your own perfume oil[1]

**Fragrance oils are synthetic and are less expensive than essential oils.

***Quite a few perfumes use food flavors in them, so extracts are an easy way of incorporating them into your own creations.

There are many different types of fragrance oils to choose from.
There are many different types of fragrance oils to choose from.
Preparing the bottles
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Sterilize the bottles and jars in the dish washer, especially if you are reusing bottles. They need to be clean and sterile.

Just use your dishwasher to clean out the bottles you want to use.
Just use your dishwasher to clean out the bottles you want to use.
Clean bottles - ready to use.
Clean bottles - ready to use.
Add the alcohol
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Use straight vodka as a base for the fragrance.
Use straight vodka as a base for the fragrance.

Measure 1/4 cup of vodka/ Everclear and pour into jar.

A note about scents
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A very good crash course in scent theory. Many people don't realize that scents effect as much as colors do. As a note of pure semantics, however, men can also wear perfume, and ladies can wear cologne. The names of the scents aren't divided by what gender they are intended for, but by their form of scent and their origins. Colognes are so named because they are often slightly woody scents based in the wood and fruit of oranges used in the first Eau de Cologne which was named after the creators hometown of Cologne, Germany. So men, don't feel limited at all in your scent palettes. While our society most closely associates fresh and woody scents with masculinity, your options are not limited to these traditional cologne scents.

I've included a few words about scents, if you want to launch right into concocting your perfume skip ahead to the next step.

Notes:
In perfumes the fragrance can be divided into three different notes depending on when they arise.

Top note: The initial scent when you put the perfume on, then disappears, they include; lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime, bergamot, spearmint, peppermint and others.

Middle note: This scent appears just after the top note disappears. Scents like; coriander, palmarosa, marjoram, basil, rosemary, rose geranium, pettitgrain, lavender and others.

Base note: This appears after the middle note and is the base of the perfume, they include; patchouli, vetiver, frankincense, cedarwood, sandalwood and others.

When you are mixing your perfume start by adding your base notes, then middle then your top notes.

Families:
Scents can be divided into different families such as floral, oriental, woody and fresh (such as citrus, etc) See wheel below. This is lovely but why do we need to know this? When you are mixing your perfume,adding scents from neighboring families creates harmony in you perfume.

Brand name perfume/cologne
There is a website which identifies the different components of brand name fragrances, so if you would like make an imitation of your favorite perfume/cologne check out the Basenotes Fragrance Directory[2]

For example:
Obsession Fragrance Notes

Top Notes

  • Mandarin, Bergamot, Jasmine, Rose, Orange Blossoms.

Middle Notes

  • Coriander, Tagete, Armoise.

Base Notes

  • Amber, Oakmoss.

Some of these scents may be a bit hard to find. (?armoise)

Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy involves using scents to affect mood and well being, if you would like to consider this when blending your fragrance, check out the Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Emotional Well-Being[3]

Men's Cologne
Guys, don't feel left out, try scents from the woody or fresh families to make a nice manly cologne. Check out the Basenotes Fragrance Directory[4] for inspiration from your favorite

fragrances. Also, for information on essential oils for men, check out Essential Oils for Men[5]

Basenotes Fragrance Table
Basenotes Fragrance Table

 

Add your scents
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This is where the magic begins... Add approximately 25 drops of essential/fragrance oil.

Take one scent

  • add a few drops
  • swirl
  • smell
  • add more or continue on
  • write down the oil and number of drops

Take the next scent and repeat as above until you have added the approximate number of drops. Feel free to add more or less to create the desired fragrance.

If you are just starting out and don't know which scents to try. You can divided the alcohol into smaller volumes and try different combination, experiment, be creative, have fun with it.

Once you are happy with the fragrance that you've created it is time to let it age. Place it in a cool dark location for a minimum of 48 hours, up to a month.

Aging your fragrance allows the scents to mingle, and also become stronger. Once you have aged your fragrance for the desired length of time, smell it again, the mingling may have changed the overall scent, so feel free to add a few more drops of scent to tweak it (don't forget you will need to age it again, if more scent was added).

Put your fragrance in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Put your fragrance in a jar with a tight-fitting lid.
Place the finished fragrance in a cool dark location for a minimum of 48 hours.
Place the finished fragrance in a cool dark location for a minimum of 48 hours.
Add water and glycerin
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Now that the fragrance is ready, it needs to be diluted.

  • Add 2 tablespoons of distilled/spring water. If you are making a perfume spray, add more water.
  • Add approximately 5 drops of glycerin, this helps preserve the fragrance.
Dilute with 2 tablespoons of distilled/spring water.
Dilute with 2 tablespoons of distilled/spring water.
Preserving the fragrance with 5 drops of glycerin.
Preserving the fragrance with 5 drops of glycerin.
Finishing up
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Pour the perfume into your bottle, use a funnel if you need to. If you are using clear bottles, you will need to cover them with aluminum foil or wrapping paper (your fragrance needs to be protected from the light or it will go off).
Add a label, decorate it, give it a fancy name and be happy that you saved a lot of money!

Use a funnel to pour your perfume into the desired bottle.
Use a funnel to pour your perfume into the desired bottle.
Label your bottle with a name of your choosing.
Label your bottle with a name of your choosing.
Footnotes and Citations
  1. ^Kiteman, "Distill your own perfume oil", www.instructables.com. Retrieved 2 October 2010
  2. ^"Basenotes - Fragrance Search", www.basenotes.net. Retrieved 2 October 2010
  3. ^"Aromatherapy and Essential Oils for Emotional Well-Being", http://www.aromaweb.com. Retrieved 2 October 2010
  4. ^"Basenotes - Fragrance Search", www.basenotes.net. Retrieved 2 October 2010
  5. ^"Essential Oils for Men", http://www.aromaweb.com/. Retrieved 2 October 2010
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