How to Make Homemade Perfume
I love perfumes. I have this personal obsession with collecting perfume bottles from the perfumes that I have worn.
I have a long list of my personal favorites; to name a few, I like scents with traditional notes of grapefruit, bergamot, baby’s breath, fresh cotton or crisp linen, and that fresh grassy scent after the rain. I enjoy something immaculately groomed and naturally chic when I wear it, one that makes me feel crisp during the day and seductive at night. Why not? Scents simply set the mood for me, and I am not a big fan of anything too sickly or sweet.
I love the sparkling notes of citrus and pink pepper; their effervescent quality makes me feel energized. I like the delicate bouquet of peony and wisteria and the rich and feminine touch of amber and cedar.
The Fragrance Wheel
Before you start mixing, learn a little about the types of scents and how they are mixed. What is your favorite scent? The fragrance wheel, widely used in retail and in the fragrance industry, recognizes four families of fragrance: Floral, Oriental, Woody, and Fresh, and sometimes a fifth, Fougère. Each of the main families of fragrance appeals to a different personality type.
Five Types of Fragrance
Floral scents are the most popular. They can combine the bouquets of gardenia, rose, tuberose, jasmine, and white peony. These fragrance mixtures may be pure and flowery, or delicately mixed with a touch of fruit, soft spice, or powdery finish.
Examples: Amarige by Givenchy, Bvlgari Pour Femme, Dior Midnight Poison, Ralph Lauren Romance, YSL Paris, Hermes Kelly Caleche, Daisy by Marc Jacobs, 2000 Fleurs by Creed Perfume, Anais Anais by Cacharel, Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani.
Personality Type: A dreamer, a hopeless romantic: sensual, flirtatious, fashionable, and confident.
Oriental, also known as “amber," stands out because of its unique mixture of warmth and sensuality. Oriental scents draw richness from heady substances like musk, vanilla, and wood. Oriental fragrances are often associated with exotic floral and spicy scents.
Examples: Donna Karan Cashmere Mist, Sage Machado Garnet, Kiehl’s Original Musk, Hanae Mori Butterfly and Black Pearls by Elizabeth Taylor, Victoria’s Secret-Heavenly Desire, Incognito by Dana, Flower by Kenzo, and Spirit Woman by Antonio Banderas
Personality Type: Independent and unconventional, a creative sort with a dramatic flair. Very polished around the edges but can be reckless at times. Bold, but sometimes aloof and mysterious.
Woodsy fragrances are spicy and nutty, with sensual notes of cedar wood, amber, sandalwood and a subtle touch of patchouli. They may have a hint of cinnamon, a sprinkle of nature, or a puff of tobacco.
Example: CB Patchouli Empire, Givenchy Organze, Serge Lutens Fumerie Turque, Guess Seductive, Vivienne Westwood Naughty Alice, Tokyomilk Parfum Dead Sexy, Very Sexy Hot by Victoria’s Secret, Angel by Thierry Mugler and Clinique's Aromatics Elixir.
Personality Type: Stubborn, free spirited, self-assured, and a go-getter. Genuinely compassionate and affectionate.
These are especially popular as fragrances for men. Many modern fougère fragrances have animal, herbaceous, or citrus notes.
Examples: Lacoste Style In Play Aftershave, Polo Sport, Havana, Aigner No 1, Cool Water, Lolita Lempicka Au Masculin Fraicheur and Paul Smith for Men aftershave.
Personality Type: Likes to be in control and be noticed in a crowd. Outdoor type, adventurous, always experimenting with new things.
These are clean and zesty fragrances, like those of citrus fruits such as grapefruit, lemon, and lime, or smells that are crisp and green, like fresh-cut grass and leaves. Some fresh scents are aquatic, like those of the sea breeze and fresh dew.
Examples: Omnia Amethyste by Bvlgari, DKNY Pure Verbena Scent Spray, D& G Light Blue, Ralph Lauren Blue (discontinued), Philosophy Falling In Love Spray, Clinique’s Happy, Gucci Envy Me, CK One by Calvin Klein, Happy by Clinique, Coconut Tuberose by GAP, and Aeries' Day Dream (one of my favorites).
Personality Type: Outgoing, sociable, and energetic. Rich in culture and prone to strong bursts of energy. A zesty adventurer, disciplined and organized, with perfectionist tendencies.
Your Perfume Says a Lot About You
What's your type?
What Is Your Signature Scent?
Audrey Hepburn's signature scent was Givenchy's L'Interdit, Marilyn Monroe’s favorite scent was Chanel No. 5, and for Princess Diana, it was Diorissimo.
Your favorite fragrance can tell a lot about your personality. Are you an outdoor type who loves fresh scents; a romantic or adventurous person who loves mysterious, woodsy scents; a modern woman who enjoys changing it up and mixing up styles; or the classic type who appreciates simplicity in all aspects of life?
Your beauty rituals say a lot about you already, but none is more revealing than the choice of fragrance that you wear.
Choosing a perfume is a personal thing. It sends a message and reveals many aspects of your personality. People will remember you by the smell of your perfume. And wearing the right scent can put you, yourself, in the right mood: energized, revitalized, happy, joyful, lovely, or romantic. So, choose carefully. Do not buy perfume because you like how it smells on someone else. Perfume should complement your personality and should blend well with your body chemistry and the pH of your skin.
Create Your Own Fragrance Using Vodka and Essential Oils
What You Need
Vodka (the higher the percentage of alcohol the better)
Essential oil, fragrance oil, infused oil, or pure extract (like vanilla)
Distilled or spring water
Aluminum foil or wrapping paper
Glass jar for mixing fragrance
- A pretty glass bottle for the final product (re-use is good)
1. First off, clean and sterilize the bottle, especially if you are re-using it.
2. Pour 1/4 cup of vodka into the jar.
3. Add approximately 25 drops of essential oils, fragrance oils, or extracts.
4. Swirl and smell, and add more drops of oil until you reach your desired fragrance.
5. Cover the mixture and let it age by placing it in a cool, dark place for at least 48 hours, or up to a month. Aging allows the fragrances to mingle and get stronger. The mingling may change the scent, so don’t hesitate to add a few more drops of your fragrant oil to tweak it. Once it has aged your desired length of time, smell it again.
6. Depending on how strong or subtle the scent that you desire, dilute your fragrance with two tablespoons of distilled or spring water. If you are using spray, add more water. Add five drops of glycerin to preserve the fragrance.
7. Transfer your finished mixture into your pretty bottle using a funnel or dropper. If you are using a clear bottle, you will need to cover it with aluminum foil or wrapping paper to protect the perfume from light, or the perfume will deteriorate and go off.
8. Dab a bit on your wrist to test it. If you are happy with it, use it as you would any other type of perfume.
9. Label it with some fancy name, whatever you wish to name your product.
10. Enjoy, sniff and smile!
You’ve just saved a lot of money, and you’re a genius!
Base, Middle, and Top Notes
When you are mixing your perfume, start with your base notes, work up to the middle note, and end with your top notes.
"Notes," in perfumery, means the sequence in which scents can be distinguished when you wear the perfume. There are three classes of notes: top ("head") notes, middle ("heart") notes, and base notes.
The top note is the scent you immediately perceive when you first put on the perfume. It then evaporates quickly. Top notes create a person’s initial impression of the perfume. Top notes are strong and very volatile. Some common top notes: grapefruit, bergamot, lemon, orange, spearmint, and peppermint.
The middle note appears after the top note evaporates. The middle-note compounds are the "heart" or main body of a perfume and arise in the middle of the perfumes’ diffusion process. Common middle notes: rosemary, geranium, and lavender.
The base note emerges after the middle note and is the base of the perfume. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a perfume. Base notes are fixatives used to hold and boost the strength of the lighter top and middle notes. The most common base notes of perfumes are sandalwood, cedarwood, patchouli, frankincense, and vetiver.
Tricks to Help Your Fragrance Last Longer
Scents fade faster when applied onto dry skin. So, it's always best to spray or apply your perfume right after a shower. A good tip is to apply a fragrance-free moisturizer or lotion first, while your skin is still damp, and then wear the perfume. This way, your perfume will absolutely go the distance.
Also, try to layer the same scent on your skin. For example, use a body gel of the same scent as in your lotion and then spray your perfume on top . The combination of products, all with the same scent, will help make your perfume last longer.
And, always apply perfume before putting on your clothes and jewelry, to avoid staining your clothes or tarnishing your jewelry.
Caution: Don't go overboard when putting on your perfume; be mindful of other people who may be "scent-sitive."
Life is Beautiful Because We're Free!
That's the message from Julia Roberts' La Vie Est Belle one-minute perfume commercial.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
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© 2012 CrisSp