How to Make Your Signature Scent

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It is not difficult to make a perfume for her or a fragrance for him. The trick is to select the essential oils that suit you and to put them together in the correct manner.

You will need:

  • Essential oils
  • Pure grain alcohol (for example, high-proof vodka)
  • Distilled water
  • Mixing vessels
  • Dropper (though many essential oil bottles come with a dropper)
  • Measuring spoons
  • Small funnel
  • Small dark glass bottles with a screw-on cap
  • Disposable gloves (optional)

Perfumes are created using three or four types of essential oils: base, middle and top.

You can determine to which group your fragrance oils belong with this simple test. Take several paper tissues, label them and pour two or three drops of specific fragrance oil on each. After a few hours, smell the tissues and note your observations. Repeat the “nose test” after 24 and after 48 hours, noting your observations again. The scents that disappear first belong to the family of top notes. The deeper, base notes keep their fragrance the longest. Everything in between can be classified into middle notes. Do note that the border lines are not hard set. However, the following classification is fairly widely accepted:

  • Base notes: cedar wood, cinnamon, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver, frankincense and myrrh
  • Middle notes: geranium, jasmine, lemongrass, neroli, ylang-ylang, rosewood, lavender, rose, clary sage, ginger, hyacinth, pine and thyme
  • Top notes: bergamot, lavender, lemon, lime, orange, peppermint, chamomile, lime, lemongrass, marjoram, bay and neroli.

The order in which you mix the oils is important. Start with base notes, progress to middle ones and finish off with top notes. You may follow by adding the so-called bridge fragrances to join the three notes into the final composition. Some of the oils that can be uses as bridge fragrances are vanilla and lavender.

Close the mixing container tightly and give it a few vigorous shakes. Let it stand in a dark, cool place for 48 hours or – even better – a few days. Then dilute with alcohol and water and shake well.

Pour the distilled mixture into a dark glass bottle with a screw-on cap. Never use a rubber stopper; it will interfere with your scent and spoil it beyond repair. And - let it stand again, preferably for four to six weeks.

Once you start experimenting, you will see that there are oils with high relative impact and oils with low relative impact. You will want to use small quantities of the former; otherwise, they will hijack the composition you are trying to create. Thus, lemon oil has a higher relative impact than jasmine oil. If you mix the same quantity of the two, the noble scent of jasmine will be completely drowned and you will be left with lemon only.
Remember to write down everything you do when creating your perfume. The scent world is full of stories of hapless budding perfumers who were unable to duplicate an unbelievably lucky blend because they forgot to note the formula.


Here are three simple formulas to get you started:


Formula 1:

  • 4 drops of sandalwood
  • 3 drops of frankincense
  • 4 drops of musk


Formula 1:

  • 2 drops patchouli
  • 2 drops lavender
  • 3 drops ylang-ylang
  • 1 drop jasmine

Formula 3:

  • 2 drops of lavender
  • 4 drops of carnation
  • 3 drops of juniper
  • 2 drops of jasmine
  • 3 drops of ylang-ylang

As to how much alcohol and water you should add to the essential oils mixture – that depends on what strength fragrance you want to make. The less solvent you use, the stronger your scent will be, and the less of it you will have. Eau de Cologne is the least concentrated form of a fragrance and generally contains 2 to 5% perfume oils dissolved in water and alcohol. Eau de Toilette commonly contains 5 to 10% pure oils. Eau de Perfume usually has 10 to 20% pure oils. Perfume (the most concentrated, rarest and most expensive) has 20 to 40% pure oils.

You may always add more alcohol and distilled water to your mixture later on. Generally speaking, your carrier should be made up of 2.5 measuring units of alcohol to one measuring unit of distilled water; for example, 2.5 table spoons (or 75 millilitres) of vodka and one table spoon (30 millilitres) of distilled water.

Precautions to follow when working with essential oils:

  • Keep oils out of the reach of children
  • Do not eat or use oils in foods or mix in food containers or with food utensils
  • Work in a well ventilated area or take frequent breaks to go outside
  • Do not get essential oils in your eyes, nose, or ears
  • Wash hands thoroughly after use
  • If working with pure essential oils or if you have sensitive skin, you may want to wear disposable gloves
  • Maintain good hygiene. Clean up any spills on any surface (or person) immediately.


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