Make your own perfume

Want to try your hand at being the next Coco Chanel? Or just like mixing up lovely smelling lotions and potions? It’s easy to make your own natural fragrances at home. Not only is it fun but by making your own natural perfume you’ll avoid introducing toxic chemicals into your system. The Environmental Working Group recently released the analysis of a study done by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics into hidden chemicals in fragrances. In fact Chanel Coco came in 2nd place to American Eagle Seventy Seven with 18 hidden chemicals so perhaps it’s best not to emulate Coco. You can never be sure what toxic chemicals you’ll find in your favorite fragrance, but you can control what you put in your own.


Here’s what you’ll need to get started:


  • Selection of your favorite essential oils
  • Vodka (go for organic if you can)
  • Distilled water
  • Vegetable glycerin

Pour 30ml (equals 1 oz) of the vodka into a dark glass bottle. Add no more than a total of 10 drops of your favorite essential oils to the bottle stirring slowly in between each drop (alternatively combine the vodka and essential oils in a glass cup with a spout and transfer to a dark glass bottle after the ingredients are mixed). Seal the glass bottle and keep in a dark place for 2 days.


Remove the bottle from its dark place and slowly add 2 tbsp of distilled water and shake the mix well. Add a few drops of vegetable glycerin which will keep the spray from drying out your skin. Seal the glass bottle again and keep it in a dark place for another 2 days. If you have a pretty glass spray bottle now is the time to transfer your new natural perfume creation to it.


Generally sky is the limit when selecting your essential oils, however I would suggest not mixing any florals (e.g. rose, geranium, neroli, jasmine, sandalwood, lemon balm, ylang ylang) with spicy or medicinal oils (e.g. ginger, black pepper, cinnamon leaf, clove, rosemary, Spanish sage, cedarwood, eucalyptus, etc). The reason for this is mostly therapeutic because mixing oils that have the opposite energetic effects (i.e. energizing and relaxing oils) confuses the scent. There are some commercial fragrances that mix across the two groups but it takes a really sophisticated and experienced nose to create them. When you’re starting out try to avoid mixing oils with opposite energetic effects.


For ideas to get you started mixing you can look at the ingredients in your favorite smelling natural beauty products. If you know what essential oils you’d like to mix but are unsure of how many drops to use of each below is a list of oils by various strengths. Some oils are top, middle, base notes or a can be a mix depending on what they are combined with. Top notes tend to hit you when you first smell the fragrance but fade the most quickly. The number next to each list of oils is the number of drops of that oil you should use in any particular blend to help assist you with the ratios. The higher the number of drops the lighter the fragrance of the oil.


  • 4. bergamot, black pepper, lemon
  • 3. cedarwood atlas, clary sage, frankincense, grapefruit, lavender, mandarin, marjoram (sweet or French)
  • 2. cardamom, roman chamomile, eucalyptus, ginger, neroli, patchouli, rosemary, tea tree
  • 1. geranium, lemongrass, peppermint, pine, rose otto, vetivert, ylang ylang

You don’t need to treat blending like a math equation; these are just guidelines to get you started. If you need some suggestions with your fragrance blending I’ve listed a few of my favorites below.
2 ginger, 4 bergamot, 2 cardamom: This blend is spicy and delicious. It’s what I imagine India would smell like.


2 jasmine, 2 ylang-ylang, 1 sandalwood, 1 rose, 2 vanilla extract: Sexy floral that will make people ask what you’re wearing and you can tell them “me!”


1 geranium, 4 lemon, 4 mint: Fresh summer scent that will pick you up when you feel a little down.


Any of the above recipes can be combined with 30ml of vodka. If you want to make a larger batch double the vodka to 60ml and double the drops of essential oils. It’s really important that you stick with the ratio of no more than 10 drops essential oil to 30ml vodka so that you don’t irritate your skin. Store your creations in a cool dark place or in the refrigerator if possible. Over time the essential oils will start to break down so throw away the perfume if it starts to smell funny. If you take good care of the perfume it can last up to a year. Happy mixing!


Learn more about Katherine McKenney at



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