How to make perfume with essential oils – enjoy your own signature scent with this recipe!
So, you may remember that I’ve been on a little DIY all-natural beauty kick. Remember when I made deodorant, lip balm, and lotion? I really enjoy making my own products because I am kind of a freak about avoiding chemicals like parabens, phthalates, artificial scents, dyes, and anything that is related to antifreeze or formaldehyde. This is my body, and the skin is the largest organ. There’s no way that I’m going to apply anything to it that is a carcinogen, you know?
Plus, I just find it to be very fun and relaxing to make my own products. I decided to make my own perfume the other day because I ran out of mine. I use the Pacifica Italian Blood Orange scent, which is fabulous, and very safe, but I ran out. Boo. And I didn’t want to run to Whole Foods and spend $20, so I started to do a little research and found out that I could make my own at home with essential oils. Since I have a quite a few oils, including several citrus scents, I decided to try it.
How to make perfume with essential oils:
Adapted from about.com
- two 4 ounce glass bottles with caps – at least one needs to be dark glass. You probably want one to have a spray top.
- a small funnel
- a coffee filter
- 1 Tablespoon sweet almond oil
- 5 Tablespoons vodka
- a vitamin E capsule, prick with a pin so you can squeeze the oil out
- 21-25 drops of the essential oils of your choice
- 2 Tablespoons water distilled water
1. Choose your three essential oils. Many articles that I read suggested choosing a base note, a middle note, and a top note. The top note is what you will smell first, but will fade the quickest. The middle is longer lasting, but the base note will be what lingers. This is a handy chart that lists out the oils and what note they are.
2. Put the sweet almond oil and the vitamin E oil in your bottle, then drip your essential oils in. You can evenly divide them, 7 or 8 drops of each of the three oils, or you can do 9, 9, and 7…that’s where the fun is. The scent is going to be yours, so you can play around with it.
3. Add the vodka, put the cap on the jar and shake it for a few minutes to blend it.
4. Place the bottle in a cool, dark place and let it sit for at least two days, and up to six weeks. The scent will strengthen over time. It’s up to you how long you want to let it sit. Mine has not been sitting for too long, but I love the fragrance already. I will probably let it sit for two weeks.
5. When you are satisfied with your fragrance, add the distilled water, shake the bottle again, and strain the perfume through a coffee filter into the dark glass bottle. You’re ready to use your perfume!
You might notice that I actually did not use a base note in this blend. I LOVE citrus scents, and these three scents have mood boosting properties that help me. Sweet Orange is Brightening, Tangerine is Cheering, and Lemon grass is Inspiring. In the winter, I need a little bit of cheering up, and so I am going to try these scents in perfume form to see how I like them. Just a note, some citrus oils are phototoxic, which means that if you apply them to your skin you should NOT expose that skin to the sun for 24 hours or you will have some irritation or be more prone to sunburn. You can read more about essential oils and phototoxicity here. I am comfortable with these citrus oils in the cooler weather because I will be spraying the perfume on my arm and it will be covered with clothing.
I’m also making a blend with sweet orange, clove, and vanilla, which I think will be lovely and warm smelling this fall. I will be updating this post with how I like my perfumes, and how long they last.
Have you ever made your own signature perfume? How did it turn out?
Tammy K Watson
Why do you need to use Vodka? Is there something else I could use?
You could just do essential oils in carrier oil for a roll on perfume. That would be the easiest way to do it. It wouldn’t be a spray, but it would still smell good.
Just a quick question, why do u strain it?
To remove any blobs of oil so they don’t clog the spray mechanism or roller ball.
Just apply it to skin to be safe I would say!
Why do you put through a the coffee filter and why the almond and vitamin e oil? I thought just water vodka and essential oils? Still learning and keen to learn more
I have made some perfume my husband using just the vodka. I’m interested to know why you strain thru a coffee filter after it sits. Seems like you would be removing the oils at that point. I like the thought of putting the oils on my skin.
I believe the alcohol acts as an emulsifier for the e oil. Distilled water keeps it pure. Witch hazel would add a scent you may not like, it smells kinda funky. I don’t see the need for a filter.
I wonder if you could sub the vodka with witch hazel?
I’m not sure, let me know if you try that!
Sorry, without the alcohol?
I don’t know, every recipe I have read has included alcohol. If you want to try it without, it would be more of a perfume oil, and probably would smell stronger. You would also need to research the essential oils that you are using to make sure they are safe to use without being as diluted.
Alcohol is an extractor, and strengthens the scent as well as bonding it from the oil to the liquid.
Is it possible to make this
I thought I read a post or blog someplace that suggested coffee filters be, was it non-bleached? they were washed first or something? I can’t find the original post now.
I’m new to perfumery but enjoying the experience greatly. Thanks / Llewellyn
I just had a regular one, but unbleached might be better, not sure about that!
Rebecca's Soap Deli (@soapdeli)
If you add an emulsifier like Polysorbate 20 your oils and water will stay mixed together rather than separating out each time. It doesn’t seem you really need the vitamin E. While it does extend the shelf life of oils it’s overkill with the vodka in there unless you are adding it for the skin’s benefit. You could also do this recipe with just distilled water, a small amount of vodka, polysorbate 20 as an emulsifier and your fragrance for a room and body spray.
Does the polysorbate help the scent to stay longer?
Or ethyl alcohol, available as rubbing alcohol. Would that work or is the scent too strong?
Love the idea. I’m like others who want to know why you strain it??
what would happen if I used regular tap water instead of distilled?
What does the “straining” do? I’m curious, does it help with the scent more?
I’m so intrigued by essential oils these days. I must try them! And what a better way than in perfume? I tend to sneeze with many perfumes, but I bet this would be better for me.
Emily @ Zen & Spice
Very cool! I’ve been wanting to dabble with essential oils but never really know which ones to buy haha!
Why do you strain it?
Yes, I wondered about that too, as there are no particles, and wouldn’t some of the oil be lost on the filter?
If the oil clumps stay in, then the spray part of the bottle might get clogged up. The oils should have imparted their scent into the liquid of the pefume, so the clumps don’t need to be in there.
Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice
I love this post, Kelly! I bought a little kit of essential oils about five months ago after my co-worker was raving about them, yet I haven’t used any of them yet! I can’t wait to try these out!
Making my own perfume and soap is something I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time! For me, it’s definitely one of those things where I need a guide/manual in order to get from point A to point B, so I’m all about scoping out those e-books.
And can I just say – orange lemongrass tangerine? I want to smell like that eeeeverywhere!
Natalie @ Tastes Lovely
This is so fun! I’ve always wanted to make my own scent. Thanks for sharing!