The Art of Natural Perfumery

DIY Natural Perfumes

Natural, handcrafted perfumes make the most delightful gifts and are a real art form. In this week's installment of the DIY Gifting Guide, learn how to blend your own custom scents into a carrier oil, pure alcohol or a solid perfume. Ask your loved ones to pick scents and then make them their very own bottle of pure, natural perfume. We use only 100% natural ingredients in our perfume recipes.

A Note on Conventional Perfumes

Ah, the sweet scent of petrochemicals and carcinogens. Did you know that conventional perfumes contain petrochemicals, phthalates, artificial chemical scents, toxins that affect our health as well as many ingredients that aren’t listed on the label? These chemicals have the ability to disrupt normal hormone functioning, build up in our tissues, cause allergic reactions and can even be cancerous. There is a ‘fragrance loophole’ in federal legislation which allows for ingredients providing a pleasant scent or masking a bad one to be listed only as “fragrance” or “parfum” on the ingredients label. Technically these could be any of thousands of chemicals used in the perfume industry to create the large, wonderful range of natural-like and synthetic scents we enjoy.

Conventional perfumes can not only be bad for the wearer’s health but also for those in close proximity who can inhale the per‘fumes’. Numerous scientific studies and surveys have found that perfumes can induce headaches and migraines, make existing headaches worse, worsen asthma and respiratory issues, disrupt hormone functioning leading to other serious health and developmental problems, and even cause cancer. Of course perfumes aren’t the only products containing harmful fragrances and other chemicals; look out for fragranced cosmetic products (and ‘fragrance-free’ which is often just a bunch of chemicals used to cover up other scents), cleaning products, laundry detergents, soaps, shampoos and body washes. If you do use perfume, be sure to use it very lightly, otherwise try out Mother Nature's range of perfumes in the form of essential oils.

Natural Perfume Crafting

Luckily we don’t have to wear chemicals to smell beautiful or confidant. All through history, lovely natural scents pressed and distilled from flowers, stems and bark were reserved for royalty and the wealthy, but now essential oils and natural extracts are readily available.

Essential oils certainly won't give you headaches, disrupt normal functioning or act as a carcinogenic; in fact, they do the opposite. Many essential oils can act as adaptogens and balancers, relieve tension, stress and headaches, and assist bodily systems. Give yourself an extra boost by wearing essential oils that not only have wonderful scents but that also have powerful therapeutic actions.

Blend essential oils into a carrier oil or alcohol base, or into a solid perfume base such as beeswax or a plant wax. When making a perfume, add base notes, middle notes and top notes in that order to build up a full bodied fragrance. Let the oils meld together by themselves for a few days before adding a base oil or alcohol, to release their full scents.

Remember to always do patch tests first as sensitive skins may be irritated by certain essential oils. Use pipettes to measure out your essential oils accurately. Some popular oils according to their notes are listed below, but of course you may use any essential oil of your choosing (you can look up which note an essential oil is on the internet if it isn’t listed below).

Base Oils

Middle Tones

Top Notes (the first thing you smell)

Perfumes mature with age like fine wine or a good cheese. Leave your essential oil perfumes to sit and meld together before using for the best scents.


Perfume Oil Blends

Alcohol free, these perfumes are blended with a neutral carrier oil and are easy to apply in a roll on bottle.

Floral

10ml roll on bottle

5 drops sweet orange

2 drops jasmine absolute or jasmine blend

2 drops lime

2 drops vanilla

Add the essential oils to the bottle then top up with a neutral oil such as jojobasweet almond  or grapeseed.

Earthy

10ml roll on bottle

3 drops patchouli

3 drops palmarosa

1 drop vetiver

4-5 drops cedarwood

1 drop neroli

Add the essential oils to the bottle then top up with a neutral oil such as jojobasweet almond  or grapeseed.

Spicy

10ml roll on bottle

5 drops bergamot

1 drop clove

4 drops sandalwood blend

2 drops vanilla blend

Add the essential oils to the bottle then top up with a neutral oil such as jojobasweet almond  or grapeseed.


Solid Perfume

Solid perfumes are ideal to pop in a handbag or travel with. They have potent scents.

Basic Solid Perfume Recipe

2 T sweet almond oil or other neutral oil such as jojoba

2 T beeswax

15g aluminium tins

Use any essential oil blend (about 50 drops total) of your choice or try these:

Sweet patchouli blend - 30 drops patchouli, 20 drops sweet orange

Lavender blend - 40 drops lavender, 10 drops ylang ylang

Melt the almond oil and beeswax together, remove from the heat and add your essential oils. Pour into little tins and cap them to lock in the scent. Use on your neck, wrists or in your hair.


Perfume Spray

The traditional perfume spray, but made with 100% pure, natural ingredients.

12-20 drops of base note essential oils such as cedarwood, vanilla, vetiver, ylang ylang, sandalwood blend, etc

1 tsp vanilla (optional)

25-30 drops of middle tone oils such as rose, lavenderchamomile or geranium

12-15 drops of top note oils such as bergamotsweet orange or neroli

120ml alcohol (use white rum or vodka) to preserve and meld the scents

Add the essential oils in the order listed to a spray bottle and let them blend and mature together for 3-4 days. This helps improve the scent. Add the alcohol and shake gently to blend together, then if you like, leave the bottle in a cool, dark cupboard to further mature for a month. This is optional but recommended, and helps the alcohol scent disappear and the perfume in the oils to improve.


Men’s Cologne

Woodsy #1 (alcohol free)

30ml witch hazel

½ tsp vegetable glycerine

12 drops cedarwood (please do a skin patch test with cedarwood first, as it can irritate sensitive skins)

12 drops tea tree

12 drops sweet orange

50ml spray bottle

Add all ingredients to the spray bottle and gentle shake to combine.



Woodsy #2

10ml spray bottle or roll on bottle

8 drops pine needle or try copaiba balsam

8 drops sweet orange

4 drops frankincense

1 ¾ tsp white rum or vodka

Add everything to the bottle then let it mature in a cool, dark cupboard for about a month.



Outdoorsy

8 drops basil

8 drops pine

4 drops helichrysum

1 ¾ tsp white rum or vodka

Add everything to the bottle then let it mature in a cool, dark cupboard for about a month.



Confidence

10 drops cardamom

3 drops vetiver

3 drops ylang ylang

1 ¾ tsp white rum or vodka

Add everything to the bottle then let it mature in a cool, dark cupboard for about a month.



Sweet & Spicy

10 drops black pepper

7 drops coriander

3 drops sandalwood

1 ¾ tsp white rum or vodka

Add everything to the bottle then let it mature in a cool, dark cupboard for about a month.



Build up your own perfume blends with any of your favourite essential oils, there are hundreds of options!

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