Make Your Own All-Natural Perfume Oil [recipe]

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Perfume + Healing Oil =

nourishing, aromatherapy awesomeness.

I love scent. I can trace a map of my life as a history of meaningful smells: a field full of wild strawberries and mint where I shared a teenage kiss, a hillside of wild sage in California, an herbal, mysterious-scented cream in a subterranean shop in Italy that I tried to replicate for decades, roasting tomatoes the first night at home with my new baby. 

I love scent, but I hate synthetic perfume. And most the perfumes you buy in shops, such as Prada, Hermes, etc are all made with synthetic fragrance. Synthetic fragrance is chemicals made in a lab to mimic the amazing, real smells of the world. For me, I can always smell the fallacy. Fake smells have a whiff of metal, a whiff of narrowness, and a lack of depth and transformation. That's what you get with real smells, real sensations; you get transformation. But I solved my scent dilemma! I learned how to make my own perfume. And you can do this too. 

Most the time, I make my own perfume with essential oils, which are the concentrated distillation of plants. Today's lesson is making a perfume oil that you roll on to your skin. It is both nourishing and moisturizing, plus the scent lasts much longer (6 to 8 hours), than with an alcohol based perfume (2 hours). Let's do this.

THE BASICS

The basic elements of every fragrance are like musical notes that together comprise a symphony of scent. As in the notes of a song, these aromatic notes are vital to the composition of the fragrance and each has its own purpose in regard to the totality of the scent experience. Together, they create the perfumes "accord". The components of scent are like the components of music, or the way various shades of color transform into a painting, with a blended composition. Separate fragrance notes are necessary to make a composed perfume. A perfume accord is the basic character of a fragrance. It is a balanced blend of three or four notes which together create a completely new, unified odor impression.

The Top Notes

Sometimes called "opening notes" or "head notes", the top notes of a fragrance are generally the lightest of all the notes. They are recognized immediately upon application of the perfume. The top notes are also the first to fade given their light molecular structure, but they're still vital, as they bend into the other notes after their primary experience has faded.

The top notes are your first impression. Have you spritzed a perfume and been instantly turned off? Or maybe immediately in love?  Because the top notes didn't jibe or conversely, were your jam. It's crucial that the top notes not only lure you in, but also smoothly blend into the heart of the fragrance.

Common top notes include citrus (lemon, orange zest, bergamot), tart, acidic fruits (grapefruit, berries) and herbs (clary sage, lavender).

The Middle Notes

The middle notes, or the "heart notes", become noticeable once the top notes evaporate. The middle notes are the heart of the fragrance. They last longer than the top notes, and have a strong influence on the base or root notes to come. A perfume's heart should be pleasant and well-rounded; balanced combination of floral or fruit tones, and sometimes infused with spices like cinnamon, clove, or cardamom. 

Common fragrance middle notes include flowers (geranium, jasmine, neroli, rose, lemongrass, ylang ylang, lavender), spices (coriander, nutmeg, clove, black pepper).

The Base Notes

The base notes are the final fragrance notes that appear once the top notes have faded. The base notes blend with the heart notes to create the full body of the fragrance. The job of the base notes is to provide the lasting impression, the full harmony of the perfume. These often rich notes linger on the skin for hours after the top notes have dissipated.

Common fragrance base notes include frankincense, cedarwood, sandalwood, vanilla, amber, patchouli, oakmoss, and musk.

Together, these different levels of scent create a beautifully composed perfume. Let's make one together.

THE BASIC RECIPE

1x 10ml roller ball glass vial
[There's 200 drops of liquid in a 10ml glass bottle]
Your basic recipe is 2 parts base : 1 part middle/heart : 1 part top/head : Rest is carrier oil (Sunflower, Jojoba, Almond, etc)

20 drops base
10 drops heart
10 drops head
160 drops carrier oil =
200 drops

Combine these oils in your little 10ml roller ball glass vial. Shake, and let sit for 1 week. Smell it. Don't like it? Fix it. More head notes? Less ginger? Experiment, with moderation. If you add more, let it sit again for a week. When you are satisfied, add your carrier oil. Add 160 drops of carrier oil, filling the rest of your glass bottle. Shake. Let it sit for 1 month. 

An example recipe: 

IN A PERUVIAN FOREST AT MIDNIGHT

ESSENTIAL OILS
Base:: 10 drops cedarwood, 10 drops vanilla extract
Middle:: 7 drops palo santo, 3 drops ginger
Top:: 3 drops bergamot, 3 drops clary sage, 4 drops black pepper

Combine these oils in your little 10ml roller ball glass vial. Shake, and let sit for 1 week. Smell it. Don't like it? Fix it. More head notes? Less ginger? Experiment, with moderation. If you add more, letit sit again for a week. Then, add your carrier oil.

CARRIER OIL
160 drops almond, jojoba, or sunflower oil

Add 160 drops of carrier oil, filling the rest of your glass bottle. Shake. Let it sit for 1 month

Laena McCarthy