Introduction: How to Make Perfume

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Why spend a fortune on perfume or cologne when you can make your own for cheap. Brand name perfume/cologne can cost from $50-100, why spend that much when you can create your own fragrance with vodka and essential oils.

Instead of wearing a fragrance that everyone else wears you can make your own unique blend. Your own aromatic creations also makes a thoughtful gift.

Step 1: What You Need:


  • Vodka (the higher percentage alcohol the better) or Everclear if you can get it
  • Essential oils*, fragrance oils**, infused oils, even flavour*** extracts (make sure it's pure) such as vanilla extract
  • distilled or spring water
  • glycerine (this can be found in pharmacies)

Other stuff

  • pretty glass bottles to put the finished product in, preferably coloured glass, reuse bottles or find them at the dollar store.
  • glass jar for mixing fragrance in
  • measuring cup/spoons
  • a dropper if you have one
  • funnel
  • aluminum foil or wrapping paper if you are using clear glass bottles
  • a pencil and paper for jotting down your recipe
  • a discerning nose is helpful

*You can also make your own perfume oil Be a Romantic Scientist: Distill your own perfume oil.

**Fragrance oils are synthetic and are less expensive than essential oils.

***Quite a few perfumes use food flavours in them, so extracts are an easy way of incorporating them into your own creations.

Step 2: Preparing Bottles

Sterilize the bottles and jars in the dish washer, especially if you are reusing bottles. They need to be clean and sterile.

Step 3: Add the Alcohol

Measure 1/4 cup of vodka/Everclear and pour into jar.

Step 4: A Note About Scents

I've included a few words about scents, if you want to launch right into concocting your perfume skip ahead to the next step.

In perfumes the fragrance can be divided into three different notes depending on when they arise.

Top note: The initial scent when you put the perfume on, then disappears, they include; lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime, bergamot, spearmint, peppermint and others.

Middle note: This scent appears just after the top note disappears. Scents like; coriander, palmarosa, marjoram, basil, rosemary, rose geranium, pettitgrain, lavender and others.

Base note: This appears after the middle note and is the base of the perfume, they include; patchouli, vetiver, frankincense, cedarwood, sandalwood and others.

When you are mixing your perfume start by adding your base notes, then middle then your top notes.

Scents can be divided into different families such as floral, oriental, woody and fresh (such as citrus, etc) See wheel below. This is lovely but why do we need to know this? When you are mixing your perfume,adding scents from neighboring families creates harmony in you perfume.

Brand name perfume/cologne
There is a website which identifies the different components of brand name fragrances, so if you would like make an imitation of your favorite perfume/cologne check it out; basenotes Fragrance directory

For example:
Obsession Fragrance Notes

Top Notes
  • Mandarin, Bergamot, Jasmine, Rose, Orange Blossoms.
Middle Notes
  • Coriander, Tagete, Armoise.
Base Notes
  • Amber, Oakmoss.
Some of these scents may be a bit hard to find. (?armoise)

Aromatherapy involves using scents to affect mood and well being, if you would like to consider this when blending your fragrance, check out Aromatherapy for Emotional Well-Being

Men's Cologne
Guys, don't feel left out, try scents from the woody or fresh families to make a nice manly cologne.

Step 5: Add You Scents

This is where the magic begins...

Add approximately 25 drops of essential/fragrance oil.

Take one scent ;
  • add a few drops
  • swirl
  • smell
  • add more or continue on
  • write down the oil and number of drops
Take the next scent and repeat as above until you have added the approximate number of drops. Feel free to add more or less to create the desired fragrance.

If you are just starting out and don't know which scents to try. You can divided the alcohol into smaller volumes and try different combination, experiment, be creative, have fun with it.

Step 6: Let It Age

Once you are happy with the fragrance that you've created it is time to let it age. Place it in a cool dark location for a minimum of 48 hours, up to a month.

Aging your fragrance allows the scents to mingle, and also become stronger. Once you have aged your fragrance for the desired length of time, smell it again, the mingling may have changed the overall scent, so feel free to add a few more drops of scent to tweak it (don't forget you will need to age it again, if more scent was added).

Step 7: Add Water and Glycerine

Now that the fragrance is ready, it needs to be diluted.

  • Add 2 tablespoons of distilled/spring water. If you are making a perfume spray, add more water.
  • Add approximately 5 drops of glycerine, this helps preserve the fragrance.

Step 8: Finishing Up

Pour the perfume into your bottle, use a funnel if you need to. If you are using clear bottles, you will need to cover them with aluminum foil or wrapping paper (your fragrance needs to be protected from the light or it will go off).
Add a label, decorate it, give it a fancy name and be happy that you saved a lot of money!

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