Sunday, July 21, 2013

DIY Perfume: Making Your Signature Scent

If you read my post about my DIY dryer balls or my carpet freshener, then you know that I'm in absolutely obsessed with the smell of orange and jasmine. {sigh} The jasmine is romantic and the orange gives it a little bit of crispness and freshness. I love it! I love it! I love it! So why not wear it, right it?

I decided to make my own signature fragrance, but I needed to figure out how to do it!

If you'd like to join my Natural Living Support Group on Facebook please fill out this form!

If you know anything about perfumes (I did not until a year ago) then you know that there is a top note, middle note, and base note. It's recommended that you use one of each of the notes in your perfume, but you don't have to. It's your signature scent! Do what you want!

But before you decide on a scent, let's get some education on the basics of notes....
  • Top Note: Your first impression and the scent that will fade the quickest. 
  • Middle Note: I have seen it referred to as the heart of the perfume. It will fade after a couple of hours
  • Base Note: This will be the anchor to your perfume and it will be the note that lasts the longest.
    •  It is also important to note that usually a base note isn't the most pleasant of the three initially, but it will become more pleasing over time.
Make your own DIY Perfume #DIYbeauty
My top note is orange, my middle note is jasmine and my base note is.... uhhhhh.... I don't have a base note. And considering that it's the longest acting, well, I think I want a base note.

Lucky for me I stumbled across this great website that talks about blending essential oils and gives a general idea about which scents pair well with others. The author offers some ways to make perfume as well, but I decided to go with a slightly different recipe from Small Measures with just a small adjustment: Less alcohol. I was a little worried that I would end up smelling like a drunkard with all that booze. The alcohol mainly acts a preservative from what I've read, so to hell with it! I'm changing things up. BTW: She has great step-by-step pictures and she is way more detailed than I am so definitely check out her site.
Signature Scent Ideas
I recommend this brand of essential oils 
  • Orange, Jasmine, Sandalwood
  • Lime, Rose and Vetiver
  • Orange, Lavender, Ylang ylang
  • Bergamot, Lemongrass, Sandalwood
  • Bergamot, Rose, Jasmine, Sandalwood
  • Lemongrass, Lime, Lavender, Vetiver
  • Orange, Peppermint, Cedarwood
  • Sweet Marjoram, Lavender, Ylang ylang
You can also use one Essential Oil blends if you don't want to make your own. I like these pre-made blends from my favorite essential oil company!
  • Stress Away (Copaiba, Lime, Cedarwood, Vanilla, Ocotea, Lavender)
  • Highest Potential (Blue cypress, ylang ylang, cedarwood, blue tansy, and white fir, and galbanum, frankincense, sandalwood, lavender, cinnamon, rose, spruce, geranium and jasmine)
  • Joy (Lemon, Mandarin, Rose, Roman Chamomile, Palmarosa, Jasmine, Rosewood, Geranium, Ylang Ylang, and Bergamot).
  • Purification (Citronella, lemongrass, rosemary, Melaleuca, lavandin, and myrtle) which can also double as a bug spray. I know-- it sounds weird, but you have to smell it. It's my mom's favorite!
This website also has a list of top, middle and base notes. It's not every essential oil, but it's a pretty good place to start. You can also watch this video to find a simple way to make your own signature scent.

If you want to learn more about essential oils please read this post or join my Facebook Group by filling out this form. You don't need any prior knowledge about essential oils to join or you could be an expert-- everyone is welcome! The goal is to learn, ask questions, discusses topics and find out how the oils are working for each other.

Quality Essential Oils are important 
When choosing an essential oil brand, don't trust "therapeutic" in the titles written by sellers!! So many companies and people are shady. Read this for more information about how there is an increase in promoting adulterated essential oils!  Call the companies and inquire about their growing practices! If you want to learn more about the essential oils I use, then you can read this post.

Make your own #DIY easy #perfume as a #DIYbeauty idea!Let's Do This!
Now, it's time to make your perfume scent! Place a small amount of your oils into a clean jar in this ratio:

Base: 20%
Middle: 50%
Top: 30%

Of course, this is your scent so you can do whatever feels right to you, but it's a good starting point. As an example, I started out with 2 drops of vanilla, 5 drops of jasmine and 3 drops of orange (aka Sherri #3's base).

Shake the container lightly to let the scents blend, then let it sit, then sniff and adjust until you find your signature scent! If you're indecisive (like me) then it's best to take frequent breaks because your nose will get angry with you. The scent will seem strong but don't worry too much about that. It will be fainter when it's diluted with the rest of the ingredients. Focus only the actual combination of scents.

Once you decide on your blend it's time to make your perfume!

What You Need
  • Clean bottle for mixing (recommended to be dark- if you don't have a dark bottle, store it in a dark place while it settles)
  • Bottle for storing. A dark bottle (either spray or dropper) is recommended, but definitely not necessary.
  • 2 TBSP carrier oil
  • 4 TBSP vodka (the higher the proof the less you'll smell like a drunk) ;)
  • 30-40 drops of essential oil in the ratio of your blend (if you stick with the ratio it will be 6-8 drops of base, 15-20 drops of middle, and 9-12 drops of top depending on the strength you want).
  • 2 TBSP distilled water-- do NOT use facet water! 
    • *Due to the addition of water in this recipe, there is a chance of spoilage (natural things go bad). Check your perfume periodically for signs of cloudiness or mold. 
Other things you'll need:
  • Coffee Filter
  • Funnel
Make your own perfume recipeMake sure your bottle for mixing is nice and clean! Place the essential oils in the ratio that you have decided on making a total of 30-40 drops of all essential oils together. If you stick with the blending ratio from above it will be 6-8 drops of base, 15-20 drops of middle, and 9-12 drops of top depending on the strength you want.

See I'm nice--- I did math for you! And I hate math! 

Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT the distilled water to the bottle. Shake it... a lot. I'm not talking about shake it for 15 seconds. I'm talking about run around your house while dancing like a crazy person with it for about 2 minutes. You really want to mix it up!

Now store it in a cool, dark place for 48 hours to 6 weeks (yeah, right). However, it is recommended to wait 6 weeks because that is how long it takes for the scent to fully develop, but ain't nobody got time for that! Am I right!?!

Note: It really does smell more and more like real perfume the older it gets.

Now after you've waited patiently, add the distilled water to the mix and shake it some more! {dance, dance, dance. Shake that booty}

Put the coffee filter into the funnel and transfer the perfume from the blending/storage bottle to the perfume bottle. This is a slow process. Be patient, young grasshopper.

It is now ready to use!

Yay! One more unnatural product that's replaced and about.... oh, geez... so many more to go!

Does It Work?
This perfume smells EXACTLY like I wanted! I'm so happy! {squeals}

It will last longer if you apply it to your clothes. In fact, I sprayed some on this morning around 9 am and I can still smell it on my shirt now at 5pm. If I sprayed it on my wrist, then it only lasts a couple of hours so consider yourself educated.

The only thing that's really different about the application of this perfume is that you will use quite a bit more (especially if it's younger). I used to use two pumps of my fancy, chemical filled expensive perfume, but I used more like five pumps when I first made it. Now that it's "mature" I use about 2-3 pumps.

Just a thought-- if you like the perfume, it may not be a bad idea to go head and make another batch when you're about half way through with this first bottle. That way it'll be sitting for a few weeks before you need to use it!

Yes, I'm brilliant and you're welcome.

I have had my perfume for over 6 months and it's been perfectly fine with no problems and no mold or bacteria growth, but remember thing can grow especially if there was anything nasty in your bottle to begin with. So check it periodically for nasties.

If you want to see how safe your beauty products are then check out the skin deep cosmetic database.

Enjoy! I can't wait to hear about your signature scent!!

And if you're Pregnant or planning on becoming Pregnant, you have to read this!
Avoid Chemicals in Cosmetics while Pregnant

Sherri Griffin
Sherri Griffin

Thanks for checking out my blog. I get serious about a few things in life: animals, chemicals, and food. For the rest I can't promise anything so keep the bar low. For more about me check out my "About Me" page! Happy DIYing!


  1. I am looking forward to finding my scent. I love the commercial scent, "Happy" by Clinique because of the fresh citrus tones; so, I may be looking up a recipe to get started on the way to my perfect match!! Thanks for sharing this knowledge!

    1. It's so fun! I hope you end up finding an even better scent than "Happy"! :) Goodluck!!

  2. Hello, I want my perfumeto mainly smell like vanilla. How would I make that recipe. What other EO would be good to mix to get the scent I want.

    Thanks in advance !~

    1. Well, vanilla is a base note, so it's going to be the faintest, but last the longest of all the scents. If you want to increase the scent you may want to increase the amount of vanilla you use. I've always used the typical 20% ratio for base notes that's recommended which gives a soft faint vanilla smell which becomes stronger as the day goes on. You'll just need to experiment to find the amount of vanilla scent you like.

      You can use a lot of different EOs with vanilla. Orange, Jasmine, Rose, Lavender, Grapefruit, Rosemary, Cinnamon… it really depends on if you want to be more floral, sweet or spicy. My suggestion is that you can look at the ingredients in perfumes that you like and see what they included in their scent to get an idea of what you might want to use in yours.

      I hope this helps! :)

  3. Any suggestions on a mix that is more tropical? My sister got married in the tropics and I want to creat her a perfume that will remind her of the islands for her birthday.

    1. Hi Kirsten! That's a really cool idea for your sister! I love it!

      You could try using pink grapefruit with ylang-ylang with orange (use more if you want it more citrus scented) and vanilla (if more if you want it sweeter). I think that would be really nice! Also you could use coconut mixed with orange and vanilla! If you want it a little woodsy you could add some sandalwood instead of coconut. You can use any of the citrus scents, vanilla, lemongrass, gardenia, sandalwood, jasmine.. it really depends if you want it more woodsy, sweet, exotic or floral.

      You can also look at perfumes that you think about tropical and use some of their ingredients to get more of the scent that you want.

    2. Some great suggestions! My scent, I call Happy Hippie, is peppermint, patouchili and lavender. I usually mix it with a liquid carrier oil but want to make a solid perfume too. Thanks for the great info in this article. I love the name of your blog and look forward to looking through more of your posts!

    3. Happy Hippie! I love that!! And it sounds like a wonderful combo of scents, too! I'll have to try that the next time that I make perfume :)

  4. You mentioned using a coffee filter but I am not sure what would need filtering is there some sort of sediment at the end of the resting time
    and should I use a white bleached filter or a brown unbleached filter.And would not the bleached filter have an effect on the potion..As it does on the coffee

    1. Hello! That's actually a GREAT question! I prefer unbleached simply because of the process of bleaching coffee filters, but that is my preference. From what I have been told that it does NOT alter the smell of the perfume, but it may add unnecessary chemicals to your perfume.

      You asked if it's necessary. It's mainly used to catch some of the thicker parts of the oil so it doesn't clog your pump of your spray bottle. It isn't AMAZING, but it does help.

  5. I stumbled on to this page and read it. I honestly lol. You are great. Thanks for writing this. I really enjoyed it.

  6. I usually mix it with a fluid service provider oil but want to create a strong fragrance too. Thanks for the excellent details here.

  7. One of my favorite scents is Jasmine Vanilla from Bath and Body Works. I've been trying to make my own lotions and body wash but still wanted to smell like my favorite scents. Your article gave me some great information and your Sherri #3 sounds like a good place to start.

    1. I'm so happy that you found the article useful! And I know what you mean about the Jasmine Vanilla from Bath and Body. It's awesome! I hear you about wanting the DIY stuff to smell good. It's hard to do sometimes, but I really think essential oils are the way to go! They are so much better than synthetic fragrances, but a lot of people will find them to be softer, more subtle and that they may fade throughout the day. Just be prepared for that {wink}. I think it works better if you spray it on the clothes!

      Also, if you make drawer fresheners-- you can put the same essential oil mix on them and stick them in with your clothes. It'll help increase the smell!

      I hope you like it!! Please let me know what you think!

  8. This is a lovely and informative sight, thank-you so much for down to earth advice. You are terrific! Please keep posting..

    1. Thank you Elizabeth :) I'm so glad you like the blog!

  9. Very Cool!
    I love the Candy by Prada perfume and am looking at the top, middle, and bottom notes posted with the description. The top says carmel, I am wondering if petitgrain essential oil would fit that? Prada says mid notes, musk. Any suggestions? I can't wait to play around with this. Thanks for this awesome blog.

    1. Thanks for writing and asking this question! Hmm… this is difficult to answer especially since I'm not very familiar with Candy by Prada. Ambrette seed and vanilla might work and petitgrain could definitely work, too.

      Are you a Young Living customer? I am just wondering if you ever have smelled their "Stress Away" product. It's a clean scent, but it definitely has that sweet vanilla note with a little bit of depth for the cedar wood and the copaiba. I think it's a great perfume by itself and it may work for you. It has Copaiba (Copaifera reticulata), Lime (Citrus lime), Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia), Ocotea (Ocotea quixos), Lavender (Lavandula officinalis).

      Right now Young Living is actually including stress away with their premium starter kits and we are giving away one on the blog! The giveaway ends on May 10 so you have time to sign up! It would be awesome if you won and then you could try it out! It's a great pack-- a diffuser, 10 essential oils, some energy drinks and some other stuff, too. But the 10 different oils could really give you a good selection to play around with for a perfume. You should definitely sign up if you haven't already! Hahaha! It's so funny-- I love when things work out like this. :)

      Link for giveaway:

      It's valued at over $300, but the set is currently retailing for $150 if you sign up with Young Living, but FREE is definitely the way to go if you can, right?!

  10. I'm just about to try what I think will be my signature scent. I'm using vanilla as my middle, lime as my base and rose or lavender as my top. Do you think they'll work together or should I change the percentages a bit??

    1. I like vanilla, lime and lavender would be lovely! But they do have certain characteristics so they cannot be switched from notes--- Vanilla is a base, Lime is a top and Lavender is a middle. So it would definitely work, but they would need to fall within their categories. I really like florals with citrus--- they are so clean, crisp and yet feminine. This would be lovely because you'll get the initial citrus scent when you put it on, but it'll fade it a sweet floral note throughout the day.

  11. Hi sherri!
    I'm really like the idea of making my own sent. I would really like it to smell like vanilla, almonds, and cinnamon. But I'm not sure if those three would smell nice together or how I would make it. Please help!

    1. Hi! Thanks for your question! Vanilla, Almond and Cinnamon-- that sounds like a bakery!! I am not quite sure how'd you get these scents with essential oils because there is no almond EO. You could use something like maybe nutmeg-- stick with the bakery theme. Yum! They are all middle/base notes I believe, but that's not a bad thing. You really need a base and middle-- the upper will fade first. I say go for it :)

  12. alcohol is a polar
    carrier oil (jojoba, coconut) not polar

    you can't mix it.

    basic chemical.



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