Mother Earth Living

How to Create Floral Waters and Colognes

Personalize your scent: Craft floral waters and colognes at home.
By Janice Cox
June/July 2009
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Personalize your scent: Craft floral waters and colognes at home.
iStockphoto.com/Liv Friis-Larsen


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Creating your own lightly scented waters and colognes is as easy as picking your favorite flower. Scented waters are some of the oldest toiletries created to stimulate, please and entertain our sense of smell. Ancient Egyptians used scented oils to perfume their bodies and lift their spirits. In the 10th century, the practice of oil distillation was perfected and the perfume industry took shape.

6 Floral Water and Cologne Recipes

• Eau de Cologne
• Rosewater
• Quick and Easy Rosewater
• Lavender Water Voile
• Summer Garden Cologne
• Hungary Water Cologne

What are scented oils?

Scented oils are simple to create. You can distill your scent, capturing the essential oils from fresh flower petals on your stovetop. Or you can mix your favorite essential oils with water to create a light and delicate scent. Use these scented products alone as a perfume or as an addition to your favorite bath or beauty recipe. Fresh rosewater makes a wonderful addition to a favorite cream and lavender water can be splashed all over your body after bathing to relax your spirit and refresh your body.

Always use fresh, organic blooms when making scented waters and colognes. Your flowers should be free of pesticides and chemicals. If you do not have any flowers in your garden, check with a local grower. Pick your flowers in the morning, about two to three hours after sunrise for best results. Blossoms that have been in the hot afternoon sun may not be as fragrant. Use only fresh petals and remove all leaves and stems. Wash your petals gently right before using. Here are a few simple recipes and techniques to get you started. Enjoy! 

History of Eau de Cologne

The creator of the famed Eau de Cologne is a mystery.  It was invented in Cologne, Germany, in 1709 by one of two Italian distillers (who may have been related): Paolo Feminis or Giovanni Maria Farina, with a recent discovery pointing to Feminis. The term is now a generic name for scented formulas that are light, and typically 2 percent essential oil.

Try These Natural Colognes

Don’t have time to whip up our recipes? You can still have essential oil fragrances with these Herb Companion picks.

Aveda, Ancient Attar, $70
Aubrey Organics, Ocean Waters, $21.50
CB I Hate Perfume, In the Summer Kitchen, $60

How to Use Floral Waters

• Rosewater and lavender water are wonderful facial toners.
• Pour scented water into your bath as you fill the tub; you also can sprinkle a few fresh flower petals into your bath.
• Mix up a light cleanser for sensitive skin using 1/2 cup scented water, 1/4 cup whole milk and 2 tablespoons baking soda. Massage the cleanser into damp skin and rinse well. Store any leftover cleanser in your refrigerator.
• For a lighter summer lotion, stir a tablespoon or two of scented water into your favorite cream or lotion.
• Spray scented water or cologne onto your bed sheets for sweet dreams. 
• Mist your hair with scented water before going out.


Janice Cox is the author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt, 2002). To contact her, visit her webiste Natural Beauty at Home.


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