Mother Earth Living

Homemade Gifts for Men

Herbal products don't have to smell foo-foo and feminine. Make these great-smelling homemade gifts for men for your favorite man.
By Rose R. Kennedy
June/July 2005
Add to My MSN

Some recent studies say vanilla and cinnamon scents make men feel more passionate. Another says lavender and pumpkin pie make an even more potent combination. Play around with these herbal scents for perfect handmade gifts for men.


Content Tools

Related Content

Growing Herbs in Texas: Soapwort Plant

Soapwort is growing well for Cynthia Meredith, our guest blogger from Texas.

5 Best Natural Laundry Detergents: Mother Earth Living Editor’s Picks

Ditch the toxins in conventional laundry products. Keep your clothes clean with the best natural lau...

Dollar Meal Dilemma

Matt divulges into who really wins in the end when McDonalds' stock is up and the stock market is do...

Feel-Good Friday: More Cures in Your Cupboard

Jessica expounds on the concept of "Cures in Your Cupboard" from the September/October 2011 issue wi...

Remember that corny line from the Irish Spring commercials, spoken by a buxom Irish lass taking a whiff of a bar of deodorant soap? A few decades back when the ad first aired, bath soap with a masculine scent was a new idea. Given how strong a man’s, er, natural scent can be, one wonders why the concept hasn’t caught on. Shouldn’t there be manly-man bath salts, candles, air fresheners and potpourris...ones that women like, too?

4 Homemade Gifts for Men

• Woodsy Drawer Sachets for Men
Bath Salts for Men
Superman Scent Jars for Men
• Masculine Scents: Essential Oil Blends for Men 

Scented Gift Ideas for Men

Of course you enjoy him smelling great, but many men also enjoy scents and fragrances—when they have some non-girly options. My boyfriend, for example, wouldn’t have to choose between a closet that smells like eau de sweat sock or one that reeks of lily of the valley, and he might not avoid scented baths in fear of smelling like his grandmother's rose water for the rest of the day.

5 Scented Body-Care Products for Men

Last Christmas, I saw new possibilities for guy-friendly herbal scents. My sister-in-law and self-described “soap bum,” Jenny Hall, was generously dispensing her handmade soaps. In the mix was one she called, “Smelly Man Suds,” a lye soap with patchouli and lavender essential oils. It had a heady, but decidedly masculine, scent. “If you pick carefully, you can make all kinds of fragrances guys would like with essential oils,” she told me. “And of course you can use the same oils for lots of stuff, way beyond soaps.”

That’s when we decided to collaborate on some scented gift ideas for men. I picked Jenny’s brain for her favorite manly essential oil combinations and added a couple of homegrown herb ideas. We did some research and found some studies that say vanilla and cinnamon scents make men feel more passionate. Another said that lavender and pumpkin pie make an even more potent combination, so we added pie spices such as clove to our arsenal. Most important, Jenny has tested these scents on regular guys—drummers, doctors, a gardener or two. Even when they didn’t create an instant Don Juan, these aromas did get some appreciative sniffs—and some regular use in the sweaty, mildewy male domains in both our households.

Best Herbal Scents for Men

Sandalwood essential oil with its warm, buttery, wood fragrance made the top of the ingredient list. “It’s from India,” Jenny says, “and it’s incredible on man, woman or child. It’s just on the edge of being obnoxious, but it rounds out many other scents and gives them staying power.” Sandalwood chips waft the same great smells and give potpourri a woodsy appearance, too. Other masculine-smelling oils include rosewood and cedar. “Cedar chips don’t hold their scent for long, but they’re a great ‘carrier’ for essential oils in potpourri.”

Clary sage essential oil is another of Jenny’s musts for men. Clear to pale yellow, it has a sweet, nutty fragrance that goes great with the deep lemon fragrance of bergamot. Bergamot has the added advantage of aging better than actual lemon or lime oils, which can start smelling institutional. But be careful using it in bath salts or anything else that will come in contact with your skin, cautions Jenny, who’s also a registered nurse. “It can be a potent sensitizer to sun exposure.”

If you already grow bergamot for birds and butterflies, consider decapitating a few blossoms and screen-drying them to include in guy-friendly potpourri. Like the cedar chips, they won’t hold their own scent for very long, but they look cool, add color and carry essential oil well. If you like, you can even use bergamot’s own essential oil to scent its dried heads or leaves.

Patchouli has the unusual quality of improving with age, so it’s used to prolong the life of other scents, and of any concoction it’s part of. “It combines beautifully with lavender essential oil,” says Jenny.

Styrax, also known as storax, is a natural balsam formed in the sapwood and bark tissues of the liquid amber tree, native to Asia Minor. An excellent fixative, it carries cinnamon notes. Its vanilla/butterscotch quality enriches blends while retaining its own unique aroma.

The Best Scents to Grow and Dry

Patchouli (Pogostemon patchouli, Zone 10) is native to tropical Asia but can be grown in North America in terra cotta pots sunk into the ground in summer and over-wintered as houseplants. It grows to 30 inches with fragrant leaves that produce the same aroma you remember from incense. The scent increases with sunlight and the plants like light sun to part shade and consistently moist soil. Harvest and dry leaves every few months—the plant should bloom with purple-tinged white flowers in mid to late fall. Propagate by root ball divisions and softwood cuttings or allow seed heads to dry on plants and then remove and collect the seeds

Sweet woodruff (Galium odoratum, Zones 4 to 10) is a shade lover, spreads on little roots and self sows, grows to 6-10 inches and does well under shrubbery and trees. A woodland plant, it benefits from leaf mold or peat moss incorporated into the soil. It also does well as a house plant, particularly in a terrarium. The delicate aroma is strongest in the spring, when it blooms, but the coumarin/vanilla scent is only released when it’s dry. Air-dry leaves on screens in a dark location and strip leaves from the stems before storing.

Resources

+ The Soapmaker's Companion by Susan Cavitch. Basic soap-making instruction and specialty techniques like marbling, layering, and making transparent and liquid soaps.

+ Buy Sweet Woodruff:
Nichols Garden Nursery
1190 Old Salem Road NE
Albany, OR 97321
(800) 422-3985

+ Buy Patchouli:
Blossom Farm
34515 Capel Road
Columbia Station, OH 44028
(440) 748-3303


Previous | 1 | 2 | 3 | Next






Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.