Making perfume may seem like a mystical, complicated process, but fear not: it is more accessible than you think! Don’t be intimidated by a seemingly lengthy process or give in to bottled perfumes. It is possible to make natural perfumes at home from the flowers and herbs in your own garden.
The synthetic concoctions found in drug stores can be harsh and unforgiving compared to the scents found in a garden. Bottling your personal favorites is a great way to preserve your flowers long past the frosts of winter.
Natural perfumery business have taken off, creating their own blends
of essential oils for your convenience.
Photograph by PilotGirl/Courtesy of Flickr
Natural perfumes, when broken down to their basic components, are made up of essential oils, alcohol, and distilled water. For these basic ingredients, keep the following tips in mind:
• If you’re on a budget, 190-proof Everclear will do the trick—otherwise, perfumer’s alcohol is preferable. An alcohol that is at least 100 proof is what really matters, in the end.
• Make sure you are using distilled water; it makes quite a difference.
• The essential oil provides the delicious fragrance you are seeking for the perfume. The ratio between the oil and the other two ingredients is crucial to the potency of your natural scent.
To make your own essential fragrances, follow this quick step-by-step guide to the “enfleurage” process.
Once you have an essential fragrance of some kind that you enjoy, mixing the actual perfume is simple. (Click here for detailed instructions.)
Experiment with the scents you want to make and use in the perfumes. Try mint, lemongrass, lavender, coriander, or any other number of plants with lovely scents. (Here are some tried-and-true recipes.)
If you’re still feeling unsure of your perfuming abilities, or simply do not have the time, small natural perfumer businesses have been popping up left and right. Women like Anya McCoy and Mandy Aftel do the work for you, offering a variety of perfumes, soaps, and essential oils. Olsen also teaches several online courses covering the ins and outs of natural perfumery.
How to Make Your Own Fragrance
Making Flowers into Perfume (New York Times)