Essential Oils as Fragrance: The Rundown

Essential oils have proven to be an effective alternative medicine for a wide assortment of illnesses and complications. Oils such as lavender have stress-reducing properties and can help ease depression, reduce anxiety, maintain a healthy nervous system, and promote better sleep at night. Other aromatherapy options—including eucalyptus and peppermint essential oil—have invigorating properties that make them good choices for a healthy immune system and positive well-being, especially in the face of fevers, colds, congestion, and more.

With so much versatility amongst health benefits, it comes as no surprise that natural essential oils can make for pleasing scents in addition to their therapeutic uses. These oils have an advantage over the cheap and sometimes-smelly lotions and other selections you find at department stores and can be mixed in your own home! After all, wearable fragrances were traditionally crafted out of plants and flowers rather than synthetic ingredients.

Ever wondered how to turn the best essential oils into a handy DIY perfume or fragrance? We’ve compiled all the steps you need to know here, so keep reading for the full rundown.


Take Note of the Notes

When crafting your own essential oil scent concoction, it’s important to understand which oils should be used and how much are necessary. This is where the concept of “notes” comes into play.

In the world of perfumes and other fragrances, notes classify different smells in the mixture in order from quickest smell life and longest smell life. The top (or head) note contains scents that are more volatile, meaning they are more immediately noticeable but evaporate quickly. These uplifting elements make up 10-20% of the entire blend and are focused on giving the immediate impression of the smell. The middle (or body) note makes up 60-80% of your mixture and consists of longer-lasting scents which will take some time to appreciate. Finally, your fixative (or base) note will act as the foundation for the perfume with the longest-lasting smells, preventing the other two notes from drying away too quickly. The base note should take up 10-20% of the blend.

Oils used in the top note should generally be light and sweet due to their faster roles, while the middle and base notes should consist of warmer and richer scents. Some great examples of oils for the top note include eucalyptus, lemongrass, clary sage, spearmint, lime, grapefruit, bergamot, sweet orange, and peppermint. Good choices for your middle note might be juniper berry, geranium, chamomile, lavender oil, cypress, and cilantro. Lastly, you’ll want to consider oils such as sandalwood, cinnamon bark, ylang-ylang, frankincense, jasmine, cedarwood, patchouli, and ginger for your base note.


Creating Your Fragrance

Besides the essential oils themselves, you will also need distilled water, alcohol, carrier oil such as coconut oil or jojoba oil, a dropper, a coffee filter, and a 10-milliliter container to hold the perfume. Before you begin blending, it’s important to smell each oil together to get an idea of what your end product will be like. You may even want to let different mixtures sit for a day or so to test how the smell might change with time.

 Get creative with your combinations! Try to mix and match different oil smells to get different results and remember: while you should combine a minimum of three different oils for your mixture, don’t use more than seven. Keep track of the amounts of different oils you dedicate to your top, middle, and base notes, in ratios such as 3:2:1, 4:2:1, or even 1:1:1.

When it comes to blending, it’s important to consider how many drops of essential oils you plan to use—the more drops, the more potent the fragrance. It’s easy to go overboard, so keep in mind that generally, you will use the most drops with your middle note and a balanced lesser amount of drops between both the top and base notes.

Start by adding a half-ounce of your carrier oil to the container. To create a particularly fragrant perfume, add 4-6 drops of your top note, followed by 18-25 drops of your middle note, and finally, 4-6 drops of your base note. For subtler scents (such as colognes), opt for 3-4 drops of the top note, 8-14 drops of your middle note, and 3-4 drops of your base note.

Once you’ve added your blend of drops into the container, add 7-8 milliliters of alcohol, followed by enough distilled water to fill the container. Shake the container for about one minute, then allow it to sit for a couple of days before applying it. Keep in mind that the scent may change with time as the distillation goes on.

After you’ve allowed the scent to blend for two days, add a couple of tablespoons of distilled water to the mixture and pour it through your coffee filter into its final bottle. Congratulations! You’ve created your own unique fragrance.


Using Your Homemade Essential oil Fragrance

After you’re satisfied with the aroma you’ve created, it’s time to make use of it! While your concoction should work just fine in a small spray bottle, spritzer, or other type of diffuser, you also have the option of using a rollerball bottle to turn it into a roll-on product. Creating solid perfume is also a possibility: simply add your carrier oil to a pot of melted beeswax, then remove the solution from the heat and pour in your essential oil blend. Keep a lid over the container as the wax hardens and enjoy your bar of fragrance!


Don't Forget About Safety

Be mindful of skincare and wellness before you start mixing! Several properties of essential oils (such as cinnamon bark and peppermint) can be harmful to your skin, and most pure essential oils may even cause irritation, hypersensitivity, or photosensitivity. In order to avoid these issues, always use carrier oil and alcohol in your mixture before applying it; both of these additives will dilute the essential oils and make them safer on your skin.

It also pays to keep your hands clean while working with your homemade fragrance—though be wary that many hand sanitizing products can dry out your skin in a similar fashion to undiluted oils. Muse Health’s Fragrance-free hand sanitizer makes a great companion for your DIY fragrance projects, as it contains natural ingredients which rejuvenate your skin and make it more receptive to your essential oil perfume. Visit our shop to stock up before your next creation!