Essential Oil Perfume Recipes: How to Make Natural Fragrances Using Essential Oils
Learn how to make natural essential oil perfume recipes for beginners. If you love fragrances, but want a non-toxic alternative to synthetic fragrances that can trigger allergies, headaches and skin irritation, then this post is for you! Discover how to make natural fragrances using essential oils with this collection of essential oil perfume recipes, natural essential oil blends for perfumes, and perfume making tips for beginners that will save you money.
I love fragrances. Unfortunately, not all fragrances love me. Synthetic fragrances, especially, have been known to give me a raging headache. Everything from fake vanilla to heavily scented floral scents can trigger trigger sinus problems, allergies and headaches that last for days. They can also cause unfortunate skin reactions. If you have sensitive skin, then you know just how troublesome skin reactions from artificial fragrances can be. Growing up, I definitely struggle with itchy skin from everything from laundry detergent to lotions. It was not fun.
So rather than risk a reaction from store bought perfumes, I prefer to make my own essential oil perfume recipes. By choosing certified organic essential oils, I know that I’m getting a safe product that I can trust when properly diluted. And, because I know exactly what essential oils I’m using to make my essential oil perfumes, I can avoid those that irritate my sinuses or cause allergic reactions. Store bought perfumes just don’t offer the same transparency. Because fragrances are considered proprietary, I have no way of knowing what chemicals or other ingredients are used to create that particular scent. Therefore, the best way to avoid this is to make my own.
How to Make Essential Oil Perfumes
I’ve made a number of perfume recipes over the years. Some of those perfume recipes contained fragrance oils I’d used during my soap making days. So I knew they didn’t trigger a reaction. Others, however, I created with only a blend of essential oils. There are a lot of essential perfume recipes online. You can basically use any essential oil blend recipe you like. Simply add it to perfumer’s alcohol, a pre-made fixative base or to a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil (also known as Isopropyl Myristate) or jojoba oil. (Learn more about how to use perfume fixatives for lasting scents.) You can also make a basic salve base, which is 3 parts carrier oil to 1 part beeswax, with the addition of your essential oil blend for a solid essential oil perfume.
Continue reading for my essential oil perfume making tips for getting the perfect scent, even if you’re terrible at blending essential oils. Plus discover my collection of natural essential oil perfume recipes and tutorials to help you create your favorite new, custom scent!
Perfume Making Tips (That Save You Money!)
I want to start by sharing some easy perfume making tips for your essential oil recipes. I’m sharing these tips first, because if you’re like me, by the time you read through the other stuff you may feel so overwhelmed you decide to give up before you get started. And that is the last thing I want you to do. Sometimes you just need some baby steps to get your feet wet before you’re comfortable going full force into a new art or hobby.
1. Use plant based, all natural fragrance oils for your essential oil perfume recipes.
I am not the best at figuring at top, middle and base notes for my own essential oil perfume recipes. To be honest, I find it all to be a huge challenge. Not to mention the investment of time I don’t have. Therefore, when I make my own essential oil perfume recipes, I’ll often use an essential oil blend recipe that I’ve found elsewhere.
Sometimes, however, I find that I want a more complex fragrance blend than what I can make myself. I mean, perfumery is seriously an art. It takes a lot of time, knowledge and money to perfect the perfect scent. Essential oils on their own are expensive. So messing up when crafting a custom essential perfume recipe can be devastating on several levels. No one wants to blow money on a perfume scent that has to be tossed. Therefore, when I want a more complex natural essential oil blend, I like to turn to plant-based, all natural fragrance oils.
There are a few soap making companies that now offer all natural fragrance oils. While they do cost more than their synthetic counterparts, they’re still definitely a lot cheaper than trying to formulate your own.
Right now, Wholesale Supplies Plus seems to offer the widest range of 100% natural fragrance oils. They were one of the first soap making companies to take notice of the need for all natural fragrances and started offering this line years ahead of much of the competition. While these fragrances start at around double the cost of synthetic essential oils, the quality more than makes up for the difference. There’s also the added bonus of not having to spend a LOT more money buying all the essential oils you’d need to create just a single essential oil blend for your perfumes.
Their natural fragrance oils are plant-based aromatics made using pure essential oils and aromatic isolates derived solely from natural, raw botanical sources. Plus, all of their natural fragrance oils are certified to be free of synthetic ingredients. Their current lineup of all natural fragrance oils includes scents like honey blueberry lavender, green tea & rose, gooseberry & birch water, coconut & white tea, lavender & coconut milk, jasmine vanilla and mango smoothie.
I love that the Wholesale Supplies Plus website is geared towards beginner to intermediate crafters with affordable pricing. So it’s easy to find the IFRA maximum skin exposure levels for each of their fragrances. This allows you to easily determine skin safe dilution for your essential oil perfume recipes. There’s even a fragrance and essential oil calculator located on the product page for each of their essential oil based fragrance oils so you can quickly pick the right ratio for your essential oil perfume formulations.
2. Use a fixative base with your essential oil perfume recipes so they last longer.
Essential oil perfume fixatives are a must for long lasting perfumes and fragrances. Fixatives work in your essential oil perfume recipes to slow down the degradation of more volatile oils used in your perfumes. Thus, they essentially slow down evaporation rates. This ensures that your scents last longer when applied to skin. Therefore saving you money as you won’t need to reapply your perfumes as often.
There are a number of essential oils that function as fixatives in your essential oil perfume recipes. You can find out what essential oils work as fixatives in perfumery outlined here. Each of these essential oils not only extends the life of your perfumes, they also add a distinct note to your fragrances. Therefore it is important to choose which essential oils to use as fixatives based on the notes in your essential oil blends. You’ll want all the fragrance notes, obviously, to work in harmony for the best scents.
If you aren’t a pro at blending essential oils and don’t have the time or money to further your knowledge and experiment, there is a simple alternative. An easy way to incorporate a fixative into ANY essential oil blend is to purchase a natural perfume fixative base. Essentially, these bases are like little solid perfumes. You simply pick a scent note that works with your essential oil perfume recipes. Then, apply the fixative base prior to application of your perfume. By doing this, you not only extend the life of your perfume, you can also use different bases with the same essential oil perfume blend to create different scents.
I’m fond of the fixative bases available from Wild Veil Perfume. This shop offers a wide selection of fixative bases to choose from in different scent notes. Some of these include botanical musk base notes, earthy base notes, conifer base notes, spicy base notes, tea base notes and more. In addition, you’ll also discover a nice collection of absolutes and resinoids you can use to formulate your own essential oil perfume recipes.
How to Formulate Custom Essential Oil Perfume Recipes
If you want to formulate your own custom, essential oil perfume recipes, then you first need to learn the art of blending essential oils. As with fragrance oils, you can’t just throw any scents together that you like. They need to work well with another so you get a pleasing aroma.
Essential oils come in a variety of scent notes straight from nature. They can be woodsy or herbal, citrus or grassy, floral or spicy. Learning which essential oils blend nicely together does take some research, however. There’s no magical way to know what essential oils blend well together without taking the time to learn. An easy way to discover which essential oils blend well is to conduct an internet search. You can also purchase books on essential oils that teach you the basics of essential oils and blending.
An easy way to get started is to pick an essential oil you are fond of to be the heart of your essential oil perfume recipe. A popular choice, for example, is lavender essential oil. Then look up what essential oils blend well with lavender. You’ll get a long list of all the essential oils that blend well with the one you’ve chosen when you search. This gives you a good idea of where to get started in choosing the essential oils to blend with the lavender to compliment the scent.
For example, Mountain Rose Herbs, a popular source for certified organic essential oils, tells me that lavender essential oil blends well with bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile, clary sage, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, geranium, grapefruit, juniper, lemon, lemongrass, mandarin, marjoram, oakmoss, palmarosa, patchouli, peppermint, pine, rose, rosemary, tea tree, thyme and vetiver essential oils. It also tells me that it’s aroma is sweet, floral and herbaceous — information that can help me decide how to formulate the essential oil perfume blend.
Unfortunately, blending essential oils is a lot more complicated than that. (And one of the reasons why, as a beginner, you may want to start by using existing essential oil blends for your essential oil perfume recipes.) In short, you need to choose top and base note essential oils that are harmonious with lavender essential oil, which is your middle note.
But here’s more on that.
Understanding Essential Oil Notes for Basic Perfumery
When using essential oils for natural perfumery, you need to choose your essential oils based on their rate of evaporation, or what is called their volatility. The volatility of essential oils are separated out into three categories. These categories are known as top notes, middle notes and base notes.
Top note essential oils evaporate the fastest as they contain the smallest molecules. While, middle note essential oils typically last several hours. The base note essential oils, on the other hand, contain the largest molecules and therefore evaporate the slowest. The natural fragrance of base note essential oils can last a full day or more.
When formulating custom essential oil perfume recipes, you’ll want your recipes to consist of all three notes for the longest lasting scents and a complex aroma. This can vary depending on your formulation of essential oils used — some essential oils are much stronger than others — as well as personal preference. However, there is a loose guideline for blending top, middle and base note essential oils.
Your top notes in your essential oil perfume recipes should consist of 10%-30% of the essential blend. While the middle notes, which are the heart of your perfume, should make up anywhere from 30% to 50% of your perfume blend. Finally, the base notes should consist of 15%-30% of your perfume essential oils recipes. Many base notes are also fixatives, such as patchouli essential oil.
Top note essential oils are typically more light and airy essential oils. They introduce you to the scent of your essential oil perfumes. Usually thin and mobile, top notes often display diffusive, sharp, penetrating, uplifting, refreshing or light properties.
Common examples of top note essential oils include the following:
- Basil essential oil
- Bergamot essential oil
- Eucalyptus essential oil
- Fir & Pine essential oils
- Galbanum resin
- Juniper essential oil
- Laurel Leaf essential oil
- Citrus essential oils such as Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Tangerine & Orange
- Neroli essential oil
- Palmarosa essential oil
- Mint essential oils such as Peppermint & Spearmint
- Petitgrain essential oil
- Sage essential oil
- Verbena essential oil
- Yuzu essential oil
As previously stated, the middle notes are the heart — and most important part! — of your essential oil perfume recipes. These essential oils should be the focal of your essential oil perfume blend, with the other essential oils being chosen around these middle notes. As your middle notes are often full bodied and complex, you want your top and base notes to harmonize, balance and complement with the middle notes you choose.
Popular middle note essential oils used in essential oil perfume recipes include:
- Black Pepper essential oil
- Cardamom essential oil
- Carnation essential oil
- Cassie essential oil
- Chamomile essential oil
- Cinnamon essential oil
- Clary Sage essential oil
- Clove essential oil
- Coffee essential oil
- Cypress Leaf essential oil
- Fir essential oil
- Balsam essential oil
- Geranium essential oil
- Ginger essential oil
- Helichrysum essential oil
- Jasmine essential oil
- Lavender essential oil
- Lemongrass essential oil
- Lotus essential oil
- Melissa essential oil
- Orange Blossom essential oil
- Rose essential oil
- Rosemary essential oil
- Tuberose essential oil
- Ylang Ylang essential oil
It’s important to keep in mind that black pepper, cinnamon and clove essential oils are skin irritants. Therefore, they should be used in very small amounts as part of your perfume formulations.
The foundation of your essential oil perfume recipes are the base notes. These essential oils tend to have dense, heavy and strong aromas that support your overall perfume formulation. Deep and tenacious, these essential oils may also include your fixatives. (Learn which essential oils are fixatives here.)
The following essential oils, absolutes and other botanical aromas are popular base notes as part of formulations for essential oil perfume recipes:
- Agarwood essential oil
- Fossilized Amber Oil
- Ambrette essential oil
- Amyris essential oil
- Angelica Root essential oil
- Balsam of Peru essential oil
- Cedarwood essential oil
- Cistus essential oil
- Cocoa absolute
- Elemi essential oil
- Fir essential oil
- Balsam absolute
- Frankincense essential oil
- Labdanum resinoid
- Liquidambar essential oil
- Liquidambar Oleoresin
- Myrrh essential oil
- Oakmoss essential oil
- Orris root extract
- Patchouli essential oil
- Sandalwood essential oil
- Tobacco absolute
- Tonka Bean absolute
- Vanilla absolute
- Vetiver essential oil
- Violet Leaf absolute
If you’d like to learn more about creating custom essential oil perfume recipes, then check out this post on how to create custom essential oil blends from Mountain Rose Herbs, as well as this post from Hello Glow on how to blend essential oils. This article on essential oil blending factors from Restorative Aromatics is also incredibly helpful. Alternately, I highly recommend the natural perfumery course from The Herbal Academy. This course includes all the information you need to start blending your own botanical perfumes at home. It includes 20 essential oil perfume recipes, a special collection of perfumery plant monographs, simple rituals for incorporating them into your lifestyle, expert guidance, and beautifully illustrated downloads for safety, sustainability, and techniques.
How to Make Essential Oil Perfume Recipes 3 Ways
Now that you understand the basics behind blending essential oils for custom essential oil perfume recipes, you’re probably wondering how to actually make perfume. Obviously you can’t use your essential oil blends neat (or undiluted) on skin. This can cause skin sensitivities and irritation and in general is just a terrible practice. Therefore, you’ll want to dilute your essential oil blends for your perfume recipes so they’re skin safe.
There are three basic ways to create the perfect essential oil perfume recipes. You can make essential oil perfumes using either oil, alcohol or a solid perfume base. Before blending your essential oil perfume blend you created with oil or alcohol, you should allow your perfume recipe to first age for two to three weeks in a dark or amber glass bottle.
Oil Based Roll On Essential Oil Perfume Recipe
To make an oil based perfume, you simply mix your perfume essential oil blend with a carrier oil of your choice. Jojoba oil, sweet almond oil and fractionated coconut oil are all popular bases for oil based essential oil perfumes. You will want to use a carrier oil with little to no fragrance in order to avoid having it come through with your chosen aroma. Alternately, you can also use 100% cyclomethicone or a blend of equal parts cyclomethicone to your carrier oil of choice. (Cyclomethicone is a synthetic silicone commonly used in cosmetic applications for skin and hair care as well as perfumery.)
Your essential oil blend for your oil based essential oil perfume recipes should comprise of between 15%-30% of your chosen carrier oil. (If you are using essential oils that are known skin irritants or have a lower maximum usage rate per IFRA guidelines, then stick to the lower end of that percentage.)
To make your oil based perfume, simply add the essential oil blend to a rollerball bottle. Then follow with your chosen carrier oil. Swirl to mix, then cap and label your rollerball bottle.
Alcohol Based Essential Oil Perfume Recipe
Creating perfume using an alcohol base is similar to creating a perfume oil. Simply combine and swirl the essential oil perfume blend at the decided ratio to perfumer’s alcohol in a glass beaker, once aged. Then store your finished essential oil perfume in a glass perfume bottle or spray perfume bottle. (These perfume atomizers are also super cute! As are these best selling quartz gemstone perfume bottles.)
Solid Essential Oil Perfume Recipe
A simple recipe for making a solid perfume base is to combine 3 parts beeswax to one part carrier oil. (You can use carnauba wax as a vegan alternative. However you should reduce the wax in this case by 25% as carnauba wax has a higher melting point.) Once you’ve determined the percentage of your aged essential oil blend you’d like to use, mix the carrier oil you’ve chosen with the essential oil blend in a glass beaker or container. Then set aside.
Now melt the beeswax in a double boiler over medium heat. Once the beeswax is completely melted, immediately stir in the combined essential oil blend and carrier oil mixture. Continue stirring until the beeswax remelts, then pour right away into small glass cosmetic jars.
Let your solid essential oil perfume sit until fully hardened, then screw on the lids.
Essential Oil Perfume Recipes for Natural Fragrances
Here are some easy and fun essential oil perfume recipes. These recipes are perfect for beginners. While some of these perfume recipes contain fragrance oils in lieu of essential oils, you can swap out the fragrance oils with any essential oil of your choice, using the above guidelines for making essential oil perfumes.
- Essential Oil Roll On Perfume Recipes
- DIY Glitter Perfume Recipe
- Easy Roll on Perfume Oil Recipe
- Homemade Solid Perfume Recipe
- Grapefruit Crush Solid Essential Oil Perfume Recipe
Or get started with a beginner’s natural perfume kit. This DIY essential oil perfume kit contains 36 essential oils that are commonly used to create custom, natural fragrances.
Essential Oil Blends for Perfumes
Alternately, try one of these essential oil blends for perfumes. These essential oil perfume recipes use essential oils that are easy to source and readily available. They are also great essential oil blends for beginner perfumers.
Totally Chill Essential Oil Perfume Recipe
- 18 drops Grapefruit essential oil
- 8 drops Lavender essential oil
- 8 drops Sweet Orange essential oil
- 4 drops Clary Sage essential oil
- 2 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
Lemon Crush Essential Oil Perfume Recipe
- 15 drops Lemon essential oil
- 9 drops Rosemary essential oil
- 6 drops Neroli essential oil
Paradise Bliss Essential Oil Perfume Recipe
- 18 drops Grapefruit essential oil
- 8 drops Lavender essential oil
- 8 drops Sweet Orange essential oil
- 5 drops Clary Sage essential oil
- 2 drops Roman Chamomile essential oil
Unisex Woodland Spirit Essential Oil Perfume Recipe
- 20 drops Sweet Orange essential oil
- 10 drops Virginia Cedarwood essential oil
- 6 drops Peppermint essential oil
- 4 drops Rosemary essential oil
The Spice of Life Essential Oil Perfume Recipe
- 15 drops Bergamot essential oil
- 12 drops Sandalwood essential oil
- 6 drops Vanilla absolute
- 3 drops Clove essential oil
Men’s Essential Oil Cologne Recipe
- 12 drops Patchouli essential oil
- 12 drops Bergamot essential oil
- 6 drops Vetiver essential oil
- 6 drops Bay Laurel essential oil
- 2 drops Neroli essential oil
- 2 drops Ginger essential oil
Grounded Earth Essential Oil Perfume Recipe
- 12 drops Virginia Cedarwood essential oil
- 9 drop Palmarosa essential oil
- 9 drops Patchouli essential oil
- 3 drops Neroli essential oil
- 3 drops Vetiver essential oil
Love is in the Air Essential Oil Perfume Recipe
- 20 drops Rose essential oil
- 10 drops Vetiver essential oil
- 10 drops Lime essential oil
The Sensuous Woman Essential Oil Perfume Recipe
- 12 drops Bergamot essential oil
- 10 drops Coriander essential oil
- 8 drops Neroli essential oil
- 6 drops Rose essential oil
- 4 drops Jasmine absolute
Books on Making Essential Oil Perfume Recipes
Ready to learn even more about making essential oil perfume recipes? Try one of these books on making essential oil perfume recipes to take that knowledge even further.
- Organic Perfume by Kaylee Evans
- Perfumes, Splashes & Colognes by Nancy M. Booth
- Homemade Perfume by Anya McCoy
- Perfume: The Art and Craft of Fragrance by Karen Gilbert
- Make Your Own Perfume by Sally Hornsey
- Essential Oil Perfumes by Scott Jenkins
- Mixing Essential Oils for Magic by Sandra Kynes
If you loved learning about how to make custom essential oil perfume recipes, then be sure to pin this tutorial to Pinterest for later reference. You can also discover more of my beauty and skin care projects and recipes by following me across all your favorite social media platforms. You can find Soap Deli News blog on Blog Lovin‘, facebook, twitter and instagram. Or sign up to receive an email whenever I share a new post!