A long shower. Freshly shaven legs. A favorite (or better yet, new!) outfit. And a spritz of perfume on the pulse points. It’s the perfect setup for date night!
Unless you're sensitive to fragrances, then not so much.
That was me. Back in the day, I loved a popular grapefruit-y perfume that I used on special occasions, but that one spritz of fragrance could affect me within minutes in a very negative way. Sometimes it was just a headache, and other times it would be a full-blown migraine. Either way, it was no fun!
Maybe that's you or someone you love. Do you get nauseated from the smell of perfume? Or have you ever been nearly knocked over by the smell of someone's cologne as he walked past, leaving you coughing, sneezing, or with a headache?
If you answered yes, it’s likely because of the harsh chemicals often blended into commercial fragrances. A large number of those chemicals are harmful to the human body. Many of them are even listed on the EPA’s Hazardous Waste List for being carcinogenic, neurotoxic, and hormone disrupting.
And it’s not just perfumes or colognes. Many products list “fragrance” on the label, but very few name the specific ingredients that make up a “fragrance.” This makes it very difficult to know what’s actually in your perfume or cologne. Some of these chemicals have been linked to serious health problems such as cancer, reproductive and developmental toxicity, allergies, and sensitivities.
The good news is that we don’t have to trade the confidence that wearing fragrance gives us for the risk from synthetic fragrances. We can ditch fake and harmful fragrances and make our own perfume and cologne and reclaim our flirty, sexy, confident, perfume-wearing selves!
Ready to find out how? Here we go . . .
Every quality perfume or cologne needs a good base. This allows for the fragrance to remain intact throughout the life of the perfume/cologne. You want it to have a nice shelf life so you can enjoy it for as long as possible.
You’ll want to choose a carrier with little to no scent. For spray-on fragrances, use a clear, scentless solvent like vodka or witch hazel (I prefer vodka). This helps the essential oil distribute evenly throughout the bottle. For roll-on fragrances, use an unscented carrier oil like jojoba or almond oil.
If you choose to use water as your base, which you can, be sure to choose distilled water. The minerals and impurities have been removed so it’s a “safe” option to use in sprays. However, just know that vodka or witch hazel would allow the essential oils to be more evenly distributed.
Depending on the size of the bottle you’re using—either a spray or roller bottle—you will want to loosely follow an 80:20 ratio. Use a carrier oil or solvent for 80% of the spray and an essential oil blend for the remaining 20%.
Blending by Notes
Let’s start with some simple guidelines to help you build a personalized blend of fragrances using your oils.
Essential oil fragrances are classified as “notes.” Just like music, you want all the notes—top, middle, and base—to harmonize, making a beautiful “sound.”
The Top Note is the scent your nose detects first. It is the “first impression” scent, usually a citrus or herb.
The Middle Note is the scent detected 10-45 minutes after applying and can last several hours on the skin. It is often referred to as the “heart note,” the one noticed after the top note is gone. It’s typically warm and well-rounded.
The Base Note lasts far beyond the other notes. It’s the scent that appears once the others have evaporated. It creates a lasting impression.
Use this quick table to guide you as you start blending notes. Start by choosing 2-4 oils in each row to work with; add as much as your nose likes! There are no hard and fast rules to blending; just do what smells good to you.
It’s important to mention that essential oils are potent and careless use of them can cause harm. Here are a few general safety ‘rules’ to keep in your back pocket.
Diluting oils is the number one way to protect yourself from accidental irritation; following the 80:20 dilution is a very conservative way to start, especially if you are more sensitive in nature to begin with. If you feel like you need your oils diluted less or more, go ahead. It’s totally up to you!
Some essential oils cause photosensitivity thanks to the compounds found within. I only use Young Living essential oils, and thankfully, their oils that cause photosensitivity are labeled. Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit, Orange, Bergamot, Tangerine, Peace & Calming, Stress Away, Citrus Fresh, Gentle Baby, and Joy are some of Young Living’s popular oils that cause photosensitivity, but other oils can come with these risks as well. Always check the label to see what cautions are associated with the oil you’re using.
But don’t let that keep you from enjoying citrus oils in your DIY perfumes and colognes! Your essential oils are diluted in the recipes you’re creating, but just to be safe, spray or roll on those perfumes in a place where the sun doesn’t shine or simply cover the area with clothing if you plan to spend a lot of time in direct UV rays.
A Recipe to Get You Started
Here’s a light, refreshing scent for everyday use. This little blend will have you smiling all day!
Interested in a some more DIY perfume and cologne recipes? I have a free guide that I'd love to share with you.
And if you want more info on the world's best, purest essential oils, let's set a time to talk. You'll be smelling amazing again in no time!
Be oily and be well,