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5 min read / 21 December 2023 / yasmin sharp

How to Make Perfume With Essential Oils

From fragrance selection to application tips, learn the art of making a personalised perfume that's uniquely yours.

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Learning how to make your own perfume can be a lot of fun, allowing you to create a signature fragrance that is personal to you.

If you struggle to find fragrances that reflect your personality or character and you don’t just want an ordinary, everyday scent that makes you smell like everyone else, then you could try using essential oils as perfume.

Essential oils have a long and rich history of being combined to make fragrances and scents, so we’ve put together some tips on what you need to do to make your own at home.

How do I pick a fragrance for my perfume?

When it comes to learning how to make your own perfume, there are several different fragrance categories that can help you narrow down your options for your perfume:

  • Citrus scents: These are high notes that are strong and revitalising. Citrus fragrances such as lemon, orange, grapefruit and bergamot tend to work well during warmer periods of the year.
  • Musk scents: Musky scents are adjacent to woody fragrances, with the likes of vetiver, patchouli, benzoin and myrrh offering deep, earthy smells that linger and are perhaps better suited to autumn and winter.
  • Woody scents: Frankincense, sandalwood, cedarwood, pine needle and juniper berry are good picks for this category and work well when paired with brighter, more vibrant scents.
  • Floral scents: Ylang ylang, lavender, neroli, geranium and magnolia are always popular floral picks, bringing garden and springtime freshness into your homemade perfume.
  • Herbal scents: For something a little lighter and herbaceous, you could mix in essential oils like rosemary, lavender or oregano, that tend to blend well with woody fragrances.

Woman mixing perfume

Do I need to complete a patch test for my perfume?

Whilst some essential oils are stronger than others, they all pose the risk of causing skin irritation or an allergic reaction, even when diluted correctly.

If you are a first-time user of an essential oil, you should complete a patch test to check that it is compatible with your skin:

  1. Dilute a small amount and apply to the inside of your elbow.
  2. Cover with a plaster and leave for 24 hours.
  3. If you do not notice any signs of irritation, redness, itchiness etc. the oil should be fine to use.

What materials do I need for making perfume with essential oils?

Before you move on to learning how to make perfume with essential oils, you’ll need to gather together the right materials and equipment:

  • 1 x 5ml rollerball bottle (for storing the perfume)
  • 1 x unscented carrier oil, such as almond oil or jojoba oil
  • 3 x essential oils (high, mid and base notes)
  • 4 x pipettes for the carrier oil and essential oils

You will need a minimum of three essential oils for your perfume, but as you become more experienced you can start to experiment and increase the combinations.

Woman mixing perfume at a desk

What oil dilution ratio should I follow for my perfume?

Essential oils are highly concentrated because they retain many, if not all, of their natural plant and herbal properties.

So, to keep your skin safe, it is recommended that you use a 20% concentration of essential oils in your carrier oil mixture.

A 5 ml rollerball bottle will require around 100 drops of liquid extracted from a pipette – as 1 ml roughly equates to about 20 drops.

This means you will need 80 drops of carrier oil mixed with 20 drops of essential oil.

For beginners, a good rule of thumb to follow is the 30/50/20 rule. This means you add 30% of a top note (6 drops), 50% of a middle note (10 drops) and 20% of a base note (4 drops).

If you have completed a patch test but have sensitive skin and are concerned about a potential reaction, you can lower the essential oil concentration to around 15%.

How to make perfume with essential oils

Once you’ve chosen your fragrances, completed the relevant patch tests, collected your materials and settled on a dilution ratio, you can follow these steps to make your perfume:

  1. Using a pipette, add 80 drops of carrier oil to the rollerball bottle.
  2. Add 6 drops of a top note, 10 drops of a middle note and 4 drops of a base note, making sure to use a separate pipette for each oil.
  3. Replace the lid on the bottle and shake well (also do this every time you use it).
  4. Put a label on the bottle so you always know what fragrance is inside.
  5. Keep the bottle stored in a cool, dark space away from direct heat and light sources.

What is the best way to apply an essential oil perfume?

The final part of learning how to make your own perfume is understanding how to use it. The way you apply your perfume may differ depending on the type of bottle you use, giving you the option to spray, dab or roll it onto your skin.

Like any perfume, the best areas to focus on are pulse points, as they emanate more heat, which increases the scent throw of the fragrance.

Behind your ears, the back of your knees, on the inside of your elbows and on your wrists and throat areas are key pulse points that can increase the strength of your perfume.

Other areas you apply the perfume for a lasting impact include the nape of your neck and collarbone, across your chest and the top of your arms.

Obviously, you don’t want to apply the perfume to all these spots at once, as it will probably be too overpowering, but applying it to about 3 or 4 areas should give the fragrance staying power.

Black and white botanical illustration

You can use essential oils as perfume in lots of different ways, with a countless number of scent combinations you can try to create the perfect scent, just for you.

Or, once you’ve gained some confidence in your blending skills, you could also make a personalised perfume as a gift for a loved one, friend or family member.

Whatever you decide to do, if you are using an essential oil for the first time, make sure to complete a patch test to reduce the risk of irritation or allergy issues.

Just as importantly, have fun with the process, as once you master the technique, you can quickly build up a dresser full of fresh and exciting fragrances that are completely unique to you.

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Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

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