How to make perfume with essential oils

Essential oils, the essence of the world’s most beloved scents and flavors!

Exploring the world of essential oils is fun and exciting. Getting to know all of the aromas and the benefits tied to each oil often sparks curiosity and passion. And, that is why you are here — the understanding that essential oils have been one of the main ingredients in perfume since their invention and an interest in possibly making your own perfume. 

Have you found a couple of essential oils that you love and think would make a wonderful perfume? Maybe you have played around with combing smells but aren’t exactly sure how to mix them to make the fragrance pop like a professionally made perfume. 

Lucky for you, we are here to give you the lowdown on how to make perfume with essential oils.

Welcome to perfume chemistry 101! 

This is your beginner’s crash course in crafting your own personal scent. And, yes… we have to call it chemistry because, making perfume is a science and it doesn’t just happen. Basic things like top notes, middle notes, base notes, mixing time, and percentages must be understood in order to make a divine smelling — the one you are dreaming about — fragrance. 

Let the crash course begin!

Begin by gathering your supplies: 

  • The oils you wish to use
  • A carrier oil 
  • Alcohol 
  • A dark bottle: amber or blue

“Most perfumes are a mixture of fragrance oils in an alcohol base. There are base fragrances, mid-tones and top notes. When you smell a perfume, the top notes are typically the first thing you smell, followed by mid and then base notes.” Simply put, when mixing a perfume you want to think about how quickly a scent will evaporate, top being the first to go and the base being the ones that linger. 

Next, follow these 6 simple steps — be sure to read further to understand each step in detail!

  1. Add base note fragrance
  2. Add middle note fragrance
  3. Add top note fragrance
  4. Blend
  5. Add alcohol
  6. Give it time

Understanding Base Notes: 
We begin all perfumes with deciding on our base note, or the weight of the perfume. This is the part of the fragrance that will stick around the longest. “Often times base notes are earthy scents that provide a good lasting smell for your perfume and can be five to 20 percent of your blend (but this varies). However, some people choose to use scents like grape-seed oil or sweet almond oil. It’s your personal preference and you may experiment to see what scents you like.”

“Examples include: cedarwood, frankincense, ginger, helichrysum, myrrh, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla, vetiver.”

Understanding Middle Notes:
After picking your base note you will then add your middle notes, or the meat of the perfume. It is important to note that these are the aromas that make up the major part of your perfume. So when choosing them you want to keep in mind they will stand out the most. “Some people choose to use a more floral scent for this note, but once again it is your personal preference. Often times middle notes are the biggest portion of your blend (50 to 80 percent), but once again this varies with experimentation.” 

“Examples include: chamomile, cinnamon, clove, cypress, fennel, geranium, jasmine, juniper, marjoram, neroli, nutmeg, pine, fir, rose, rosemary, spruce, tea tree, thyme, ylang ylang.”

Understanding Top Notes: 
Finally the note that first hits your nose when smelling a perfume but drifts away quickly once applied. This is the air of the perfume, the aroma that causes a hint of wonder and splendor. “They can often be five to 20 percent of the blend, but you can add more or less if you choose. Some people prefer to use fruity, minty, or refreshing scents for their top note. Try out different scents if you aren’t sure and see what you like the best.”

“Examples include: lemon, orange, grapefruit, lime, tangerine, citronella, bergamot, eucalyptus, lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, spearmint.”

Making a perfume that delivers the fragrance you desire, is not too strong, and has the right amount of base, middle, and top notes — is in reality a game of trial and error. But, before you just go throwing oils in a bottle, it is a good idea to understand basic percentages as well as have an idea of how many drops to start with. 

As mentioned above — base notes are around 20 percent of a perfume, middle notes are around 60 percent of a perfume, and top notes are around 20 percent of a perfume.

Now, when ready to mix it is suggested that, “for everyday use, use a max of 10-12 drops in a 10 ml container.” So, your drop combination could be something like, 2-6-2 or 3-4-3. This is also where experimentation comes in — increase the total number of drops for a stronger smelling perfume or larger bottles and most importantly have fun! 
“After you’ve drizzled the oils in, swirl the bottle to combine them. Fill the rest of the bottle with carrier oil. Replace cap and swirl again.” The carrier oil is optional but it is a great way to dilute the perfume.

Adding Alcohol: 
You can skip this step if you desire, however alcohol is the ingredient that perfumers use to preserve a fragrance and make it last longer. During this step if is important to note that “alcohol changes the composition of the oils and as the flavors meld, they change drastically.” So, you must be careful how much you add and pay attention to how it interacts with your oils. “Depending on the size of bottle you choose will determine how much alcohol to use. If you are using 60 or so drops of essential oil, you can use three to four ounces of alcohol. If you are only using 20 to 30 drops of essential oil, you should probably drop the amount of alcohol to one to two ounces.”

Letting It Sit:
“While you can use the perfume right away, I really recommend letting the flavors meld for at least a month before using.” This step allows each aroma to combine with the other aromas to create the perfume, most indulgent perfume. Something like marinating a steak or letting a bottle of wine age. Time gives life.

And there you have it, the perfect recipe to making your own perfume. 

To close out this quick perfume learning session, we will leave you with a reminder that, “the scents in DIY perfume are lighter wearing than traditional perfume. So no headaches, but you might need to apply more often.”

For those of you who want to play around with perfume, but know that essential oils can be expensive — oils can cost up to 410 a bottle and with 3-4+ needed to make a perfume you are looking at around $40 for just one DIY essential oil perfume — Dossier has your solution.

We bring to you expertly crafted designer inspired blends of perfumes that cost just the same, if not cheaper than buying  your own essential oils and perfume supplies. All Dossier bottles are $29 and boast perfect mixes that will last the entire day.

To enjoy Dossiers wide selection, shop our perfumes now.



What do you think?