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How to Make Your Own Perfume: The Right Way Step by Step.

The importance of mixing oils by steps

It all starts with the base. Choose those notes that you want to be in the depths of your perfume, closest to the skin, and that will define the overall character of the fragrance.

Base notes are often from the woods’ family, but vanilla, vetiver, and patchouli are also common. The base will contain approximately 20% of the total oils used.

From here, you will start adding the middle notes. The middle notes make up the core of your scent and should comprise around 50% of the total oil blend. Typically, the middle notes evaporate within two to four hours of perfume application, leaving the base or base notes to “rise” and react with the skin.

Top notes make up the first impression of the perfume and you can immediately appreciate them when sprayed. It’s the last thing you add to the mix (about 30%) and the first scent to evaporate, usually within a couple of hours. Citrus and floral oils like orchid, chamomile, and anise are popular notes.

Brief introduction to the elaboration of perfume

Making perfume is one of the most common questions among amateur readers. Perfume making, more than a science, is an art. Just as simmering a creamy stew, so is a good perfume “cooked”, regardless of whether they produce it at home or in a laboratory. It is always advisable to start with a simple bouquet, mixing 1 or 2 aromas to warm up.

Apprentice perfumers are likely to generate complicated perfumes and, many times, the result of so much fusing can be unpleasant. To prepare perfume, the only tool you need is your nose. There are no recipes with exact measurements. The aromatic enjoyment of a magic potion changes and transforms with each drop of essence added.

For each “x” number of milliliters (ml) of perfume you want to create, you must respect the proportions of oils, fixatives, alcohol, and water. Based on the overall percentage of essences in the perfume’s mixture, the different categories divide according to their concentration in:

  • Eau de Cologne
  • Eau de Parfum
  • Parfum, and
  • Extract

Every perfume, once applied, either on the skin or on a strip of blotting paper or mouillette, goes through three phases:

  • The exit phase, is very spiky and powerful, constructed of the most volatile oils, and short-lived.
  • The middle phase, composed of oils of medium volatility, is where the heart and body of the perfume are, producing a complex chord that represents the general character of the fragrance.
  • The base is responsible for supporting the composition, adding robustness and perpetuation, giving warmth and elegance, and bringing the perfume to its sunset. It is in the base where the less volatile oils and resins remain.

Oils and resins can also act as fixatives while presenting scent and consistency, and permanence is not the same as a stream. The sillage is the aroma a certain scent gives off in the air, and it can be more or less long or intense. This is a concise definition of sillage that serves the perfumer as one more element of the fragrance.

Depending on the trail the perfume releases, passing through a room can leave a more or less pleasant mark and cause envious looks or profound gestures of displeasure.

Choosing the right type of alcohol

There are several types of alcohol, but not all are suitable for perfumery and cosmetics, because of their toxicity, their aroma, or their irritating properties. When making perfumes at home, you must be very careful not to get carried away by the price. Not all alcohols are the same and if you don’t choose the right alcohol, you could end up getting a good scare.

The alcohol to make perfumes at home is the ethyl alcohol used in the production of alcoholic beverages, so its price is considerably higher than that of other alcohols and it is under the same taxes. It is the most natural of the alcohols and it proceeds normally from the fermentation of wine products, sugar cane, some cereals, and yeasts.

This is the alcohol that experts recommend for making perfumes at home. It usually comes in concentrations around 70% for use as a germicide, although it can come at 96% (96% alcohol and 4% water) for perfumery. It is an alcohol that mixes perfectly with water, and its concentration can lower depending on the use you want to give it. With this alcohol, the magisterial pharmacy makes formulas for topical and oral use, and it is also the one used to make the famous Bach Flowers.

Perfumery Ingredients

IngredientUse

Ethyl alcohol (ethanol) from molasses at a concentration of 96% food grade

Alcohol dilutes oils so they can mix with water and contributes to their volatility

A blend of essential oils

Oils will compose the main fragrance

Distilled water

The percentage of water will lower the concentration of oils per final amount of perfume

Perfume fixative

The fixative oil retards the volatility of some oils, slowing the evaporation by the heat of the skin

Sterilized glass stirrer

Allows mixing ingredients properly

A pipette or a syringe that you can buy at any pharmacy

The pipette allows you to measure the quantities to mix

The pipette allows you to measure the quantities to mix

They keep utensils free of germs and protect your hands

Perfumery plastic funnel

To fit the mouth of a perfume bottle

Sterilized glass mixing flask or beaker

Container where the perfumer makes the mixture

Perfume bottle

Glass with screw cap sprayer

Perfumery Ingredients

Perfumery Ingredients

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Perfume in phases or monolithic

You can make a perfume in phases, going through the starting, heart, and base processes in its evolution. To achieve this, use oils with different volatility indices. Each of these phases has its aromatic chord, duration, and trail, and the passage from one phase to another must be subtle, like a light connecting bridge that harmonizes the olfactory notes in a delicate transition. Or, on the contrary, the perfume can be monolithic.

A monolithic perfume remains without aromatic alterations from start to finish. The latter are usually simple compositions that use oils with the same volatility index.

Process for making perfumes in phases

Making perfumes is a complicated task that requires a privileged nose and an impeccable knowledge of oils and their volatility rates. For example, suppose you use a strong Oudh wood scent as a base. Oudh wood is highly aromatic and considering that its durability is one of the highest, you will have to be careful in the oils you choose for the top notes (more volatile) and the middle ones (medium volatility), as they must harmonize perfectly between them and with the wood avoiding out of tune in the set.

Process for making monolithic perfumes

The only thing you need to pay attention to is the overall outfit. The perfume must maintain the same aromatic line from beginning to end, and for this, combine oils that have similar volatility indices, using between 5 and 8 notes at most. Certain floral bouquets or some masculine greens, among others, are within this structure.

Monotone perfumes, or one-scented perfumes, are also in this category, such as lavender, geranium, coconut, mango, children’s perfumes, certain eau de toilette, etc. The rest of the manufacturing process is the same as for all other perfumes.

How to mix essential oils

It all starts with the base. Choose those notes that you want to be in the depths of your perfume, closest to the skin, and that will define the overall character of the fragrance.

Base notes are often from the woods’ family, but vanilla, vetiver, and patchouli are also common. The base will contain approximately 20% of the total oils used.

From here, you will start adding the middle notes. The middle notes make up the core of your scent and should comprise around 50% of the total oil blend. Typically, the middle notes evaporate within two to four hours of perfume application, leaving the base or base notes to “rise” and react with the skin.

Top notes make up the first impression of the perfume and you can immediately appreciate them when sprayed. It’s the last thing you add to the mix (about 30%) and the first scent to evaporate, usually within a couple of hours. Citrus and floral oils like orchid, chamomile, and anise are popular notes.

A few drops of a bridge note added at the end help the other notes blend more smoothly. Often it’s lavender, vanilla, or a lightly scented carrier oil, like vitamin E or jojoba oil, that doesn’t evaporate from the skin.

Proportions and measurements in the elaboration of perfumes

The next thing to determine is the concentration you want to achieve for your fragrance. Proportional classifications vary from “house to house”, but usually, these are the rules:

  • Eau de Cologne or Agua de Colonia: It receives its name from the city of Cologne, where the formula became very popular. It refers to a perfume that contains between 3% and 5% oils, 70% alcohol, and the rest water. They are usually very fresh, light, and have summery aromas.
  • Eau de Parfum or Perfume Water: Here the mixture of oils is usually between 12% and 15%, alcohol is between 70%-80%, and the rest is water. It is a powerful mixture and occupies the most commercial and popular line in the sale of perfumes thanks to its relationship with price.
  • Eau de Toilette or Bath Water: In this case, the proportion of oils is between 4% and 8%, being able to vary the proportions of water and alcohol.
  • Eau Fraiche or Agua Fresca: Similar to Eau de Cologne, but with a higher alcohol content than in this one.
  • Extrait: Also called extract or simply perfume, it is the most concentrated version of all. It is usually between 18% and 30% oils on high-proof alcohol.

Perfume maceration: time and conditions

Maceration is the time necessary for a perfume (oils mixed with alcohol) to be olfactory stable, keeping all its power in its aromatic profile. Once you have the mixture of essences diluted with alcohol, you must macerate the perfume before adding the distilled water.

This maceration needs to store in a cool, dark place for a minimum of 48 hours, at the end of which the water is added, and then the maceration period returns for another 8 weeks. Once the maceration is complete, the perfume can be bottled and ready for use.

Practical example: how to make a rose perfume

100 milliliters of 12% Eau de Parfum prepared with a simple set of oils where the predominant note will be rose and the result will be a fresh floral perfume. Considering that 20 drops of essential oil are approximately 1 milliliter (ml), you will need 240 drops.

The structure of the perfume follows these rules:

  • Pink: 88 drops
  • Geranium: 62 drops
  • Ylang-Ylang: 35 drops
  • Citronella: 28 drops
  • Vetiver: 14 drops
  • Sandalwood: 14 drops
  • Alcohol 96%: 75 ml
  • Distilled water: 13 ml

Procedure for the elaboration of a rose perfume

Prepare a 100 ml glass container. Add the oils to the jar slowly, starting with the vetiver. Then add the sandalwood and shake a little. Every time you add oil, you are going to shake the mixture a little to homogenize it. Third, add the rose, ylang-ylang, and geranium in that order. Stir and finish with citronella.

Swirl a little and take a drop of the mixture that you will put on a strip of blotting paper to smell it. If the result satisfies you, proceed with adding the alcohol, and if not, rectify it to your liking. Once you add the alcohol, cover the bottle and shake it vigorously, then put it to rest in a cool, dark place for 48 hours.

After 2 days, add the water to the mixture and shake it again and store it in a cool, dark place for about 8 weeks, at the end of which your perfume will be ready to spray.

This combination results in an Eau de Parfum with a fresh start of green and slightly citrus-fruity notes. A floral atmosphere with a pronounced note of roses and sweet narcotic aromas of jasmine and orchid from ylang-ylang wraps this output.

The woody base provides the earthy notes of the vetiver with a warm and sensual touch of sandalwood.

Explanation of the formula

A floral heart of geranium rose and ylang-ylang combined with a top note of citronella provides freshness and a base of vetiver and sandalwood woods. Both rose and ylang-ylang are medium-low notes, so the proportion of base notes decreased, in part because of the vetiver’s olfactory power. However, the geranium behaves as a medium-high note, and this suggests lowering the intensity of the citronella, which is also a robust fresh-citric aroma and thus avoids losing the mystical floral halo intended to dance around the rose.

The note of rose remains present until almost the extinction of the perfume, whose sunset dances around the woody, warm and narcotic notes. Both vetiver and sandalwood act as excellent fixatives and sandalwood also has the property of acting as a binding oil.

Word Glossary

  • Fixer: The perfume fixer is a substance with a very low volatility index that helps to maintain the perfume oils on the skin for longer. It can be of natural origin (animal fat/vegetable oil and/or resin) or synthetic.
  • Flask: A glass container with a circular or somewhat spherical base and a straight, narrow neck, used in laboratories to measure liquids or mix chemical solutions.
  • Milliliter: Measurement that represents one thousand a liter. 1Lt = 1000ml.
  • Mouillette: Strip of thick blotting paper used in perfumery to olfactory test aromas and fragrances.
  • Pipette: Glass tube graduated and wider in the central part, used in laboratories to transfer small portions of liquid.
  • Sillage: Aromatic trail that impregnates the environment when a person who is perfumed walks by.

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