DIY Perfume with Essential Oils
Aromas have a powerful effect on us. Unlike all of our other senses, our sense of smell is the one sense that communicates directly with the limbic region of our brain. Often thought of as our subconscious, this is where we store our memories and their associated emotions.
As soon as that lid comes off the bottle of essential oil and your nose is registering the aroma, it’s already creating magic in your mind…stimulating, calming and uplifting you, arousing memories, and evoking a response.
The Ancient Egyptians understood the power of aromas, and they believed that the more beautiful they smelled, the more their Gods would bestow abundance and good fortune on them. They would compete with each other for their Gods’ favour, creating amazing signature scents which were all based on essential oils.
So you know you’re in the company of Kings and Pharaohs each time you wear an essential oil blend as your perfume, or create your own.
For so many years, I kept my scents simple, and applied a Young Living blend as my “perfume” for the day. Then I became more adventurous, and when the mood strikes me I love creating my own signature perfume.
I’m not trained in perfume-making. Instead, I’ve noticed that the more I “befriend” an oil and use it in my life, the more I start to “feel” what other oils it will partner beautifully with.
And so I mix and experiment….and of course that involves a lot of trial and error, and plenty of imperfect batches until I get it just right!
In this bulletin I want to make things easy for you, by giving you not only a head start on the principles of blending oils and how to understand top versus middle versus base notes, but also sharing with you 4 fabulous DIY perfume recipes to get you started.
Understanding the essentials of blending oils
Scents carry with them a wave of memories and associations. Maybe a classic department store perfume reminds you of your grandmother or the squeaky clean scent of bar soap reminds you of your mother.
Our essential oil perfume opens up options for personal scents you’ll be remembered for, without scary ingredients. Plus, this DIY perfume is easy enough to make, tweak, and remake for years to come.
First, let’s dive into a couple of essentials that you should know, like the “notes” of the essential oil blends that make up your perfume.
When blending the perfect perfume, you want to include 3 groupings of oils – your top notes, middle notes and base notes.
If you use google to search for top, middle and base notes, you’ll find a lot of disagreement amongst authors about which oils fall into which categories….so it’s not an exact science!
For example, some authors say Peppermint oil is a top note, others say it’s a middle note, and others say it’s a base note. I’ve asked my friend and aromatherapist Jen Gallagher her opinion on this, and she uses the Young Living Peppermint as a top note.
The same difference of opinion exists around the proportions of each note that you should use in your blend. Some authors say you should blend them in a ratio of 1:1:1 (Top : Middle : Base). Others recommend 3:2:1, others suggest 4:2:1, and still others suggest putting more base note and less top note).
Personally, I usually lean towards putting more of the top note in the mix, because it’s generally the lighter aroma, so you don’t want it overwhelmed by too much of the base aroma. But at the end of the day, I trust my nose to tell me what smells balanced.
What I’ve listed below is my own thoughts on which oils go in which categories, based on how I experience these oils. But your nose may tell you differently, so follow your nose and your intuition on this!
Top notes tend to be light, fresh and uplifting in nature. They are usually the ones that evaporate quickly, meaning that they have a higher proportion of lighter molecules in them. Because of this, they are the ones you smell first in a blend.
Your top notes include your lovely citrus oils, like Lemon, Jade Lemon, Orange, Tangerine, Bergamot, Lime and Grapefruit. It also includes other lighter and brighter oils, such as Angelica, Eucalyptus (all varieties), Pine, Petitgrain, Laurus nobilis (Bay Laurel), Peppermint, Spearmint, Melissa, Lemongrass and Lemon Myrtle.
Middle notes are mainly derived from spices and herbs and their fragrance is normally soft and warm, and more lingering than the top note oils.
Your middle notes include oils like: German and Roman Chamomile, Rose, Geranium, Cardamom, Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Fennel, Basil, Ginger, Jasmine, Elemi, Rosemary, Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), Parsley, Oregano, Palmarosa, Nutmeg, Thyme, Marjoram, Manuka, Helichrysum, Hyssop, Idaho Blue Spruce, Northern Lights Black Spruce, Idaho Balsam Fir, Dill, Cypress, Coriander, Fennel, Clove, Clary Sage, Citronella, Carrot Seed and Black Pepper.
Base notes were some of the earliest essential oils used by man, and like their name, they emanate solidness and groundedness. Many of them (like Myrrh, Sandalwood, Vetiver and Onycha) have a lot of heavier compounds in them, meaning that they evaporate much more slowly. Because of this quality, they are often thought of as a “fixative”, meaning that they bind to the lighter oils and help to keep the smell lingering for longer.
Your base oils include such favourites as Frankincense, Sacred Frankincense, Cinnamon Bark, Patchouli, Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Sacred Sandalwood, Myrrh, Cedarwood, Cistus, Hong Kuai, Davana, Onycha, Spikenard, Rosewood and Vetiver.
Some of these oils that I’ve listed here are no longer available through Young Living due to the plants becoming endangered….but in case you still have some original bottles lying around with oil still in it, I’ve included them in these lists for you.
I hope you have a delicious time experimenting with your favourite blends!
Ready to make your own perfume? You’ll need….
- An empty 5-ml essential oil bottle
- V-6 Enhanced Vegetable Oil Complex
- AromaGlide Roller Fitment
- Some top note essential oils
- Some middle note essential oils
- Some bottom note essential oils
- Custom labels
- Transparent tape
- Combine 6 to 10 drops of your selected oils in the empty bottle until your essential oil blend is balanced. Generally you’d use fewer drops of the base note oil, because it tends to be a stronger-smelling oil, and you’d use more drops of the top note oil, which tends to be a lighter oil.
- Once you’re happy with the blend, fill the rest of the bottle with V-6.
- Put the roller fitment and cap on.
- Stick a label on your bottle, so you know what’s in it!
- Then apply, by rolling onto your neck, wrists, décolletage, or anywhere your heart desires!
“The Perfect Perfume” – recipes to get you started
Recipe # 1 – Artemis’ “Made in Heaven” perfume blend
I made this perfume for our 2019 Infinity Team event on the Gold Coast, and it was a huge hit! I bought multi-coloured roller bottles, and even put small crystals in it with the perfume mix! I followed my nose in blending it, rather than the principles of top/middle/base notes.
- 10ml V6 oil
- 4 drops Geranium oil
- 4 drops Sacred Frankincense oil
- 1 drop Jade Lemon oil
- 2 drops Patchouli oil
- Optional: add a teensy amount of Rose oil, much less than a drop (use a toothpick dipped in your Rose oil to transfer it into your roller bottle!)
Recipe # 2 – Jen Gallagher’s “Aphrodite Sensual” perfume blend
Jen Gallagher (Aromatherapist) writes: During my perfume making workshop, one participant chose these essential oils after learning about the basics of blending.
She rang me about a month after the workshop, wanting to get more essential oils to make the recipe. She had wanted to rekindle the relationship with her partner… and it worked! A true goddess!
Here’s her special recipe:
- 5 drops of Ylang Ylang oil
- 4 drops Clary Sage oil
- 1 drop Jasmine oil
Add the essential oils to a 10 ml roller ball glass bottle. Top up with V6 vegetable oil, or liquid coconut oil or sweet almond oil. Place the roller ball and lid on the glass bottle and invert several times to blend. Allow 3 days for your perfume to synergise, and use it anytime you want to feel like a Goddess!
Recipe # 3 – Trish Burrows’ “Spring is Here” perfume blend
Trish writes: This is my all time favourite DIY perfume, and OMG it is divine!
- 8 drops Lime oil
- 6 drops Stress-Away oil
- 2 drops Ylang Ylang oil
- 3 drops Jasmine oil
- 2 drops Sandalwood oil
Add the essential oils to a 10ml roller bottle, and top up with either V6 or 80% proof vodka.
Recipe # 4 – Karen Bysouth’s “Empress of the Heart” perfume
Karen Bysouth (Certified Clinical Aromatherapist) writes: I love using this aroma as it helps me reconnect with my heart and draws me back to a place where I appreciate the blessings in my life.
In a roll on bottle with 5mls of Jojoba carrier oil (I favour the brand “Jojoba Company”) add:
- 5 drops of Petitgrain oil
- 3 drops of Geranium oil
- 2 drops of Sandalwood oil
To mix the blend, roll the bottle a number of times back and forth between the palms of your hands. Here’s what it does for you:
- Petitgrain: warms the heart and is used in many perfumes.
- Geranium: known as “the poor man’s rose” connects you to your feelings. It’s my “go to” oil for many people of late.
- Sandalwood: a divine base note. Sandalwood also is symbolised in the Tarot as the Empress.
The simplest way I was taught to create blends is by fragrance notes, ie. Top Note, Middle Note and Base Note.
I encourage everyone to create their own perfume blend at least once. It can be so much fun to wear a blend that has been personalised for just you!
We teach blending in the Aromatherapy Certification Program with the Institute of Spiritual Healing & Aromatherapy (ISHA), which is run in Australia and the US, and Young Living is one of our preferred brands that we use in the course.