by Wendy Mackay MIAAMA
Essential oils have been used in perfumes for thousands of years.
Historically some of the most exclusive and indulgent perfumes have contained the most precious and delicate natural essential oils. These days however, despite the marketing of perfumes including images of nature and flowers, many perfumes are more the product of a chemists laboratory than the product of mother nature.
Making your own perfume from essential oils is fun and can result in a perfume that is truly natural and truly "you".
How do you put together an essential oil perfume? Obviously it is not a good idea to apply the oils neat, as in their undiluted form they can irritate the skin. Most commercial perfumes are based on some form of alcohol, to dilute the fragrance, but this is also not always friendly to your skin.
A more gentle natural base is to use an oil. Jojoba oil is very skin-friendly and suitable for even sensitive skins. It is also low in aroma, so that it does not interfere with the perfume aroma you want to create. For these reasons, Jojoba is the oil used for many essential oil 'dilutions' more expensive oils such as rose or jasmine, that are diluted to make their price more accessible.
So how do you go about making your essential oil perfume?
Firstly you need to choose your essential oils. This is really a matter of experimentation and your own preference. Classically, perfumes should contain a combination of top, middle and base notes to create a balanced aroma.
Top Notes - Basil, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Eucalyptus, Grapefruit, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Sweet Orange, Petitgrain, Tea Tree, Thyme
Middle Notes - Black Pepper, Roman Chamomile, Cypress, Fennel, Geranium, Lavender, Marjoram, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Spearmint
Base Notes - Cedarwood, Cinnamon Leaf, Clove Bud, Frankincense, Ginger, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Ylang Ylang
For more information on essential oil blending, including suggestions, quantities and tips, you may like to refer to some of my previous articles. You may also like to view the information about each essential oil in the listings on our website. These listings contain descriptions of the aroma of each oil, together with suggestions of oils that blend well together. Take notes as you experiment, so that you can reproduce the blend later.
Normally for a massage I would suggest a concentration of up to 2.5% essential oil (or 2.5ml per 100ml carrier oil). However as a perfume is applied to a limited area, it is possible to increase the concentration to 5%. Of course, If you have very sensitive skin, or find the aroma of your blend too strong, feel free to reduce that amount.
I suggest making your perfume oil in a glass bottle with a pump top for ease of application. Add your chosen essential oil blend to the bottle first. Top up with jojoba oil to the shoulder (the point at which the bottle just starts to narrow). Insert the stem of the pump attachment and screw on firmly. Shake gently to blend. I would also suggest leaving your perfume for a few hours to settle before using it.
Perfume oils should be applied to the 'pulse points' - areas of the body where the blood vessels travel close to the surface of the skin and where the body is warmer. This warmth helps the perfume to disperse. So apply your perfume oil to the wrists, behind the ears, the inner elbow, behind the knee and at the base of the throat.
And that's it - making your own unique aromatherapy perfume is easy. The only hard part will be deciding which of the million possible combinations of essential oils is right for you - but that is the fun of making your own aromatherapy perfume.
(This information is meant as general advice. Please consult your health practitioner or a qualified aromatherapist for advice on your specific situation.)
Wendy Mackay is a qualified Aromatherapist and member of the International Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine Association (IAAMA). Wendy and her husband David run Essence of Wellbeing a successful Aromatherapy & Massage Supply and Pure Natural Skin Care business, based in Mornington on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula in Victoria Australia.