There are thousands of chemicals used in the perfume and fragrance industry. Most of the chemicals used in today’s perfumes are unlisted and many of which have not been tested for toxicity either alone, or in combination. The majority of these chemicals (over 80% are petrochemicals) are irritants to both the skin and lungs and many are hormone disrupters and carcinogens. Synthetic fragrances are of great concern from an ecological standpoint as well. More and more of these chemicals used in fragrance are finding there way into our water systems, polluting not only the water but the marine life as well. One of the most common known chemicals that are in most products containing “fragrance” or “perfume” is Diethyl Phthalate. This helps to make the scent linger, however it comes with a price. Phthalates, a known carcinogen, also interfere with hormone function, is linked to early puberty in girls and reduced sperm count in men….to name just a few. Parabens are generally used as a preservative and is another hormone disruptor. Synthetic Musks not only disrupts hormones, but traces have been found in breast tissue, breast milk, body fat, umbilical cord blood and fresh and marine water samples.
Thankfully, with essential oils, we can have a perfume that not only smells wonderful but has some pretty amazing side benefits as well!
Notes are the building blocks of any scent. There are 3 types of notes: Base, Middle (heart) and Top (head). Top notes are what you smell at first. After a bit of time, the middle note becomes noticeable. Finally, the base note emerges, however, these notes evolve over time so you may not smell them at first.
Base notes bring depth to the scent and in combination with the mid note, make up the main scent of the blend. Generally a woodsy, musky aroma, examples would be Vetiver, Sandalwood, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Frankincense or Vanilla.
Middle notes, also known as heart notes, are the main scent of the perfume. This is generally a mellow and rounded scent that helps to mask the deep base note. Most commonly a floral scent, examples would be Lavender, Rose, Neroli, Geranium, Jasmine, Ylang Ylang or Chamomile.
Top note, also known as the head, this is the first note you smell of the blend and generally evaporates quite quickly. These scents are generally bold and most commonly a citrus smell. Examples would be Bergamot, Tangerine, Mandarin, Orange, Grapefruit or Ginger.
When making your own perfume, it’s important to have a notebook handy to keep track of what is going into your blend. It generally takes a few days for a scent to evolve so jotting everything down is handy as you may make changes later on. A blend might smell fantastic when first blended but can smell completely differently in a few days.
Start by adding 1 drop of each of the Base notes you have chosen. Smell them to see if you need an extra drop or two of a particular one. Repeat this step with the Middle note and then the Top note. Be sure to write it down as you go along. Next, put the lid on the bottle and then roll between the palms of your hands for 30 seconds. This helps to slightly warm the oils. Smell the blend again and see if you need to add anything. Write it down if you do. Roll between your hands and smell again. If you are happy with the scent, set aside for 1-3 days. Repeat the rolling and smelling. Once you are happy with your blend you are ready to mix it up!! Roller bottles, atomizers, or spray bottles are the most convenient dispenser for your perfume. You will want to multiply your oils (remember the notes you took?) by 5 for a softer blend or by 10 for a bolder scent. For example, if you have 2 drops of Sandalwood, 1 drop of Geranium, 3 drops of Tangerine for a soft scent you would multiply each by 5…so 10/5/15….for a bolder scent you’d multiply by 10, so 20/10/30. Top the rest of the bottle with an unscented carrier oil and let rest for a few days before using.