Last week I started my mini-series on French Aromatherapy with the subject of French perfumes, so today I thought we would have a look at ways to make your own aromatherapy perfume at home. I’ve taken a look at how to make an aromatherapy perfume spritzer before, but this is an introduction to infusing aromatic plants for natural perfumes. I am hoping to make a few plant infusions of my own this year – the results of which I will post to Aromatherapy Notes. In the meantime, enjoy this quick introduction to making natural aromatherapy perfumes which is amended from an article which I originally wrote for the Natural Health Ezine.
Different Perfume Notes
Perfume aromas are classified into three main groups; these are top, middle and base notes. Top note aromas evaporate the quickest as they contain the lightest chemical molecules. Base note aromas maintain their fragrance the longest because they contain the heaviest chemical molecules. Middle note aromas are between top notes and base notes. This area of perfumery requires further study to fully appreciate the complexity of the art of perfumery making but an example of each type of perfume note is as follows:
- top notes – orange, lemon, lime, peppermint, tea tree, clary sage
- middle notes – lavender, rosemary, geranium, melissa
- base notes – rose, frankincense, jasmine, patchouli.
Infusion of Plants for Perfumes
One of the simplest ways to create a home made perfume is to infuse, or macerate, a plant. You can pick any fragrant flower or plant from your garden, such as rose, lily, lilac or honeysuckle, and pack the plant material into a glass jar or container. Fill the container about ¾ full and add an organic oil such as almond or sunflower oil. Cover the container with a lid and leave in the sun (a sunny window ledge is ideal). After about a week, you can separate the plant material from the oil with a sieve or, if appropriate add more plant material and leave for another week or two. Depending on the type of plant that you choose, the end result might not only be aromatic but medicinal too!
Making Perfumes With an Alcohol Base
You can also create your own aromatic perfume by using essential oils, alcohol and water. Bear in mind that if you are simply making a perfume for personal use, you can use regular alcohol such as vodka; however, if you are making perfumes for any form of re-sale, you need to meet the licensing requirements for perfumery making according to your country’s regulations or use a pre-approved alcohol that meets licensing requirements.
Making perfumes with an alcohol base is simple; simply add your essential oils to a ¾ alcohol and ¼ water base (depending on preference) and allow the mixture to stand for several days/weeks, again depending on preference. This method allows for a great degree of creativity; you can choose from a vast range of essential oils and mix top, middle and base notes as appropriate. Experimentation is the key to producing a perfume that you are happy with! If you use pure essential oils, you will be making a perfume that has medicinal benefits too, depending on the essential oils that you choose.
Learning More About Essential Oils and Natural Perfumes
You do need to have a basic understanding of the plants/essential oils that you choose to make your perfume (in order to avoid any adverse reactions) so why not take an introductory course such as the Sedona Aromatherapie Foundation Course in Aromatherapy, scheduled for release in May 2012. This course will be offered for online and distance learning study and will introduce you to the wonderful world of aromatherapy!
- Perfumes, Ungents and Hairstyles in Pompeii, Carlo Giordano, Angelandrea Casale
- Aromatherapy Workbook, Shirley Price
- The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Valerie Ann Worwood
- The Aromatherapy Garden, Julia Lawless
- Author’s own experience and training.