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Creating fragrances

Posted on 08 August 2017


Creating your own fragrances


Aromatherapists usually talk about essential oils as being different notes. There are some top notes, middle notes and base notes. Like music the base notes are the back ground humming, middle note is the main instrument and the top note gives it the final kick. 

In this blog I will share some practical tips to get you started with blending your own fragrances. Be creative, enjoy the process and don’t take it too seriously. Practice is the key!


The notes

Some oils do not smell strong or go straight to your nose which would be characterised as base notes. These are usually resin, grass and woody oils like myrrh, vetiver or sandalwood. These are the oils to create the base for your fragrance. The middle note is the oil that is the main scent, usually these are the flower, some citrus or some herbal oils like rose, mandarin or lavender. The top notes are the oils that a strong at first, but evaporate fast, they go straight to your nose and can even be irritating . These oils bring out the best of your blend. It's like fine tuning. You can also experiment by choosing oils that are similar like only herbal oils or only spicy oils. They usually work well together and you can create lovely scents.

The high note oils are mainly oils like citrus and some herbal oils like lime, lemon and peppermint. There are no exact rules for this, sometimes middle note can work as a base note and top note as a middle note, but it gives you the idea on how you can start building your scent. 




I would suggest than when you first start your blending practice, choose two or three oils, one base, one middle and one top note oil. Usually in a blend you would use the base note the least and top note the most, for example 1 drop of myrrh, two drops of Rose, three drops of ylang ylang. Don't put too much pressure on yourself that you need to create amazing scents straight away. The sense of smell develops over time and you will learn what kind of oils work well together. It's also good to remember that fragrance is a very personal thing, what some like, some hate. That's why it's good to buy fairly affordable oils to start off with. That way you can really play with them and not think about how expensive they are. When you have a few recipes ready, you can invest in better quality oils and try different brands. 

The oils may smell completely different depending on the plant family and where they were grown so you may have to tweak your recipe. Always check the latin name to make sure the oils is the correct one for your recipe. If you want to work with pure essential oils, make sure your oils are 100% natural. There are many sellers in the market who sell "pure essential oils". Which are actually commercial blends of synthetic and natural oils. They are also usually cheaper. If you're in doubt always check the Latin name of the product and don't be shy to ask. All companies are obligated to tell you the ingredients. 


Practical tips

Human nose is not very developed so after smelling something four or five times, the sense of smell is unable to separate the different smells. It is good to have a cup of coffee grounds with you so you can neutralise your nose between smelling. Natural essential oils tend to also take a bit of time to settle so it would be good to place your fragrance in a container for a day or two and smell it to see if it needs a bit of tweaking. The fragrance may change quite a lot after sitting a day or two. Also the blend may smell different in different materials like oil or alcohol. 

You can start with couple of oils and blend them in a small cup of base oil that does not have a strong smell like sunflower oil. Write down how many drops you are using of each so you can re-create a scent you really like. Make sure you don’t mix up the bottle caps or touch the tip of the essential oil dropper to keep your oils in good order. 




How much essential oils should you use? 

There is no one answer. It depends on your products and your preference. Some people are more sensitive and don't want too strong smells. Some oils are also more potent than others, so you don’t need to use as much. Unfortunately quite often people are used to strong smells due to all the synthetic perfumes we are bombarded with. I find that the more you work with fragrances more sensitive your nose gets. 

You can make your fragrance blends as pure essential oil blends ready in a bottle of 10-30ml and then measure the total you are using each time you make your products. This way you can also keep consistency Use dark amber, blue or green glass to keep the oils. if you are making more than one product, you will know exactly how much fragrance each product contains. 

Be creative and enjoy the process, bespoke products make great gifts and people always appreciate your efforts!


The standard measurements for perfumes:

  • 20-40 drops of essential oil equals to 1ml 
  • Use perfumers alcohol for atomiser bottle and light vegetable oil for roll on bottle 
  • Use 20-30% for perfume quality 
  • Use 15-20% for eau de perfume, quality 
  • Use 4-6% for eau de toilette quality 
  • Use 3-5% for cologne quality 
  • Use 1-5% for a body oil or lotion 


Useful links:

Get your perfumers alcohol here

Perfumers Alcohol - Artisan Alcohol - Perfume Making - 1 Litre


Get your roll on bottles here

Tinksky Aromatherapy Glass Roll On Bottles, 10ml Cobalt Blue Glass - Set of 6(Blue)


I picked a few lovely fragrance bottles for you, get them here

Fantasia 46192 Square Bottle Clear Glass with Spray Pump and Cap for 100 ml Silver

H&D Vintage Clear Crystal Empty Refillable Perfume Bottle

H&D 4ML Clear Vintage Crystal Empty Mini Refillable Perfume Bottle

Choose your essential oils here

Please let me know your thoughts by commenting below or emailing me directly. I always love to hear your feedback as it helps me to provide good content for you to read


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