How to Make Your Own Perfume with Essential Oils

Vintage perfume bottle

You don’t have to spend oodles of money on perfume that’s laced with toxic chemicals to smell good – in fact, you can make your own perfume for a fraction of the price while having fun unleashing your inner (and totally legal) Walter White.

Whether you want to replicate a store-bought scent or create one from scratch, start by making a list of perfumes you’ve enjoyed in the past and research their ingredients. This will help you hone in on a scent that suits you.

Here’s a crash course on how to make your own perfume:


  • 80 to 90 percent proof vodka
  • A selection of your fave essential oils (make sure they’re labelled safe for cosmetic use)
  • The prettiest perfume bottles in all the land

1. Bust out a pad and paper

It’s going to take quite a bit of experimenting to get your potion just right. As you make your own perfume, keep track of your mixture as you go along: Once you find your perfect ratios you’re not going to want to lose them. As a starting point, blend 1 part essential oil with 20 parts alcohol and adjust from there.

2. Start with your base notes

Base notes are heavy scents that take the longest to evaporate. When you spritz your perfume on, it’ll be the base notes that linger the longest on your skin. Popular base notes include sandalwood, cinnamon, cedarwood, rosewood, vanilla, jasmine, ginger, clove, and frankincense.

3. Add your middle notes

Middle notes help to soften the potency of the base notes and tend to have a balancing effect. Popular middle notes to take for a spin include chamomile, juniper, ylang ylang, rosemary, lavendar and pine.

4. Add your top notes

You know that burst of fragrance when you first spritz on your perfume? It’s all thanks to the top notes: They’re the strongest smelling scents of the bunch that become your nose’s first impression of a perfume. They tend to be refreshing in nature, such as cinnamon, eucalyptus, grapefruit, lemon, peppermint, sage, tea tree, lime, and bergamot.

5. Make the necessary adjustments

When you make your own perfume, there’s a lot of tweaking involved. If you feel you need to adjust your ratios, just make sure to add extra base, middle and top notes in the correct order (from base to top).

6. Store properly

Seal your perfume and store it for a minimum of two weeks to age it. The longer it stands, the stronger it’ll become. Make a note to shake your perfume daily.

Ready to get started?

If you can’t quite decide whether you’re a floral girl or a musk girl, here’s a fab round-up of recipes to make your own perfume. Enjoy the process, and keep testing the waters until you have the one-of-a-kind signature scent you’ve always wanted.

If you make your own perfume, what’s your signature scent?

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Image: Kirsten Skiles