Aromatherapy - Creating Fragrances or Perfumes

Essential Oils, absolutes, fragrance oils and other fragrant chemicals are used to make fragrances or perfumes. There are many other aromatic oils and chemicals available to the experienced aromatherapist or perfumer.

The glossary will show some of the terms of the aromatics and describe the materials used in the creation f fragrances and perfumes and especially how they affect us! Experienced perfumers work at what is called a perfume organ (a group of semi-circular stepped shelving containing hundreds of bottles of raw materials). It takes time and patience to gather your materials and learn the processes for creating aromatic fragrances or perfumes.

Fragrance families and Notes

The first step to creating your own fragrance is understanding the types or divisions of fragrances that are involved in creating combined or new fragrances. The division of the major fragrance families from "The Fragrance Foundation" demonstrate the differences between types of scents or "Notes involved:

Please look at perfumery ingredients and look at the notes - fragrance descriptions used in commercial perfumes to get some ideas.

The measures of creating fragrances or perfumes are seperated in classes as being "top notes" "middle notes" and "base notes". The method used most often is a 3:2:1 ratio (top:mid:base) Once you are a little more experienced you may choose to alter this ratio.


A good approach to blending is to first consider the oil's note and the other oils with which it blends well. See the "essential oils list" for the single note designation of the listed oils with a list (for each) of complementary oil.

A general rule is to use twice as much (top notes) to (middle notes) to (base notes). For example, a ratio of 3 or 4 parts top, 2 parts middle, 1 part base would be a good place to start.

It doesn't take long to become skilled in learning the different fragrances - too freshen, add a little base note; too heavy, add a little middle or top note. Use ingredients sparingly in very small amounts.

A modifier is a scent added to give the fragrance that "interesting twist". it should be used very sparingly ...better too little than too much. if you can smell the modifier in the blend, you have used too much. increase the amount of the middle note to correct this. modifiers make your fragrance distinctive, different and unique.

A well constructed perfume (as with a blend) will smell like one fragrance. You shouldn't be able to distinguish its component parts. It might be soft and floral, woody, spicy or fruity. this is not to say it should be static; it should change and develop as it ages, revealing the top, middle, and bottom notes respectively over time. conversely, it should not change from one scent to another to another during this transition, but should subtly reveal the nuances of a common thread.

Tips for blending

Take breaks for safety reasons and your mental health. Essential oils are very powerful and concentrated. Working with them for long periods of time in a closed area can be overwhelming or can make you ill. Breaks also help in the creative process due to olfactory fatigue. Your nose can go blind and a brisk walk will do you the world of good. Each person’s nose is highly individualistic in this way and you have to learn which types of aroma you personally get immune to quickly and how often you need to take breaks from your blending.

Do not use the same dropper when using your essential oils - combining even a drop of oil essence from one bottle to another will contaminate your oils and ruin the purity of the essences you are trying to create! Use seperate droppers and counting the number of drops when making your perfume. I also prefer using an accurate digital scale when measuring weights, beginners usually don't have such luxuries - so be careful counting your drops when doing your measurements.

Write down your Formulas - I don't have a perfect memory and re-creating a formula can be almost impossible from scratch! After you have written your formula, carefully combine the oils you selected by counting drops.

Carrier Oils

Carrier oils are simply oils to carry other oils and to dilute essential oils for use on the skin.  Not all carrier oils are suitable for all types of skin, and not all essential oils are compatible with every carrier oil.

Select your carrier Oil:

The actual Blending Process

Once you've decided upon your top, middle and base oil (carrier oil), modifier, fixative - then gently add each to the base oil (carrier oil) one at a time and swirl each ingredient into a clean non-metal bowl.

Do not proceed until each addition of oil is completely dissolved. Some resins may take overnight or longer. Perfumer's alcohol may also be used in self preserving lotions and emulsified products. it should be added to the water phase prior to preparing the lotion. Expect a milky liquid which emulsifies into the lotion with the rest of the oils. Do not dilute below 20 % alcohol. This will ensure that your product is preserved against microbial growth.

The acohol helps to bind the oils and evaporates easily which helps to disperse the essences - so make sure this is the last step in creating your perfume before sealing your bottle!. Once the alcohol has been added shake the bottle gently. For the next 3 or 4 days shake the bottle twice a day. Denatured ethyl alcohol is used to create perfumes - the closest beverage alcohol that has the highest alcohol content without additives is "Everclear"!

Some parfumiers create an complex base to use as a springboard, adding new essential oils to it to create each new perfume. Write down each addition to your recipe and it will save you time, money and effort in the long run. Once satisifed with your blend, transfer it to a UV friendly cobalt blue or amber glass bottle and cap tightly. Every 2-3 days test your perfume by uncapping and "wafting" the scent by creating a breeze with your fingers over the top of the container. This will carry the scent molecules to your nostrils. If you decide to add more essential oil or introduce a new essential oil to the existing blend, you should add time to your process so that all of the oils will be able to mix and meld together. This generally takes about 2-3 weeks from the date of the last addition. Once your perfume has completed aging and the scent molecules have intermingled and married to your happiness, it is time to dilute. You may choose to dilute with jojoba or fractionated coconut for use as a perfume, massage or bath oil.

Fragrance Formulas:

Note - Making your own herbal tratments such as "Creams, Salves, Ointments, Decoctions, Tinctures, Perfumes and Colognes" for personal use is ussually not illegal - but it may be "illegal" to sell them made with a store bought eythyl alcohol or Everclear in your county or state! In most cases Everclear (or other high proof alcohol) bought at the liquor store can be used to manufacture non-beverage toiletries such as perfume, cologne, room/linen spray, etc. since the alcohol being used is federal excise tax-paid and the end-product is non-beverage, you will not need a basic permit or a special license from the alcohol and tobacco tax and trade bureau.

Check with your local and state governments to get the "correct" regulations that govern your area and your cirsumstances.


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