Homemade All Natural Perfume

If you’re concerned about the chemicals lurking in commercial perfumes and would like an all natural option, then this post is for you! Make your own perfume at home with just vodka and essential oils and save tons of money in the process! And it’s surprisingly easy.

Homemade Perfume - All Natural with No Chemicals

I have quite the memory for scents. To this day, I will get a whiff of a man’s cologne and instantly remember an old boyfriend who used to wear the same scent. Maybe that’s why I was so enamored with the movie, “Perfume: Story of  Murderer.” Ever seen it? The first time the Mr. and I saw it was when we were living in France, which is where the movie takes place, and that added to its magic. It is such a good, twisted story with dark romance – all about a very misguided young man whose only talent in the world is his incredible nose and he uses it to make perfume. Those were the days when perfume was actually made from the steam distillation of flowers (which is how essential oils are made) with no added chemicals or ingredients. It was real, natural, botanical perfume.

Now that I’ve been getting rid of toxins in our lives to everything from cleaning supplies, to lotion, to shampoo, to laundry detergent, perfume was the next thing on the list. So, I’ve lost my long-time love of perfume (been wearing it since I was a teenager and now I’m, well, in my very early thirties (smile)). I had to create one I’d like just as much as what I used to spend half a weeks’ worth of groceries on – and now I have!

Chemicals In Store-Bought Perfumes

According to this article from Scientific American, perfumes contain petrochemcials, which are chemicals derived from petroleum or natural gas, and many other hazardous synthetic chemicals. Take one of my old favorite perfumes – J’Adore by Christian Dior. The EWG (Environmental Working Group) gives it a 7 rating out of 10 for toxicity, with moderate concerns for cancer and high concerns for endocrine disruption (which effects breast cancer, thyroid, hormones and more). Eek, not good! According to this article from the EWG,

A new analysis reveals that top-selling fragrance products—from Britney Spears’ Curious and Hannah Montana Secret Celebrity to Calvin Klein Eternity and Abercrombie & Fitch Fierce —contain a dozen or more secret chemicals not listed on labels, multiple chemicals that can trigger allergic reactions or disrupt hormones, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety by the beauty industry’s self-policing review panels.

Sorry, more bad news. And I learned that second-hand scents are also harmful. Some of the chemicals even make their way into fat tissue and breast milk – NOT good for our babies. To me the scariest part is companies do not have to divulge all of the ingredients in their perfumes to protect their trade secrets, so consumers cannot find out what exactly they are getting into.

So, let’s get to the fun part! This is the same ratio of essential oils I’ve used in my homemade room deodorizer recipe. I just can’t get enough of the scent – I’m crazy about cedarwood and orange these days! I’ve also made a blend similar to the one in my homemade bath salts recipe.

How To Make Your Own Perfume

  • 100 proof Vodka – please read my note below about this OR water OR a carrier oil (like jojoba (where to buy), olive (where to buy), grapeseed, etc.)
  • Your favorite essential oils (see below for suggestions) (where to buy high quality essential oils)
  • Glass spray bottle (essential oils will eat plastic)
    I got my bottle at my local natural foods store, but Amazon sells lots of adorable, vintage-style perfume bottles (where to buy).

Note about vodka: 100 proof is best to fully dissolve the essential oils, but all we can find at the liquor store is 80 proof, so I do have to shake it up before each use. My husband likes when I’m in a perfume mood so he can take a swig every now and then! If you use water or a carrier oil, you will also have to shake the bottle before each use.

Choosing your favorite blend of essential oils…

is really very different for each person – one oil might smell completely different from person to person as it reacts with your skin, so experiment and find a few you like! To do it correctly, you need 3 notes – top, middle and base. The top note is experienced first, then the middle, then the base. Each essential oil evaporates at different rates, so it takes knowledge of each rate to create a proper perfume – it’s really quite an art! I’m just a beginner at it myself, but am learning a lot as I go. To read more about it, see this article from Aroma Web where they list all the top, middle and base notes. I suggest choosing one from each category to start!

Essential Oils are Powerful…

and should be used sparingly as perfume/cologne. Some are not safe to be used on the skin.

So, here are some blends I really like!

Make with 2 tablespoons of vodka or water, for larger quantities you may want to add more oils.

Forest Fairies Blend

  • 40 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 20 drops cedarwood oil
  • 10 drops peppermint oil
  • 5 drops rosemary oil

Click here to buy high quality essential oils!

Romantic Flower Garden

  • 20 drops sweet orange essential oil
  • 5 drops lavender essential oil
  • 10 drops patchouli essential oil
  • 10 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 5 drops ylang ylang essential oil
  • 5 drops bergamot essential oil

Or just buy a blended oil from Young Living like Stress Away, Valor, or Peace and Calming. These all smell AMAZING!

Click here to buy high quality essential oils!

Mountain Rose Herbs has a great post about how to make perfume from actual herbs, plants and flowers if you’d like to go that route.

How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life

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Comments

  1. I’m so glad you posted this. I was just talking to my aunt about making my own. I am new to the non toxic world but I want to jump in head first. I just want to throw everything a way. But my husband being the guy he is wants to use what we have first and then replace it with the non toxic. Which might be the right thing to do since we have already spent the money on it. But there are just some things that sit around forever. Like my face washes. I have over 10 face wash products and they just sit around and I dont use them so I’m just going to throw those out. The less toxins I have in life the better. Thank you so much for putting this out there it has been so much help.

    • You’re welcome, Keri! I hear ya on throwing stuff out – it’s hard to do at first, but once you have all these cool new recipes that work just as well and aren’t non-toxic sitting around, it becomes fun to throw the toxic stuff away!

    • I am thrilled to have found this. I am going to try these blends, sounds like a wonderful mix. When two of my oldest moved out, they a lot of unused toiletries behind. We, the three still at home and I, have found some great things to do with the left overs. My favorite reuse is shaving with the face scrubs. Do quick cleanings of the bathrooms with shampoo. Do deep conditioning with the odd conditioners….. we found things to do with them. :) With the face washes the Keri mentioned, depending on what they are made from, these are good for cleaning combs and hair brushes, (and maybe make-up brushes). Enough of the reuse………..I want to create great scents. Thanks!

  2. julie santos says:

    This may soumd crazy but I love the smell of Coppertone tanning lotion. I found a fragrance of Beach bt Bobbi Brown that is wonderful. Any idea how I would do that? Maybe with Coppertone tanning oil.

    • LOL love this, Julie! I can’t say that I know what Coppertone tanning lotion smells like – is it coconut? If you can describe the smell to me, I can find some oils that can mimic the scent. There are TONS out there and I’ve used quite a bit of them, so we can find it!

  3. Keri, I know you spent hard-earned money on those products, but think about what is in them and the harm they can do to your body. I would take the loss myself and then make my own. There is so much information on the internet to making your own facial/body washes, perfumes, air fresheners, laundry soaps, etc, etc. I think being healthy is more important.

  4. Thierry says:

    Nice… But why not use 99% (198 proof) rubbing alcohol found in pharmacies for $5/500ml?

    • Thierry – you shouldn’t use rubbing alcohol (isopropyl alcohol) for perfume – it really changes the perfume smell! I was wondering about this myself, but did a bit of research, and I came across a lot of bad experiences with it. I splurged & bought a bottle of the highest proof vodka I could find… but actually I like jojoba oil better as a base. It isn’t the same as a cologne of course, but I felt that it stayed on better. I started experimenting with essential oil perfumes when I realised what was in the commercial ones (& worse, what might be in them but wasn’t listed!)… but these are some great fragrance blends to add to my collection – thanks Sara!
      Vivienne recently posted..How to increase serotonin naturallyMy Profile

    • That’s a very good question! And I don’t know the answer to it :). I thought the same thing as I was making the recipe, but haven’t had a chance to research rubbing alcohol yet.

      • Trish F says:

        Rubbing alcohol would not be a replacement for vodka. Rubbing alcohol would change the “scent” and not in a pleasant way – think of how “medicinal” RA smells. Vodka has no oder which lets your EO’s shine through.
        You can also use plain vodka to freshen up clothes in-between washings (think sweaters) but it works on anything (check for colorfastness). Just put vodak in a spray bottle, hang item someplace where air can circulate (I use my shower rod), spritz and let dry. Remember vodka has no oder, so when it is dry you will not smell like you have been out on the town all evening.

  5. Love this! My friend led a workshop on making solid and spray perfumes with essential oils. I made a combo of vanilla, ginger, and sweet orange. So good!!!! The best thing about natural perfumes is the smell doesn’t smack you in the face like synthetic fragrances do. So much sexier!

    I blog about natural stuff too. Hope you’ll visit my blog one day.
    Olivia Lane recently posted..How to Clean a BlenderMy Profile

  6. Love this making my own lotions I have used plain drinking alcohol as a base and it works really good. No smell and the aroma stays clean.

  7. Nancy Smith says:

    A tip for those wanting to stop using regular cleaning products and go non toxic, Melaleuca products do that. You can buy concentrated product and dilute at home for best economic use. And I have found Annik Goutal fragrances to be non toxic. They are the only ones I can wear that do not bug my fragrance sensitive family. I have been told that is because they do not use any synthetic items in their fragrances.

  8. My favorite scent was always chantilly lace, any thoughs on what oils might mimic that? Thanks!

  9. Can you make one that smells like certain flowers?

  10. Amelia DeWald says:

    I would like to know how to do a coconut perfume. Victorias secret used to have one called beauty rush that was great

    • Hi Amelia! Well, there isn’t a coconut essential oil. There are some online, but be careful – they are coconut scented essential oils, which is not natural. So, I’m not really sure of anything that would smell similar to coconut. I would pick a combo of light, sweet smelling oils like Orange and Peppermint, with a floral undertone like Ylang Ylang or Lavender.

  11. Deb Salerno says:

    Hi,
    My Whole Foods store here in San Antonio, Texas has a great sale on Dr. Bronners. I paid
    12.99 for the 32oz. bottles………just thought you should know………maybe the sale is nation-wide?
    Love your website Sara !!! Thanks for sharing all this great information, and all your recipes.
    Hugs,
    Deb

  12. Hi! I’m so excited to find your blog! I’ve been trying to change all things in my life to become more non-toxic. Fragrance has by far been the most difficult! My favorite fragrance that I can’t seem to do without is Versace Bright Crystal. Can you possibly tell me what essential oils might make up that perfume? The notes that it says are in it are magnolia, peony and lotus flowers with plant amber, yuzu and pomegranate. I’d even love to make something similar in a solid perfume if I could.

    Thank you so much in advance!

    • Hi Dee! That sounds like a flowery scent, right? Good oils for that are Ylang Ylang, Bergamot, Lavender, and Patchouli. Also, Cedarwood or Sandalwood might replace the “plant amber” and grapefruit might replace the pomegranate. Hope that works!

      • Thank you Sara! I’m going to try out your suggestions and see what works! I’m so excited to get started!! :)

        Thank you so much! Dee

  13. Olivia Haslam says:

    Hi there!
    I came across your blog whilst seaching for homemade perfume sites and shops, and I have to say that you have a wonderful blog!
    I was thinking about making some perfume to give to friends and family for gifts and have been unable to find places that sell nice essence oils and I was wondering if you could recommend some good essence oil shops/sites so I can make a start on making some wonderful perfumes (hopefully!)
    Thank you and again you have a fabulous blog!

  14. In trying to lead a more vegan lifestyle, I have also discovered that secretions from animals can be used in perfume making. Not only is that horrible just thinking of it, but my animals never smell pretty so I can’t imagine why there is the need!!! I’m learning more and more that if I can’t read and understand the ingredients on the label, then I shouldn’t use it. And, if there is no label at all, then I should be concerned!

    Vodka for perfume??? :) That is interesting….hey it works to make homemade vanilla extract, so I can give it a try!

    Thank you again,

    • I know! It does seem weird to use vodka in perfume, you could technically use witch hazel or water, but the oils will not dissolve in them so you’ll have to shake it up really well before each use. All perfume on the market has alcohol in it, this is just a natural alcohol. I have never heard that animal secretions can be used in perfume making…wow. I heard from a friend the other day that there are those who wash their hair with urine…guess all these folks might be friends with each other! Ha! I’m natural but I ain’t THAT natural!

  15. Sara, this is a great website, I love all of your recipes! Just a quick question about making your own perfume-can you simply use one type of oil? I really like lavendar and would like to just smell like that!

  16. What about fixative oils such as orris root oil and frankencense oil? These are important. They keep the scent true and keeps them from going rancid.

    • Hi Cindi! I’ve never heard of orris root and haven’t used frankincense oil myself, but I’d like to try it soon. I haven’t had any trouble with it going rancid because all essential oils are preservatives and the scent stays true as long as you buy a good quality oil.

  17. Thank you very much.

  18. I made my first bottle early this morning with olive oil, water, and 100 pure peppermint oil. First, I notice the therapeutic scent nurturing my body and senses. Second, my allergies didn’t scream at me! Hopefully, by this weekend I may purchase several other 100% pure essential oils: orange, lavender, patchouli, ylang ylang, grapefruit, peace [peach is my favorite perfume scent], and bergamont. I use the cedarwood to keep roaches out of the home. Besides, it makes the home smell fresh and clean. Presently, my skin is experiencing a constant message from the natural perfume application. Thank you so much. The natural scent makes me feel pretty.

  19. Love the website! I have a question on a particular commercial perfume, Escada MoonSparkle. This is by far my ultimate favorite scent on any an all perfumes I’ve ever smelled. I started using it in 2006 or 2007 and at the time it was right at $50-60 for a 3.3 fl.oz. bottle. Now, if I can even find it, I spend just under $200 for that same 3.3 fl.oz. bottle. I know I shouldn’t be using the commercial perfume, or any toxic anything, but I just can’t help myself, it just smells so heavenly… I found this

    “It opens with notes of strawberry, black currant, citruses and red fruits. Middle notes reveal sweet pea, freesia, jasmine and rose, and this fragrant floral bouquet is followed by raspberry, musk, sandalwood and amber in the base”

    online regarding the fragrance and I was wondering if you are at all familiar with the perfume and if so would it be too much to try and imitate? If you’re not familiar with it, do you recommend just trying my own recipe?

    I’m so new to this ‘going green’ and ridding our bodies and our home of toxins, but I am trying so hard. I’ve started making my own toothpaste, mouthwash, tooth whitener (I really don’t make it, I just don’t buy commercial, I use activated charcoal), and laundry soap. My daughter and I are going to try our hand at making lip balm, body creams, and a few others, but this perfume has just been eating at me for so long now. Any help is greatly appreciated!!!

    • Hi Diane! You have really hopped on the green train – you are making a lot of your own products! I have recipes for the lip balm and body cream if you’re looking for some. In the meantime, that is a great description of the perfume and you could really go on that. But it’s going to take a lot of experimenting to get it just right as far as how many drops of each oil you’ll use. Sounds like it’s quite sweet and flowery, so I’d go with Ylang Ylang and Bergamot for the flowery, Sweet Orange for the sweet, Sandalwood and Cedarwood for the base notes and you could also get rose and jasmine essential oils. Could be a fun experiment!

  20. Hello, Sara! I’m so thrilled to have found this blog of yours. It really is amazing.

    I’m going to try your ideas of perfume mixes and see how it comes out. Do you have any ideas for men’s perfume?

    Thank you!
    Zéa

    • Hi Zea! Yes, there have been others who’ve commented about that here, too, and I suggest woodsy, earthy oils like cedarwood, sandalwood, sage, rosemary, and other herbs like sage. I haven’t made a men’s version, yet, so I’m not sure of the ratio, but I’d experiment by using just a few drops in a non-plastic, small bowl or container. Let me know if you come up with something!

  21. I love this and I definitely want to try it out! I do have a question though, what is another good oil base for the perfumes? I’ve noticed that jojoba can be a bit expensive and I wondering what is a good cheaper substitute. I’d really like to try olive or avocado oil.

  22. Can you use all Now products in the essential oils?

  23. petula walters says:

    Hi, Sara, I just found your website. I recently started to try making my own perfumes to see if i could mimic my favorite perfume Geminesse by Max Factor which is now discontinued. {It is still popular though and sells for a bomb on e-bay. These are mostly pre-used part bottles so the scent has probably gone off anyway] I found on a website the possible ingredients for Geminesse but i
    don’t know how much of each oil to use. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
    The oils are:- Jasmine, Tuberose, Ylang Ylang, Muguet, Vetiver, Oakmoss, Amber, Musk, Leather, Rose.
    Thank You,
    Petula Walters

  24. Geri Maskell says:

    I love the idea of making my own perfumes. I love the vanilla smell. What would you recommend for a deep and long-lasting vanilla scent. Also, I love the smell of Chanel #5. Any idea how to create that classic scent?

    • Hi Geri! Well, vanilla is super easy to replicate since there is a vanilla essential oil! As for Chanel #5, I have no idea what that smells like. Do you think you can describe it?

      • Geri Maskell says:

        Hi, Sara- OMG, I’m not sure how to describe a scent. It’s deep and rich. Non-citrusy. Gosh, see my words don’t describe it at all. Sorry…. Thanks for letting me know that there is vanilla essential oil, that’s great. I appreciate your getting back to me so quickly!

        • Sure, Geri! Okay, so there are sweet orange and lemon essentials oils for the citrusy scent, and I prefer sweet orange. Then, for a rich scent, I suggest sandalwood or cedarwood – love both of those. The combo would be a sweet, citrusy rich scent. Could also lighten it with a drop or two of Ylang Ylang to give a flowery note.

  25. Hi, great recipes. My favourite perfume is Tommy Girl. I am keen to go completely natural, plus i have not been able to afford Tommy Girl in a while. It consists of a lot of notes. Is there a way we can simplify this fragrance? When i first smell the perfume i think i am smelling the apple blossoms firstly.

    Top Notes
    Camellia Flowers, Apple Blossoms, Blackcurrant, Mandarin, Tangerine

    Middle Notes
    Grapefruit, Citrus Orchards, Crisp Green Notes, Honeysuckle, Butterfly Violets

    Base Notes
    Desert Jasmin, Cherokee Rose, Magnolia Petals, Dakota Lilies, Cedar, Sandalwood, Wild Heather

  26. I’m wanting to replicate my favorite perfume that has been discontinued. The base note is amber, middle note is Iris, and top note is blackberry. Do you have any advice on what to use and how much?

    • I suggest sandalwood and cedarwood for the amber, Ylang Ylang or Bergamot for the middle note, and Grapefruit for the top note. Do you have a health foods store nearby? If so, you could go by and smell different essential oils before buying to see if that makes it easier. It’s going to take some experimentation for the quantity. I usually put more of the base note, a little less of the middle, and the least with the top note.

  27. First of all, I love ur website! Thank you!

    2 questions:

    1) Can pregnant women use the perfume made with alcohol? I’m not pregnant but my sis-in-law is and I wanted to make her a natural perfume.

    2) Can u use a glass rollerball for the perfume bottle? The bottle is glass but the rollerball on top is plastic. Will this work????? Or is it bad? I know your not supposed to put essential oils in plastic containers but is the plastic rollerball tip okay?

    Thank you for your help!

  28. hi just a question,.can we use the perfume right away after we mixed the ingredients together or we still have to wait for a couple of days,…

  29. and can i ask also what do u mean by base,middle and top notes?,..does it mean in mixing the ingredients the first,second and the third to be put in the mixing jar or bottle?,..sorry im a little bit confused!,..im really interested about this,..kindly do reply,..thanks much,…

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