Are you a perfume enthusiast? Or a DIY consumer like me? Are you looking to start your own perfume business? Whatever it is, if you are interested in making your cologne yourself, read this guide carefully.
There’s so much advantages you can capitalize on when you know how to make perfume yourself, from saving some cash, selling it, and making some profits for yourself, to even creating your own global perfume brand, the opportunities are endless!
You too can become an experienced perfume producer in no time, just follow these guidelines. In this guide we’ve focused on making perfumes on a small scale (for personal, and small scale businesses).
The Materials You Need to Make Perfume
The materials you need to make perfumes are not that hard to find, in fact, most of these materials are what we use daily in our household. However, if you don’t have the standard materials required, it’s not a big deal. There are still some substitutes we can use, and production will go just fine. Considering this is on a little scale (not the industrial process), there’s no need breaking the bank for your perfume production. The materials, and usable substitutes are as follows:
- Alcohol – usually it’s recommended to use ethyl alcohol (ethanol), but if this isn’t available, there’s actually no problem using isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), or even vodka. Just keep in mind that the stronger your alcohol the better your end product.
- Essential oils – we can refer to this as our fragrance oils, of course, flavour extracts can also be used. Well discuss more on oils, and it’s technicality to perfume making later.
- Glycerine – this can be found on your regular pharmaceutical store.
- Colour – this ingredient is optional, most fragrances, and essential oils come with their own colouring.
- Distilled water – if you currently don’t have access to that, you can use bottled drinking water, just keep in mind that the cleaner the water the better. To learn how to make distilled water at home by yourself, you can read here.
- Glass bottle – now this is where you’re going to put the perfume you’ve made, so be selective when choosing a bottle. However, its recommended that your choice of bottle be coloured, this helps to reduce effect of sunlight during storage, and continuous use.
- Glass jar – to mix the perfume’s ingredients. It is important this is done in a glass jar, so please don’t think of using rubber or plastic alternatives.
- Measuring cup/spoon – basically any little tea spoon would do, or if you have access to a graded beaker, it’ll be perfect.
- Dropper – having this will come in handy when adding essential oils to the solution.
- Funnel – though this optional, it’ll make pouring our perfume from the jar into the fancy bottle much easier
- Aluminium foil – so what if you couldn’t find a big coloured glass jar? An aluminium foil or wrapping paper can be used to cover your solution from much light during the fusion period.
- Pen/pencil, and paper – it’s important we write down the combinations of our first perfume, if production goes well, repeating it will be much easier.
Now that we’ve gotten the necessary materials, let’s know how to do the actual stuff.
Get your glass jar, and pour your ethyl alcohol into it. The amount of alcohol you use has a huge say on the amount of perfume you can produce in a single batch – that being said, don’t fill the jar to the tip or anywhere close, we need space for adding essential oils, and when stirring. It’s also good to note that the amount of alcohol still depends on the essential oils (fragrance) you have. General practice is to make sure your fragrance takes 15% to 30% of the overall solution.
Know your essential oils/fragrance. Now here’s the technical part – the scents or fragrance of perfumes comes in three different notes. These notes represents the stages of smell of a good cologne. Let me explain a little.
Top note: commonly referred to as “head note”, is the first scent we smell when a perfume is sprayed or worn. It lasts for about 15 minutes, before it’s taken over by the middle note. Examples include; lemon, basil, orange, rosewood, mimosa, lavender etc.
Middle note: often referred to the “heart” of the perfume, it comes right after the top note. This note lasts for about 2 to 4 hours, afterwards the third/base note takes over. Examples include; cinnamon, peppermint, cardamom, jasmine, lemongrass, pine, etc.
Third note: this can also be called “base note”, this alongside the middle note forms the foundation of the perfume. It kicks in after about 30 minutes of wearing the perfume, works with the middle note to produce an overall pleasant smell, and lasts for over six hours on the body. Examples include; vanilla, woody fragrances (sandal, cedar, etc.), frankincense, patchouli, amber, etc.
When adding your fragrance note, add the base notes first, followed by the middle notes, before adding the top note. Each note adds its own fragrance to a perfume, and the manner of combination determines the quality of a perfume. Read more about fragrance notes here.
Now this is the cool stuff, it’s time to add your fragrance/scents. While mixing your notes, it’s good to smell after every addition, we can catch the exact scent we need. Also, do well to write down the number of drops you are using per fragrance notes, this will help you to easily replicate the same scent. Adding fragrance/essential oils is easier in drops – that’s the whole essence of getting a dropper. Honestly, discovering new, and unique perfume scents is mostly by trial and error. However, you can search for compositions of existing perfumes on basenotes.net.
After adding your preferred fragrances, stir gently, allow it to mix, and allow it infuse. Fusion of fragrance with alcohol usually takes at least three weeks. One trick I use is allowing it fuse for three weeks, then adding the fragrance oils over again so I get a stronger smell (this actually depends on strength of alcohol, to strength of fragrance – some fragrance don’t need extra addition after first fusion). Fusion is best done in a dark, and dry place, especially if you are using a transparent/light colored bottle.
When you are satisfied with the scent produced, it’s time to add water, and glycerin. Addition of water more or less by intuition, and depends on your entire volume of perfume solution, although, if it’s a perfume spray (say an air freshener), it’s advised to add more water. Adding glycerin will help preserve the fragrance, again still depends on your entire volume.
Now it’s time to finish, and package your finish product. Pour your perfume into the glass bottle, using a funnel would make it easier, we wouldn’t want to spill any of our finished product. If your bottle is transparent, wrap it with an aluminum foil to protect your fragrance from direct sunlight, which can burn out the scent. If you intend in selling it, just stick a label, and you’re good to go!