DIY Herbal Perfume Recipe

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Herbal Perfume Recipe with Essential Oils
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I’ve been fascinated by perfume since I was a kid. Scent is intimately tied to memory and I realized that my earliest memories were tied to particular scent: my great aunt’s hand lotion that I would smell when she sang me to sleep, the smell of medicine I had to take as a baby, tempera paint from crafts my mom used to do with us when I was two years old, and so many others.

When I was six, my friend and I decided we wanted to start our own perfume business and we proceeded to try and create perfumes from flowers, water and other things found in nature. We soon discovered that mixing live plants and water in a closed jar was a great way to create a smell… just not a good one!

Fast forward to high school, and I had to save and spend my own money to buy perfume and became acutely aware of the cost of smelling like a movie star. I had one bottle of perfume that lasted me six years because I hardly ever wore it.

Toxic Perfume?

Now, as a mom with babies and small children, I’m lucky if I have time to get a shower most days and I’m more concerned with making sure my beauty products are non-toxic than smelling like a particular perfume.

That being said, with the whole not-having-time-to-shower mom conundrum, there are days when a natural perfume would be nice. Many conventional perfumes contain over a dozen chemicals that do not have to be disclosed on the label.

Since I already make pretty much all of our beauty and personal care products, I felt sure I could make perfume too. I figured I’d make it with essential oils so it would not only smell good, but have aromatherapy benefits as well.

This led me into a rabbit hole of research on the perfume industry and how perfumes are created. The good news is that while the final product took a lot of patience on my part, it was well worth it and it is most definitely cheaper than store bought perfumes (especially because I seem to have a gift for liking the most expensive perfumes at any store without seeing the price tag).

How to Make Perfume (at Home)

Most perfumes are a mixture of fragrance oils in an alcohol base. There are base fragrances, mid-tones and top notes. When you smell a perfume, the top notes are typically the first thing you smell, followed by mid and then base notes.

In making perfume, you select and add them in order from base to top.

Also, the alcohol changes the composition of the oils and as the flavors meld, they change drastically. I found that some mixtures I tried smelled amazing when I first mixed them but changed and I didn’t like them at all after two weeks. At the same time, some that I thought would be terrible reminded me of actual perfumes I loved after a few weeks.

I include my favorite recipe below, but the key is finding the oils and ratios that work for you. I recommend adding a few drops at a time of each one and keeping a journal of how many drops of each are added. Once you find your favorite blend and write it down, it is easy to duplicate.

DIY Perfume Recipe

These were the oils I used for each level of scent…

Base Oils:

  • Vanilla (I used 1 tsp of my homemade vanilla extract for this)
  • Cederwood (3 drops)
  • Vetiver (4 drops)
  • Ylang Ylang (3 drops)
  • Sandlewood (4 drops)
  • Frankincense (8 drops)

Middle Tones:

  • Rose (6 drops)
  • Lavender (10 drops)
  • Blue Chamomile (3 drops)
  • Geranium (8 drops)

Top Notes:

  • Bergamot ( 5 drops)
  • Wild Orange (3 drops)
  • Neroli (5 drops)

This is the fragrance I finally settled on that worked best for me. I got all of the oils here, but if you don’t already have them on hand, maybe consider asking a friend who is into essential oils if you could pay her a few dollars for a couple of drops of each of these oils….

NOTE: I photographed the perfume in the pretty glass bottle for Pinterest sake, but I recommend making and storing homemade perfume in a less-expensive dark colored bottle like this one to help preserve the pure scents of the oils. Also, my perfume looks blue green from the three drops of blue chamomile oil I added.. you can omit this if you prefer a more neutral color perfume, though this has not ever stained even white clothing.

IMPORTANT: While you can use the perfume right away, I really recommend letting the flavors meld for at least a month before using. It is worth the wait, I promise!

Herbal Perfume Ingredients:

  • Approximately 12-20 drops total of Base Essential Oils like: Cedarwood, Vanilla, Vetiver, Ylang Ylang, Sandlewood, etc
  • 1 tsp of [url:1]homemade vanilla extract (optional)
  • 25-30 drops of middle tone oils like Rose, Lavender, Chamomile or Geranium
  • 12-15 drops of top note oils like Bergamot, Wild Orange or Neroli
  • 4 ounces of alcohol to preserve and meld scents- I used non-GMO spiced rum

DIY Perfume Instructions:

  1. Mix all oils together in an opaque bottle to get a scent you like. Let this mixture stay in the bottle alone for a few days to let scents meld.
  2. Add the alcohol and cap tightly.
  3. Shake and put in a cool, dark place for at least a month (preferable). This is optional but helps the alcohol scent fade and the scents of the oils intensify.

 Ever made your own scents? How did it go?

This DIY herbal perfume recipe uses with essential oils and food grade alcohol for a natural alternative to conventional perfume with aromatherapy benefits.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


162 responses to “DIY Herbal Perfume Recipe”

  1. Gwen Avatar

    Hello, i just love all your DIY recipes and I use your page here to make my own perfumes. I Had a question about making perfume though, and i was hoping you wouldn’t mind helping me out.
    I mixed up oils and let them meld together for a few days/week, then i added the vodka cause i thought it smelled good. I let that site and waited then it came time to use the perfume and i feel it is too musky. Do you have any experience with adding EO’s to the mixture AFTER you’ve added the vodka? Can i do this or will it not really meld with the other EO’s now that the vodka is mixed in? I just want to add more sweet scented oils to lighten up the musky scent it has at the moment. which just seems to masculine for me, your feedback would be SO appreciated. thank you !!!

  2. Paula Avatar

    I’m being searching everywhere for a cologne for my son, he is 8 years old and he would love to have one. But all the commercial colognes for kids are full of stuff that I don’t want on his skin. Do you have any suggestions on how to make one for kids are not sure about which EO are safe for kids or maybe if there is one that I can buy?

    Thank you,


  3. Cairo Avatar

    I made a perfume with 30 drops peppermint, 20 drops tea tree, 10 drops eucalyptus and 5 drops ginger in a 4 oz bottle, then I mixed 1 part Technical Reserve (alcohol) to 1 part water and filled the bottle the rest of the way. Use it as a linen spray, perfume and room spray. I shake the bottle before spraying, and it’s really nice.

  4. Dody Avatar

    Can you make perfume with just two notes? Like maybe vanilla and peppermint? Would be a base and a top note?
    Thank You,

  5. Dody Avatar

    I made homemade perfume for the first time. I used patchouli as the base note, ginger as the middle and bergamot as the top note. I also used tsp. of vanilla. So far I absolutely love the smell. I’m hoping the scents do not change. Thank you Katie for the instructions!

  6. Dody Avatar

    I was wondering do you add distilled water to your perfume recipe?
    I seen where so many other people do?

  7. Linda Avatar

    Thank you for your recipe and instructions. I used to have my favorite perfume called Sensual from Sage, but they don’t make it anymore. I’m going to try combining the same essential oils and create my own.

  8. Renee Avatar

    YES, one day my daughter and grand daughter and I decided to pull out my E.O.’s. We sat for hours trying different blends. If we liked it right away we put it aside to smell again later. If it hit is between the eyes we tossed it. We just put one or two drops of each on a cotton ball. After a few hours of that AND in between smelling we sniffed coffee, I heard it cleans the smellers palate if you will. We settled on 3 difference scents, put them in zip locs to go back to in a few days and we loved them. We then made up some perfume and named them. WHAT a great girls day together. BTW, you have some great posts. Thank you for all your hard work and sharing.

  9. Jake Avatar

    Hi, I’m going to try your recipe for my wife but instead of alcohol, I’m planning to substitute it with fractionated coconut oil. In your recipe, you used 4oz of alcohol, do I use 4oz of fractionated coconut oil or should I use less?

    Thank you!

  10. Sabrina Avatar

    Hi! I have no idea what I’d be doing at all. I had found out about perfumes like this through a book I was reading. I was wondering if you have tips for beginners? And since I’m asking questions, I was wondering if you know any good sites that give a list of oils to use for this stuff? Or a certain shop that sells the oils? Since I’m not good at doing research, I just wanted to ask. So, yeah. (=

  11. Pam Avatar

    This is a question concerning making my own perfume using essential oils.

    What is considered high proof alcohol and food grade? I asked because I read this in one of your answers her about making perfume. Is this the alcohol that you buy from the liqueur store?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      A high proof alcohol would be over 90 proof. I’ve found pure grain alcohol such as Everclear to be a good option. Some states don’t sell the higher proofs, but most do.

      1. James Avatar

        According to Robert Tisserand, a prolific figure in Essential Oil Safety, 120 proof is the very minimum to be considered high proof.

  12. KatieAnn Avatar

    Hi Wellness Mama! Thanks for this great thread and wonderful blog. I find myself here often. I have also loved perfumes since I was little. The world of fragrance is certainly fascinating. I have been considering making my own perfume for a while and this site has been most helpful.

    One concern/question I have is the longevity of all natural fragrance. I know that most commercial perfumes contain fixatives to help them last longer on the skin. I have read how natural perfumes tend to fade away very quickly. I think sometimes it also boils down to individual bodies/chemistry. I know essential oils I have put on my skin in the past have disappeared within minutes.

    How has your experience been with an alcohol based homemade perfume? Did you feel it lasted pretty well on your skin? I’m sure one’s individual body and chemistry all play a role, but, that aside, did you find it pretty long-lasting? I’d like to know what to expect before investing in this little “venture”. Thanks for this fantastic site. I find myself here often. It’s always a joy to read your posts!

  13. Jill Avatar

    I have made my own perfume for about two years now and use Vodka. I am going to try this recipe Katie as I would like a stronger perfume than what I currently have. Thanks for sharing this and sharing the information about the essential oils. All your recipes reallly help me keep myself allergy free, healthy and feeling fab! You are an angel

  14. Angel Monroe Avatar
    Angel Monroe

    Hi i am growing my own moon garden but I’m not finding any info on my beautiful moonvine. i saw rose water made on the stove. i was wondering if you can do this with the moinvine petals also …..thank you very much. i hope you can help me out.

    1. Clare Templeton Avatar
      Clare Templeton

      Hi, A.M. Perhaps you saw my comment #18 where I made white rose, it should work for moonflower, too. To amplify the instructions,you can take the petals, put them in a kettle and with scant water or maybe extract some of the petal essence with vodka or Everclear and dilute whole thing with scant water: just enough light simmer to build up a well scented head of steam in the kettle. The lid is convex, bulging out. Removing it from heat, turn the lid over so it’s concave, like a well, put as many ice cubes in it as it will hold. This condenses the steam back into the mix but without further diluting it (the lid reversal caper is hard to visualize which is why am repeating, turning the lid upside down very deftly and whacking it back on the kettle before much steam escapes retains the steam but then you have a “holder” for the ice cubes which immediately condense your moonflower steam.). Removing the solids from the resulting “water” you have a sort of more condensed “florida water” and can cool, bottle per Katie’s instructions. I am a fan of moonflower and datura–have dried them but never perfumed them, hope it works for you.

  15. Lauren Avatar

    Hi there
    Thanks for the inspiration. Did you manage to buy vanilla essence in bulk and did u find a spray pump that copes with the viscosity of the essential oils?

  16. Johnna Avatar

    No men’s cologne? I need to make some outdoorsy smelling cologne for a friend

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