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. Eve Firth Avatar
    Eve Firth

    Hi there,

    I followed the receipt and used a dark rum. Unfortunately it is making my neck red when I spray it. What have I done wrong? I bought pure 100% essential oils. I used Sandlewood vanilla rose geranium and orange.
    Any help would be great as I do want to use these type of sprays not store bought toxic ones.
    Thank you

  2. Clifton Harmon Avatar
    Clifton Harmon

    from what little I’ve found on your website is….. everything seems to be based on a female basis. I didn’t see anywhere in this article anything about making mens cologne nor making mens after shave lotion!

      1. Jemmy Avatar

        That recipe should be OK.
        look like you got some allergies to one or more EO in that recipe or you use it under sun, some of the orange ES has phototoxic properties. You can try other EO. You should try dilluted EO to test if you sensitive to some of that EO.

  3. Monique Avatar

    Thank you for this! You made it super simple to try! The only thing I didn’t see is what type of alcohol you used? I see people use all kinds (from rubbing to drinking), but would love to know what you prefer (and which brand)! Appreciate all you do!

  4. Claudia Avatar

    Hey! Love this article super helpful! I’m excited to make my own blend that works for me.
    Question.. would it be ok if I didn’t add alcohol to the blend? What would happen?

      1. Jenifer Avatar

        It would not spoil. They are essential oils simply blended together, no alcohol is needed. The article states the alcohol changes the scent of the final product but omitting the alcohol will not cause EO’s to spoil. If that were the case, EO’s would all be blended with alcohol.

  5. Donna Grummer Avatar
    Donna Grummer

    Would you mind clarifying your DIY herbal perfume recipe? Where you list a variety of base, middle and top notes, do you mean to include each oil on the list or choose one oil from each category? Thanks so much for your help!!

  6. Em Avatar

    A friend is allowing me to raid her oils collection but doesn’t have those top notes. Can you suggest any others?

  7. Obinnaya Chikezie Avatar
    Obinnaya Chikezie

    Thank you very much for the information on how one can prepare his own perfume. There is a chemical term you use I need to come to terms with. But your piece is no doubt enlightening. Keep it up.

    1. Joyce Avatar

      Hi, When making a perfume, do I just select one from each note? Can I use vodka for the alcohol? What ounce bottle are you using for the recipe you put up? Thanks!!

  8. Banana Avatar

    What’s the performance of your perfumes you’ve made? Does the scent stay on you for long? Thanks!

    1. James Avatar

      Keeping it refrigerated or in a cool place, as well as in a dark bottle will extend shelf life. Normally a year.

  9. James Avatar

    Please advise your readers that they must use Bergamot FCF. Regular bergamot is very phototoxic.
    In addition, Ylang is a dermal irritant. In order, to keep the risk of sensitization low, keep it under 0.8% dilution.
    Furthermore, high proof alcohol is recommended for perfumery purposes. The one you used is not appropriate to properly disperse EO.
    Please exercise caution when dealing with EO. They are natural compounds. However, they are extremely powerful and can cause serious adverse reaction if misused. You have a responsibility to your readers to only post safe advice.

    1. Dody Avatar

      This is for James, the reason people here are making there own perfumes is because of the high risk chemicals the perfume industries use; Among them are chemicals associated with hormone disruption and allergic reactions, and many substances that have not been assessed for safety in personal care products. Some of the undisclosed ingredients are chemicals “with troubling hazardous properties or with a propensity to accumulate in human tissues. Phthalates, for example, have been linked to immune system problems, organ damage and cancer, among other things. Until the law looks out for us, we use essential oils as a holistic alternative. If we’ve come to that conclusion, wouldn’t you think that of course we’ve done our research on essential oils?

      1. James Avatar

        Dody, I’m not against using Essential Oils for perfumery, I do so myself. However proper dermal maximum must be followed or sensitization becomes a huge risk. If you insist on using Ylang in large quantities you risk developing an allergic reaction for life. You will be unable to use it ever again. Or going out into the sun with regular Bergamot causing severe chemical burns. There are individuals who are well informed about these dangers, but in a blog you must assume that your readers do not know these details and should provide them. In addition, it is important to give out safe and accurate information. The alcohol must be at least 151 proof in order to properly serve as an emulsifier and preservative when adding water to the mix.

        1. Dody Avatar

          James this is not my blog…… It’s Wellness Mamas; but I find it interesting that you are assuming that it’s yours!

          1. James Avatar

            Dody, I know this is not your blog. I was speaking in general, saying that if you have a blog, providing readers with safety details should be a given. There is already plenty of erroneous information about Essential Oils in the Internet. It’s up to influential people to guide newly interested ones in the right direction. I never assumed this space is mine to claim. I’m sorry you feel the need to be disrespectful, behind the comfort of your device, when all I have done is offer safety information. I wont lower my morals and be rude back to you. Have a good day.

        2. Jen W Avatar

          Thanks for the tips!!! I never knew that about Ylang or bergamot!! I love all natural and diy but don’t have the time to thouroghly research every ingredient, didn’t realize they could be harmful, so thanks again!

  10. Beckie Avatar

    Could i mix all the oils first since i make a blend i love and then mix with the alcohol? Or should i do one bt one?

  11. Tina Avatar

    My essential oils and my 190 proof always turns yellow haze not clear what can I do to fix this problem

  12. Danielle Avatar

    Hello, did you use all those base, middle and top notes in 1 perfume?

  13. Carol6n Avatar

    I made this perfume 2 months ago and it smells amazing. However, I cannot smell it on my skin 30 minutes after applying. Is this to be expected?

  14. Summer Shrake Avatar
    Summer Shrake

    Hi there!

    Quick question, in your opinion, what is the best blend of the oils for perfume?

  15. Johannes Avatar

    Hi good day….
    Hi kindly send me you prescription if DIY self made home perfume,as well as refillable glass perfume pleas.i will be glad if you can do most of your calculations amount in south African rand .

    Best regards

  16. Oliver Avatar

    So do I add 6 drops of rose essential oil, or 30 drops? this is confusing.

  17. Carmen Avatar

    Hello there. What kind of Cedarwood oil should I use ? (Chinese, indian, himalayan..). Thank you.

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