Make Fragrant Essential Oils: Warrior’s Spirit for Courage

This Warrior’s Spirit blend promotes courage and protection as well as physical and emotional support.

• 12 drops lavender oil
• 6 drops carrot seed oil
• 3 drops black pepper oil
• 3 drops angelica oil
• 3 drops myrrh oil
• 2 drops sage oil

Natural Perfumery

Craft evocative personal scents using natural ingredients, which lend delicate nuances to fragrances and evolve over time.

Thanks to the art and science of aromatherapy, we now appreciate the profound links between aroma and health; scents are processed in the amygdala, the same area of the brain that processes emotions. Because of the integration of scent and emotional processing, making natural perfume can contribute to our well-being. Perfume creation, which involves active olfaction and a total focus on the sense of smell, has been compared to concentrative meditation — it can help eliminate stress and bring about a sense of calm and peace. Not to mention, making perfume gives you the opportunity to develop your sense of smell!

Creating your own fragrances isn’t difficult. Maybe you already know that you prefer a certain type of perfume — an aroma that you identify with and that makes you feel good. Maybe you’d like to make a perfume to comfort, to uplift your spirits, to promote self-confidence, or for meditation. Or maybe you’d like to wear perfumes that reflect the season or evoke a specific mood. The possibilities are endless, and trying new combinations is part of the fun.

Natural Perfume Components

Natural perfumes made with essential oils and absolutes won’t be the same as commercial, alcohol-based perfumes. Essential oils are extracted from aromatic plants by steam distillation, or by physical expression, as in the case of citrus oils. Absolutes are made by solvent extraction; they’re aromatically similar to the plant but are very concentrated and best appreciated when highly diluted. Rose, jasmine, and orange blossom are the most popular absolutes. They’re expensive so you could use an infusion in jojoba oil as a budget-friendly alternative.

In mainstream perfumery, synthetic aroma chemicals dominate. This means that when a modern synthetic fragrance is applied, the effect is often linear — the perfume doesn’t substantially change its character from application until it has faded from our perception. The scent of perfumes made with extracts from aromatic plants, however, will evolve on our skin after application; we’ll first sense the top notes, then the middle notes at the heart of the scent, and finally the lingering base notes. Commercial perfumes are constructed for their initial impact and presence, their persistence, and for sillage — the trail of fragrance left in the air when the wearer walks by. Oil or wax-based natural perfumes are more subtle, and will usually fade more quickly. However, what’s lost in bombastic impact is more than made up for by the gentleness and beauty of naturally derived ingredients, and by the mood benefits of the aroma.

Fragrant Harmonies

Natural perfume isn’t composed randomly. To create a successful perfume, you’ll need to understand the olfactory relationships between essential oils, their volatility (which determines which scents are top, middle, and base notes), their diffusiveness, and their odor intensity.

The scent of every essential oil is made up of many chemical components, each of which has its own olfactory characteristics, and the components’ relative proportions have a major impact on the overall aroma of the oil. For this reason, some essential oils, such as rose or jasmine, are complex enough to make good single-ingredient fragrances, which are instantly recognizable. If you combine three essential oils, you create a new odor sensation, although you’ll still be able to discern the presence of the individual oils. But by combining five or more oils, you’ll create a completely new scent, which we’ll struggle to discern the individual ingredients of because hundreds of chemicals will be constituents contributing to the aroma.

In perfume, the initial impact is given by the “top note,” or the aromatics that evaporate most quickly; the heart of the scent is composed of “middle note” aromatics, defining the theme of the perfume; and less volatile “base note” aromatics anchor or fix the scent, giving it persistence. The oil or wax base of a natural perfume will also decelerate evaporation to an extent, which is why a natural perfume takes a little longer to make its presence known. By contrast, alcohol-based conventional perfumes are highly volatile.

In addition to the broad top, middle, or base category a particular aromatic might belong to, aromatic connections will be running throughout the perfume, because many essential oils share aromatic constituents. These form what we might think of as aromatic bridges, which will bring cohesiveness and harmony to your blend; aromatic contrasts will add drama and excitement.

Choose a Theme

When crafting a personal scent, you might want to create a soliflore, where one floral fragrance dominates; or a more sophisticated bouquet, which might be floral, herbal, or based on fragrant woods, soothing balsams, citrus, or vanilla. Each of these ideas can be fused so you might choose a floral-balsamic composition or an herbal-woody-spicy scent.

You can also create a more abstract scent that reflects seasons, places, or feelings. Evoke a walk in the forest with conifer oils or a tropical garden with sumptuous ylang-ylang. You could even use vanilla and citrus to make a fragrance inspired by the aroma of cakes baking!

Follow Your Nose

Top notes: Citrus is commonly used as a top note, because of its high volatility. Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) has a fresh citrus top note and sweet citrus body, with lemony, floral, peppery, and lavender-like nuances — elements that can bridge with many other scents. Use the furanocoumarin-free (FCF) version to eliminate the risk of phototoxicity, which is a burning reaction from topically applied essential oils that are triggered by exposure to sunlight. Other citrus top notes include yellow grapefruit (C. paradisi) for sharpness, lime (C. aurantifolia) for lightness, mandarin (C. reticulata) for freshness, and yuzu peel (C. junos) if you like a stronger aromatic citrus presence. Many citrus essential oils and aromatics are phototoxic, though the risk is minimized by using steam-distilled essential oils; research the aromatic you plan to use before adding it to a scent.

Herbal top notes give freshness to a blend; try using bergamot mint (Mentha citrata), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and petitgrain (C. aurantium).

Floral top notes include the green scent of neroli (steam-distilled C. aurantium var. amara) and damask rose (Rosa x damascena), which gives a gentle freshness, lift, and harmony.

Spicy top notes include black pepper (Piper nigrum) for light warmth and lift, and caraway seed (Carum carvi) for sweet warmth and intrigue. Versatile coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum), with sweet, spicy, woody, floral, and citrus notes, can act as a bridge.

Middle notes: Floral heart notes can be as defining or as subtle as you wish. Heady Jasminum grandiflorum absolute should be used sparingly for its intense, diffusive, warm floral fragrance. Like rose and orange blossom absolutes, it makes for a classic floral heart. Arabian jasmine (Jasminum sambac) is intensely sensual, and it makes a good soliflore. Rose absolute (Rosa x centifolia) will make a smooth, rich, sweet soliflore, or can be the dominant floral in a composition. In small amounts, its delicacy can transform fragrances. Orange blossom absolute (solvent-distilled from Citrus aurantium var. amara) is a rich and heavy floral that should be used sparingly. It can make an interesting soliflore with neroli as a top note. A little ylang-ylang extra (Cananga odorata var. genuina) goes a long way; it’s diffusive, sweet, rich, and tropical. In small amounts, it lifts and harmonizes blends.

For an herbal heart, try sweet, fresh lavender absolute; rose geranium (Pelargonium spp.); or sweet, diffusive Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) for its apple notes.

Citrus oils evaporate quickly, making them difficult to use in the heart of a scent. However, litsea (Litsea cubeba) is fresh, sweet, sharp, and lemony, and has reasonable tenacity.

Spicy oils make good partners for flowers and woods and can sit within the heart of a perfume. Clove Bud (Eugenia caryophyllata) is perfect for spicing up rose fragrances. Use it minimally; the scent is powerful, and the oil can irritate the skin. Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) should also be used sparingly.

Woods and resins for heart notes include Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), which imparts woody and smoky notes; Eastern red cedar (Juniperus virginiana), which gives a mild “pencil shavings” aroma; and frankincense (Boswellia carterii), which offers a fresh, resinous effect. Both frankincense and Eastern red cedar reach the top notes while staying in the heart. Frankincense suffers from overharvesting for the essential oil trade, so be sure to seek out sustainably sourced oil if you wish to use it. Conifers usually make their presence felt in top notes, but are tenacious enough to stay in the heart.

Base notes: These oils all act as fixatives as well as fragrance elements. If you’re looking for a balsamic, ambery, rich effect, try the resin of rock rose (Cistus ladanifer) or myrrh (Commiphora myrrha).

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is distinctive and complex and will add character to blends with its persistent, earthy, herbaceous notes. Vetiver (Vetivera zizanoides) is a rich, sweet, woody, earthy aroma, with remarkably persistent musky notes.

Sandalwood (Santalum album) is the base of many traditional attars; blend it with rose or jasmine to create a simple, beautiful scent. The scent is sweetly woody and persistent, with balsamic and musky notes. Sandalwood is often overharvested in the wild; seek sustainable sources for this oil.

Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) is sweet, rich, and warm, with woody and even tobacco notes. The solvent-extracted absolute is quite expensive, so the budget-friendly way to use it is to buy vanilla-infused jojoba oil, to which you can add your other ingredients.

The given recipes are only a few examples of perfumes you can create. Adapt them to suit what you have available — or what you prefer — and don’t be afraid to substitute fragrances or vary the proportions of aromatics. Enjoy; it’s your perfume!

Natural Oil-Based Roll-On Perfume Recipe

This oil-based roll-on perfume recipe is easy to adjust to your personal fragrance preferences, and fragrance-infused carrier oils expand the possibilities.

Yield: 0.35 ounces (10 milliliters) liquid perfume.

 

Pack your preferred personal scent into a roller ball bottle to have on hand throughout the day. Note that the provided measurements will give a concentration of around 5 percent essential oils. You shouldn’t use more than 2 drops of absolute per 0.35 ounces (10 milliliters) of carrier oil.

Ingredients:

  • 10 drops essential oils and absolutes (see “Oil-Based Perfume Variations,” below)
  • 0.35 ounces (10 milliliters) jojoba oil
  • A colored-glass roller-ball bottle

Instructions:

  1. Add your heart notes directly into the bottle, and smell as you go, in case you need to adjust.
  2. Next, add the base notes, and, again, remember to smell after every drop. You can always add more, but you can’t subtract.
  3. Finally, add your top notes.
  4. When you’re happy with the aroma, fill the bottle to the shoulder with jojoba oil, fit on the roller ball and lid, and invert the bottle gently several times to thoroughly distribute the oils in the jojoba.
  5. Give your composition a name, label the bottle, and note the formula.

Oil-Based Perfume Variations

Essential oils are extremely concentrated and must be sufficiently diluted in a carrier oil to be used safely on your skin. Don’t adjust the proportion of aromatics to carrier oil in these recipes. All the following quantities are calculated for 0.35 ounces (10 milliliters) of liquid perfume.


Tropical Flowers

Top: 2 drops lime

Heart: 3 drops ylang-ylang

Base: 5 drops sandalwood

Variation: Use vanilla-infused jojoba as the carrier for a creamy effect.


Herbal Bouquet

Top: 3 drops bergamot mint, 2 drops rose, and 2 drops lavender

Heart: 1 drop rose geranium, 1 drop Roman chamomile, and (optional) 1 drop lavender absolute

Base: 1 drop patchouli or vetiver


Meditation

Top: 2 drops Bergamot and 2 drops neroli

Heart: 2 drops frankincense

Base: 2 drops Myrrh and 2 drops sandalwood

Rosewood Oil: “Bois-de-Rose” Benefits

Prized as a decorative tree and used to make furniture, chopsticks, and show pieces, rosewood is a versatile and durable tree that grows abundantly in Brazil. But rosewood is more than just a raw material used in manufacturing. The popular fragrant oil of the same name is extracted from its wood. Keep on reading to learn more about rosewood oil.

What Is Rosewood Oil?

rosewood oilRosewood oil is extracted from Aniba rosaeodora, an evergreen tree that’s indigenous to Peru and Brazil. Rosewood, also called “bois-de-rose,” is a member of the Laurel (Lauraceae) plant family along with camphor, cinnamon, bay, and cassia. This aromatic tree can grow up to 40 meters high and is distinguishable by its reddish bark and yellow flowers. Many rosewood rain forests have been cut down to accommodate the high demand for this sturdy lumber, although legislation now requires planting a new rosewood in place of every tree that’s been cut down.

Rosewood oil has a characteristic aroma that’s warm, spicy, woody, fruity, floral, and enlivening. This characteristic aroma makes it an established ingredient in high-class perfumery and soap-making, especially during the early 1900’s, which caused deforestation of the tree.

Due to rosewood oil’s high price, however, manufacturers turned to cheaper alternatives, such as Chinese Ho oils from Cinnamomum camphora, as well as synthetic linalool. This allowed rosewood forests to thrive once again.

Uses of Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil’s alluring fragrance has been widely lauded in the perfume industry, but its therapeutic properties are less well known. Aromatherapists use it to help treat depression, as it is said to impart feelings of happiness and strength. Rosewood oil also calms the mind and prompts hormone secretion. It also works as an aphrodisiac as it stimulates your body and libido allowing you to relax and let go of stress and mental clutter.

Another popular use of rosewood oil is for skin care. It has tissue-regenerating properties that help prevent wrinkles and premature aging, and also works well for preventing a variety of skin conditions. You can use it to reduce the onset of pimples, acne, and blackheads while controlling the amount of sebum secreted by your oil glands. Rosewood oil also has wound-healing actions, making it an ideal first-aid remedy for cuts and insect bites.

To get rosewood oil’s therapeutic effects, you can:

  • Diffuse it using a vaporizer.
  • Dilute it in a carrier oil, and then place a drop or two on your skin or the affected areas that need healing. Note: DO NOT use it on facial skin without diluting it in a mild carrier oil first. You can also use it as a massage oil.
  • Add it to your bathwater. Use it while showering: after soaking for at least 3 minutes in steamy shower, turn the water off, put five to seven drops of the oil in the palm of your hand, and distribute it all over your wet body. The oil will penetrate very quickly and you can rinse it off if you prefer.
  • Mix it your favorite lotion or cream. Add a drop or two to your favorite moisturizer to reap its anti-aging benefits.

Rosewood oil also works as an effective insect repellent that repels mosquitoes, bugs, and ants. It can also work as a room freshener. Simply add 15 drops per 2 ounces of distilled water, and then spray as desired.

The Composition of Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil’s high linalool content (86 percent) makes it highly useful for industrial applications. Linalool is modified into many derivatives that are essential to the food flavoring and fragrance industries.

Meanwhile, other components of rosewood oil like a-pinene, a-terpineol, camphene, neral, myrcene, geranial, 1,8-cineole, benzaldehyde, linalool oxides, and limonene  are responsible for its health-promoting effects. This oil works as a stimulant, antidepressant, analgesic, antibacterial, and antiseptic.

Benefits of Rosewood Oil

rosewood oil benefitsI believe that rosewood oil is a wonderful herbal oil to have at home, as its sweet and pleasant aroma can greatly delight your senses. However, there’s a lot more to this oil than its enticing aroma. Here are some of the benefits of rosewood oil:

  • Relieves pain. Rosewood oil is a mild analgesic (not as strong as other herbal oils) that can help alleviate headaches, toothaches, and muscle and joint pain.
  • Heals wounds. This oil’s antiseptic properties help prevent wounds and cuts from getting infected, as well as stimulate faster healing.
  • Helps treat colds, coughs, and sinusitis. It has the ability to regulate smooth muscle contractions, helping control bronchial disorders such as asthma.
  • Works as an aphrodisiac and stress reliever. It can help treat impotence or frigidity, arousing sexual desire and improving sexual performance. Rosewood oil’s fragrance also has a calming and relaxing effect on your mind and body.

How to Make Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil is extracted from the wood chippings or shavings of the rosewood trunk. This oil is produced via steam distillation, which works by vaporizing the oil and the active ingredients in it so they can be extracted and condensed. This extraction method helps assure that you are getting a pure and high-quality rosewood oil.

I advise you to be very stringent when buying rosewood oil, as some brands may be adulterated or have been infused with other carrier oils, which will lower the potency. Choosing a  rosewood oil that’s produced by a reputable manufacturer is crucial

How Does Rosewood Oil Work?

Rosewood oil’s high alpha-pinene content is responsible for its impressive antibacterial properties, while the chemical components geraniol, nerol, 8-cineole, linalool, and limonene are useful for tissue regeneration. Studies have also shown that the topical use of rosewood oil can help destroy pre-cancerous and cancerous cells without adversely affecting healthy skin cells.

To take full advantage of its therapeutic benefits, Rosewood oil can be applied topically, inhaled, or vaporized. It is rarely taken orally. As with other herbal oils, I do not recommend ingesting or applying this oil without the supervision of a qualified health practitioner.

Is Rosewood Oil Safe?

side effects of rosewood oilRosewood Oil is may be highly beneficial, as long as it’s used in moderation and properly diluted. It blends well with citrus oils like orange, neroli, bergamot, lime, lemon, and grapefruit, as well as floral oils like lavender, jasmine, and rose.

Rosewood oil is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing. However, I still advise doing a skin patch test before using this herbal oil.

Side Effects of Rosewood Oil

Rosewood oil has no known side effects. But despite its safe profile, children, pregnant women or nursing moms should not use this oil without the advice of their physician. Rosewood oil, especially at full strength, is not recommended for very young children as well.

People with sensitive skin should also be careful when using rosewood oil. If you see any signs of irritation after using this oil, stop using it immediately and contact your health care provider.