How To Make A Perfume With Essential Oils

If you don’t like the strong smell of synthetic perfumes making a signature scent from essential oils is a great option. It’s a lot of fun once you understand the basics of making a perfume and can experiment with all types of blends.

Essential oil perfumes offer a more subtle option than store bought perfumes. They don’t overwhelm from a distance but can be enjoyed by you and those close to you.

If you are someone who suffers headaches from perfume, then essential oils are a great alternative. Often, these are much better tolerated and also provide aromatic benefits.

It is important to know that essential oil perfumes do need a little time to age.  So once you create your signature scent, it will need to be left alone for one to two weeks.

This aging is important as it allows the scents to combine together. A better blended result is achieved this way and no particular note will over power the perfume.

Before we take a look at how to make a perfume with essential oils, let’s get an understanding of how the oils harmonize to create a scent.

Understanding Perfume Notes

All aromatic oils are categorized as a ‘note’ – base, middle or top – and they play an important role in perfumery. Just like a musical composition, they must come together to make a perfume work. From the first impact through to the subtle undertones and background melodies, all the notes play an important role.

The speed at which a particular essential oil evaporates determines its note. Fast evaporation is a top note, not so fast is a medium note, and if it’s slow, it’s a base note.

So when combined in a perfume, the ‘top note’ is the first scent you smell on application. It usually stimulates and wakes up the senses.

As the top note quickly disappears, it reveals the longer lasting middle note. Lastly, the base note lingers once the top and middle notes have gone. It can sometimes still be smelt hours after applying the perfume.

Perfumes are dynamic and change with people and over time. They react differently with different skins and as evaporation occurs, the aroma changes. This is why the same perfume can smell very different on different people.

Each perfume blend should contain a base note for depth, a middle note and top note. And while there are no rules on how to combine essential oils for perfumes, it is wise to follow this suggestion. Perfumes without the harmonious three-note “chord” of scents don’t seem as balanced. It is the harmonious blending of the three stages of volatility that makes a good perfume.

Base Note Essential Oils

These are often roots, gums or resins. They smell ‘heavy’ and have staying power.

Common base notes scents – Cedarwood, Frankincense, Myrrh, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Vetiver.

Middle Note Essential Oils

These carry through the mid-range, sort of like the melody in a song. They form the bridge between the top and base notes.

Common middle note scents – Black pepper, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Clary sage, Clove, Geranium, Ginger, Jasmine, Juniper berry, Lavender, Neroli, Nutmeg, Pine, Rose, Rosemary, Rosewood, Ylang ylang.

Top Note Essential Oils

Top notes are the first of the aromas you will smell as they are the most volatile. They smell light and will dissipate quickly.

Common top note scents – Basil, Bergamot, Coriander, Grapefruit, Lemongrass, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Melissa, Orange, Peppermint, Petitgrain, Spearmint

How To Make An Essential Oil Perfume

While many commercial perfumes are alcohol based, the recipe here is for an oil based perfume. These are kinder to the skin (alcohol can be drying) and linger longer.

The best base oil for perfumes is jojoba oil – it is light, has minimal odor and keeps well. An alternative is fractionated coconut oil, a light highly refined coconut oil that is liquid at room temperature.

One important tool you musn’t forget is a notebook! Record all your formulations right down to the exact drop. An extra drop can make all the difference when mixing perfumes. So don’t get caught out by not being able to remember the recipe for your masterpiece.

What you need to make your perfume

Essential oils – mixture of top, middle and base notes
Jojoba oil or Fractionated coconut oil
10ml amber bottles
Notebook! (this one is cute)

Step 1

The first step is to gather your essential oil collection together. Ensure there is a good mix of top, middle and base notes. You don’t need a lot of essential oil for each bottle but it is good to have a variety to play with.

One idea is to get together with some friends who have their own collections of oils. Then you can all share to add variety.

Before going on to the next step, have a think about the kind of perfume you want to achieve. Is it fresh and citrusy, sensual, floral, spicy, soothing or something else. This will help you choose the essential oils to use.

Step 2

Fill your amber bottle almost to the top with oil.

Step 3

Build your perfume slowly drop by drop. After each drop, shake the bottle well and smell as you go. All up you will need 14 to 20 drops of essential oil.

The following gives an indication of the quantity of essential oil to use for each note. This is a guide only and can be varied according to what notes you want to have the most impact.

  • 6-11 drops top notes
  • 4-8 drops middle notes
  • 2-5 drops base notes

Start with your base note or the deepest resonating oil you have chosen for the perfume. Then build the heart of the perfume with your middle note, finishing with the top note.

Step 4

Label the bottle and date. Also make sure to keep a record in your notebook.

Leave your perfume to mature for one to two weeks in a cool, dark place. Remember to shake it daily to help the process. At the end of the period, it will smell less ‘raw’ and have developed a well rounded smell.

Oil based perfume blends will last up to 6 months when stored in a cool, dark place.

How To Apply Your Essential Oil Perfume

You can apply your perfume to all the usual spots – behind the ears, sides of the neck, inside the wrists etc.  Be careful not to overdo it – with perfume less is usually more.

Essential Oil Perfume Blends

To get you started, below are a few blends to try. It is a good idea to start with one of these before taking the next step and trusting your nose. As your knowledge of composition grows, try experimenting with other combinations.

Spicy Oriental

5 drops orange
4 drops bergamot
3 drops cinnamon
2 drops lavender
3 drops cedarwood
3 drops patchouli


5 drops bergamot
3 drops mandarin
3 drops black pepper
4 drops rose absolute
2 drops patchouli

Flowers Forever

6 drops rose absolute
6 drops geranium
3 drops frankincense
5 drops rosewood


4 drops bergamot
3 drops lime
4 drops jasmine
2 drops ylang ylang
2 drops clove
3 drops cedarwood
2 drops patchouli

Classic Cologne

3 drops neroli
1 drop petitgrain
4 drops orange
4 drops lemon
4 drops bergamot
2 drops rosemary
2 drops lavender


6 drops mandarin
3 drops grapefruit
2 drops palmarosa
2 drops myrrh
7 drops sandalwood

Learning how to make a perfume with essential oils is a lot of fun. Using the guidelines above, I hope you are inspired to give it a try and create your own signature scents.

And, if you come up with a winning combination, make sure to come back and let us know in the comments below.


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2 thoughts on “How To Make A Perfume With Essential Oils”

  1. Thank you for this awesome post! This has helped me so much!! My daughters and I are having a blast. Very grateful for your clarification and help! Thank you for sharing your knowledge! ❤️


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