Origins of perfumery, the art of perfume-making can be found in ancient Egyptian culture. A perfume should be like your personal signature. The scent you put on your body should depict your tastes and personality. In our busy daily lives, we meet several people and perfume is something that leaves our mark on them and lingers in their mind even when we are gone. It is like the first impression that you can make on others and that should be the best impression. Today, the cosmetic world is drenched in tons of perfume brands. I still remember the 15 year old me heading to the local drugstore, getting dragged to the fancy ‘Try me!!’ perfume bottles sitting in the shelves, sniffing and spraying every scent one after the other onto my wrists and elbows in order to choose my signature scent. Fast forward 9 years, I am 24 today and my knowledge on natural health and beauty grew up along with me. Synthetic fragrances contain many toxic ingredients like benzene, aldehyde, phenols, phthalates and parabens. They may cause cancer, nervous disorders, birth defects and hormonal effects. Antiperspirants and deodorants contain aluminum as the main ingredient because aluminum can temporarily block the sweat pores and thus regulates the flow of sweat. Unfortunately, that’s how antiperspirants work!! They mess with the natural process of sweat production! In addition, they produce estrogen-like effects in our body. Researches have shown that increased estrogen production increases the risk of breast cancer. Parabens also get built up in breast cells and mimic the effect of estrogen. Our skin absorbs 60-70% of the topical products we use on it and when it comes to underarms, the percentage of absorption is even more. The nicks formed during shaving result in extra absorption of these chemicals.
I realized that I never whole-heartedly liked those synthetic smelling artificial fragrances and my heart longed for something close to the nature, something that bonds me with the Mother Nature and something that adds to my personality. The hunt to satisfy my need for a natural non-toxic perfume and deodorant landed me in the wonderful and amazing world of essential oils. Now that I have convinced you to search for natural alternatives to your signature collection by narrating the horror story of synthetic fragrances, I would like to provide you with a basic idea on how to prepare your own concoctions of perfumes. Essential oils when included in perfumes not only make you smell great but also give health benefits on inhalation. So get ready to kill two birds with one stone!!!
For all the fellow DIY freaks out there, this is for ya!!
Things we need for a DIY perfume are:
- Sterilized blue or amber glass container
- A base (can be alcohol or a carrier oil)
- Essential oils for your choice
First, start with the base. If you want to choose an alcoholic base, you can go with organic grape seed alcohol or 100% absolute vodka. If you wanna go with carrier oil as base, jojoba oil can be your best bet because this magical oil has good keeping properties and can hold the fragrance of the essential oils for a longer period. Now let’s go to the fun part!! That is choosing and mixing the essential oils. First, visualize your perfume and decide on what feeling you want your perfume to convey about yourself. Femininity, bubbliness, freshness – which one you wanna sport? Do you prefer the floral scents or woody scents or beachy scents? The scents like rose and jasmine give a feminine touch whereas the citrus, wood, spice and herbal scents give a masculine touch (which means deep and warm, not that only men should use them).
Essential oils can be divided into three notes – Top Notes, Middle Notes, and Base Notes. Top notes are the scents that are highly noticeable in a perfume. They create the first impression on the perfume and they fade away within 10-15 min. Middle notes, also known as heart notes, give dimension to the perfume. They come into action right before the top notes start to fade away and linger for about 30-45 minutes. Base notes stay on your body for a longer period of time and they prevent the top and middle notes to evaporate too quickly. These scents soften over time and this is the last thing you smell before your perfume completely fades. It holds the top and middle notes together. Oils like Cedar Wood, Rosemary, Eucalyptus, Basil, Lemon, Clary Sage and Tea Tree form the top notes. Oils like Jasmine, Ginger Lavender, Cardamom Ylang Ylang, Rose, Peppermint, Juniper, Chamomile and Black Pepper form the middle notes. Oils like Neroli, Frankincense, Sandalwood, Cinnamon, Patchouli and Vanilla form the base notes. Your essential oils can comprise of the quantity anywhere in between 15-30% of perfume. 1 ml is equal to 20 drops. For easy calculations, convert the amount of essential oils and base you want to add in terms of drops and rock your favorite scent!!
If you are not a perfume kind of person and loves solid deodorant sticks, girl! I got ya covered too!!My go to recipe for DIY natural deodorant is:
- 3 tblspoons coconut oil
- 3 tblspoons baking soda
- 2 tblspoons shea butter
- 2 tblspoons arrowroot powder
- 1/2 tblspoon bentonite clay (use a plastic storage container if you add bentonite clay)
- 1 tblspoon beeswax
- 1 tblspoon vitamin e oil
- 5 – 10 drops of essential oils of your choice (lavender and eucalyptus are my fav)
Warning: Always do a skin patch test before experimenting with any essential oils as they are highly concentrated.