While commercial perfumes may contain upward of 200 ingredients, you can create simple perfumes at home with the two core ingredients of water and fragrance. Before starting a homemade perfume recipe, take the sniff test of various flowers, essential oils and other natural ingredients to determine your preferences. In general, perfumes may have musky, floral, aquatic, spicy or fruity scents. To emulate your favorite commercial concoctions, blend light and fresh top notes with richer, heavier base notes.
Select flower blossoms or leaves for your base scent. Stronger fragrances work best for homemade perfume recipes. Go feminine with rose petals or lavender. Create a sporty fragrance with a citrus base, such as orange blossoms or lemon verbena. If you want a stronger citrus scent, add chopped peel from oranges, grapefruit, lemons or limes. Lilac evokes spring with its fresh smell, while honeysuckle has the headier scent of humid summer nights.
Rinse the flowers, leaves and peels gently. Let them dry on a flat dishtowel. Chop the flowers or leaves roughly until you have about 1 cup of ingredients.
Place a cheesecloth in a bowl with the chopped flowers on top of the cloth. Pour distilled water over the flowers until they are completely submerged. Allow the mixture to soak overnight.
Lift the cheesecloth out of the bowl. Squeeze the scented water out of the cheesecloth and into a saucepan. Simmer the liquid until you have concentrated it down to about 1 tsp. fluid.
Allow the mixture to cool. Pour the liquid through a funnel and into an airtight bottle with a stopper. Let it set overnight. You can add a drop of two of glycerin to help retain the fragrance. If you keep the perfume in a cool, dry place, it will have a shelf life of about 30 days.
- Take care when using essential oils in perfume concoctions. Their high concentration causes allergic reactions in some people.
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