Written & Photographed Holly J. Coley, The Upstate Edit
I’ve always had a love affair with scent. From taking whiffs of my cousin’s Red Door perfume to dabbing my dad’s cologne behind my ears in elementary school, I’ve long held the belief that of all beauty products, fragrance is the most essential. After all, scent is tied directly to our memories and can change our mood.
My relationship with perfumes got more complicated when I became interested in green beauty. If you’ve ever read the notes (individual scents within a fragrance), you may find aromas like cupcake or caramel. Beautiful to smell? Absolutely. But when was the last time you saw a cupcake or caramel tree? Under the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act of 1966, companies are not required to disclose ingredients used in a fragrance, so there’s no way of knowing what exactly is in a perfume, or any product with that insidious label.
Creating your own natural fragrance is not a question of difficulty but patience. Every scent is made up of a series of notes, with three notes equaling a chord. The most complex perfumes will have several and can take weeks to meld. However, this multipurpose perfume (which also works great as a body spray and room freshener) is a single-chord fragrance and can be enjoyed immediately. █
3 different essential oils (see below)
Coffee filter or bowl (for sniffing blends)
3½ tablespoons of plain vodka
3½ tablespoons of witch hazel
Creating a Scent:
Each chord has a top note (what you smell first), a middle (what you smell after the top wanes) and the base, which is the lasting impression of the perfume. The challenge is finding oils that blend well together. I highly suggest visiting a site like www.aromaweb.com if you’re interested in understanding more about this and different scent families in general. But for the sake of simplicity, remember this rule of thumb: fresh for your top note (think lime, grapefruit and other citrus notes), floral for your middle (lavender, ylang ylang) and something herbaceous, sweet or spicy for your base (balsam, vanilla, clove). Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, but you’ll become more familiar with what works and what doesn’t as you experiment.
Once you’ve created a chord you like, add to your bottle, along with the vodka and witch hazel. Give a gentle shake and then go ham spritzing yourself and rooms that need an aroma pick-me-up.
If you need some scent inspiration, try these single-chord blends.
Fresh and Floral
12 drops of pink grapefruit + 6 drops of jasmine + 5 drops of rose
5 drops of sweet orange + 8 drops of lavender + 12 drops of vanilla
7 drops of bergamot + 6 drops of juniper berry + 7 drops of cedarwood