How To Make Your Own Perfume: Eau de Parfum

I've dubbed today, Tutorial Tuesday, and on this most wondrous day of DIY, we shall be fancy and French. Remember how we learned how to make perfume oil? Well, today we're going to learn how to make the gold standard: Eau de Parfum. Translated by Google, Eau de Parfum means "Perfume." :O

So what's the difference between perfume oil and Eau de Parfum? Well, for starters, Eau de Parfum is probably what you're used to wearing. Instead of using a carrier of Jojoba like we used in our perfume oil, Eau de Parfum has alcohol and is what you buy at most stores. It's that friendly little spray bottle that you can carry in your purse and spritz on throughout the day, or you can be all 1930s awesome and have an atomizer bulb.

Alright, so now that we have the terminology down, let's get to work.

If you have not already read my tutorial on how to make perfume oil, go there first. Read until the section: The Maths. Then you will be sufficient expert in basic perfumery and blending so that we may begin. Go ahead. I'll be here.

The Maths for Eau de Parfum

Ick. More math. But don't worry, Eau de Parfum math is arguably easier in that you can get Google to do most of the work for you. For today's lesson, we are going to use a 10ml atomizer bottle. As you recall from last time/what you just read, each ml has 20 drops, sooooo:

20drops X 10 ml = 200 drops

Our perfume today will have 200 drops. Alcohol based perfumes are generally comprised of the following parts:

20% essential oil

70% alcohol (190proof)

10% distilled water

So if our essential oils comprise 20% of 200 drops, that means that we need 40 drops total of essential oil. 70% of 200 is 140, so 140 drops of alcohol. 10% of 200 is 20, ergo, 20 drops distilled water. (Thanks Google!)

This makes figuring out how much of each essential oil a lot less complicated. Since our note ratios are:

2 parts base: 1 part heart: 1 part head

That means the drops will be:

20drops base: 10 drops heart: 10 drops head

SO MUCH EASIER!! (If you have no idea what I'm talking about when I say base, heart, and head then you get an F on your homework of reading.)

What You Will Need

1 - 10ml atomizer bottle (you can do a search online for this, or you can re-use an old perfume bottle. Just make sure you wash it out with some rubbing alcohol and then maybe run through the dishwasher.)

3 essential oils or fragrance oils depending on what you want. If you want all natural perfume, only use essential oils. Fragrance oils can contain synthetics but have already been diluted in carrier oil so they tend to be less irritating. When choosing essential oils, make sure to look up any health advisories they may have as not all EOs are skin safe. Brambleberry has a nice, affordable selection of both EOs and fragrance oils.

7ml of 190 (preferably) proof grain alcohol. If you can get your hands on some Everclear, that is the best you can get for make-at-home perfume. Unfortunately, Everclear is illegal in many states. You can also use grape alcohol. Short of Everclear, buying 190 proof alcohol is sort of tough because it's hard to find and when you do find some, it tends to be sold in big bottles that are often expensive. If you're serious about perfumery, spend the money. If you're just having fun, it won't kill your perfume to just use some vodka you can get at the store. Just get the highest proof available. Do not use rubbing alcohol. No! Bad!

3 pipettes or glas droppers for your EOs

1 measuring cup that has ml units

1 small funnel

20 drops of distilled water (optional) I say optional here because a lot of the times the distilled water makes your perfume cloudy. If you don't care, use the water. If you do, don't use the water, it won't kill you.

Tag or label for your perfume; I usually just use some masking tape when I’m experimenting.

Let's Do This!

[The process is pretty much the same so some of this will be copied and pasted from my previous post. I'm not re-inventing the wheel here guys.]

Clear off a workspace; wipe it clean and put some newspapers or table cloth down to prevent spill damage. Make sure that all your materials – bottles, droppers – are clean. Next open up your base note and insert your pipette. Gently squeeze the bulb and let go to get the oil in. Carefully (and slowly!) count out 20 drops of your base note into the 10ml bottle. When you’re done, close the EO lid and put it and your pipette to the side. Next, open up your heart note. Count out 10 drops; then put that EO and pipette aside. Don’t shake yet! Last, count out 10 drops of your head note. Once you have transferred the 3 EOs into your 10ml bottle, close the lid of the bottle and shake it up gently to let the oils mix in with each other.

Now, YOU HAVE TO WAIT A WEEK! Sorry, Eau de Parfum oils and alcohol like to go to the dance just as much as the perfume oils. Don't deny them! Put your bottle in a dark place for a week before adding the alcohol.

After the week has passed, check your oil blend to make sure you like it. If you do, let's move forward. If not, chuck it and try again. Blending essential oils for fragrances can be challenging, don't always expect to get it on your first try.

Get your bottle of blended EOs, your funnel, measuring cup, and alcohol. Over the sink, pour out 7ml of alcohol into your measuring cup. Once you have this, stick your funnel into the bottle of EOs and pour the alcohol into the funnel. This minimizes the mess and is nice because you don't have to sit hunched over counting out 140 drops with a pipette. Put the lid back on your bottle, shake it up, and put the bottle away. You didn't really think you'd get away with waiting the month did you?

What You May Notice About Your Eau de Parfum

After your month has passed, smell your concoction. Does it have a strong odor of alcohol? That's generally ok. Test it out by spritzing a little on your pressure points. The alcohol smell should dissipate after a few seconds and your gorgeous perfume notes will be left behind. If, however, the alcohol is all you smell after some time has passed, you might have put in too much alcohol, you might not have a good blend of EOs, or it's possible that you need to let the perfume sit a bit longer. While Eau de Parfums are ready to wear after about a month, I've found that the 3 month marker is the sweet spot. After 3 months, these perfumes really shine.

You now know how to make two varieties of perfume. For our next Tutorial Tuesday (which may not be on a Tuesday, let's see how ambitious I am), let's learn how to make solid perfume, shall we? Stay tuned.


On the Importance of Planning and Why I Fail At It

Last week was a pretty good week for me - I found out that one of the articles I've written will be re-published on a bigger website with more traffic than lowly me could ever hope to acquire on my own, and I was notified that my shop was given a positive review by a respected perfumista (out this Fall). If this was Tumblr, this would be the part where I include a gif of Michael Scott dancing or something. Feeling validated and confident, I sang my own praises from mountaintops (my apartment, to my husband, Facebook friends, and cats). And then my husband said, "That sounds like a big bump in traffic that's coming your way in the next two months. Do you have enough inventory? Are you prepared?"

Me: [Long pause] You're right. A perfume storm is a'brewing (yes I really do speak like that).

So I ran to the other side of the room and busted out all the perfume ingredients and set to work. For two days, I counted drops on six different perfumes. Realizing that I had run out of two ingredients, I rented a Zipcar and made my way to the supply store here in Seattle where I proceeded to buy at least $70 worth of oil that wasn't on the list. When I got home, I realized that I had not done a proper inventory of my most used essential oils. Mid-pour, the painful truth presented itself. I was 80 drops short of Tahitian Vanilla!

I wanted to kick myself. I can understand if I run out of Morrocan Rose or Saffron if I'm not paying attention, but vanilla?! WTF, me? Vanilla is one of the most basic, universally loved ingredients in fragrances. Some snooty people say that an affinity for vanilla is the mark of an undeveloped palette. To which I say, if people like vanilla then what the hell does it matter?

But yeah, planning. Excel sheets. File Folders. I need all of these things.