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  1. #1
    AromiErotici
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    Default Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    I have found myself at a fragrance crossroads. After exploring, sampling,buying and wearing designers, I have concluded that vintage scents are the only ones that do me any justice. Not all of them mind you, but current frags leave me cold and uninterested.

    ........Which leaves me to explore the niche market next......or........make my own damn powerbombs.

    Since I know ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about making my own scent(s), what oils, alcohol and containers would one need to do this? I see a variety of different oils, but don't know the difference between absolute, essential,etc....you get the picture.

    I am not worried on what scents to start with, just concerned I get the correct oil to make a perfume worth wearing. I am quite sure if I undertake this, I will create more than a few abominable fragrances.......but I need to make these horrid mixtures using the right stuff.

    Who can steer me in the right direction here?

  2. #2
    Dane's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    I'll make one suggestion I wish I had known...start small! Get some perfumers alcohol (or 100 proof vodka) and a few bottles of essential oils...relatively inexpensive ones (health food store, etc.) Make a few concoctions and see firstly if you enjoy it, and secondly if you actually like anything you make.

    Second major thing I'd suggest is to dilute all of your essential oils right away. You'll often see recommendations on websites such as The Good Scents Company to "smell in a dilution of 1%" or something like that. Most oils are just too strong to smell on their own, and if you mix them without diluting, you'll end up wasting. So get out your calculator, and dilute to whatever % is recommended. You'll also need pipettes for this (get the smallest increment pipettes you can find), and some empty bottles (amber glass, etc.)

    Last thing I'll suggest, but for future references (don't worry about it yet), is that a good, small increment scale is very handy. You'll notice that measuring oils using a pipette can be inaccurate (at best)...a scale will make things much more precise. Also note when you're buying oils what consistency they are...very thick oils are difficult to dilute, and things that come in crystal form are also a pain. You'll want to start with simple basics.

    You can buy perfumers alcohol from Snowdrift Farms, and you'll probably find a lot of other useful supplies. But again I warn you, start small...don't invest more than $50 or so to begin with. Skip the absolutes for now (they'll often cost you more than that amount on their own). I'd also skip the synthetics for now....unless you know of some that you're specifically interested in. You can play with those later.

    Anyway, that's my advice...others may have differing opinions. I found out that I am in no way a naturally gifted perfumer, but I still enjoy having the raw materials for reference.

  3. #3
    AromiErotici
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    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    Thank you sofresh. I'll take a look at that site as well.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    I'll add more thoughts later but you generally won't be able to create any kind of 'power bomb' fragrances using just naturals. I work at a constant 20% dilution with everything and none of my scents have ever come anything close in projection/longevity as the real monsters out there like Bijan for Men, Salvador Dali, Kouros, M7, etc. Typically with a 25/40/35% blend (top/mid/heart) at 20% i'll get good sillage for an hour or so and then a relatively quiet and close to the skin drydown that lasts from 2 to 8 hours depending on the base notes used.

    Just an FYI so you know what you are getting into should you stick with just naturals. I think it is really rewarding but it does take awhile to adjust to the differences. When I first started I spent a long time trying to recreate various scents until I realized that I just couldn't do it structurally and temporally in the same manner that synthetics allow.
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  5. #5
    ECaruthers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    Hi, AE.

    I agree with everything above. I have also described my own early experiences, including sources for EOs, accords, etc., in my blog post, "Training My Nose." Let me just add four more points here.

    1) Remember safety. Work somewhere with good ventilation. Wear gloves until you're sure you can pour & mix without getting your hands wet. (Some people are more coordinated. I had the highest breakage bill in the history of my high school chemistry lab.) If you use Everclear or a 160 proof vodka, take the Flammable warning on the label very seriously. Throw your trash away frequently.

    2) You're going to need a lot of bottles. E.g., if you want a rose-jamine heart note, you'll want to make and smell at least 3:1, 2:2 and 1:3 ratios. Hobby stores like Michael's and The Hobby Lobby have small plastic bottles (2 to 4 oz) for about $0.60 each.

    3) Work with small batches of materials - e.g., make only 50 ml of your 1% dilution of each new material you get. Then try mixing from these dilutions. You'll save money and also play safer.

    4) Try diluting with oils as well as alcohol. Evaporation is slower and they'll even moisturize your skin. If you look further down in this disucssion you'll see some threads on dilution in oil vs. alcohol. Alcohol is preferred if you want to sell your results commercially.

    And don't forget to have fun!

  6. #6
    AromiErotici
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    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    Sounds awesome. I truly appreciate the info. I have decided I am going to do this for a fall / winter hobby and see if I can't come up with a few wearable scents.

    I told my wife Sweet Pea I was going to do this soon. I wish I had a pic of the horrified look on her face. That poor woman has seen so many bottles come and go in the last year alone, it's a wonder she's still with me.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    Besides the practical approach I think you should read about mixing fragrances, for instance on this sub forum. That way you don't have to invent the wheel yourself. Besides essential oils I think you should buy some basic aromachemicals. For a classical Sweet Pea you need for instance amyl salicylate. Because there are hundreds of fragrance compounds out there a little focus helps.

    Regarding the alcohol, for a moderate stronge perfume you need at least 180 proof / 90% alcohol. Of course a kind that is as odorless as available.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    Careful with some of those ingredients & essential oils. Even in 50 ml alcohol, an accidental extra drop of really strong stuff like peppermint or clove essential oil will ruin your composition. I hate it when that happens after I made a solution with a few ingredients in it already and then it gets ruined in the end.

    Get to know your ingredients; now I try to add the strongest-smelling ingredients first and adjust from there.

    Also get a proper textbook, like Intro to Perfumery by Tony Curtis. Read it cover-to-cover.

    It also helps if you already had previous biology/chemistry lab experience at university - that way you know your way around your equipment and safety protocols.
    Q: How do you make a feminine fragrance masculine?
    A: Add 'Pour Homme' to the bottle
    - Pierre Bourdon

  9. #9
    AromiErotici
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    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    Quote Originally Posted by GourmandHomme View Post
    Careful with some of those ingredients & essential oils. Even in 50 ml alcohol, an accidental extra drop of really strong stuff like peppermint or clove essential oil will ruin your composition. I hate it when that happens after I made a solution with a few ingredients in it already and then it gets ruined in the end.

    Get to know your ingredients; now I try to add the strongest-smelling ingredients first and adjust from there.

    Also get a proper textbook, like Intro to Perfumery by Tony Curtis. Read it cover-to-cover.

    It also helps if you already had previous biology/chemistry lab experience at university - that way you know your way around your equipment and safety protocols.
    Thanks for the tip. Sadly, I am about as adept in chemistry as I am experienced being tall...( I'm 5'6")

    I guess I should start reading up on this endeavor a little bit.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    I also would recommend "An Introduction to Perfumery" by Tony Curtis and David G. Williams. You don't need to read it from cover to cover, for instance in case you are not interested in the marketing aspects. Knowledge of chemistry helps, but is absolutely not needed.

    Getting to know your ingredients as GourmandHomme wrote is probably the most important thing to learn. Smell it, pure and dilluted, in all kinds of combinations.

  11. #11
    ECaruthers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    To avoid the problem of "one extra drop spoils the whole composition," I suggest making dilutions of every ingredient in advance. For example, you could start out planning to make EdPs at 10% for a while. Make up 50 or 100 ml of every ingredient at 10%. Then mix these in the proportions you want in your final EdP.

    You can get an idea of relative strengths by putting a drop of 10% solution onto a paper towel. E.g., in some recent tests I rated cinnamon and clove bud strength=4, jasmine and sandalwood=3, bergamont=2, and Ylang-Ylang=1. Of course there are different sources of all these ingredients, so you have to do your own tests.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    Quote Originally Posted by ECaruthers View Post
    To avoid the problem of "one extra drop spoils the whole composition," I suggest making dilutions of every ingredient in advance. For example, you could start out planning to make EdPs at 10% for a while. Make up 50 or 100 ml of every ingredient at 10%. Then mix these in the proportions you want in your final EdP.

    You can get an idea of relative strengths by putting a drop of 10% solution onto a paper towel. E.g., in some recent tests I rated cinnamon and clove bud strength=4, jasmine and sandalwood=3, bergamont=2, and Ylang-Ylang=1. Of course there are different sources of all these ingredients, so you have to do your own tests.
    That's right, another tip to follow on from the above suggestion:

    "Buy shitloads of equipment/packaging in bulk, eg 100 ml bottles, disposable pipettes, etc." In fact, think of how many you need, and buy 2x that amount.
    Q: How do you make a feminine fragrance masculine?
    A: Add 'Pour Homme' to the bottle
    - Pierre Bourdon

  13. #13

    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    A couple of things - I agree with the poster who said naturals won't get you very far. I have found this to be true. I disagree with the poster who said start out with essential oils from health food stores because 1) they are very costly compared to buying from an EO company and 2) they don't smell true to form as use for fragrances. As for books, I love Essence and Alchemy by Mandy Aftell, even though she works in that book with only natural essential oils. It's a great primer and easy to understand. Good luck and let us know when you are selling!

  14. #14
    joxer96's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    You've been given some very good advice so far, so I won't repeat what's already been said. Something I always recommend is to join the Perfumemaking group over at Yahoo. There is an incredible amount of information waiting for you there, and the group is filled with some great folks who are always willing to help. The huge number of postings can be intimidating at first, but there are also LOTS of formulas in the Files section. Highly recommended!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    I would start with Mandy Aftel's book ("Essence & Alchemy") and do as others stated, start small and see if you enjoy it. Scent is very strange in that you can't touch it, see it, hear it... some people work amazingly well dealing with something as abstract as scent, others can find themselves stonewalled or overwhelmed.. but as long as you have fun, you're on the right path

  16. #16
    ECaruthers's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    On the matter of diluting in oil vs. alcohol, I finally put some oil in a travel spray bottle. It does come out, but as a thin stream (think water gun) and not as a gentle spray.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    Your spray bottle is probably not intended to use with oil, which is I think general the case. Most of them are designed for watery/alcoholic liquids.

    I like Mandy Aftels book, but drawbacks are that it only is about "natural" perfumery and contains only very few formula's. On the other hand: in case you focus on natural perfumes it should at least be one of the books to start with.

  18. #18
    joxer96's Avatar
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    Default Re: Question for the more experienced DIY'ers

    I also like Mandy Aftel's book, just ignore her anti synthetics comments. Regarding using oil, be aware that many resins will not dissolve in oil properly or at all. Even if you warm up the oil and resin as suggested, your results will not be as good as if you used alcohol. That was my experience anyway.

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