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  1. #1

    Question My first post in DIY, seeking some advice, answers and hints :)

    So, I've been a little afraid to post here since I'm just a beginner but here goes. :}

    I need some help on how to get better accuracy in measuring and testing and would love advice/tricks on how some of you out there go from your research phase to production.

    I've had a big passion for fragrance for many years now. Thanks to this site I feel I've grown leaps and bounds in the consumer aspect of fragrance. A few years ago I started making my own shaving oils (mainly pre-shave) thanks to a website I found thru Stumbleupon. That led to more internet research and eventually I found SaveOnScents and not only ordered base oils but also fragrance oils so I could scent my product. I found my research on making my own fragrance a bit more tricky. Most sites dealt with picking flowers, making a tincture and other things that were not really up my alley so I kinda combined a few hints I found hidden in those sites and started messing around with fragrance oils.

    My "method", which leaves much to be desired, kinda goes like this. I get an idea of what type of fragrance I want to create, go thru my bottles and see which ones will fit in with my vision. Then I dip a toothpick in each bottle of fragrance oil I have chosen, repeat with the other bottles (using different toothpicks, of course) labeling them as I do and stand those together in an egg carton or the like, like this :}

    This way I get an approximation of what works together and what doesn't. If a certain note needs more power I add a toothpick. This process is fairly decent and saves on fragrance oil since I can switch up as I go along.

    Once I find the right combination of oils and am ready to go into development is where I have my main problems. none of my bottles have dropper tops and I have limited amounts of pipettes so I end up either trying to clean out the pipettes or just using the same one over for each fragrance I am making. I know how bad re-using a pipette can be and it hurts me every time I do this, but I'm not sure what else to do. Also, my pipettes are 2 or 3 ml so I feel I'm wasting some oil in the trial phase and I don't think I have good accuracy with pipettes.

    As for the dropper issue, I always had it in my mind that using a "drop" as a unit of measure is fairly arbitrary and would depend on what size your dropper is. Kind of like how sprays from different cologne bottles are not the same. Is my thinking wrong in this or is the difference minimal? Can I buy droppers fairly cheaply and what is best?

    My next problem is one that maybe i just haven't researched enough on here, so forgive me if this is addressed elsewhere. What process should I use to mix my fragrance with perfumers alcohol?

    I have heard things like:
    -mix one note at a time starting with the base notes and wait a day or so before you add another note.
    -put all notes together and let sit for a few days (sometimes a few months)
    -add water (distilled, river water or bottled) or do not add water.
    -use coffee filters
    -heat the fragrance

    This is where I am most confused as how to proceed.

    I will admit my fragrance oils have been neglected as of late. My confusion with how to create a perfume was the main reason, but I recently got a sample pack from Slumberhouse and this has inspired me to give perfume making another try. With that being said, does anyone know where I might be able to get some fragrance oils that might be in the same vein as to what Slumberhouse uses- deep, dark, thick notes?

    Also, what ways do you use to accurately notate what is in your fragrance?

    Sorry to be so long and thank you in advance for any help you can give
    -Cologne is the only fashionable thing that fits me! (Me, circa 1997-present)
    Currently wearing: Tiveden by Zara

  2. #2

    Default Re: My first post in DIY, seeking some advice, answers and hints :)

    The best way to go, in my opinion, is to buy yourself a good weighing machine. I don't know how much fragrance you want to make at any one time but it is possible to get some electronic scales which are accurate down to 0.1gm, and with these you can make 100.0gm samples with ease. Forget the drips and drops, weighing is so much easier and more accurate.

    Mixing your finished fragrance with alcohol is, again, pretty simple. All you need to make a fragrance that can be worn as a cologne is aromachemicals, Essential Oils, Absolutes and resins, and Perfumer's alcohol (and you don't need all of these when starting out). When you have finished making your concentrated fragrance, simply mix it with alcohol (between 10.0 and 20.0% depending on whether you are making a strong Perfume or an Eau de Toilette), and leave it is a cool dark place for a couple of weeks. Then filter it, using, if possible, a good lab type filter. Some people advice using a little water, I have never done this. Do not uses "carrier oils" (such as Jojoba) as you will have all sorts of solubility problems. If you need to use a solvent (to dilute down very strong aroma chemicals, or to dilute very viscous materials for ease of compounding) use Di Propylene Glycol (DPG).

    Accurate notation is vital. Every trial you make, every idea you try out should be noted down. As you learn about the behaviour of Raw Materials (how long they stay on the smelling strip, how strong they are, how they behave when mixed with other things, what they smell like to you) you should make notes to remind yourself. When compounding I always worked in percentages (in grammes) so my formulation would be written as a list of Materials, with the amount (in grammes) written against each one. This would total 100.0.

    Hope all this is of some help; and good luck.

  3. #3

    Default Re: My first post in DIY, seeking some advice, answers and hints :)

    Thanks so much! Now, I have in the past made a few fragrances (usually less than 15ml each) and have never filtered any of them. What is the reason for filtration?
    -Cologne is the only fashionable thing that fits me! (Me, circa 1997-present)
    Currently wearing: Tiveden by Zara

  4. #4

    Default Re: My first post in DIY, seeking some advice, answers and hints :)

    It isn't absolutely necessary but there are a few materials (mainly Citrus oils) which, after a little while in alcohol, throw down a deposit. If you want a clear, transparent product it is better to filter it.

  5. #5
    gecko214's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Canton de Vaud, Switzerland

    Default Re: My first post in DIY, seeking some advice, answers and hints :)

    David is it better to cool (or freeze) before filtering? Any disadvantage to freezing/cooling first?

  6. #6
    4160Tuesdays's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Ealing, Queen of the Suburbs
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: My first post in DIY, seeking some advice, answers and hints :)

    I'd add that you can get scales (not expensive) that go down to 0.01g, although they start to be accurate at around .05 if you've got the $10 ones. You can spend thousands on your scales as you get more professional and accurate with it.

    So now it doesn't matter what size your drops are, you can weigh them.

    Buy your pipettes by the 100, then they're cheaper, and you don't feel so bad aboout putting them in the recycling. The glass droppers are expensive, but as you can reuse them for ages, they can eventual pay for themselves, and they're greener.

    I need to filter fragrances with dark heavy materials in, and some which are a little sludgy. Cocoa absolute, raspberry leaf absolute. It makes your fragrances lovely and clear in their glass bottles. (In addition to what David sais about the citrus oils oxidising. If you keep your citrus oils in alcohol as full to the top of the bottle as you can, it minimises this oxidation, as there's not much oxygen for them to react with. If you've only enough to fill half way, transfer it to a smaller bottle.)

    If you're ever anywhere near London, I'd recommend Karen Gilbert's courses. Maybe I can talk her into doing some YouTube visitors for US perfumers.

    It's also a good idea to dilute all your materials down to 10% or 20% in alcohol, so they smell more like they do in finished scents. These are called extraits (just French for extract, but it doesn't mean quite the same thing.) Perfumers generally make their blends using these.
    If you prepare your extraits and leave them a week to macerate with the alcohol, they are more accurate to use.
    Some of my scents need a couple of days to macerate then never change. Others need six weeks. Broadly speaking, the more naturals the longer it takes. If you've got some high top notes like natural grapefruit, and you're also using the big softies like benzoin and patchouli, then you go need to give them time to stick together to create a more lasting scent.

    Cocktail sticks. Blotting paper is better. I have a guilotine, and use a block of watercolour paper sliced up into little strips rather than buying specially made 'touches' which can be very expensive. Of course you should have the purest paper possible but just for mixing your own blends watercolour is fine.

    I don't know Slumberhouse. Fragrance oils can be companies' own blends and you'll never know exactly what's in them. Anything called a fragrance oil is usually synthetic. You might want to try some naturals too. The dark heavy ones like vetivert, patchouli and labdanum are in every perfumer's library.

    Have fun.
    Perfumer & writer
    " a mordant mistress of illusion" Lemon Wedge

  7. #7

    Default Re: My first post in DIY, seeking some advice, answers and hints :)

    Loads of good advice on this already so I'll just add to it by pointing you at my blog posts on Equipment, weight or volume, including what to think about in buying scales and blending methods where I've laid out how I go about it and using what equipment complete with lots of links to where you can find things and a downloadable spreadsheet that helps with scaling up.

    Have fun!
    ďBattle cries and champagne just in time for sunrise.
    ― David Bowie
    Chris Bartlett
    Perfumes from the edge . . .

    Fine fragrances hand made in The Shire
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    Twitter: @PellWallPerfume
    If you are looking for a perfumery consultation Iím happy to quote: if you want free advice, thatís what these forums are for
    You can also join my blog for more info about perfumes and perfumery.

  8. #8

    Default Re: My first post in DIY, seeking some advice, answers and hints :)

    Quote Originally Posted by gecko214 View Post
    David is it better to cool (or freeze) before filtering? Any disadvantage to freezing/cooling first?
    Cool then filter, as more insoluble stuff will come down in the cold. Freezing is not necessary however.

    And by the way, the filtering of fragrances containing Citrus Oils isn't anything to do with oxidation, it is to do with the fact that some terpenes found in Citrus oils aren't terribly soluble in alcohol.

  9. #9
    Basenotes Plus
    pkiler's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Southern California

    Default Re: My first post in DIY, seeking some advice, answers and hints :)

    Here's my scale of choice:

    With a max capability of 100g and a resolution to 0.005g

    This is a really great scale, and a great price, with great sensitivity.
    My only complaint has been that I can't weigh more than 100g. But I have now learned how to trick it, and use it in negative numbers, for amounts over 100 grams, to allow me to continue compounding in one bottle when it reaches being heavier than 100g.
    Paul Kiler
    PK Perfumes
    In addition to Our own PK line, we make Custom Bespoke Perfumes, perfumes for Entrepreneurs needing scents for perfumes or products, Custom Wedding Perfumes, and even Special Event Perfumes.

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