How To Make Your Own Custom Scent

For many of us, having options is key when it comes to the beauty world. However, perfume is a typically a bit cost prohibitive to amass a large collection. Luckily, these days there are options beyond the department store counter that can save you money as well as offer you the opportunity to create your very own custom, signature scent.

Most of these options require a little craftiness. Using a bit of DIY knowhow to come up with something custom definitely sounds daunting, but there’s a wealth of both tools and knowledge that can help you land somewhere of your choosing. Scent sellers are keeping up with consumer desires to have a totally unique signature scent by offering kits and collections for mixing. Now you can build a scent aesthetic that matches your personality in a new sensory way. There’s more than one way to approach: If you want rules and steps you can go with a store-bought blending kit, or you can go drop-by-drop with your own collection of supplies.

Blending perfumes isn’t as complicated as it seems on the surface, and that spirit has been captured in the Foolproof Blending Trio from Demeter. If you don’t feel comfortable hitting up the raw ingredients in essential oils, this kit gives you not only the tools, but takes out the guesswork that can cost real dollars if you mess up. Perfect for fragrance beginners, this set comes with three complementary single scents and gives you what you need to learn how to express your individuality via perfume.

Demeter's kit is the store-bought version of a DIY laboratory. Before purchasing, an easy to decipher online chart allows you to choose three single notes that speak to you and work in synergy. The three notes come arrive alongside baby pipettes, a funnel, and paper strips so you can play lab while you figure out which scent combination most speaks to you. The fun part is testing how much of each you like until you find the hybrid scent sweet spot. The mess-averse can mist on more than one note to get a desired effect without any pouring or stirring. If you want to seal the deal in a blank bottle, determine how much of each of the three you like, blend the same ratio.

The best part is you'll have plenty of each of the single notes left over, so you can continue to customize as time goes on, or just wear one at a time! A great trick is to keep notes on the strips so you can refer back before making a final decision, but the kit has enough product to try a few times should you need to.

If you have a more advanced knowledge of fragrance, you can move on to using a combination of essential oils and plain vodka to create your own perfume. Essential oils are pure distillate of the chemical in plants, flowers, woods, resins and anything that smells good. These oils need to be diluted to use, but are pretty much a dead-on smelling concentrate of a botanical.

L to R: Young Living Patchouli, Cardamom, Rose, and Sacred Frankincense Essential Oils

When using essential oils to create a DIY perfume, a ratio of 10 parts carrier base to 1 part essential oils is a good place to start, according to Mountain Rose Herbs. Proper dilution is important to make sure you don't irritate your skin, and there's oils suitable for sensitive skin if there are concerns. Always be sure to check that the oils you use are not photosensitive, as many citrus oils, for example, can react with sunlight. Use them if well diluted and worn under clothing, never on bare skin that's exposed to UV rays. It's OK to measure inside a container if you know how much it holds inside, but it's always smart to mix in a separate container or one with measurements on it. I love my OXO 7-Piece Liquid Measuring Beakers for this, you can measure even tiny 5mL amounts, and pre-measure all your liquids for any DIY recipe.

Simply add around 10 drops of EO per 10mL of liquid, and take care to have a light hand with certain strong scents, like florals, which you’ll want to start with one or two drops and add to your taste. Top off with a measure of vodka or perfumer's alcohol, which will keep it mostly germ free and help the oils disperse. Stir really well and add a label that includes the date. You can get about a year's life on this blend. Some EOs will require you to shake before you use them, and if you want to avoid this you can switch to a roll-on bottle over a spray mister and use a neutral carrier oil like grapeseed or coconut instead of vodka, which won't separate like alcohol might over time. Using mini atomizers which are easy to find on Amazon are great for misting on your latest creations, and they're elegant too!

My new BFF custom scent, Malocchio, Italian for "Evil Eye"

It's so easy to blend these choices that you can make four or five different versions of the same scent. These custom scents are hard for people to imitate and miles cheaper than most services that do the same.

Photos: Maria Penaloza (4), Danielle Guercio (1)