How can I convert essential oils into a cologne?
March 16, 2008 4:50 PM   Subscribe

After buying some essential oils, how do I use them as cologne?

Way back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, Coty's Sweet Earth had a gingergrass scent that I loved. Decades later I was still unable to find a substitute in a spray form. (Vermont Country Store has some of the Sweet Earth scents in semi-solid form.) So I decided to buy some essential oils. I bought gingergrass, rosemary, and grapefruit--not intending to use them all at the same time.

Now that they're here, I'd like to turn myself into a big lightly-stinky mess--one oil at a time. So what do I do? Do I need to drop them into vodka or distilled alcohol? Dab directly? Ideally, I'd like to create a cologne-type application that I can spray.

The oils smell lovely but really intense and I'm not a heavy scent person. All advice appreciated! Thanks.
posted by moof to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Whenever I've used essential oils as a personal fragrance, I just dabbed a bit on my wrists and rubbed them together.
posted by Stewriffic at 4:54 PM on March 16, 2008

This site could be potentially useful (found upon Google searching 'eau de toilette recipe').
posted by nonmerci at 4:57 PM on March 16, 2008

Speaking from experience, dilute the hell out of the grapefruit oil before you put it on your skin. Many (or even most, lavender and tea tree excepted) essential oils can cause skin irritation if applied straight, but grapefruit is a killer. I put a few drops straight in a bath once and nearly clawed my skin off for hours afterward.
posted by mostlymartha at 5:03 PM on March 16, 2008

Very sparingly.
posted by Melismata at 5:23 PM on March 16, 2008

Many essential oils will irritate your skin. You can dilute them with a carrier oil, such as grapeseed oil or sweet almond oil before applying them. Here's some info about carrier oils.
posted by cheerwine at 5:34 PM on March 16, 2008

Please!! Never put pure essential oils directly on the skin. They are harsh chemicals (since they are so concentrated) and you can really sensitize yourself and get really bad rashes as a result! To start with, it is best to mix them in jojoba oil (which is really a wax). Jojoba has no smell and does not oxidize like say Almond oil. Then, to test the scent, add say 20-30 total drops of all the oils in your blend per ounce of jojoba. Once you find something you like, you can experiment by mixing perfumes. Top, Middle, base notes. This site has a good chart explaining the proportions.

Have fun with it. but first experiment with small amounts of essential oils in say a shot glass, then add jojoba and try it on your skin. Much better than wasting larger quantites of essential oils while experimenting. Sometimes you can tell just by the mix in the shot glass that you're not loving the smell. Remember, these oils can eat styrofoam, some plastics, etc. So use glass (when they're not diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba.)

******** fyi ******* some oils can permanantly turn your skin brown if placed on your skin undiluted. (Photosensitive oils such as Bergamot and other citrus) so please....... DON'T APPLY THEM NEAT (undiluted) on your skin! :) Unless you love the look of brown finger marks on your neck and wrists or wherever else you put it that is exposed to sun! :)
posted by wildpetals at 5:35 PM on March 16, 2008 [4 favorites]

Wait, bergamot oil can permanently turn the skin brown? Why hasn't anybody told the body-modification crowd about this?
posted by box at 5:39 PM on March 16, 2008

Once, I got a few ml each of some Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab fragrance oils (Goth perfumes, basically) and mixed the oil with Everclear in a spray bottle. Result: spray perfume. Start with a 1/4 proportion of oil to alcohol, although that may even be too high. You will want to make sure, possibly by way of another person's reaction, that you've got the scent diluted enough. I was pretty much ordered to take a shower after the first try with the Lady Macbeth scent.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:10 PM on March 16, 2008

Well if you read about Essential oils, it is pretty common knowledge. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't really read that kinda stuff before diving in. Back in the day when "Primal Elements" had a real store in Long Beach, CA (early 90's) they had essential oils in bottles for people to sniff and put on papers. even though we clearly said do not apply to your skin, scores did. And we always knew which ones loved bergamot, they had brow marks on their neck that would not really fade away or wash off. There are some bergamot's that have the photosentization element removed, but not all do. Just is much safer not to do it at all! Because of that, but also, because neat oils on the skin can cause a reaction and you never know where it will be. Mine ended up on my cheek... yep, that was fun. From Lavender. I've been into essential oils and aromatherapy since 1989, and at the time I did not know that much about it all.. Now I am careful and try to let everyone know.
posted by wildpetals at 8:17 PM on March 16, 2008

I've never had a problem with bergamot - maybe I just got lucky. Anyway, what I do is improvise a concoction of bergamot, lime, vanilla, orange, rosemary, frankincense and some other stuff (I forget exactly what - maybe some lavender and grapefruit, too). I shake it all up in a mini spray bottle with about a 50/50 mixture of oil and the highest-proof vodka I can find. People tell me I smell good.
posted by univac at 9:17 PM on March 16, 2008

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