We've all read the beauty stories that advocate a signature scent, and the same goes for the confusingly long laundry list of notes to describe whatever the featured brand is peddling our way. But what if you could simplify all that and do it yourself? With the heyday of essential oils and the rise of bespoke perfumery, now you can.
To prepare, familiarize yourself with the scents that you like. Knowing what you like before coming to a session like the one I attended at Scent Studio saves you from smelling literally everything, which will eventually save you from a headache and olfactory fatigue. As a cheat sheet, I refer to sites like Fragrantica.com to help me find out what the key components of my favorite perfumes are.
The challenge here lies in the fact that we're not exposed to the individual fragrance components of perfumes in our everyday lives. This is essential because it builds the mental repository of "recipes" you can easily draw from. Personally, I can't pick out the individual notes in a perfume, so identifying what makes a good mix is that much harder—especially when the blend smells nothing like its "ingredients."
But not to worry, the studio associates hand you a fragrance wheel, which shows you the different types of scents and when they shine in the composition, and are their tiny vials are labeled helpfully. For example, citrus scents often come out as top notes—the first thing you smell when you spritz—while gourmand notes, like vanilla, caramel, and chocolate, shine as base notes, the scent that lingers on your skin. Now we're ready to begin.
How to Make Your Own Perfume
1. Smell each essential oil or absolute on its own by putting a drop on the end of a strip of paper. Try to be consistent with your drop size, so you can approximate just how strong the sillage of each component is. Logic dictates you go from lightest to strongest; this is where the fragrance wheel comes in handy.
2. Test out different combinations by creating a fan out of the strips of paper with your chosen notes. Add or remove to get the scent you want. If, say, you want it sweeter, add a fruity note. For more depth, opt for something oriental, like amber.
If an element in your mix is desired but ultimately overpowering, mimic the effect of creating a blend by putting that strip farther away from you than the others, then fanning yourself.
If your nose gets a little tired, the best way to let is rest is by smelling your own skin—the scent most neutral or familiar to you. That said, I personally found it helpful to have skipped my signature spritz that day. You don't want other smells getting in the way.
3. When you've decided which combination you're happy with, you're ready to mix the oils! Try different ratios until you achieve your desired mix. Do note that the scent changes with a bit of time, even just a minute or two.
Bernadatte says most Filipinas prefer fruity-floral fragrances, like peach with jasmine, or citruses such as grapefruit and bergamot.
4. Once you have your blend, add in your carrier agent: perfumer's alcohol, a highly concentrated denatured alcohol. Mix well and let it rest in a cool dark place for a week or two—the ideal conditions to store perfumes. And there you have it, your own perfume!
Bernadette Lim, internationally trained perfumer and owner of Scent Studio, warns against certain sensitivities, thus it's best to see how your skin reacts by first testing it out on the crook of your arm. The same goes for essential oils! Just because it's natural doesn't mean it's automatically safe to ingest.
Scent Studio by BC Fragrance is located at G/F Tower 2 SM North Towers.