This week’s guest author is Kristen Schuhmann. You can purchase her new book, “All-Natural Perfume Making” here.
Nature gifts us many ingredients and tools to help us rest, relax, and rejuvenate. Just being in nature is grounding and soothing which is what led Japanese doctors to start writing prescriptions for ‘forest bathing’ (or spending time in nature). Doctors around the world have taken note, and the idea that being out in nature releases stress and promotes health is no longer fringe. Along with “forest bathing,” things like caring for plants, gardening, hiking, and outdoor yoga have plenty of nature-based health benefits. And from these experiences, we know that herbalism (use of things like herbs and essential oils for healing) is also an incredible gift from nature that can be grounding, relaxing, and promote better health physically, emotionally, and mentally.
There are many stress-relieving herbs that can be taken internally as tisanes (herbal teas), pills, or tinctures, or even just added to foods such as soups and casseroles. Herbs don’t have to be taken internally to promote health though. There are many other ways to work with herbs, such as adding herbs to baths, combined into sachets for eye pillows, or made into a body oil. Essential oils are also part of herbalism since the essential oils come from plants and are used in therapeutic ways. One way that I like to engage with nature to ground myself, release stress, and promote optimal health is by making natural perfumes using herbs and essential oils. In fact, making and wearing natural perfumes is such an important part of my life, that I wrote a book about it.
The Healing Powers of All-Natural Perfumes
I’ll share two of the recipes from the book below, but first I want to express how therapeutic the actual DIYing part of this hobby is. We all are creators, yet once childhood is over, we tend to forget about indulging our creative sides as much. Adult responsibilities take over and it is easy to get into a habit of working and passive resting with watching screens or playing video games. When we take time to indulge our creative sides, we are deeply satisfied and experience stress releases from deep within. There is just something about playing with beautiful materials, such as herbs and essential oils to create something uniquely your own, that is healing and healthy, as well as a pleasure to wear. It really is a self-care activity that is rejuvenating and grounding from the first moment of starting the project until the last drop that is used up weeks or months later.
In order to make your own all-natural perfumes, you can simply add essential oils to a base oil like sweet almond or jojoba oil, or an alcohol such as vodka. You can also create a more complex perfume by first creating an herbal oil or extract. In my book I give instructions on how to make herbal oils and extracts, but to keep it simple here, I’ll just focus on adding essential oils into a base oil or alcohol.
The reason essential oils need a base is because they are highly potent and can cause skin irritation if put directly on the skin. By adding the essential oils to a base such as oil or alcohol, it dilutes the potency so skin irritation is less likely. Of course, be sure to test your own sensitivity and start with smaller amounts of essential oils if you are brand new to wearing essential oils on your body. The basic recipe for a perfume, whether it is an alcohol base or an oil base, is between five-twenty drops of essential oils per teaspoon of base. Again, start with five drops per teaspoon of base until you are certain you are not sensitive to the essential oils, then you can add more. There are six teaspoons per ounce, so if you have an ounce container (colored glass is best), that means for that container you want 30-120 drops of essential oils. For a two ounce container, you will have 60-240 drops of essential oils, and so on. One thing to keep in mind is that for health benefits, the perfume does not have to have a robust scent. A subtle scent will still give optimal benefits. Also, the stronger the natural perfume smells does not mean it will last longer. Essential oils dissipate more quickly than lab-made materials and they just have to be reapplied more frequently.
Here are two recipes from the book to get you started, but I want to encourage you to experiment with any essential oils that appeal to you. Even if you just add one essential oil that you already have to a base of oil or alcohol and experience how wearing that as perfume makes you feel, I am confident it will have positive effects on your life.
Relaxation Perfume Recipe
Neroli is an age-old anti-anxiety flower and scent, once used in bridal bouquets to ease nerves. Lavender is of course known for its relaxation properties and makes a great bedtime perfume on its own. Cedar wood is very grounding, so the combination of all these scents makes a great blend for days or nights when you need to stay calm. It’s also just a lovely scent to wear when you go out after work to relax and readjust the mind to a calm state.
- 1.75 oz. jojoba oil or vodka
- 50 drops lavender essential oil
- 25 drops cedar wood essential oil
- 5 drops neroli essential oil
Anti-Depressant Perfume Recipe
For occasional blue days, especially in the wintertime when the sun won’t shine, this blend is a lovely pick-me-up. Bergamot and clary sage have natural uplifting and antidepressant qualities to them, while frankincense is a powerful gut-healer.
- 1.75 oz. of an alcohol or base oil
- 50 drops bergamot essential oil
- 30 drops clary sage essential oil
- 20 drops frankincense essential oil
Thank you for reading and wishing everyone a life of optimal health and exquisite beauty. For many more recipes and instructions, please checkout my book, All-Natural Perfume Making, available at your favorite booksellers.