We all like to smell good (I hope!), but commercial perfumes are loaded with scary ingredients. Plus they usually smell so strong I wind up with a raging headache. Fortunately it’s super easy – and fun – to experiment with making your own botanical cologne from ingredients growing in your own backyard.
Making cologne is a bit of a beauty science experiment. You can pick natural ingredients that will soothe and calm on a stressful day or stimulate and energize for the afternoon slump. Add a bit of this herb and a dash of that flower, then wait a few weeks and see what happens. These homemade scents won’t be as strong as commercial perfume (a good thing, if you ask me) but the smell will be more natural and you can customize to your own preferences.
Vanilla Rose Cologne
- Handful of fresh or dried rose petals
- Handful of fresh or dried lavender
- 1 vanilla bean
Combine flowers and vanilla in a clean, dry glass mason jar. Pour in enough vodka to thoroughly cover the dried flowers float so there’s at least 1-inch of vodka at the bottom. And as the flowers absorb the alcohol they will sink. Put the lid on and give the jar a shake every so often. Let sit for at least two weeks (4-6 is better) then strain the flowers. Pour the resulting liquid into a bottle, a spritz top works best.
Orange Mint Cologne
The smell of citrus always perks me up and gives me energy. I have a huge wild mint patch so I combined fresh leaves with orange for this happy scent. Use whatever is growing in your garden – fresh basil would be lovely!
- Peel from 1 orange, white pith removed
- Handful of fresh mint leaves
- Sweet citrus essential oil
- Peppermint essential oil
Combine orange peel and mint in a clean, dry glass mason jar. Pour in vodka until there’s 1-inch of liquid above the peel. Put the lid on and give the jar a shake every so often. Let sit for at least two weeks (4-6 is better) then strain the peel and mint. This cologne does not have as strong of a natural scent so you can add 5 drops sweet citrus and 1 drop peppermint for each cup of cologne (add more if you want a stronger smell). Pour the resulting liquid into a bottle, a spritz top works best.
Photos by Lindsey Rose Johnson