Have a bouquet of fresh flowers hanging around? After the initial burst of color and fragrance has faded, one of the best ways to use them is in a homemade flower perfume.
You don’t need a lot of equipment or supplies to make your own sunny scent—just some flowers from your garden (or the grocery store, if that's more your speed), unscented alcohol, and a few essential oils.
So, whenever you're ready, break out that pretty spray bottle you’ve been saving and let’s bottle some blooms.
Making your own perfume from scratch might sound complicated, but it's actually a lot simpler than you think. Most perfumes are nothing more than a mixture of fragrance (I prefer essential oils for a soft, natural scent), water, and alcohol. Simply mix them all together and spritz!
Favorite Flowers for Homemade Perfume
To make homemade essential oil perfume really come alive, you can add fresh flowers cut straight from the garden. Not only does it add depth and a sense of earthiness to your perfume, but it's free and fun—always a plus, right?
If you're not the gardening type, feel free to pick up some fresh flowers from the grocery store. Look for organic blooms if you can find them since this perfume is going to be spritzed directly onto the skin. A local nursery, health food store, or farmers market is a great place to start. That way, you won't end up with chemicals and pesticides in your perfume.
You can also forage for wild-grown flowers outside in nature—just make sure you're not accidentally trespassing or taking someone else's prized buds.
Our favorite flowers:
But you'll have an easier time finding flowers that are local to your area, so keep an open mind and use what you've got. Once you've selected your flowers, you can always customize your essential oils to accentuate their natural scent.
How to Make Your Own Custom Scent
When making your own flower petal perfume, the pros recommend that you layer scents to create base fragrances, mid-tones, and top notes. When you smell perfume, the top notes are typically the first thing you smell, followed by the middle and then base notes.
But when making your own perfume, you’ll want to start with base notes first and work your way up.
Base notes are the foundation of a perfume and provide depth and richness to the fragrance. They are the longest-lasting of the three notes and help stabilize and support the more volatile top and middle notes.
Think heavier, warm scents like:
Middle notes are the scents that become noticeable once the top notes have evaporated. They serve as the core of the fragrance and play a transitional role between the top and base notes.
Your typical floral fragrances work well here, so this where you'd want to incorporate the fresh flowers you find in the garden in addition to floral essential oils.
Top notes are responsible for the initial burst of aroma that you experience when you spray or apply perfume.
They are often fresh, bright, and uplifting fragrances, such as:
Choose one or two scents from each category, and combine them until you end up with a fragrance that really speaks to you.
If that's too complicated, just skip the layering process and follow your nose. You naturally know what floral essential oils you like, so trust your instincts and choose whatever fragrance combinations you prefer. You can't mess it up, I promise.
Fresh flowers: Fresh flowers, such as rose petals or lavender blossoms, are used to infuse fragrance into the perfume, giving it a natural, earthy scent.
Essential oil: Essential oils are concentrated, highly fragrant plant extracts that are used to enhance the fragrance of your homemade perfume. Think of them as a complement to the aroma of your fresh flowers.
Vodka: High-proof, odorless alcohol is used as a solvent to extract and carry the aromatic compounds from other ingredients in the perfume.
Distilled water: Water allows you to dilute and blend the ingredients, adjusting the strength and consistency of the fragrance. We recommend using distilled water because it's mostly free of chemicals that may alter the smell of your perfume or cause it to degrade more quickly.
Emulsifier: An emulsifier helps blend and stabilize the mixture of oil-based and water-based ingredients in the perfume, keeping separation to a minimum. In this recipe, we recommend using Polysorbate 20.
Preservative: While you do get some germ protection from the alcohol in homemade perfume, it's most likely not enough to protect you from everything, which is where a broad-spectrum preservative comes into play. I recommend using a commercial-grade preservative like Leucidal Liquid Complete, however, you're welcome to use more natural preservatives, such as vitamin E or grapefruit seed extract, if you prefer.
See recipe card for quantities.
How To Make Perfume from Flowers
Step 1 | Find your flowers
Gather the flowers you want to use. The flower petals will create a lot of the scent, but you can make it stronger with essential oils.
Step 2 | Soak petals in vodka
Place flower petals in a glass jar and cover with vodka. Cover and let the mixture sit for 24 hours.
Step 3 | Mash + let sit
Using a spoon, mash the petals to release the oils. Cover and let it sit for another 7 days. Every couple of days, check on your concoction and use a spoon to mash the petals even further.
Step 4 | Strain + add essential oils
Strain the vodka to remove the flower petals. Add the essential oils and stir well. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir again. To use, spritz perfume on your pulse points.
Hint: Start with small test batches to perfect your flower petal perfume recipe before making a larger quantity. This way, you can adjust the proportions and scents as needed.
Perfumer's alcohol — While we use vodka because it's easier to find (and you may already have some at home!), feel free to use perfumer's alcohol instead. Perfumer's alcohol is a specialized, odorless, high-proof alcohol (often 90% or higher alcohol content) used as a base in commercial perfumes and colognes.
Because it's specifically made for perfume, perfumer's alcohol is a more efficient solvent for dissolving and blending essential oils and fragrance ingredients. It also contains ingredients that help enhance its preservation qualities, making it a good choice for extending the shelf life of homemade perfumes.
Rosewater (or other flower water) — If you can't get your hands on high-proof alcohol, you can use rosewater instead. Floral waters impart a subtle and natural fragrance to the perfume, enhancing the overall scent.
However, keep in mind that floral waters are primarily water-based and may not serve as effective solvents or fixatives for essential oils, so you'll definitely need an emulsifier to blend everything together.
- Simple rosewater perfume (simply combine ¾ cup rosewater with 15 drops of essential oil.)
- Lavender water perfume
- Botanical perfume: Try this Citrus Herbal Hydrosol recipe!
Floral Essential Oil Perfume Blends
Here are a few different essential oil blends for homemade perfumes, each with a unique scent profile. Choose a blend that complements your choice of fresh flowers. And feel free to adjust the number of drops for each essential oil to create a stronger or milder fragrance according to your preference.
Classic Rose Bouquet
- 20 drops rose essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
Fresh Jasmine Garden
- 25 drops jasmine essential oil
- 10 drops neroli essential oil
Citrus Blossom Bliss
- 20 drops bergaptene-free bergamot essential oil
- 15 drops orange essential oil
Lavender Fields in Spring
- 25 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops chamomile essential oil
Enchanted Forest Florals
- 15 drops rose essential oil
- 10 drops jasmine essential oil
- 10 drops lavender essential oil
Sweet Summertime Garden
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops rose essential oil
- 10 drops neroli essential oil
Woodland Floral Harmony
- 20 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops cedarwood essential oil
- 5 drops geranium essential oil
Spicy Blossom Elegance
- 20 drops jasmine essential oil
- 10 drops patchouli essential oil
To keep your flower petal perfume from breaking down, you'll need to protect it from temperature extremes and direct sunlight. When not in use, I recommend storing homemade perfume in the refrigerator. If that's not possible (or convenient!), a cool, dark cabinet or drawer could also work.
Label the bottle clearly with the perfume's ingredients and date. Periodically inspect your perfume for signs of spoilage, such as changes in color or scent.
Use it up within 3 months.
Perfumes can improve with age. After blending your ingredients, let the perfume sit for a week to allow the scents to meld and mature. This can result in a smoother, more appealing fragrance.
The vodka should act as an emulsifier, which helps to disperse the oil throughout the water. If needed, add more vodka until the essential oil disappears completely when you shake the bottle. We also recommend using a commercial-grade emulsifier, like Polysorbate 20, to keep the ingredients from separating over time.
By its very nature, homemade perfume won't have as much staying power as store-bought stuff. Spray your perfume on pulse points, such as your wrists, behind the ears, and your clavicle. And reapply as needed to refresh the scent throughout the day.
Since this recipe contains water, it needs to be used up pretty quickly. But adding a broad-spectrum preservative will help keep it fresh longer.
Fresh Flower Petal Perfume
- 8-ounce glass jar with lid
- 2 8-ounce spritzer bottles or one large bottle
- Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer
- Place flower petals in a glass jar and cover with vodka. Let the mixture sit for 24 hours.
- Using a spoon, mash the petals to release the oils. Cover and let sit for 7 more days. Every couple of days, check on your concoction, using a spoon to mash the petals even further. If the petals are no longer covered, add more vodka.
- Strain the vodka into a separate bowl. Add the essential oils and stir well. Then add the remaining ingredients and stir again. Transfer the perfume to a clean spray bottle (or divide between two bottles), then label and date it.