How to make your own solid perfume

Especially when I travel internationally, perfume can be a pain. There are strict liquid restrictions for carry on baggage, and more importantly, I worry that some of my bottling choices may not be the best. I have had a few glass atomizers break in the past, and some of my cheaper plastic ones aren’t exactly 100% leak-proof. It’s not like I am satisfied with bringing just one scent with me on a one-month vacation, either! (Yes, in my line of work I do get relatively long chunks of time off, and for that I am grateful.)

One option I sometimes use, especially when I have a particularly strong perfume or if I think I might need some moisturizer as well (don’t we all on long flights!), is to use solid perfume. In a previous post I wrote about some brands that sell them; but I sometimes create my own solid perfume. It’s incredibly easy, and here’s how:

DYI Solid Perfume Recipe Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp beeswax (in the commonly sold tiny ball format – you can alternatively use soy, carnauba or candililla wax if you’d prefer to be bee-friendly)
  • 1 tbsp oil of choice (jojoba oil, coconut butter, and shea butter are my favs – or you can mix!)
  • 2~2 1/2 tsp (about 12 ml tops) of your perfume

This recipe makes a bit, so if you want to reduce the amount, cut to this:

  • 1/4 teaspoon wax
  • 1/4 teaspoon oil/butter
  • 1 ml (about 20 drops) of perfume

Directions:

1) In a double broiler (or just a deep pan with a glass bowl if you use caution), heat the wax until it has fully liquefied. Stir in the oil or butter until melted.

Note: By using an oil that stays solid at room temperature, your perfume base might turn out harder in consistency and obviously stay solid longer in the heat, but note that the more solid cacao, coconut and shea butters do carry their own particular scent. Some oils are stronger than others as well, such as argon oil, which carries a lovely nutty fragrance, but might interfere with your results. I don’t really want anything to interfere with my perfume, so I often use sweet almond oil, which is a more neutral, all-purpose carrier, or jojoba oil as it’s so moisturizing. However, using an “oiler” oil means that in intense heat my solid perfume may turn out to be more of a goopy paste. A higher ratio of wax is the key here.

Adding a drop of vitamin E oil will act as a preservative. I go through perfume before it could ever have a chance of going rancid, however.

2) Once the base has melted, remove from heat and add the perfume. Alternatively, you could nuke the oil and wax – but not to complete meltdown – in a glass jar in the microwave if you have one, and simply stir in remaining solids.

Note: You really don’t want to heavily cook the oil, as this may burn it and alter the consistency and scent – just heat enough to melt half or more of it. The rest can be stirred in.

3) At this point it’s time to add in you smelly stuff.

Note: If your oil/wax mixture is too hot when you add the scent, you’ll potentially burn off some of the scent’s top notes, which, depending on the fragrance, may be the most beautiful part of the perfume (Perfumes are said to have base, middle (heart), and top notes, with the base notes lasting the longest and becoming prominent near the end of the life of a fragrance, and the top notes appearing early, usually lasting a short time.).

It’s possible for you to just spray your perfume willy-nilly right into the melted wax and oil mixture, but if you want to be exact, I think 1 teaspoon would require 60 drops or so. Of course that depends on the size of your drops. In any case, I tend to measure out some perfume separately to add to the mix and then stir.

4) Pour the mixture into pill cases (or whatever container takes your fancy) and wait for them to set, which can take about two hours at room temperature, depending on amount of surface area in the mixture exposed to air and how deep your pot is. Sure, chuck it in the fridge if you don’t want to wait that long.

If you want cheap storage tins and the like, and don’t mind buying in bulk, I recommend Chinese retailer Aliexpress. You could feasibly pour your warm perfume into lip balm stick cases, too. I think such containers take up less packing space and are less fussy (no fingertips required to apply), but if your solid perfume does get a bit too warm, you might have to deal with seepage. Etsy is awesome for cases as well, and many of the individuals who sell their stuff on the platform usually offer way faster shipping that when you buy via Chinese wholesalers. For affordable, all-natural DYI products such as oils and butters, iHerb is my top pick.

Note that solid perfume definitely tends to be neither strong nor long-lasting, which is why I’d recommend adding a powerful scent to your wax and oil mixture. You could always choose to apply the crap out of it, however, and do so frequently. Also, note again that just because it’s solid does not mean it won’t melt. Have you ever left a lipstick on a car dashboard in the sun? Enough said. For that reason, think carefully about the cases or tins you use.

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