My friend Mag always smells so lusciously sweet and spicy, but when I asked her what perfume she uses, she laughed and said, “Oh, I make it myself. Artificial scents make me feel sick, so I don’t go near them. Instead I use natural ingredients–and it’s really cheap and easy.” This all sounded pretty fabulous to me. We came up with these terrific all-natural cologne recipes for every type, whether you are a flowery romantic, a crisp sporty, or a spicy earthy-exotic–and they make great gifts, too.
Many people are sensitive to artificial fragrances, which contain suspected neurotoxicants that can give them headaches and difficulty concentrating. It is healthier and more thoughtful to avoid them!
If you were wondering about the difference between a cologne and a perfume, here’s the skinny: perfumes are generally stronger and heavier than colognes, and contain oils and fixatives that make them longer-lasting, while colognes contain botanical essences in an alcohol base, which keep them on the lighter side.
These all-natural formulas are colognes, with botanical materials and alcohol in the form of vodka or rum. They are lighter than their artificial relatives, and they can be used lavishly by most of us with no ill-effects.
The Basic Method
Place dry ingredients in a pint jar with a tight lid. Fill jar with vodka. Cover jar and shake daily for 1 to 6 weeks. Strain out dry ingredients and use the liquid as a cologne on your pulse points.
You prefer classically sweet flower and herbal scents. Try any of these ingredients, or a combination:
1 cup fresh or dried lavender blossoms
1 cup fresh or dried chamomile blossoms
1 cup fresh or dried basil
1 cup fresh or dried rose petals
You prefer refreshing, crisp scents that donít cloy. Try any of these ingredients, or a combination:
Lemon peel from an organic lemon
Lime peel from an organic lime
1 cup fresh or dried peppermint leaves
1 cup fresh or dried rosemary leaves
You like warm and spicy scents that exude grounded sensuality. Try any of these ingredients, or a combination (Mag uses a blend of vanilla, clove, cinnamon, and orange peel):
1 whole vanilla bean, broken in pieces
2 teaspoons whole cloves
1 three-inch piece cinnamon stick
Orange peel from an organic orange
1 cup sandalwood chips
1 cup bay leaves (this traditional formula calls for rum instead of vodka to make Bay Rum)
by Cait Johnson, author of Earth, Water, Fire, and Air (SkyLight Paths, 2003).