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Essential Oil Extraction To Make Perfumes

Updated on October 5, 2014

Natural Fragrances

Humans are naturally social beings; hence, one always attempt to try to please someone else using different methods. One of them is by pleasing someone through the sense of smell. Therefore, it is no surprise that the perfumery industry is gaining huge profits from manufacturing synthetic perfumes that would enhance one's natural scent.

But you can also utilize the natural aromatics of plant sources to produce natural fragrances, in addition to using those essences for medicinal purposes.

What are Perfume Oils?

One distinctive characteristic of essential oils is the aroma. Indeed, this is one way for aromatherapists to utilize the healing power of the oil and absorb its beneficial properties. A perfume basically consist of a mixture of essential oils that contain pleasing fragrances, aroma compounds, and other solvents to derive a pleasant smell.

The history of using perfumes from natural fragrances is not entirely novel. This idea has existed for several years with some of its oldest record indicating the use of perfume oils during the times of ancient Egypt. Today, the use of these fragrance oils have expanded to be used on other cosmetic products such as fragrant soaps or body-scenting baths that provide a natural way to gain cosmetic enhancements without suffering from adverse side effects.

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Preparation Methods

Here is a basic outline on how perfumes or natural fragrances are produced soon after harvesting the organic plant sources where the oil is to be extracted from:

  • The most basic step you need to take when making perfumes using essential oils is to decide which botanical source you are going to extract the oil from. Some of the best essential oils to extract natural fragrances from include rose, jasmine, patchouli, lavender, geranium, marigold, sandalwood, citronella, and cinnamon oils.
  • Then, you need to determine which plant parts offer the highest possible yield of fragrant oils. In this case, it is typically the flowering part, buds, fruits, leaves, or rind.
  • Once you have all your botanical materials, it is now time to the most important aspect of this entire process, which is the extraction of the oil. Make sure to properly consider the method you use to ensure that the qualities and fragrances of the oil are preserved and to avoid it from being too toxic to use for skin application.
  • In some cases, the essential oil is mixed with different solvents to dilute the perfume oil. Some of the most commonly used solvents are ethanol, or a combination of both ethanol and water.

Steam Distillation Method

Using this method is suggested for those plant parts that yield minimal oil or when the pressing method is inapplicable. You will require a distillation equipment for this one wherein you place the botanical materials in a vessel and start heating the water in the broiler. Upon reaching a certain level of temperature, the water will slowly generate steam, which is then passed through the botanical materials. When the steam penetrates through the tiny sacs of the plant source, it carries with it the natural fragrances of the plant.

The steam is then passed onto a condensing tube, wherein the vapor is turned back into liquid form. That liquid will then be collected into a storage, until you have enough amount to bottle your perfuem oil.

Solvent Extraction Method

Many aromatherapists believe this is a better method to use in extracting essential oils, whether to use in perfumery or medicinal purposes. The lack of heat element is known to preserve the natural quality of the oil. Basically, a solvent is introduced into the essential oil mixture. Perfume oils from jasmine or tuberose are often produced using the solvent extraction method.

Hexane is the most popular type of solvent used during essential oil extraction. As soon as the solvent passes through the plant material, it mixes with the substances contained in the plant, such as natural waxes, essential fatty acids, and other similar substances. After that, the solvent is removed leaving only the natural essential oils.

Enfleurage Method

Like the solvent extraction method, the enfleurage also lack the heat element during the extraction of fragrant oils from botanical sources. All you need is a glass pane that is filled with grease or fat. Then, spread all botanical ingredients on top of the glass pane. You can now start the pressing method to slowly release the oils from the plant source. The grease will absorb all of the scent released by the oil. You can repeat the entire process until you have enough amount of oil you need to make essential oil perfume.

Perfume Concentration

When buying perfume, concentration is one of the things you need to closely look into. It represents the amount of aromatic compounds contain in a fine fragrance. The volume of perfume oil will also determine how long the scent will last when applied as perfume. Apparently, the more aromatic compounds you use, the higher the longevity and intensity of the perfume scent.

Among the commercially produced perfume oils, Eau de Parfum contains the highest level of concentration at 10 to 20 percent. Meanwhile, Eau de Toilette and Eau de Cologne each have 15 and 8 percent of concentration, respectively.

Why Opt For Natural Essential Oils To Make Perfume?

Despite the massive production of commercial perfumes in the market, it is still best to go for the natural ones that are produced via the extraction of essential oils. One of your biggest concern would have to safety when using these oils. Indeed, you cannot sacrifice your ability to enjoy pleasant smelling perfumes that pose you at risk of developing skin irritation and other types of sensitivities.

You will notice that naturally produced perfume oils are a bit more expensive as compared to the synthetic ones. This is due to the intricacy of the method involved in producing natural perfume oils to ensure their quality and longevity. Natural perfume oils typically retain their scent even after six hours, or up to a maximum of 24 hours.

Important Tips To Consider

In order to help preserve the natural scent of perfume oils, you need to observe proper storage guidelines. That way, your prolong the shelf life of the essential oil perfume and be able to use it over a longer period of time.

If possible, you want essential oil perfumes that lack fillers so you can prevent faster spoiling rate. Different factors influence the storage life of the essential oil perfume. First and foremost, it will depend on the quality of the oil that was used in producing natural fragrances. You would also have to consider whether any fillers or adulterants were added into the mixture since they can affect the quality of the oil and your ability to use them over a given period of time. If you are able to follow the guidelines of properly storing perfume oils, you should be able to enjoy using it as a natural perfume for a maximum of 18 months period.

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Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Hello really I enjoy while reading &listening l

    lecture about perfimes.

  • profile image

    angelito a. sandoval 

    8 years ago

    This is very interesting. I enjoy reading the literature as well as listening to the lecture. I hope that i have opportunity to learn about perfume making. Thank you very much and God bless you richly!


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