Monday, May 7, 2012

Natural Perfume Making

I have always loved scents. I remember getting a perfume kit as a child and making perfumes for my mom and sisters.  A year or two ago, I took some classes with Charna Ethier of Providence Perfume Company ( Charna makes amazing perfumes from essential oils and absolutes. I have six of her creations and can't decide which is my favorite.

This past Friday night I assisted Charna during her Blending Natural Perfumes class which was offered through Back Porch Soap Company in New York City ( It's an easy and enjoyable job.  I welcome her students, collect her materials fee, melt the beeswax/jojoba mixture for the solid perfumes and listen to her teach. It's a joy to watch her inspire her students. Every time I assist her, I learn something new.

Charna talking about top, middle and base notes

 Charna brings many different essential oils and absolutes for her students to experience. She must have a collection of over 100 scents for them to try.  I watch the students faces as they smell the difference between Jasmine sambac and Jasmine grandiflorum. I watch them crinkle their noses at an "unpleasant" odor, only to learn how to use it to make their perfume smell better. And I watch as they learn how to put their own personal stamp on a perfume by creating unique tinctures. They leave with a solid perfume and two liquid perfumes which they've created, a starter kit of basic essential oils for them to play with at home, and so many thoughts and ideas swimming in their heads.

I am already looking forward to the next time Charna comes to teach, are you?  I hope to see you there!

Yours in Gratitude,


  1. No doubt about it, Charna is awesome. Her perfumes are incredible. She truly has a gift. I love her products. She's so beautiful and inspiring too -- what fun it must be to help at her classes and get to smell all those awesome oils! Thanks for sharing the joy!

    1. I enjoy myself every time Charna comes to teach. She is quite a storyteller. NYC never smelled so good!

  2. Can you recommend a natural perfumery book that uses resins and raw incense materials? I really don't want an end product that has alcohol in it. And it seems the only way to get fragrance is to tincture. I wish I was on the mainland to take a noses on class. Or if I had a thousand bucks I would love to take the natural perfume making online, but that isn't possible. Many thanks for this great blog..

    1. Have you read "Essence & Alchemy" by Mandy Aftel? It's a great book and she also only uses natural ingredients. The only way I know to tincture is to use alcohol. You can infuse oils with dried flowers and herbs, but I don't think you will get much of a fragrance. You can make a scented oil with the essential oils and resins though, as long as they are soluable in the oil.

      I know, natural perfume making is an expensive hobby!

  3. Thanks Angela, sounds like a perfect read for me.
    Off to check it out:)