Thursday, March 02, 2006

ASK MARLEN: Making perfume from lavender oil?

Hi Marlen,

I'm now studying chemical engineering at universty in Turkey. And this year, I will finish school. But before finishing I must produce a perfume in the laboratory from lavender oil. I took the oil from lavender flower, but I don't know how to make perfume...

I don't need any fancy formula but can you offer me some tips about how I can make this perfume?

Thank you very much!

Dear ez,

This is a tough one for me as I've never explored the actual chemistry of perfume creation. We do have some readers who do this for a living and other readers who have tried this at home, so I'm going to ask them to respond. Please check the comments below and feel free to ask additional questions!

Hope this helps!



Rue said...

Hi there. I think I may be of some assistance. I was going to type it all out in excruciating detail but instead I found a website that pretty much describes how I do it.

I hope this is helpful to you.

I follow the same ratio of 75% dilutants such as alcohol or vodka, and 25% fragrance oil and I also use glycerine as a fixative. I have also simply steeped fresh lavender in alcohol for a fourth night or just in distilled water for a facial toner. Most importantly make sure all your recptacles/bottles and such are sterilized in a dishwasher/oven/autoclave.

I hope this was helpful and let us know how it turned out.

Good Luck!

andy said...

Dear Perfum Maker
Your post reminded me in my study year at the organic institute in Zurich.
You have lavendel oil. That's good. But not really enough to make a real perfume. For such an endeavour you would need head notes, heart notes, base notes. But you can do a simple lavendel cologne consisting of lavendel and alcohol. The previous post said how.
(please check with what kind of chemicals the pure lab alcohol you might be using is degenerated... some contain phtalates which are troublesome for several reasons)

But eventually you have access to some chemicals? Terpenes like Geraniol, limonen, citral, etc. might add a little bit to your lavendel toilette water. You will have to try mixing them with lavendel. Or (even better) you can get a hold on other natural oils (you life in Turkey, the turkish rose is wonderful!) such as lemon oil (goes well with lavendel. A first overview you find in the links below together with some chemical stuff that you might find interesting. Here again, you may want to try mixing different oils until you find the right mix.
I would not go beyond 15-20% of oils in 80% of alcohol (see above post).
And here are some links of interest.
IFRA for checking whether some things are dangerous or allergenic (go to "codes and standards":
A natural perfumery group:
An introduction to the chemistry of essential oils (check for lavendel, what's in it...):
Does this help?
Good luck!

Heather said...

Dear Ez

To make a perfume (assuming this is classically made in ethanol) you'll need about 20-25% fragrant material.

I only work in natural oils and absolutes and so I would be looking at making a blend of these oils in the alcohol. I think the essential oils would be easier to get hold of - and so would make your project more managable perhaps.

Lavender oil is quite difficult to turn into a perfume I think, especially if the Lavender has to be the key and most obvious element - and I think that Lavender lends itself much more readily to a cologne (which would only require about 15% fragrant material I think) or perhaps a mans fragrance would work well with Lavender as its central theme.

It depends on how strictly you have to adhere to the 'perfume' category.

If the composition has to be balanced and aesthetically pleasing too - then you would be looking at profiling the oils of choice into head notes, heart notes and base notes - Lavender I would classify as a head note - and would go nicely with Rosemary perhaps if you wanted a green feel.

The citruses are good with lavender too but please be aware that there are quite strict guidelines from IFRA about % use of a citruses (lemons, all orangey types particularly Bergamot, limes, grapefruits etc).

The heart note would make your composition more rounded - so you want to think of something that would add depth.Violet Leaf is nice but quite expensive.

the base notes are what would ground the whole thing. They are the tricky ones because I usually start with them and work up - you of course will be working top down.

Hope this helps

marlen said...

Wow! Thanks for the comments Rue, Andy, Heather!

marlen said...

Message from EZ:

Dear Marlen,Rue, Andy, Heather!
I am pleased for your is very important for me.I said I
got lavender oil;but I don't look which substances are in it.(how much
asetat,linalol,etc..).I will look into it with NMR technology and I
give information about it.And I want to say that I got the oil using
Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Technology.
So; thank you very much for your comments