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Category:  diy

DIY: Be Your Own Perfumer

By | diy | 6 Comments

Did you know that the world’s first recorded chemist is considered to be a woman named Etruscan, a perfume maker who was mentioned in a cuneiform tablet from the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamia? She distilled flowers, oil, and calamus with other aromatics then filtered and put them back in the still several times. source

This got me thinking… if Etruscan could do it back then, I can do it now — and so can you! So, I decided to search my archives for the best Do It Yourself perfume-making recipe. I love this specific one because it explains all about notes (top, base and middle) and gives examples of essential oil scents you should use for each note.

Also, check out the article I wrote with perfume expert, nose of Coty and co-founder of olfactive branding company 12.29, Dawn Goldworm, who dishes on the top 10 tips for how to pick the scent that’s right for you. Click HERE to have a read at Interview Magazine.

Now, onto the DIY fragrance fun:

Perfume Materials

Perfume consists of a mixture of essential oils in a base oil, together with alcohol and water.
1/2 ounce jojoba oil [compare prices] or sweet almond oil [compare prices] 2-1/2 ounces ethanol (e.g., vodka)
2 tablespoons spring water or distilled water (not tap water)
coffee filter
dark-colored glass bottle
25 drops essential oils (buy them at a health store or online [compare prices] or distill your own)
7 drops base note essential oils
7 drops middle note essential oils
6-7 drops top note essential oils
couple of drops of bridge notes (optional)

The essential oils that you use form the basis of your perfume. These essential oils are called the ‘notes’ of the perfume. The base notes are the part of the perfume that lasts the longest on your skin. The middle notes evaporate a little more quicky. The top notes are the most volatile and disperse first. Bridge notes have intermediate evaporation rates and serve to tie a scent together. Sometimes other substances are added to a perfume, such as sea salt (ocean scent), black pepper (spicy), camphor, and vetiver. Since the essential oils evaporate at different rates, the way a perfume smells changes over time as you wear it. Here are some examples of common base, middle, top, and bridge notes.

base notes: cedarwood, cinnamon, patchouli, sandalwood, vanilla, moss, lichen, fern
middle notes: clove, geranium, lemongrass, neroli, nutmeg, ylang-ylang
top notes: bergamot, jasmine, lavender, lemon, lime, neroli, orchid, rose
bridge: vanilla, lavender

The order in which you mix your ingredients is important, since it will affect the scent. If you change the procedure, record what you did in case you want to do it again.

Create Your Perfume

Add the jojoba oil or sweet almond oil to the bottle.
Add the essential oils in the following order: the base notes, followed by the middle notes, then finally the top notes. Add a couple of drops of bridge notes, if desired.
Add 2-1/2 ounces of alcohol.
Shake the bottle for a couple of minutes then let it sit for 48 hours to 6 weeks. The scent will change over time, becoming strongest around 6 weeks.
When the scent is where you want it to be, add 2 tablespoons of spring water to the perfume. Shake the bottle to mix the perfume, then filter it through a coffee filter and pour it into its final bottle. Ideally, this will be a dark bottle with minimal airspace, since light and exposure to air degrade many essential oils.

You can pour a little perfume into a decorative bottle, but in general, store your perfume in a dark sealed bottle, away from heat and light.

Label your creation. It’s a good idea to record how you made the perfume, in case you want to duplicate it.

Perfumery Notes

It takes experimentation to get the scent you want, but you can get started in the right direction by keeping in mind the type of scent associated with essential oils:

earthy: patchouli, vetiver
floral: geranium, jasmine, neroli, rose, violet, ylang-ylang
fruity: bergamot, grapefruit, lemon, lemongrass, lime, mandarin, orange
herbal: angelica, basil, chamomile, clary sage, lavender, peppermint, rosemary
sea: sea salt
spicy: black pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, coriander, ginger, juniper, nutmeg
woodsy: cassia, cedar, cypress, pine, sandalwood

If the perfume is too strong, you can dilute it with more water. If you want your perfume to retain its scent longer, add a tablespoon of glycerin to the perfume mixture.


DIY: Pinterest Hair

By | diy | 15 Comments

I am addicted to Pinterest. It allows me to curate a collection of virtual corkboards, pinning up what inspires me from sites I love and getting ideas from others via their boards – things to make, to buy, to read. I keep boards for all the things I love – things like film, fashion, design, photography, beauty. Lately, hair tutorials have become a favorite. They are priceless for the hair helpless like myself.

I can throw together outfits without much trouble, and don’t really think twice about how I’ll do my makeup, but when it comes to my hair I often find myself at a loss.

On Pinterest I’d found the tutorial for “No Heat Curls,”  which seems to be circulating the web like mad. The video made it seem ridiculously easy. I was suspicious. But, I decided to give it a go. And it works.


My hair is wavy and to make the waves work usually takes a little, well, work. So most days I pile it up in a messy bun with a set of Spin Pins. Or I mix in some leave-in conditioner, dry it in a bun and it ends up straight-ish. (This only works when my hair is long. The shorter it gets, the curlier frizzier it gets.)

I’ve done the No Heat Curls three times now, but never left the headband on overnight. I tried it the first time on a lazy Saturday morning and 6 hours later I had a head of bouncy curls. (I’m not sure if naturally straight hair would work as quickly.) I added a bit of hairspray and they looked great. Another time I put in some beach curl spray but mixed with high temps outside, I found my hair went from bouncy curls to limp waves in a few hours. So far, I think a bit of hairspray works best. I might try a light mousse next time.

These pictures are after 4 hours. The curls are looser, and I like that. No heat, no damage, and lots of body – those Spin Pins might begin collecting dust soon. xo a.


Alex Asher Sears is a writer, photographer, editor and fourth generation Angeleno. She believes that you can find inspiration anywhere but thinks Slim Aarons, Nöel Coward and Diana Vreeland are a great place to start. Since 2007, she’s been sharing her eco-beauty finds with BB readers, but calls AlexandraWrote home.

DIY: Foot Scrubs

By | diy | 12 Comments

Feet are in full fashion come summer. If you’re not flaunting your feet in sandals, then chances are you’re walking around the beach barefoot.

So, you’ll want to have flawless feet. Not a hair (yuck) or a dry skin misplaced.

I searched my files for my favorite Do It Yourself foot scrubs (+ a great one to buy when in a rush and/ or not the ingredient-mixing type of girl). Here are my top 5:

1 – Strawberry Foot Scrub


8-10 strawberries
2 tablespoons Apricot oil (you may substitute with olive oil
1 teaspoon of coarse salt, such as Kosher salt, or Sea Salt

Mix all ingredients into a paste, massage into feet, rinse and pat dry


2 – Honey & Almond Foot Scrub


Honey Almond Foot Scrub Recipe
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
11 almonds (1/2 oz.)
Juice of ¼ lemon

Grind almonds into a fine meal in a blender or food processor. Mix almonds, olive oil, honey, brown sugar, and juice of lemon. Rub onto feet and massage, then rinse off. Makes enough for a single foot scrub application.


3 – Salt Foot Scrub


1 cup of sea salt or Epsom salt
1/2 cup of cold water
2 drops of lavender essential oil

Start off by gradually adding water to salt and lavender oil
As you are adding it, you want to make sure the mix starts looking like a paste. It has to be not too liquid and not too solid, it should be like soft though otherwise it will run between your fingers
Rub your feet and soles in circular motion
Rinse off with warm water.


4 –  Natural Lemony Mint Foot Scrub


Lemon softens and brightens your dull-looking feet while mint cools and refreshes tired feet.
1 lemon
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon sweet almond oil
15 fresh mint leaves, chopped
2-3 drops lemon essential oil

Slice the lemon into small pieces. Place them in a blender and form a pulp. Remove and then add sugar, almond oil, mint leaves and lemon essential oil.


5 – Store Bought!

Aromafloria For Feet’s Sake Foot Scrub Tube – A paraben-free, lemon-scented foot scrub that is both refreshing and exfoliating as it removes dry skin leaving legs and feet happy and soft! PRICE TAG: $11.99

DIY: Face Moisturizer, Mask & Scrub

By | diy | 5 Comments

I’m OBSESSED with at-home remedies. While I don’t necessarily have the time – or attention span – for a little DIY, I do like to have a collection of the best recipes… just in case.

And for all of you out there who are handy in the kitchen, you should definately try these out! They are great for this dry weather skin… Let me know the outcome.

Oil of Olé
This guac-inspired moisturizer is suitable for even sensitive skin.
2 tablespoons of fresh avocado, mashed
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon plain full-fat yogurt
½ teaspoon lemon juice

1.       Combine ingredients in a bowl.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2.       While you’re waiting for the mixture to chill, clean your face with a soap-free cleansing wash.  Make two mugs of green tea and put an ice cube or two in one of them.

3.       Smear a thin layer of the chilled mask on your face, avoiding your eyes.  Sit back, relax for 10 or 15 minutes, and sip the warm tea.

4.       Rinse with lukewarm water.  Slowly splash your face with the cooled tea, and then rinse with water again.  Powerful antioxidants in tea help skin stay healthy.

Note: Don’t use black tea; it will stain your skin.

Fruit Face
The fruit acids in this mask gently exfoliate, stripping away dry, dead skin cells to reveal a fresher complexion.
1 ripe peach, peeled and pitted
1 teaspoon brandy
Sprinkle of cornstarch

1.       Mash together the peach and brandy in a bowl.  Add just enough cornstarch to make a paste.

2.       Smooth over your face, steering clear of lips and eyes.  Sit back and relax.  Feel free to sip on any extra brandy.

3.       Rinse with lukewarm water after 20 minutes.  (Don’t leave the mask on any longer; it will irritate skin).

Bran Scruffin’
The bran and sugar in this scrub scour away dry skin, immediately improving your face’s appearance.
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 teaspoon brewer’s yeast
1 teaspoon finely ground bran
1 teaspoon sugar

1.       Thoroughly mix all ingredients.

2.       Immediately massage the scrub into your skin with your fingertips before the sugar has a chance to dissolve.

3.       Rinse with lukewarm water.


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Beauty Banter was launched in July of 2006 as a comprehensive beauty blog covering trends, tips and tricks, insider secrets, and weekly must-haves. Beauty Banter has a reputation of being on the cutting edge of emerging trends and product launches so our readers are always the first to know what’s hot and what’s just not.