How to Make Homemade Cologne Using Essential Oils
Learn how to make homemade cologne using essential oils. Create your own personal scent or use one of the heavenly recipes we share.
Making your own homemade cologne is a really fun experience. You get to create your own custom scent. Plus, you know the ingredients are natural and safe!
I’ll show you everything you need to know to make your own cologne. However, if you’re nervous to create your own signature recipe that’s okay! I’ve got some tried, tested, and man approved recipes you can start with.
While DIY cologne makes a great gift for your significant other, it’s also fun to work together to make a scent you both love. Make it a date night.
You can make your own body spray and he can make his own cologne. It’s fun to see what scents your SO prefers.
(THIS POST PROBABLY CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS. OUR FULL DISCLOSURE POLICY IS LONG & BORING BUT, YOU CAN FIND IT HERE.)
Why You Should Make Your Own Cologne
There are many reasons you should try your hand at a homemade cologne. Besides that fact that it’s a lot of fun, you also can customize the strength of the cologne to your liking.
Some people just can’t handle strong scents. It gives them a migraine. Making your own can help with this problem especially when using essential oils. You can choose calming scents that don’t irritate you as much.
However, the main reason I like to make cologne is because commercial cologne is full of nasty chemicals and synthetic fragrances. A company can hide over 400 hundred ingredients under the term “fragrance” because of trademark laws.
Synthetic musks and phthalates are just two of the hormone and endocrine disrupters found in commercial cologne. Phthalates are used to make plastics stronger so why do you want it in a cologne that’s being sprayed on your body and inhaled into your lungs?
The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has a great article that’s all about this hidden chemical problem. It’s gives you an interesting look at the fragrance industry and some great reasons to start making your own products.
Supplies You Need to Make Homemade Cologne
When you make your homemade cologne you’ll need only a handful of supplies. It’s the ingredient list that can get a little out of hand. More on that in a minute.
- Cologne bottle – You can use a glass spray bottle or a roller bottle to house your homemade cologne. This is all about personal preference.
Amber or blue glass bottles are better because they help block out light. Light can cause the essential oils in your DIY cologne to go rancid faster.
Both of the sets below are perfect because they come with all the supplies you need to make your cologne.
- A small funnel is incredibly helpful when it comes to getting all of your ingredients into a small bottle but technically it’s not needed. It’s why I like the sets I posted above. They come with funnels.
You can buy one separately if you already have spray bottles at home.
- A small glass bowl to mix your essential oils in when first testing out recipe ideas. This is only needed if you plan on creating your own custom blend.
If you are sticking with one of our recipes then you can mix everything right in the bottle so you don’t have to worry about the bowl.
DIY Cologne Ingredients
Like I said before, the list of ingredients to make your own cologne can get pretty long depending on how many essential oils you want to use. Most cologne recipes use at least three but you can mix and match as many as you want as long as you like the scent you’ve created.
It’s amazing how you can go from not liking a scent to loving it just by adding an additional essential oil.
- Essential Oils
- Glycerine – optional (helps soften skin and makes scent last longer)
- Vitamin E – optional (you can add vitamin E when using water to help preserve the cologne a bit.)
The base is the liquid portion of the DIY cologne. The essential oils are the fragrance.
The Base or Liquid
The liquid portion of cologne is important for a couple of reasons:
- You should never put essential oils directly onto your skin. It can cause irritation so they always need to be mixed with something.
- Essential oils and water don’t mix. You need another liquid to help break down the ingredients and blend the scents.
- Water won’t help the scents last very long. Alcohol on the other hand will carry the scent much further and make it last longer.
There are a couple of things you can use as the liquid in your cologne.
Vodka or Everclear
Vodka or Everclear is a great choice for DIY cologne or perfume for a couple of reasons. First, alcohol acts as a preservative which is always nice when mixing your own homemade products. Second, it evaporates quickly, leaving behind the scent of the awesome essential oil blend you created.
When using any alcohol, you want a high proof. The higher the proof the less water. Personally, I shoot for 100% proof.
Some people don’t like to keep alcohol in their house which is understandable. If this is the case for you then you can use rubbing alcohol.
Rubbing alcohol, also known as isopropyl alcohol, is readily available and can be picked up at just about any store near the medical supplies, if you don’t already have some at home.
When using it for homemade cologne, you want a higher percent just like the vodka and for the same reason. The higher the percent, the less water which means it will evaporate faster.
You want the rubbing alcohol smell to dissipate quickly so you’re left with the smell of your essential oils. You don’t make your own cologne so you can smell like a hospital so go high.
Witch Hazel will do the same job at mixing the essential oils as the alcohols mentioned above, but it will stay wet on the skin longer and the scent from the witch hazel will last longer. Some people prefer it because it’s great for the skin and won’t dry it out like the alcohol can.
If none of the above options don’t appeal to you then you can use distilled water. The oils and water won’t stay mixed well and because there is nothing to help sanitize the cologne, it will go bad much faster. You can add vitamin E to help with that.
Understanding Notes in Cologne
If you’ve never made a fragrance before then you might have never heard about notes. Notes are the layers of scents that go into a fragrance. There are top, middle, and base notes.
Essential oils fall into different notes categories and understanding what those are and how they should be used is really important when you want to create your own cologne scent instead of using a recipe.
These are the first notes you smell right after cologne application. They will evaporate quickly and lead into the middle notes. Top notes usually make up 30% of your scent.
Essential oils that are considered top notes are:
- Sweet Orange
Middle notes come in right before the top notes disappear. They are the main body of the cologne scent and help blend the top and base notes together. They usually make up 45 % of your cologne’s fragrance.
Essential oils that are considered middle notes are:
- Balsam Fir
- Black Pepper
- Blue Cypress
- Clary Sage
- Juniper Berry
- Ylang Ylang
Base notes can smell a bit unpleasant which is why they come in a little latter but they help add depth to the fragrance. They usually hang out the longest but become more subtile as time goes on. You’re shooting for 25%.
Essential oils that are considered base notes are:
- Ylang Ylang
You might notice a little crossover as some essential oils can be in two categories. Also, this is not a comprehensive list. You might find other essential oils that will work well in men’s cologne.
Okay. That was a lot of info but hopefully you understand homemade cologne a bit better now. You might already be thinking of ideas you might want to mix together after looking at those note lists and that’s great!
Homemade Cologne Recipe
The base recipe is simple. You can stick with the liquid of your choice and that’s it. Or you can add glycerin, which I prefer. If you don’t want to make the extra purchase then don’t worry about. Your cologne will still turn out great.
This recipe is for a 2 ounce bottle. I find that to be an optimal size for homemade cologne because you can actually use it up before it goes bad. Remember, the shelf life on homemade products isn’t as long as commercial products.
- 1/2 tsp glycerine (or vitamin E)
- 20-30 drops of essential oils
- Basically, you can drop your essential oils directly into the bottle.
- Next, add the glycerine if you are using it (or vitamin E if using water).
- Top the bottle off with your liquid of choice.
It seems pretty easy. It’s the essential oil combos that can get tricky when coming up with your own. It’s also the most fun though.
If you have no idea what works well together then you can find out the notes of some of your favorite commercial colognes and go from there. Most of the time if you look up a cologne they’ll list the notes for you.
Once you’ve looked up a couple you’ll start to see which essential oils are teamed up together frequently. Then you can try combinations from those.
If that sounds like too much work then you can always get a men’s fragrance essential oil set. They send you some masculine scents you know will smell good.
Or just start by using one of the recipes below. You’ll see me showing top, middle, and base notes in my recipes.
I think it’s helpful to see how the notes work well together but you can completely ignore them if you find you prefer a super simple mix of two essential oils. For instance, patchouli and vanilla is a very popular mix and both of those are base notes.
Masculine Essential Oil Blends for Men’s Cologne
These are some of my favorite essential oil blends to use when creating homemade cologne. You’ll add the exact amount of drops directly into your spray bottle and then add the glycerin, if using, and top it of with your liquid of choice just like the base recipe says.
Duke of Earl
This light and earthy fragrance is my husband’s favorite. He even came up with the name which is a nod to earl gray tea because the tea and cologne both have bergamot in them.
- 10 – Bergamot – top note
- 14 – Juniper Berry – middle note
- 4 – Sandalwood – base note
- 3 – Vetiver – base note
Sweet & Spicy
The name says it all. This scent has both sweet and spicy scents that both come through in a beautiful blend.
- 6 -Petitgrain – top note
- 4 – Sweet Orange – top note
- 9 – Clove – middle note
- 4 – Sandalwood – base note
- 3 – Patchouli – base note
This scent is balanced but bold. Great for making a statement.
- 10 – Eucalyptus – top note
- 6 – Geranium – middle note
- 8 – Rosemary – middle note
- 3 – Frankincense – base note
- 3 – Sandalwood – base note
Flannels & Fir
This cologne is great for those rugged men who like a good outdoors scent.
- 1 – Spearmint
- 3 – Sweet Orange – top note
- 6 – Lavender – top note
- 13 – Fir – middle note
- 3 – Cedarwood – base note
- 3 – Frankincense – base notes
Rise & Shine
Rise & Shine is a bright and uplifting scent that will get you moving in the morning. The lemon and bergamot give this a citrus scent while the cedarwood, patchouli, and vetiver ground it a bit.
There is no middle note in this one just to show you that you can still make a mix that smells good without following the rules exactly.
- 8 – Bergamot – top note
- 2 – Lemon – top note
- 10 – Cedarwood – bottom note
- 5 – Patchouli – bottom note
- 5 – Vetiver – bottom note
Most of these homemade cologne recipes stick with the 35, 45, 25 notes percentage rule. But feel free to adjust things based on your own personal style and scent preferences.
I find a lot of middle note essential oils to be a bit overpowering so I lean toward less. Same thing goes for citrus smells like lemon and orange.
My partner thinks they smell too much like cleaners so even though they fall in the top notes category I never use them at full strength. I alway try to blend them with another top note so they don’t get too overwhelming.
That’s the main thing to remember when trying other people’s cologne recipes, you can still adjust them to your liking. Adjusting essential oils until you find YOUR perfect scent is why making your own cologne is so much fun.
How to Make Homemade Cologne Last Longer
First, let’s talk about making the scent last longer once it’s been sprayed. Make sure to shake up the bottle of cologne before it’s sprayed. This will make sure everything is distributed evenly.
Another thing you can do is make sure skin is moisturized. Hydrated skin will hold the scent for longer so keep your skin hydrated.
You can also apply a skin-friendly oil like grape seed or jojoba oil onto the portion of skin you plan on spraying. The oils will cling to the oil which will make the fragrance last longer.
Using the glycerin will help hold that scent longer on the skin as well. Glycerin is super hydrating so if you use it in your DIY cologne then you don’t need to worry about using the oil I mentioned above.
Storing Homemade Cologne
Storing your DIY cologne correctly is another way to make it last longer. It’s important to keep essential oils out or direct light because the light can make them go rancid. Even in the alcohol.
So make sure to keep your cologne stored in a dark spot. A medicine cabinet, vanity drawer, or an under-the-sink cabinet will all work.
If you’re still here with me then I’m impressed. I know that was a ton of info but it’s all necessary if you want to learn how to mix and match essential oils to make your own homemade cologne.
If you try one of my DIY cologne recipes then I’d love to hear what you think about it in the comments below. I’d also love to hear about the blends that you have come up with too.