This DIY is so quick, simple, and rewarding, I hesitated posting it for fear of sounding patronizing. A few weeks ago, my husband's co-worker sent us some gorgeous flowers, which the cats ate. Some blooms were beyond saving, but smelled too good to be composted. I whipped up homemade perfume using the petals.
There are several ways to make your own perfume, using water or vodka. The first method is to place a handful of carefully washed blossoms in a jar and cover with one inch vodka. I use bulk vodka from En Vrac. Steep for 2-6 weeks until the perfume reaches desired scent. Strain and store in a spray bottle to use as fragrance, or a zero-waste air freshener. For a lighter blend, steep petals in water instead of vodka. I left this for two weeks, then dabbed some on my wrists today- the scent lasted about five hours. Try using other plant matter, such as citrus peels, evergreen needles, etc. I added eucalyptus to mine.
Alternately, wash 1 1/2 cups material and place in a pan with 2 cups distilled water (for DIY instructions, click here.) Bring to boil, then simmer two hours. Allow to cool. Line a jar or bowl with étamine and strain before storing. The resulting floral water makes an excellent facial toner, linen water, or tonic.
Each homemade perfume takes on a different, lovely color, from citrine to light pink to amber, depending on the ingredients. After making it, my friend Ketty said she loved my perfume, and I hadn't even put any on yet! Despite many assurances to the contrary, I swear my home, hair, and personage smells like cider vinegar, so I spray it on homemade gifts and around the apartment before people come over. If you prefer solid perfume, some French people still perform traditional enfleurage at home using leftover animal fats. This results in the longest-lasting fragrance, but it's a long, tedious process, splitting up glucosides with animal-derived enzymes. I tried making soap with animal fat once, and the judgmental looks I got from my cats were enough for me. Plus I smelled like bacon the whole time!
Visit The Rogue Ginger (who was just featured in Beth Terry's Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too) for an essential oil perfume DIY. If you'd rather buy than DIY, Le Labo offers refills in-store.