Ditch the Chemicals: Make Your Own Perfume from Flowers in Your Garden
In case you didn't know already about the toxic chemicals in many perfumes or missed the recent EWG report, many of the chemicals used in popular fragrances are linked to sperm damage, hormone disruption, and allergic reactions among other issues, or are not even approved for safe use in personal care products.
Really want to spray that all over your body? Especially as we approach summer, when your sweat glands are probably open and ready to invite foreign substances in?
The New York Times has a story about the increasing popularity of DIYers making perfume from homegrown (or wild-picked) flowers. It's interesting to read why and how some people got started, and the settings in which they operate: one Brooklyn woman makes scents at home from herbs she grows at a Bed-Stuy community garden and then sells them at the neighborhood farmer's market. Another started making "kitchen cosmetics" when she was growing up in Iran, and continues to do so now out of her California home. Another, an Ohio woman who blends herself simply because commercial infusions are too expensive to buy.
If you want, however, you can jump straight to the end of the story for the pretty easy-to-follow formula. (That is, easy once you get hold of the ingredients, which may well be the most challenging part.)
But find yourself the right plants, the specific kind of alcohol you'll need (190-proof organic neutral grape alcohol or the more affordable Everclear would do—more explained in the story), fiberglass netting and a Mason jar, and you're ready to start this simple but repetitive process:
Drop the whole petals or leaves into the jar and pour in just enough alcohol to cover the top. Maybe slosh it around a little. Wait a day, then strain out the petals or leaves through the netting. The alcohol level will drop, but don't add more. Instead, add new, clover-dried petals. And more petals. And do it again. And again. And again.
If you want to make your own perfume and don't want to bother searching for the right alcohol supplier, consider this distilled water-based recipe.
Or try both. If you're into fragrances but also care about your health and the effects of chemicals on the environment, making your own perfume is a win-win solution.