My family likes to get together two or three times a year to celebrate group birthdays. We decided long ago to forego gift-giving on these occasions and at Christmas; just cards (the sillier the better), good food and company are all that are needed. However, the women in the family can’t seem to help themselves and sometimes bring little goodies – inexpensive ‘just because’ tokens that we know will delight. The recipients are usually the other ladies; the men, who manage to stick firmly to the no-gifts policy, are almost always out of luck, and that seems to suit them just fine.
Our latest bash, which incorporated birthdays from January through March, happened to coincide with the Easter weekend, and we did it at a local restaurant. The goodies and treats were duly produced, and soon the place settings were marked by little bags of chocolate eggs, jelly beans, cocktail napkins in pretty pastels and other small trinkets. There was lots of ooo-ing and ahh-ing from the girls. The guys just sat there bemused, drinking their beers and shaking their heads at all this flagrant frippery.
Since I’m all about fragrance-making this month, I brought along little tins of handmade solid perfume made with pure beeswax, skin-loving almond oil and essential oils. Each woman got her own blend, and I tried to match the fragrance to her unique personality. See below for the recipes, but first, here’s the how-to:
Solid Perfume Basic Method: (makes one 0.5 fl. oz. / 14 mL tin)
- 1 tsp beeswax (pellets or small pieces, firmly packed like brown sugar)
- 1 tsp sweet almond oil (or jojoba or apricot kernel oil)
- 75 to 90 drops total essential oils
- 0.5 fl. oz. glass jar or metal tin with lid
Pre-mix essential oils in a small container and set aside • Add beeswax to a Pyrex measuring cup and place inside a larger pot filled with a couple of inches of water to make a double boiler • Melt wax gradually over medium-high heat • When wax is mostly melted, mix in almond oil using a disposable wooden stir stick • Remove double boiler from heat, wait a couple of minutes to allow the mixture to cool slightly (but not start to harden); this will help preserve the integrity of the essential oils • Add essential oils and mix well • Carefully remove measuring cup and quickly dry off the outside so no water gets into the poured mixture • Working quickly, pour into perfume container; the wax will start to solidify almost immediately • Allow to cool and harden completely before adding lid
Apply with fingertips or cotton swab to pulse points • Perform a small patch test first • Do not get in eyes or mucous membranes • Do not wear perfume which contains citrus oils in direct sunlight • Avoid exposing solid perfume to extreme temperatures
Tip: To clean out the container you used to melt the beeswax, replace in double boiler and heat, allowing any leftover wax to soften. Wipe out residue quickly with paper towel, then wash thoroughly in soap and water.
Try the recipes below, or check out this list of essential oils to create your own spring or summer fragrance. The post also includes formulation guidelines for a balanced, lasting blend.
Lavender Lemon solid perfume (0.5 fl. oz. / 14 mL)
This delightfully refreshing blend is my take on the big-name (starts with P) lemon blossom solid perfume found in natural food stores – the one that got me started on my fragrance kick this month. I made this bright scent for my sister-in-law. The number of drops needed are listed beside each oil. (t = top note m = middle note b = base note f = fixative)
1 tsp beeswax • 1 tsp sweet almond oil • 25 lemon (t) • 25 pink grapefruit (t) • 15 lavender (m) • 20 frankincense (b, f)
Citrus Woods solid perfume (0.5 fl. oz. / 14 mL)
My sister, who, like me, favours citrus/herbal/woodsy combinations, got this one. The unisex scent is orangey with a darker, slightly mysterious undertone.
1 tsp beeswax • 1 tsp sweet almond oil • 15 lemon (t) • 15 pink grapefruit (t) • 20 sweet orange (t) • 10 cedarwood (m) • 20 sandalwood (b) 10 frankincense (f)
Like a May Morning solid perfume (0.5 fl. oz. / 14 mL)
Anyone who loves the ’80s TV series Robin of Sherwood will recognize these words, used by our dashing hero to describe Lady Marion at their first meeting. It’s also my favourite diffuser blend, rendered here in a solid perfume. I gave this pretty floral to a dear relative who’s been going through rough times lately.
1 tsp beeswax • 1 tsp sweet almond oil • 25 pink grapefruit (t) • 35 bergamot (t) • 20 jasmine (m) • 10 cistus (b, f)
Springtime in Paris solid perfume (0.5 fl. oz. / 14 mL)
This solid version of my spring blend was inspired by a charming book called The Little Paris Bookshop, lent to me by my mother. Naturally, that fine lady was the recipient of this fresh and floral perfume.
1 tsp beeswax • 1 tsp sweet almond oil • 30 sweet orange (t) • 15 rose (m) • 20 sandalwood (b) • 10 frankincense (f)