There’re a few things I can’t resist having a huuuuge variety of at all times : lipsticks, shoes, and … essential oils. “OH BUT WHY, are you using them for some kind of homeopathic bullshit?” NOPE, I just like things that smell nice, and (as you already know) I’m extremely particular about scents, and I enjoy playing mad scientist (esp without the risk of blowing shit up). And so, welcome to a whole page of crafty things you can do with these, a.k.a. rationalization for buying maybe too many of them.
WAIT WHAT’S GOOD THO?
Brambleberry is maybe one of the most popular resources for essential oils and fragrance oils (which can be synthetics or blends of natural and artificial elements, where “essential oils” are typically a legit botanical extract thinger). In addition to a HUUUUGE selection of quality EOs, they also stock supplies for making soaps, candles, and so forth. I’ve also got quite a few from Saharas Supplies on Etsy, which oh nooooo, it looks like they’re closing! But hey, you can apparently get 60% off your order with code CLOSINGSHOP60, so act fast? SaveOnScents is another with a terrifyingly massive selection, with the advantage of very affordable prices and a greater variety of available sizes, so you don’t have to commit to two whole ounces of something you might end up hating. Anyway, a quick googling of “fragrance oils” will turn up appx five graptillion results — I’ve ordered from these three places consistently because they always have multiple scents I want, and their prices aren’t completely insane. If you prefer to shop in person, there’s a good chance your local health food shop carries Aura Cacia, which usually isn’t the best value, but I do have a few and have been pretty pleased with them!
WAIT WHICH SCENTS ARE GOOD THO?
Obvs it depends on what you like! Y’all know me — I veer strongly toward woods, leather, botanical/herbal stuff, and Weird Things. I absolutely ADORE the ones called Coal Tar (this is actually a fairly common perfume ingredient), Campfire, Water, and Motor Oil. But my most-used, couldn’t-live-without-them oils are Cedarwood, Leather (Brambleberry’s Leather is SO GOOD), Black Pepper, Oud Wood, and Sea Salt. These are all incredible on their own but also super versatile in blends — Black Pepper in particular is marvelous for adding spicy-sharpness and warmth without any sweetness; Cedarwood is great for adding an earthy woody “dryness” and taming a scent that’s otherwise too sugary or flowery or cloying.
If you’re new to fragrance blending, I’d recommend getting a few that you’re confident you’ll love, and a few things that you’d classify as weird or unexpected. Like, something bright/crisp/sweet like Grapefruit is lovely on its own, but Grapefruit with a dash of Oud and some Cedarwood is amaaaazing. Similarly, punching up a fresh-breezy note like Sea Salt or Water with a deep-dark like Pepper or Frankincense can yield a surprisingly compelling scent.
WHAT ELSE DO I NEED?
Super useful multi-purpose tools that I’ve always got : disposable plastic droppers, and bamboo skewers from the grocery store. Measure, dispense, test, stir, boom.
OKAY BUT WHAT DO I DO WITH ALL THIS?
Obviously you can mix up your own blends and put them in a tiny rollerball bottle along with a carrier oil (often recommended, as straight EOs can be VERY strong, and also potentially irritating applied directly, esp if you have sensitive skin) (and you can pick up a little bottle of any light scentless oil like safflower, coconut, evening primrose, etc etc anywhere). Sure, you can use them sans carrier oil, but PATCH TEST FIRST, PEOPLE. And remember that many EOs — esp citrus ones — can increase your skin’s UV sensitivity, so don’t douse yourself in tangerine essential oil and then go to the beach, okay?
OR, You can put it in unscented hand soap!
I’m rather fond of the big refill pouches of Method’s unscented liquid soap refills ($5.99/34oz on Amazon, or a six-pack for $34.14; also usually available at Target stores and cool groceries) but occasionally I go full-on hippie and buy Dr Bronner’s unscented castile soap ($12.99/16oz or (better) $15.98/32oz at Amazon, or at your local Crunchy Granola Emporium). Dr Bronner’s also makes a darn fine wash for delicates, makeup brushes / paintbrushes and so forth, so I usually have some around even if I’m not using it as hand soap.
OR, You can put it in laundry detergent!
Yep, just a few drops per capful of any unscented laundry stuff will leave a nice lingering scent. Be sure to stir it around in there to distribute it so you don’t end up with splotches of Very Strong Scent (or oily stains) on your clothes. I kinda dig the fragrance-free Seventh Generation stuff (about $14/50oz on Amazon, also available at most groceries) but any unscented kind will do.
WHAT ABOUT POST-LAUNDRY?
Grab a couple cute cheap plastic spray bottles from your local drugstore (or re-use spray bottles you’ve already got — I hoard good empty spray bottles like they’re made of freakin’ gold) and fill them with water, however many drops of your scent blend you want, and a nice big splash of isopropyl alcohol to help emulsify everything. Why do my sheets always smell nice? Custom-made linen spray, that’s why.
WHAT ABOUT CANDLES?
Candle-making is a thing that intimidates me — you’d think it’d just be “melt wax, add scent, pour.” BUT NO, there’s all kinds of fiddly fine-tuning with scent types, concentrations, wax types, additives, wick materials, calculating burn rate versus vessel diameter and so forth, ugh, so this is something I haven’t tackled yet. HOWEVER :
I do sometimes cheat! Grab a bag of cheap tea lights, line them up on a small metal baking sheet, and stand all the wicks up. The wicks on these generally are bent firmly in one direction, so after I stand them up, I run a couple of the wooden skewers across the tops of each row of candles, snugged up on either side of the wicks (secured at each end with twist-ties if needed), perpendicular to their pre-bent direction — this will usually prevent them from sinking. Now pop the tray in the oven orrrrrrr even easier (and my preferred method) stick ’em on the stove top and put the burner on low. After the wax melts, dropper in your oils, stir around a little, and remove from heat to let them cool. WOO, quick scented tea lights!
Add a few drops to an unscented dryer sheet, or to a sachet to throw in the dryer, or multiple sachets to hang in the closets! Add a few drops (or in my case a LOT of drops) to the water tank of your steam mop! (This is probably not recommended and almost definitely bad for its heating mechanism, but it’s an 80 steam mop and IDGAF because the “scent discs” Bissell makes are staaaaaank, and the alternative is to make the house smell like Hot Wet Dirt. No thx.)
TIPS AND TRICKS
Ha haaa, there really aren’t any? :| How much EO to use can reaaaaaaally vary a lot — it depends on how strongly you prefer your soap/candle/whatever to be scented, and it depends on the oil(s) involved. Like, I use one drop of my Grapefruit EO where I’d use 6-8 drops of the Cedarwood. So basically, you’ll have to do a good bit of experimenting to see what works for you and which of your oils require greater or lesser amounts in blends and in final “products.” FORTUNATELY, this is super fun experimenting. :) As long as you start with less, you can always add more!
Got a fave shop for EOs? Fave scents? Fave uses? Share with the group! <3