If you’re familiar with Willow & Birch Apothecary, you already know that my all natural skin care products and fragrance creations are deeply inspired by the Victorian era. And it probably comes as no surprise when I tell you that I like to imagine myself as an old-timey apothecary when I’m creating these scented treasures! (Read this blog post to learn about the evolution of the apothecary, then and now.)
Since creating my Signature Scents—English Fog, Lavender Breeze, Lemon Zen, and Orange Spice—I’ve often been asked how these particular blends came to be and how I dream up the fragrances I use in my shop.
For me, the magical allure of scent lies in the stories that are told…the worlds that are created with just the hint of a certain aroma, the ability to transport yourself to another place or recreate a cherished moment in time.
For me, scent is all about story…
Each blend begins with a specific inspiration—a sweet memory, a beloved piece of literature, an imagined faraway place… I sit with that spark for a while and I think about the elements that call to me most—sometimes it’s a plant or a flower, other times it’s a mood, or even a scene I’m picturing in my mind’s eye. From there I let my intuition take the stage as I get quiet and listen for what scents come to the surface of my thoughts; it’s a bit like word association, although I suppose this would be called “scent association”!
Essential Oils for Skin Care
By this time I usually have an extensive list of essential oils I’d like to use. And before I start mixing and matching blends, I begin by researching any oils I may not have worked with yet. I familiarize myself with its properties such as its skin care benefits and aromatherapy purposes, as well as its physical properties like consistency, color, and extraction method. This research helps me weed out any oils that would not be suitable for their intended use (in my candles, soaps, perfumes, moisturizers, bath salts, and essential oil blends). It also helps me pinpoint if an oil really stands out as an ideal fit for my blend.
Now that I have my short list of essential oils, I start mixing and matching based on what scents I know will complement each other and what feels right to me. This step involves lots and lots of trial and error (which my husband fondly calls my “mad scientist” phase). Sometimes it takes just a few tries, and other times it can take weeks or even months before I finally get the blend just right to perfectly capture that initial spark of inspiration.
And when that moment happens, when I know I’ve finally created exactly what I was envisioning, I am absolutely delighted and I just can’t wait to share it with the world. It is such a magical feeling! This is why it brings me so much joy whenever someone tells me they love my scents, because they are a piece of my heart and soul, and it means the world to me to know that my work touches the lives of others.
Creating Natural Plant Based Fragrances
If you’re interested in trying your hand at creating your own scent blends, here are a few tips I’d like to share:
- Keep detailed notes as you’re experimenting with different blends. When you finally find the perfect scent, you want to make sure you know how to recreate it!
- Be open to inspiration—it can often pop up from the most unexpected places.
- Research, research, research! You may be surprised what new and interesting oils you may come across that might be perfect for your next blend!
- To maximize the shelf life of your natural plant based oils, store them in amber glass jars and tuck them away in a cabinet, away from any heat source.
- When shopping for essential oils, be careful to avoid oils that have been blended in a base oil (such as sweet almond oil). For the most potent and true scents, it’s best to use pure, undiluted essential oils.