Back in the spring, when I was reading Better Meals for Less Money, by Mary Green, I came across a recipe for homemade cologne. Well, not exactly a recipe, she just listed the essential oils and their proportions, but I was still intrigued. Would it smell anything like the original cologne from Germany, I wondered? And could it really be that simple?
I finally got my hands on the necessary combination of essential oils and tried it out. Here you are:
1 part lavender essential oil
1 part bergamot essential oil
1 part sweet orange essential oil
1 part lemon essential oil
I dropped that into the water in my diffuser and let it run. It did smell good, light, clean, and suitable for anybody.
Back in the day that would be added to alcohol (according to Google, triple-filtered vodka works best for this) until it was as strong as you wanted it to be. I used 4 drops of each oil to 100 ml of alcohol and found it smelled good when applied but left no lasting scent. That wouldn’t be a problem if you were using it to splash someone’s temples when they felt faint (the traditional use for cologne) or were suffering from a personal heatwave (it is cooling) but for scenting handkerchiefs (also traditional) you’d need considerably more. I also found the oil kept separating out so you need to give the bottle a good shake before applying.
Other uses? Again, according to Google, people are using essential oils to scent hand sanitizer. The cologne version works well for this. I’ve also experimented with equal parts peppermint oil and grapefruit oil, which is very refreshing. And the addition of the oils makes the sanitizer somewhat less drying. You can mix and match to suit yourself--start with one or two drops and add more as needed. Just be sure the oils you are using are safe on the skin—I understand cinnamon can burn.