Natural Living

By Irene Fogarty


Obsession. Crave. Poison. Ever wonder why the most commercial perfumes are a little addictive?

Sure we all like to smell good. But why do we long to spray our bodies with these chemically-laden potions that can be so pungent, the vapors go up your nose, causing your eyes start to water. So all you want to do is well, escape!

Enter Annie Berthold-Bond. No, it’s not a perfume, it’s the woman who has devoted her life to offering us practical, healthy and uplifting solutions to enhance our daily lives. She is the real “green” thing. Taking no short cuts, no fads no commercialism to sell her books or ideas. Instead, she shows us how to make our lives, homes and families a lot healthier by opting for more natural alternatives that protect the environment and us.

So the recipes for all-natural scents I’m about to give you are not my own concoctions, although I have dabbled in making fragrances for years. They’re based on those found in Annie’s wonderful book, Better Basics for the Home – one of the best books you can buy if you want to make your home the healthiest place to be. With over 868 practical formulas for the house, from body creams to cleaning creams, hair care to lawn care, you’ll be amazed at how easy green, clean living can be.

So back to formulating your fragrances. You need a few basics. I’ve listed them all here for you. Just go to any health store, they’re easy to find. (In fact, I’m amazed just how easy. New York health stores are really well equipped. So no excuses. Ask the assistant if you need help…they’re usually very informative.) Just make sure you buy pure, solvent-free essential oils.

Here’s a few simple recipes to make your own scents that you can use anywhere without harming nature or offending anybody’s sensitive olfactory buds anywhere.


There are a few things to remember:
1. Never place essential oils directly on the skin; they can burn.
2. Only buy pure, solvent-free essential oils.


Fragrance Material:

* Flowers: Cassia, carnation, clove, hyacinth
* Jasmine, rose, violet, ylang-ylang
* Wood: Cedar, sandalwood
* Fruits: Lemon, lime, orange
* Leaves and stems: Geranium, cinnamon, patchouli

Alcohol: Vodka, brandy, or rum

Glycerin: used as a fixative

Water: Distilled water or rose water only


Rose, ylang-ylang

Lemon, citronella, lemon verbana, sandalwood

Bergamot, sandalwood

Rose, lavender, lemon, verbana, sandalwood

Rosemary, rose

Clove, bergamot

Rose, orange

Cinnamon, eucalyptus


It’s easy. You can test the essential oils by placing a few drops on blotting paper. Smell one after the other. See which ones you’d like you go together. You can try any of my favorites above or be adventurous, try any combination you like.


What you need:

3 parts pure essential oil blend
7 parts vodka, rum, or brandy
20 drops per ounce of orris root tincture

What to do:
Mix all ingredients and let set for 1-2 months

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Shelf Life: Indefinite

Storage: Dark glass jar, keep away from light


What you need:
1 ounce jojoba oil
25 drops essential oils

What to do:
Combine ingredients in a glass bottle.
Shake to blend.

Makes 1 ounce.

Preparation Time: 1-2 minutes

Shelf Life: Indefinite

Storage: Amber/blue glass bottle


What you need:
1 1/2 parts each essential oil blend and water or rose water
7 parts vodka

What to do:
Combine ingredients and let set for 3-6 weeks.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Shelf Life: Indefinite
Storage:Amber/blue glass bottle


For the essential oil blend, combine 10 parts ylang-ylang,

5 parts neroli and rose, and 3 parts bergamot

Honeysuckle: For the essential oil blend, just combine

15 parts cassia, rose, tuberose, and violet and

1/2 part neroli and bitter almond

Verbana: For the essential oil blend, combine 6 parts lemongrass, and ½ parts bergamot and orange

The good thing about making your own scents, it’s up to you just how strong they smell. Use your nose and take it from there. And voila! You’ve made your eau-n de perfume!!!

Let me just finish by adding that once you buy the ingredients, it’s so easy to make these scents. They literally take minutes. And just think how you can use them for presents for all of your family and friends. (Even those “addicted” ones!) Sure they won’t come in extravagant bottles, but they’re much healthier, smell wonderful, and are real fun to make. Not to mention the cost!

For more information on scents, fragrances, and healthier living in general, go to and read more of Annie’s expert tips.

For all the above ingredients, visit:

Natural Commodities East
165 1st Avenue (between 10th and 11th Streets).
Tel: (212) 260-2600

Originally published February 2004



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