How to Make Cologne in 5 Easy Steps

How To Make Cologne In 5 Easy Steps

Some people are lucky to find their signature cologne or perfume and use it every time they go out. Not everyone is that lucky. If you’re one of the latter, you might have thought about making your own cologne. The silver lining is colognes are not that difficult to make if you have the ingredients.

Colognes can also be quite expensive. While making your own cologne will definitely not cost as much as colognes from mainstream brands, high-quality ingredients will not be cheap. The high price tags on famous colognes are another reason why making your own colognes is a good idea.

In this article, we will talk about easy steps to teach you how to make cologne with ingredients you can easily buy.

What You Need to Make Cologne

The first step is procuring all of the ingredients. This will include three essential oils (preferably with droppers), concentrated alcohol, glycerin, distilled water, and a spray bottle to store it in.

Before you start mixing these ingredients around, let’s talk about some things about them that you need to understand.

Essential Oils

Essential oils get their name from the fact that they hold the essence of the fragrance of the plant they’re extracted from. Since these are oils, they will not be soluble in water, but you can mix them easily with alcohol. They can also be quite flammable and should be handled with care.

You will need three different types of essential oils to get started with your cologne-making project. The three oils will make the top note, middle note, and base note of your cologne.

How To Make Cologne In 5 Easy Steps

Top Notes

The top note of cologne is what you smell immediately after applying it. When you spray your cologne on your neck or wrist, the first smell you notice is the top note’s essential oil. Top notes will usually take 5 to 15 minutes to evaporate.

The most common top notes are citrus and floral scents. You can use more floral scents if you’re making a cologne for women. For citrus scents, you have options like lemon, orange, bergamot, and mandarin. Floral scents can include lavender, rose, jasmine, juniper berry, and clary sage.

Middle Notes

The smell of the middle note’s essential oil will start making itself known once the top note has evaporated. These give the cologne a dynamic scent that changes slightly over time. The middle note of cologne is sometimes called its heart note.

Middle notes will usually take 20 to 60 minutes to evaporate. Based on the ratio in which you use the essential oils, you can make your middle notes last longer and form part of the foundation of your cologne.

Full-bodied floral scents can make for great middle notes. These can include options like lemongrass, cinnamon, pepper, and cardamom.

Base Notes

The base note is an important part of your cologne, as this is the smell that will stick around the longest. It starts coming into play when the middle note has started evaporating.

If you’re out attending an event or party, the base note of your cologne is the one people will remember. Base notes will last the longest and usually take more than 6 hours to evaporate completely.

Since these are the notes that will stick around the longest, you can go for woody and musky notes for the base. Popular base notes include vanilla, sandalwood, musk, and amber.


Before you open up a bottle of whiskey to add to your perfume, you should know that the kind of alcohol you need for your cologne needs to be a lot more concentrated.

Vodka is sometimes used, but the best way to make cologne is to get food-grade ethanol. This will ensure that there is no alcoholic odor to your finished product.

Rubbing alcohol is also not advised as an ingredient while making cologne because of its harsh smell. It also evaporates very quickly, which might prevent your cologne from giving you that distinct, long-lasting smell. Everclear is also a good option as an ingredient in cologne.


Glycerin gives your cologne consistency and helps it stick. Just using alcohol and essential oils might give you the smell that you’re looking for, but you might see it evaporating too quickly without added glycerin.


Only distilled water should be used in making cologne. Distilled water is pure H2O and has no traces of salts. You cannot use bottled water for making cologne.

The purpose of alcohol and distilled water is to ensure that the essential oils in your cologne are sufficiently diluted. By themselves, essential oils are highly concentrated and can cause harm to your body if ingested or applied directly. They might also not smell great if used in concentrated amounts.

How to Make Cologne

Now that you have all your ingredients, you have to figure out the ratio you are using your essential oils. If this is your first time and you are unsure about it, go for a 20:50:30 ratio for the base, middle, and top essential oils.

Over time, you can experiment with this formula and make a cologne that suits your personal taste. For this perfume, use 15 drops of your top note oil, 25 drops of your middle note oil, and 10 drops of your base note oil.

How To Make Cologne In 5 Easy Steps

Use 5 ounces of alcohol and 1 ounce of distilled water for your cologne. While this is the amount advised, you are free to change the amount of distilled water you are using.

If you know that your skin is sensitive to alcohol, you might want to use more distilled water. However, keep in mind that this will make your cologne slightly milder.

Step 1: Pour the alcohol into a bowl or beaker. Make sure it is large enough to hold all your ingredients with enough space to mix them together.

Step 2: Using a dropper (or the dropper cap of your essential oil vials, if they have one), add the essential oils drop by drop to the alcohol. In this step, you can add a few drops at a time of the top, middle, and base notes to see if your smell is working out.

After a few attempts, you will be able to tell which essential oil smells go well together. While essential oils mix easily in alcohol, you should keep stirring the mixture. This is to ensure that proper dispersion of the oils occurs and you get an even mixture.

Step 3: Now that your alcohol and essential oil solution is finished, you will need to let it sit. The minimum amount is 48 hours, but some people keep their solutions refrigerated for more than a week. Within this time, you should shake the bottle every few hours to keep the solution even.

Step 4: The solution you will now have will be quite concentrated. You will need to dilute it to make it usable. Open the bottle and add the distilled water and around five drops of glycerin.

Make sure that you carry out this step very carefully, or you run the danger of diluting your cologne too much and making it too mild for use. While you mix the water and glycerin, keep stirring constantly.

Step 5: Once the mixture is ready, transfer it to a spray bottle. By this time, your cologne will be in the right ratio and have the right consistency, and you can start using it right away.

When it comes to storing your cologne, make sure that you store it in an area away from light, heat, and humidity. Storing your cologne in a cool, dry place will make it last longer, while keeping your bottle in a place like your bathroom will cause it to break down faster.

Another tip you can use to make your cologne last longer is to apply it either immediately after you shower or after you’ve moisturized. This will make the smell linger on your body for a lot longer. Do not spray cologne on your clothes, as it will cause it to evaporate more quickly.

The Bottom Line

If you’ve always wanted to learn how to make cologne but thought it was too complicated, we hope that this article has given you all the information you need. Just getting some ingredients and following a few easy steps will give you your own signature scent!

While this article specifies a rigid ratio for your cologne, you do not have to stick to it. Experimenting with different categories and types of essential oils will help you learn more about mixing and finding the right scent for you.


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