Scents can get embedded in your memory, especially if that particular scent made a strong impression. Sometimes, scents are strategically used to trigger an emotion or to associate some things with other things. This is the reason why there are times when you spend the entire day trying to figure out why a certain smell seems so familiar.
Some people are also into aromatherapy because scents are known to affect our somatic and autonomic nervous system, the parts of our system that deals with sensory and motor pathways. To put it simply, scents can affect our emotional state because it triggers something in our psychological and physiological subconscious which can benefit us in so many ways. For example, lavender and rosemary scented candles or perfumes have been found to reduce pressure, stress and tension physically and psychologically.
Have you ever been to a place that smelled so nice that it gets you all giddy inside? It can be your favorite store, your best friend’s home, or maybe even the smell of your favorite person in the world such as your grandma's perfume. These scent triggers are used by some businesses. Think about it, we all know what our favorite store smells like, right? You can achieve the same effect in your home or business by creating your own blend of scent. First things first, let’s talk about the science behind blending fragrances.
What are Fragrance Notes?
Did you know that each fragrance has different layers that make up a final scent? These layers are called Fragrance Notes. Much like in music, fragrances have layers and they are divided into three distinct elements: top notes, heart notes and base notes. When combined together, these layers or “notes” work together to create a beautiful fragrance.
Try to remember the kind of scent you like. Do you like something similar to your favorite Diptyque Fragrance or Le labo Fragrance? Or just something more natural like a refreshing cucumber perfume or green tea perfume?
What do you notice about them when you light a candle or put on the perfume? They smell different 15 minutes ago than they do 30 minutes later, right? It gives you an entire experience through the sense of smell when you go through the different layers of scent supposedly getting more pleasing for you as you go through each layer. Each of these blends was carefully crafted using the three fragrance notes.
First impressions may not last but they do matter, especially if we’re talking about candle or perfume scents. This is what top notes are; the first impression.
Top notes or head notes are the first layer of scent that you’ll smell when you come across a fragrance. They are made up of small molecules that evaporate quickly so they’re also the first layer of scent to fade away. Their main role is to entice you and these scents are usually either fresh or sharp.
Top notes are usually citrus, herbs, or fruity scents like basil, eucalyptus, cinnamon, clary sage, grapefruit, lemon, tangerine, spearmint, and so on.
Heart notes or middle notes are scents that emerge just before the top notes fade away. It is the foundation of any fragrance and is usually more mellow and well-rounded. Heart notes make up the majority of the final fragrance, in other words, it is the heart of the blend.
Heart notes are usually aromatic floral scents like jasmine, geranium, neroli, vanilla, as well as pepper, lemon grass, pine, and cardamom.
Base notes are often rich and deep. Not exactly good as an initial impression but it becomes pleasant over time. This is also why the top and heart notes are so important because they mask the strong first impression of the base notes and allow you to smoothly ease into the next layer of scent. Base notes are the least volatile of all three notes which means that the scent lasts the longest among the three fragrance layers.
Some examples of base note scents are sandalwood, patchouli, amber, cedarwood and oakmoss.
What are Scent Strips?
Scent strips are basically a small strip of pH-neutral paper used to assess perfume scents. You can test spray perfumes and scented body oils on these strips to determine whether you like the scent or not. Perfume makers use it to test essential oil perfume or perfume oils when creating a blend of new fragrances.
How to Use Scent Strips?
Perfumers use scent strips during the creation process. A drop of the ingredient or “raw scent” is placed on one end of the strip while the other end has the name of the ingredient written on it. To design a fragrance, the perfumer carefully selects the raw ingredient or scent to be used as the top note, heart note and base note. The perfumer then takes a few different strips (usually a combination of the three fragrance notes), holds them together to form a small fan, and waves the strips in front of his or her nose. This allows the perfumer to smell and evaluate the combination of the selected raw materials and is repeated using various combinations until the final fragrance is made.
To common people, these are simply strips of paper that are handed out or found in perfume stores as testers. One end is usually sprayed with the perfume and the other end has the name of the perfume written on it.
Did you know that you can make over 1 million combinations using our 100 fragrance selection? Make something original to your brand with our unique and complex blends!
Many of our fragrances are already “blend ready”, some are even made of up to 40 ingredients and layers! With our fragrance strips, you can easily create blends that even professional perfumers will be proud of!
Here’s a tip:
You don’t need to make a complex concoction to create a beautiful blend of fragrance, you can start by keeping it simple. Mix and match 2 or 3 of our fragrances to "unlock the magic" scent that defines YOU! Using too many in your blend can cause your notes to clash. Here are two of the most common and recommended formulas:
Take 2 scent strips with equal amounts of oil and hold them side by side. In this case, 1 of each of our strips. Fan them in front of your nose to see if you like the combination. If the scent works for you then you have just created your own fragrance! This is how you make a 50-50 blend.
60-40 or 80-20 Blend
Not satisfied with your 50-50 blend? Try adding another drop of raw material to one of the strips OR add another layer of fragrance. If you’re using our strips, try holding 1 strip closer than the other to make the intensity of that scent stronger than the other. You can also try adding another fragrance strip to use as an accent note. Having 1 scent stronger than the other – for example 2 drops is to 1 drop of the other – is how you make a 60-40 or 80-20 blend.
Your Own Blend of Scent
Now that you understand the different fragrance notes, let’s talk about designing your own fragrance.
There are different types of perfume scents and this is where the fragrance wheel comes in handy. Do you like the warm, powdery, sweet scent of an amber perfume? How about the light and pure scent of a gardenia perfume? Or maybe you like the grass-spicy aromatic perfume for men. It is important to know the difference between the scent family before you create a new scent.
What is a Fragrance Wheel?
The fragrance wheel is like a cheat sheet for perfumers. It shows you the different scent families and subfamilies arranged depending on their similarities and differences.
Scents are divided into four main categories or families. These categories are Floral, Oriental, Woody, and Fresh. Each of these has their own subfamilies known as scent groups.
These are scents that border each other and share common characteristics. Naturally, those that are further away from one another are less related.
The key to making your own blend is knowing the difference between the scent families and a clear understanding of which fragrance note these elements belong to. You can use the fragrance wheel as a guide to determine which scent groups would work well together or which ones will smell more or less the same. An experienced perfumer can easily recognize these differences and similarities but if you’re new to this, you might need a little bit of practice.
There are no magic tricks or secret formulas to making the perfect blend. It’s really up to you, the perfumer, to come up with your own magical blends. All it really takes is having the patience to do a lot of experimenting or “trial and error” for you to find that perfect blend. Just take your time and have fun as you learn the process and discover new fragrances!
If you’re here to make blends for your candles, you’ll be happy to know that the same method can also be used when creating a personalized blend of scent for your candles, linen and room sprays, diffusers, soaps or lotions. Learn more: https://light4lifecause.com/collections/sample-scent-strips
We hope you enjoy your scent blending adventure!