Private Reserve - DIY Aftershave Splash Project

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todras

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So I have initiated this thread as I plan on making a variety of home formulated after-shave splashes having obtained the necessary ingredients. I will document my own discovery process and hopefully also provide a guide or how-to for anyone in the future who comes along and asks the very same question.

Weeks worth of intensive Google searching on the topic has yielded very little useful information aside from some crude, inexact basics and a multitude of "natural" formulations on blogs run by mothers and naturopaths - these quite frankly were inexact and of little use at best ;)

I will provide posts from week to week as I stumble through the process of making my splashes, providing as much detail as possible so that if anyone else is interested, with a bit of reading and preparation they can easily follow the steps I have taken (or indeed improve on them). If anyone has any experience in making a splash, please do not hesitate to contribute, correct or provide advice. I'm hoping we all learn something here.

I have no experience making perfume or indeed dilute perfume - an aftershave splash is simply a dilute Perfume or 'EDC' more correctly.

A brief bit on perfume and it's various strengths. I'm not going to go on about perfume I promise, this is just a brief outline to get some ideas straight.

A good way to conceptualise it is thinking of 100ml of fluid in total, with the perfume percentage being the percentage of oils in the alcohol solution: So a 100ml bottle will have between 20 and 40% essential oils... i.e bloody strong.

Perfume Strength 20%-40% - This has 20 to 40% essential oil with the rest being alcohol. Obviously this will smell the strongest due to the high percentage of oils and it will also cost the most due to the expense of Essential Oils.

Eau De Perfume - 10% to 30% - A little more dilute however still very pungent and strong, again a fairly expensive preparation due to the percentages, but a little less than Perfume.

Eau De Toilette (EDT) - 5% to 20% - This is French toilet water. Substantially cheaper than the other two in the hierarchy depending on the percentages. Many products sit in this range, and indeed some wet-shaving 'splashes'.

Eau De Cologne - 2% to 5% - Bingo this is us for the most part, the Americans call these 'Splashes' and the English Aftershaves but the French run with EDC or even C. With slight variation, this is what I plan on making however strictly speaking I will be making an EDT as I plan on making a 6% solution.

I will be making an EDT (6% strength) but will be calling it 'Aftershave Splash' because I choose to. My aim in making it is that I want certain scents (accords) and many of the wet-shaving products run with around 2% to 4% strength - they don't last very long.


Where to Buy all the things needed
All prices I will list are Australian and are based on average retail prices. You may find them cheaper, you may not. The prices are guides based on quantity.

I will stress the importance though of using a reputable supplier for all materials as you will be applying the solution daily to your face.

Using an Australian online supplier is the most prudent and responsible thing to do. Alcohol mostly cannot be shipped internationally, and 'foreign' or unregulated alcohol may contain anything including some very toxic and poisonous additives. Don't risk it, use only the best materials.

There are several large online Australian Essential Oil retailers that do mail order, they also do perfumers alcohol, bottles, measuring cups, pipettes and everything else you could possibly ever need.

Here are two I use as I am in NSW. Finding one in your state is a good idea as Alcohol cannot travel by air, particularly in the quantities we will be using.

Heirloom Body Care - A great supplier for Essential oils and also Bottles, measuring cups, etc.
Sydney Essential Oil Co. - Absolutely massive range of Pure Essential Oils in various grades and prices.

The liquids I will use to make my Aftershave splash




Perfumers Alcohol (Ethanol with code 95PGF4) $15 per 500ml - Commonly known as 'Denatured Alcohol' due to the addition of tert-Butyl alcohol to de-ntature the alcohol. The alcohol is denatured to prevent humans drinking it. I won't get into the chemistry as it's irrelevant.

WitchHazel (Hamameliz virginiana)
$10 per 500ml - This is witch hazel, we all know it. It is distilled and suspended in 14% alcohol. It is important you buy the pure Witchhazel that is not scented or adulterated. It is cheap and worth procuring as pure witchhazel.

Glycerine - $8 per 500ml This is not essential for making a splash however it always takes care of the face when included in commercial products. I went with Vegetable glycerine derived from Palm Oil as I have Vegan friends and want them to be able to use the splash without freaking out etc.

The bottle of Polysorbate 20 is for an aftershave balm project (I will be making a balm for a friend who cannot use alcohol based aftershave) and is not relevant here, it fixates oils into a water based solution. This is not needed to make a splash.


The Essential Oils used in making an Aftershave splash

This is just an example of the Essential Oils I will be using, I have around 18 to 20 that I have obtained thus far. You can see I have gone with 15ml in most instances, with the exception being the 5ml of Sandalwood from this supplier due to it's cost. The blue bottle on the right is a 30ml decant bottle for the final product, it gets fitted with a sealed cap and dripper fitting. The bottle to the far-right is a bottle of preservative used for making balms and is not splash related.


Essential Oil Quality
: This is going to be brief, as while important I don't want to get weighed down in the in's and outs of essential oils. There are 3 main grades or qualities of essential oils. They are pure- steam or alcohol distilled & the most expensive, 3% in jojoba oil (cheaper), blended oils (mixed qualities), and then the last class of Fragrance oils which I won't comment on as I won't be using them. As an aside if you cannot find an essential oil anywhere in the world, yet your favourite wet-shaving brand has a scent listed then they are using a fragrance oil (cheeky bastards).

There is apparently a risk of phototoxicity with some citrus oils (amongst other risks) however I am choosing to use only pure essential oil as I want the very best quality and scent possible. The oils I am using are expensive, some of them very expensive due to their nature however I feel it is worth every cent in making my own aftershave. You get what you pay for and my feeling is that it may as well be done properly, using the best materials the first time.

I will only be using pure steam distilled essential oils, I will not be using 3% essential oils in jojoba or Fragrance oils in any of my aftershave splashes. This is important as anything other than pure oils require different quantities therefore anyone following this thread should be conscious of the quantities.

A few Essential Oil Prices

A few random sample prices on essential oils, I have chosen to use Australian pure oils wherever possible, notably with Sandalwood which is dangerously endangered in India and is grown in Australia sustainably and is of superb quality.

Calabrian Bergamot ( Citrus aurantium var. bergamia) Organic Cold pressed $27.00 - 15 ml
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) $14.00
Jasmine Absolute (Jasminum grandiflorum) $135.00 - 5ml
French Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) $10.00 - 15ml
Neroli (Citrus aurantium ) $45.00 - 15ml
Australian Sandalwood (Santalum spicata) $28.00 - 5ml
Patchouli (pogostemon cablin) $15.00 - 5ml

This is a random selection of the oils I have obtained, just to provide a broad general indication of the price you will be looking at. Some of the most prized oils attract the premium prices, an indicator of authenticity is often the price - if it's substantially cheaper than everywhere else the chances are it is inauthentic, it has been extracted incorrectly, it is diluted with fragrance oil or it is just outright rubbish.

Well, that's the introduction for this week. I am still looking at ratios, formulas and waiting on a quantity of oakmoss to arrive so I can begin the first scent.

I will cover the two scents (accords) I will be making one at a time, they will be called "Private Reserve" 'PC' and 'GL' respectively. Private Reserve is the name traditionally given to non commercial, or private fragrances. The accompanying letters are a piss take and are a bit of fun - I give them names to make discussing them much easier once they get to the testing phase.

So, two scents (or accords to be pretentious)

Private Reserve - Pork Chop (PC) - A classic Vetiver. Vetiver as we all know smells like a burnt pork chop.... A scent that jumps into a conversation suddenly, dictates absolute while everyone remains pondering je ne sais quoi...

Private Reserve - The Generals Ledger (GL) - This one is a numbers game (Fougères are a little complex to make due to the manynotes). I am aiming for a classic but contemporary Fougère with a base notes that are top-shelf (and fiscally imprudent). The middle and tops will follow the same projection, auditing the enigma of scent.

Until next time... comments, advice, corrections and thoughts welcome :)









 

Mark1966

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This is going to be AMAZING!

I'm excited already mate and all you have done is spend (lots of) money.

I can't wait to read more.
 
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Snooze

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Wow - fantastic @todras !! Sounds very exciting - I think the blending of the oils will be the fun (and difficult) part of the exercise - lots of trial and error!! Keep us posted!
 

todras

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I'm excited already mate and all you have done is spend (lots of) money.
Note my current Forum status in this regard, General.

I think the blending of the oils will be the fun (and difficult) part of the exercise
Formulating the notes Base, Heart and Top will be the real challenge and this is the part where the skill comes in. I am not aiming for greatness, that takes years of work rather I'll be happy with people saying "bloody hell, that's not bad". You are most correct, the volumes of the oils is without a doubt the hardest part of the equation.

After hundreds of hours of often painful lurking and reading on various Perfume forum's (what a precious lot they can be) I will be going with the classic French formulation in relation to the notes. I'll detail this more but for now:

25% top
20% mid
55% base

I'm not going to get too precious with the whole thing either, it's intended to be enjoyable, educational and an effort to make something of very high quality that's very usable on a day to day basis. I will be soliciting 'testers' in this regard from the forum once I get the OK from the admin/site moderator. I have no plans to sell anything, it will all be given away free to friends on this forum.



Measures and Pipettes



A brief note on the necessity to use sterile, clean pipettes for each individual essential oil. These are available in many capacities, I have bought both 1ml and 3ml. The 1 ml are pictured. It is worth paying for lab pipettes due to the accurate nature of their markings and measurements. I will use iso alcohol to sterilize in-between use

What is critical is that you use the same pipette for each essential oil and keep them uncontaminated by never using them to mix into other solutions. I plan on marking each one with a tag to identify it and keeping them clean by irrigating in pure alcohol in-between use. They will be kept dry and labelled when stored to avoid the possibility of scent contamination - the oils cost a fortune, contaminating the scents by mixing them up is something I cannot allow to happen!

Also pictured is a glass measuring cup for measuring alcohol, glycerine and Witch Hazel. Glass is ideal as it is easily cleaned back to a sterile state and will not react with most solutions.

Measurements
The rule of thumb is that 20 drops = 1ml

This commonly touted formula is immediately problematic however as different oils have different viscosity (bigger and smaller drops) therefore it is much more accurate to work in Ml (mili litres) and this is how I will proceed.

Using 100ml as a guide for overall composition of the Aftershave Splash

This is my current thinking, I may revise it given more reading...

44 ml Perfumers Alcohol
40 ml Witchhazel
10ml Glycerine
6ml Essential oil
 
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Sounds great @todras, hope the experiment goes well. I have one tip if that's alright; it is that I would suggest when mixing your essential oils, is to use cotton wool balls to add your drops of oil to and then put them in a zip lock bag or something and allow it about 24 hours to set and synergize.
So say I want to do a Bay Rum blend I would put the following amount on cotton wool balls 10 drops bay west indies essential oil, 5 drops sweet orange essential oil, 5 drops lime peel essential oil, 3 drops clove essential oil.
Than with this way it is easy to tweak your scent profile and you won't use as much of your essential oils.
Just my two cents, hope it helps. (y)
 

Snooze

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Note my current Forum status in this regard, General.



Formulating the notes Base, Heart and Top will be the real challenge and this is the part where the skill comes in. I am not aiming for greatness, that takes years of work rather I'll be happy with people saying "bloody hell, that's not bad". You are most correct, the volumes of the oils is without a doubt the hardest part of the equation.

After hundreds of hours of often painful lurking and reading on various Perfume forum's (what a precious lot they can be) I will be going with the classic French formulation in relation to the notes. I'll detail this more but for now:

25% top
20% mid
55% base

I'm not going to get too precious with the whole thing either, it's intended to be enjoyable, educational and an effort to make something of very high quality that's very usable on a day to day basis. I will be soliciting 'testers' in this regard from the forum once I get the OK from the admin/site moderator. I have no plans to sell anything, it will all be given away free to friends on this forum.
@todras I am intrigued how they can combine all the "notes" into one synchronous scent without clashing - I guess there must be a basic "recipe" e.g. for vetiver then they just tweak the fragrance or add something to make it unique. I love Bay Rum and toyed with making some, even buying the alcohol but thought I already have so many splashes/ bay rums I would wait till I reduced the supply somewhat (like thats ever going to happen!). Will from B&M describes how he formulated the “Mousse de Saxe” for Lavanille (one of my absolute favourites) he says he recreated it by scent alone - very impressive!!
Great job mate - I am happy to be a tester if required! Also happy to chip in towards cost of ingredients.
 

Snooze

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Sounds great @todras, hope the experiment goes well. I have one tip if that's alright; it is that I would suggest when mixing your essential oils, is to use cotton wool balls to add your drops of oil to and then put them in a zip lock bag or something and allow it about 24 hours to set and synergize.
So say I want to do a Bay Rum blend I would put the following amount on cotton wool balls 10 drops bay west indies essential oil, 5 drops sweet orange essential oil, 5 drops lime peel essential oil, 3 drops clove essential oil.
Than with this way it is easy to tweak your scent profile and you won't use as much of your essential oils.
Just my two cents, hope it helps. (y)
Good idea - how have you made your Bay Rums @Reegs ?
 

todras

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I have one tip if that's alright; it is that I would suggest when mixing your essential oils, is to use cotton wool balls to add your drops of oil to and then put them in a zip lock bag or something and allow it about 24 hours to set and synergize.
That's a great tip and along the lines of the next posting I will make when the final 5 or 6 oils arrive!

Very briefly:
I have around 200 5ml sterile ampoules/bottles.

How a scent is developed (based on my perfume forum reading) is that the pure essential oils are added to these vials (one version of a scent with the base, middle and top notes per vial - around 10 drops of essential oil in total).

These are then sealed, put in a dark place & left for 4 days for the oils to assimilate, they are then tested for smell. Of course the exact quantities are recorded prior to doing this, so a smell you like or don't like can be noted and attenuated.

I plan to do 5 or 6 or possibly 8 of these iterations based on an original 6 test vials of pure oils per scent until I get an Accord (smell) I like and will know exactly what ratios 'made' this particular scent.

The beauty of this system is that you use fractional amounts of essential oil - generally 2 drops per note. So for example I will have 10 5ml vials ready and do the following.

I will explain and expand on my approach, the quantities and the complete methodology next week when I post the next part.
 
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todras

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Way Cool. "Subscribed"

Have considered distilling your own EO?
No, I am happy to spend the money to ensure I get pure oils, no toxicity and no chance of impurities entering the mix. Additionally obtaining the quantities of the various materials required to make EO's, the glassware etc and chemists skill is beyond me :)
 

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Boy! You don't do things by halves do you mate?! Bloody ripper!

Am I excited for you or what?! This sounds superb. Definitely a niche side-hobby to distract you from your day job.

I'm really looking forward to this...

No, I am happy to spend the money to ensure I get pure oils, no toxicity and no chance of impurities entering the mix. Additionally obtaining the quantities of the various materials required to make EO's, the glassware etc and chemists skill is beyond me :)
Pity. You could have captured the perfect scent! [emoji51]
 

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