How Emma sets about creating natural fragrances using aromatherapy & perfumery techniques!
“A passion for natural products, perfumery and aromatherapy inspire the natural fragrance creation process I use when creating our all-natural pure essential oil blends.”
Emma chats about the fragrance creation process.
The below is a transcript of the Instagram Live video recorded on 02/03/2022, part of Emma’s ‘Lunchtime Live’ series!
So you may have heard that the Emma’s So Naturals candles collection contains only the finest natural ingredients including soya wax, essential oils and a cotton wick.
This is our legacy, but this actually makes the process sound quite simple – right? When in fact the natural fragrance blends that I’ve developed merge two wonderful, traditional techniques that are actually quite complex, these techniques are perfumery and aromatherapy.
I’m Emma Fallon and since 2010 I’ve been creating natural candles scented with only pure essential oils for a beautifully natural fragrance that won’t overpower you or your rooms.
Today I’d love to share with you the inspiration behind the natural fragrance blends that I have created and the principles that I’ve learned and applied to take them from the individual raw materials that are pure plant extracts and turn them into beautifully natural scented candles, wax tart melts, luxurious soaps and more recently I’ve bottled these blends for you to experience as you would any pure essential oil, for example in an aroma diffuser or your oil burner.
Fragrance evokes feelings
For me fragrance evokes feelings, and has the power to change your mood. Fragrance triggers memory and emotions and can transport you to another time and place or bring a loved one into your mind. I’ve witnessed people brought to tears with a fragrance as well as some who recoil at others!
Just like taste, everyone experiences flavours and fragrances differently and what one person adores might affect another person in a completely opposite way. The fragrances I create are blends of pure essential oils.
Essential oils are very concentrated extracts taken from the roots, leaves, seeds, or flowers or bark of plants. Each extract contains its own unique combination of active ingredients, which determines the use, the benefits and the characteristics or the behaviour of the oil when it is being considered as an ally for aromatherapy or as a component in a perfume.
I like to differentiate the two techniques by saying that aromatherapy is a complimentary wellness practice with a nice fragrance as a bonus and natural perfumery is the creative process of designing a fragrance with an aromatherapeutic bonus, so long as you’re using natural oils, as I do.
or Essential Oil Therapy is based on the use of aromatic materials from natural plant extracts, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds, for healing and cosmetic purposes.
In aromatherapy treatments, the diluted oils can be inhaled or applied topically or on very, very rare occasions, taken internally, but only ever under professional advice and supervision! Most of us would be familiar with using aromatherapy at home as a massage or by diffusing oils in an oil burner. When we apply brands such Sudocrem or Vicks we’re benefiting from aromatherapy.
Perfumery primarily uses the same natural plant extracts, but also some isolated molecules and maybe some synthesised materials and really in traditional perfumery, extracts are not limited to those just from plant origins.
You may already know this but I eat vegan and all the products I create at Emma’s So Naturals are vegan and palm oil free too.
In perfumery these plant-based aromatic materials have characteristics that can perform as top notes, middle notes and base notes within a formula. Some oils can be classed as base to middle or top – middle, depending on how they behave around the other oils that they are blended with.
The odours of essential oils were classified like this in the 19th century according to musical scales, and this is where the top, middle and base notes originated.
When blended, the characteristics of the oils ‘macerate’ or meld together and evolve over a few weeks and months in either an alcohol or a carrier oil, ultimately creating an entirely new persona that turns out to be greater than the sum of its individual parts.
Both techniques use aromatic materials but the goals are different.
The fragrance creation aspect of my process is the art form, it’s where I have the most fun. I get to experiment or play with a world of incredible aromas and produce fragrances that you can enjoy and benefit from.
Perfumery as an artform
As an art form, scents are created from aromatic materials in a similar way to how an artist or painter uses pigments of varying hues and saturations to create new colours and to contrast or compliment each other resulting in a piece of art that on a whole is visually pleasing.
A good chef will do this with flavours to create an entire meal.
In aromatherapy touch is used as well as fragrance and in music composers work with notes and scales and instruments that unify to produce a song or a symphony.
In my work I create natural fragrances from scratch using these techniques. This contrasts with other candle makers that can buy a ready blended synthetic fragrance oil and mix it with wax to produce a candle or diffuser. They are two very different ways of producing candles or home fragrances and I prefer the artistic nature of creating natural perfumes.
When I am developing a new fragrance blend I first write the story and the mood that I am looking for and that I want you to get from the scent.
Because it is now March I will use my Pacific Ylang Ylang blend as an example composition.
The idea for this particular fragrance collection began as an inspired creation to celebrate Spring.
With this blend I wanted to invoke feelings of love and romance. It was originally named Spring Romance and if you’ve been using our candles for a long time, then you might remember that name.
To make an idea a reality a perfumer will then expand and build the initial idea into a story by introducing different characters, like a writer would.
Develop the story around central character.
You develop the story around the starting point by seeking out and adding other oils with characteristics that will balance and harmonise with or compliment both the fragrant qualities and the known therapeutic benefits of the first central character, or essential oil in our story. For example you would try balancing cooling notes with some notes that warm, or try balancing stimulating effects with calming ones, and so on, ensuring that the finished blend is ultimately a pleasing fragrance for the senses.
You might begin, as I did here, with an idea for evoking romance but in this instance you don’t want the effect to be too sedating and you also don’t want to energise and over stimulate, you want balance and to not create chaos.
If you’re lucky you will hit the mark instinctively however you also run the risk of not quite getting it right at first, second or even subsequent tries, and when developing a new blend I will try various combinations of different percentages, dilutions, and with extracts before I’m happy with the finished results.
Our central character in this story, Ylang Ylang, means the Flower of Flowers, it is an exotic floral essential oil that provides a beautifully heady sweet and rich scent. It has both a calming and a joyous, uplifting effect on the mind and the mood and can have aphrodisiac qualities.
To add some zest and sparkle and to lift the heavier, heady base notes of the Ylang Ylang, I introduced my favourite citrus oil, fruity and sweet Bergamot. Its a lighter top – middle note, renowned for creating relaxed and happy feelings. I love Bergamot because it embodies an array of fragrant qualities that span warmth and spicy and floral. You might be more familiar with Bergamot as being the distinctive flavour of Earl Grey Tea.
So we have a base note of Ylang Ylang, that’s been lifted up and out by Bergamot and then along comes Lavender oil which meets these two other character’s personalities in the middle by smoothing and balancing the overall fragrance while bringing with is a soothing, calming and relaxing vibe to the party!
The finished blend, while containing one of the richest floral oils we know, is not a heavy & heady fragrance because we cut through that and gave it some lightness by adding Bergamot and then balanced these two by adding Lavender.
Our Pacific Ylang Ylang blend delivers a light aroma that I always recommend if you are typically drawn to powdery ‘clean cotton’ or ‘wash day’ type scents and you want to try a natural alternative that won’t overpower your senses or your room the way a synthetic fragrance could.
You will notice that the fragrance behaves differently in our candles than it does when you try it in our soap or in the essential oil blend because of the other elements that it is being carried by such as our plant wax or our olive and coconut oil based soap.
You will find Pacific Ylang Ylang available as a clean burning long lasting tumbler candle, a smaller tin candle, wax tart melt for your oil burners, our beautiful luxurious soap and as a 10ml bottle of pure essential oil.
Let me know if you have tried any of our Pacific Ylang Ylang scented candles, soap or as our new aroma diffuser blend. Do you love it, like I do?