Combining Scents The Fragrance Wheel

Combining Scents The Fragrance Wheel

Ever feel a little lost when trying to combine your own scents for the perfect combination? You’re not alone. There are so many options when making your own products– essential oils, fragrance oils or even just naturally scenting with raw ingredients. I too have felt this way many times (and I’m sure a lot of you out there have felt this way too). There will always be staple scents that go together, ones that everyone can easily identify, but sometimes you need to experiment with a few different fragrances until you find exactly what you’re looking for- and that can be easier to do with a little direction.

Scent, like color, has categories that determine which fragrances will mesh well together. I didn’t even know this! The fragrance wheel (just like the color wheel- remember art class?) displays the four main categories along with their sub-categories and a center point called Fougere. The main categories include: Fresh, Woody, Oriental, Floral, & the center point, Fougere. Of these five, Fougere is the only one that is not sub-divided because it has universal appeal & generally blends well with all of the groups.

Here’s a little history for you: Perfumer Michael Edwards developed the fragrance wheel in 1983 to help simplify the relationship of each fragrance category. SO helpful, right?! I think so. Here are the basic rules for scent blending that will help you make selections that will blend and complement each other in wonderful ways.

Combining Scents The Fragrance Wheel

Basic blending rules:

1.  Side by side fragrances on the chart blend well.

2. Selecting opposites on the wheel are complimentary.

3. Selecting 3 fragrances that create a triangle while looking at the wheel will usually complement each other nicely.

After selecting a few fragrances from the wheel, you can test out their blended scent by placing a dab of each on a q-tip and sealing the q-tips in a plastic baggie. Allow the baggie to sit for a while before opening to test the fragrances to give ample time for the fragrances to mesh together. You can do equal parts, or use more of one scent and less of another (and so on) if you’d like one scent to be more prevalent than the other.

Get creative! This is how you discover blends that are perfect for you and for what you’re creating! Have fun with it, you could stumble upon something amazing!

Combining Scents The Fragrance Wheel

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25 thoughts on “Combining Scents The Fragrance Wheel

    1. Hey Kyrsten. Here are the examples:
      Floral Notes: Lavender 40/42 http://www.bulkapothecary.com/lavender-40-42-essential-oils-1.html
      Oriental Notes: Marjoram Sweet Essential Oil http://www.bulkapothecary.com/marjoram-sweet-essential-oil.html
      Woody Notes: Cedarwood Essential Oils http://www.bulkapothecary.com/cedarwood-essential-oils.html
      Fresh Notes: Lemongrass Essential Oil http://www.bulkapothecary.com/lemongrass-essential-oil.html

      Hope this help; happy Bulking!

      1. Your four examples are extremely helpful. If you could create a list of fragrances that belong to each of these categories that would be super helpful. The color wheel is kind of useless to me (as a very new beginner) otherwise because I do not know what is considered what according to these descriptions. Thanks.

    1. Hi Janine! Fougere aromatic are any scents with notes of herbs, spice, wood, citrus, or floral. The scents in the outer part of the wheel can all be combined to make a fougere aromatic scent; for example, is a fougere aromatic.

      Hope this helps; happy Bulking!

    1. Sorry, we do not sell a copy of the fragrance wheel. You can right click the image and click “Save image as…” to keep a local copy of the fragrance wheel provided in the article, if you wish.

  1. Do you have a chart that groups oils by strength? For example, lemongrass is super strong whereas rose is more subtle. Sometimes when I’m mixing oils together, I don’t know if I should do one drop on something because it’s so strong it will overpower other scents. Your help would be appreciated.
    Thanks!!!

    1. We do not have an oil strength chart, but we’ll definitely use the feedback to look into one. Generally, you’ll want to add essential oils at a rate of 0.3% of the total volume of the mixture to keep things safe.

  2. Hi! I am a cold press soap maker and have found a scent I just can’t seem to copy. It is the scent of the Baby Eczema bar sold by Shea Moisture. It’s an amazing unisex scent. The ingredients of the bar show no “fragrance” but does list; frankincense, myrrh, and chamomile extract. I have tried to mimic this scent with these but it’s just not it. Do you have any idea what the scent is that I’m missing? If you ever get a chance to smell this bar of soap by Shea Moisture and have an idea, please let me know!!!!

  3. Hello!

    Thank you for the informative post. Would you know where does fruity go on the chart?
    What will blend well with muguet? Can i use sweeter florals or fruity scents?

  4. What’s the difference in essential oils and fragrance oils? Also, can you recommend a good place to order the 100% essential oils?

    Thank you in advance

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