BaggageIt’s difficult to pinpoint when it all began. Was it as a girl, running through my mother’s wild garden? I’d gather poke berries and beauty berries, coreopsis flowers and mint, and mash it all into dark and fragrant potions. The goal was never perfume, though – the goal was magic.

Or perhaps it was standing nose-high to my grandmother’s vanity, eying the sparkling mirrors and bottles. Everywhere the mystique of feminine beauty beckoned and smiled – in the silken hiss of a robe, the billowing clouds of powder, and the grown-lady scents of lipstick and rose.

I grew up though, and became serious. Books, school, career all clamored for attention. Busy in my mind, I forgot the importance of my senses. And yet…beauty kept whispering my name.

Grinding out a thesis, I’d sneak away to the golden glow of the cosmetics counter. Avoiding a deadline, I’d wander among perfumes. In 2010, these little trysts bloomed into a love affair. I became a mother, and suddenly the perfume from my 20s no longer fit. Searching for a new signature scent, I stumbled into the kaleidoscopic world of artisan and niche fragrances.

I thought wearing them would be enough. But now I find myself chasing these scented phantoms into the lab like some fevered alchemist – or perhaps a gal-version of Don Quixote. Wish me luck! This blog will be my notebook on the journey.

All the opinions expressed here are my own. This is a personal record of my discovery process. I do not accept compensation for reviews, nor am I a sales representative for any of the products or essential oils that I mention. You can trust that you simply are receiving my honest opinion, one human to another.


4 thoughts on “About

    • Everything dépends on the essence/aroma-chemical you are smelling. Most natural essences should be smelt at around 2%, higher concentrations will not smell anything like the natural product. Remember, when you are smelling an natural oil, you are smelling the result of a distillation or an extraction, a super concentrated version of the flower, plant, wood, spice……….This is why you need to smell a very light version of it to get to know it. On the other hand some aroma chemicals such as the musks are soo light that to really get to know them you have to smell them at 15 to 20%..
      A perfume will (hopefully!!) be a well balanced blend of these various ingredients in which the perfumer will have taken into account the various performances of the ingredients used. The overall blend having taken all the aforementioned into account can therefore be marketed at 15 to 20% giving the customer. Today it is rare that a fragrance is marketed at more than 20%


  1. Hi Patrik – Apologies on taking so long to reply! The 2% dilution comes from the aromatherapy world, and is taking into consideration things like using essential oils in massage oils over large surfaces of the body. You are correct that perfume dilutions are much higher %, and it’s generally because they are used less frequently and on a very small portion of the body. I’ve got more info on safety here: https://idreamofperfume.com/category/safety/ And more info on doing dilutions here: https://idreamofperfume.com/category/diy/ Good luck!


  2. Been trying to get this to post in “In Search of the Perfect Bubble Bath”:

    Yes, some years ago I did exactly whay you asked. For a description you can follow the link to a legacy page from when I was trying to make money at it; never got far.

    It was a favor for a friend’s children. It was extremely mild on the genitals, and although it didn’t make a quick puffy foam, it worked the way children especially like, producing a dense, soaplike lathery foam that was more fun to play with and which children enjoy the effort to splash up to make the suds. My favorite simple liquid formula was:
    4 vols 40% diammonium lauryl sulfosuccinate
    2 vols 40% disodium laureth-3 sulfosuccinate
    2 vols 30% active lauramidopropyl betaine
    1 vol 30% active palmitamidopropyl betaine

    Mix the sulfosuccinates and betaines with each other first before mixing them together.

    This was from before there was adverse publicity about dioxane contamination of ethoxylates (the “-eth” ingredient on the list), which I still consider to be a vastly overblown concern. For those who care about it, a suitable amount of lauryl sarcosinate may be subbed for the laureth-3 sulfosuccinate.

    You’re on your own when it comes to scenting it. EOs and FOs known to accelerate cold-process saponification will promote rapid breakdown of the sulfosuccinate esters in this; that was the case with lemon verbena someone tried.

    As you’ve seen, bubble bath recipes based on actual soap soap, such as liquid castile or soap flakes or powder, are unsatisfactory. You can add enough soap (though that may take a lot) to overcome water “hardness” and make a bathtub sudsy, but then you’re getting very soapy bath water. It’ll cut grease as in dish water or laundry, but that’s not the usual idea when trying to just get some bubbles to play with in a bath, rather than making a detergent solution of your bath water. (That’s what you’d get with your idea to use saponified coconut oil, which is just coconut soap: a very sudsy, but also grease-cutting, soap.) See, the chemicals you’re calling “harsh things”, when it comes to the way they’re actually used, are mostly milder than soap rather than vice versa. If you want to use actual soap soap to make suds to play with, a better idea is to do it with a minimum of water (blowing air thru a soapy washcloth or a Turkish bath style bag) and just cover the bather, not the bathtub, wash, and then rinse before the soap gets itchy. In a hamam they make the suds from a solution with soap noodles in a bucket, squeezing the air thru a sack of suitable size and weave.

    Saponins as in quillaja require a great deal of aeration (as with jets) at fairly high concentration. Hardly worth the trouble unless you’re shaking up a whiskey sour.

    The glycosides (which would include alkyl glucosides, alkyl polyglucosides, and sucrose esters) are probably your best above-stated idea. These are surfactants made by very “green” chemistry from sugars and fats, are adequately foamy, very mild, and have become increasingly popular in toiletries. Their suds tend to be loose and unstable, but they’re not too bad a compromise if you’re looking in the same direction as the companies you mentioned.

    You can get formulation and ingredient sourcing guidance from Susan Barclay-Swift (swiftcraftymonkey.blogspot.com) and/or itsallinmyhands.com.


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