Homemade Perfumed Vanilla Oil

4 Apr


After years of trying to track down my favourite vanilla oil from the Body Shop I was told that it is officially not available for purchase anymore.  I wore that perfume since my early 20s and absolutely loved it (especially since it’s one of the only fragrances that I could wear without the  constant sneezing, watery eyes and headaches).  And I used to get so many compliments as well!  The scent was really a perfect mix between sweet with a hint of spice and was mild enough not to be too overbearing.  Besides the odd comment about smelling like a batch of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies I really loved everything about that oil.

So after seeing it on ebay for $150 a bottle I finally decided that I needed to try my hand at perfume making.  And in the end I have to admit that it’s quite simple.  All you really need is lots of patience to get you through the 4-6 weeks of waiting until it’s finished.  Patience is definitely not my strong point so I actually found that the most difficult part.

The finished product has  a really lovely deep vanilla scent that actually lasts for quite a long time.  I use it as a body perfume, room freshener and bath oil.  I’ve even been know to put a bit on our beloved cat Birdie because, well, he stinks.

Everything you need to make this simple Vanilla Perfume Oil is shown in the photo above: vanilla beans, vodka and jojoba oil.  

Read on for full instructions on how to make your own…


Vanilla Oil Perfume

1. Take 8-10 vanilla beans (they don’t have to be high quality or expensive beans), slit them down the middle and with a knife scrape down to remove bean paste.  Put paste in small glass jar.  After removing paste cut the beans into small pieces and add to jar.

2. Pour enough vodka into jar to cover the chopped up vanilla beans.  The alcohol will soak into the beans and absorb the rich vanilla scent.

3. Place jar somewhere dry and not too cold (some say it’s also better to store the jar in a dark place but I personally left it on the window sill in my kitchen).  Let stand for anywhere from 3 weeks to 2 months depending on how strong a fragrance you want.  Like I said before, the waiting was the hardest part.  I opened that jar daily to see how the scent was absorbing and getting stronger.

4. When ready, strain the liquid from the vanilla pieces with a piece of cheesecloth, thin cotton or even ladies pantyhose (hate that word!).   Put the strained liquid into a clean glass jar and pour in the jojoba oil (I used about 2 times the amount of oil than there was vanilla liquid).  You can re-use the vanilla paste and beans to start a new batch of perfume as well.  Just add in a few new beans and start the process from the beginning.

5. Make sure to store in a relatively cool and dry place in order for it to last longer (it should be good for at least several months).

**Although I really like this scent I’m in the process of trying another method which skips using any sort of alcohol.  I’m steeping the chopped beans and paste directly in the jojoba oil for several months.  That way there won’t be a mixture that separates and has to be shaken before using.

**If you can’t get Jojoba oil (or it’s too expensive) almond oil is supposed to be a great substitute.




48 Responses to “Homemade Perfumed Vanilla Oil”

  1. juliedekeyzer April 4, 2014 at 13:01 #

    It’s my favourite scent too! And I also buy in the Body Shop! Maybe they have some more over here? I can have a look if you want?

    • Jillian In Italy April 5, 2014 at 09:28 #

      I think I already checked in Belgium and they didn’t have it. They do have a newer version but it’s not the same. In any case, I’ll take a look when I’m there next week! Jx

  2. Katie April 4, 2014 at 21:57 #

    I love homemade perfume! I’ve done a lot of infused oils (jojoba is my favorite) so I have a tip you might want to try. If you put the oil and vanilla beans on the stove on VERY low heat and let it sit for a day or so (just turn off the stove if you leave the house or go to sleep) then you can get infused oil in about 24 hours! Then just strain it with cheesecloth like you normally would.

    Also, a tip for anyone in the U.S. looking for affordable jojoba oil: Trader Joe’s stores carry 4-ounce bottles for $8. It’s the best price I’ve found for good quality oil.

    • Jillian In Italy April 5, 2014 at 09:31 #

      Oh wow, I’ll have to try that method out. Especially since I’m the most impatient person on earth. And $8 for a 4 ounce bottle of jojoba oil?! I paid 15 euro for a teeny tiny bottle here in Italy. Time for a trip to The States!

    • Shanna February 18, 2015 at 12:59 #

      I wonder if you could do this same method with a crock pot which would also be more safe. ..can’t wait to try this. Thank you for the info! :0))

  3. Emily April 5, 2014 at 08:05 #

    I totally hear you about the vanilla spice scent at the body shop. It was my favorite!! I was so bummed when they stopped carrying it too! I don’t understand why they would stop such a delicious scent! Thanks for this recipe! I’m excited to try it 🙂

    • Jillian In Italy April 5, 2014 at 09:33 #

      I think a lot of people loved that oil. And the fact it’s being sold on ebay for insane prices is proof!

  4. halfaheart1975 April 5, 2014 at 23:27 #

    Just wondering how the attempt minus the vodka went?

    • Jillian In Italy April 6, 2014 at 22:25 #

      It’s still steeping and should be ready in about 3-4 weeks. In the meantime I might try the fast method as well (described in the comments above). In any case, I’ll report back with all the results….

  5. thingsforboys April 7, 2014 at 07:52 #

    ooh, yum! I too loved the vanilla oil from the Body Shop as a teenager. I went looking for it a few months back and the new version is nothing like it! excited to try making my own!

  6. Amanda Jane April 8, 2014 at 14:35 #

    This sounds great! I love making my own body products and a homemade perfume (sans alcohol) would be awesome! Would be fun to try it with different herbs as well. Thanks for this idea.

  7. yusimil May 9, 2014 at 01:01 #

    I like the arts & crafts i don’t like how the site responded to my cool answer yes I can’t spill very good so I try using letter word well I did that dint like what was done I was saying cool as in I love the idea and I’m. Going to sooo try it for ever that what I mine by cool however its ok i know (cool) and is a todo

  8. Marcia May 20, 2014 at 14:41 #

    Amei isto !!
    Vou tentar.

  9. Pearl June 5, 2014 at 18:28 #

    Sounds wonderful! Just a side note, if you hate the word “pantyhose” why not just call them “nylons?”

  10. Aukso Bitės June 7, 2014 at 16:03 #

    loveee vanilla, definately will try it 😉 thank U 😉

  11. alan August 10, 2014 at 07:26 #

    Hi Jillian ,
    I love home made perfume . In Mauritius we actually plant vanilla and get them fresh ,so I will try your recipe . We also have geranium scented plants with which I will try . Congratulations again !

    • Jillian In Italy August 20, 2014 at 09:57 #

      Wow…fresh vanilla! Sounds like a dream. I made a anti-mosquito spray with geranium rose oil and lavender and it works perfectly. I think the geranium scent is strong enough to keep them at bay.

      • Mary McCall February 7, 2015 at 23:29 #

        @Jillian In Italy This sounds very good and I will try it! Thanks!

  12. confessdeny February 22, 2015 at 20:56 #

    Hello. Thanks for your wonderful blog post. I make soaps and lotions, just thought I had to add that macadamia oil is my carrier oil supreme, being very similar to human sebum doesn’t irritate, refined mac oil has great shelf life too. Also I would use soy or rice bran oils to make the tincture, soy has long shelf life and rice bran has heaps of vitamin e which is not only great for skin but is a natural antioxidant preservative. Great post… Guess who’ll be buying a jar of vanilla bean paste!

  13. Julie April 25, 2015 at 18:59 #

    wow, I just spent close to fifty dollars on the vanilla beans and the oil and wasted it completely. I tried the one method someone had commented on cooking it all day. Let’s just say it doesn’t work. Please, anyone that decides to attempt this recipe, only go with the one posted. No short cuts or don’t waste your time or money. Oh well that’s the way it goes sometimes.

    • Jillian In Italy April 26, 2015 at 10:39 #

      So sorry to hear about your perfume not working out! I tend to agree that short-cut methods rarely have the same results as doing it the “long way”. Hope you try out the way I posted sometime with good results. Take care!

      • Agnes from Hungary June 21, 2015 at 16:53 #

        Dear Jillian! I love your recipe, grazie mille, and I do agree with you: the vanilla oil perfume was the one and only scent:)

  14. Layla November 26, 2015 at 11:50 #

    Hi Jilian,
    I have my hand stumbled upon your wonderful post while googling out for methods of homemade perfumes..

    Can you share with us what happened to the second method you tried ( less vodka) ??

    And may I ask if you think vanila falvour powder http://grocery.egrocer.ae/foster-clarks-vanilla-powder
    can be used instead of the vanilla beans?

    • jc November 26, 2015 at 11:56 #

      Hi Layla. The second method turned out really well. I left it to steep for a few months and it has a really nice earthy fragrance. I personally wouldn’t use the powder. I think the best option to make a really good perfumed oil is to use raw natural ingredients. Makes it more expensive but really worth it!

      • Jacob May 16, 2016 at 16:42 #

        Hi Jilian,
        I am planning to try your methods for making your own parfume. I just have one question – how many hours will the scent approximately last in your experience, in regards to each of the two methods – the one with alcohol, and the one without alcodhol?
        Thanks in advance.

      • jc June 7, 2016 at 21:46 #

        Seeing as it’s not a commercially made scent it definitely doesn’t last as long or smell as strong. But in any case, I applied it once a day and that was fine.

  15. jackson March 27, 2016 at 09:35 #

    is it ok to use gin instead of vodlka

    • jc June 7, 2016 at 21:47 #

      I don’t think so…gin has a very different scent.

  16. Shellie June 6, 2016 at 05:35 #

    Thank you for this great recipe. I am sharing the link to it on my blog

  17. Barb Z July 4, 2016 at 05:16 #

    Hi, Jillian:

    Sounds great! Is there any problem with staining clothes?

    Thank you.

    • jc July 15, 2016 at 13:12 #

      I haven’t had any issues with stains but it is oil so I’m careful when I apply it.

      • Barb Z July 15, 2016 at 18:19 #

        Thank you!

  18. confessdeny July 15, 2016 at 20:40 #

    I used smoked coconut oil and cocoa butter, left four slit beans in a coconut soak for three months. With the cocoa butter its such a great lip balm. Add shea butter for more sun protection


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