Creating natural fragrances

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By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

Open any beauty magazine lately and you will find at least one article on the importance of the “green beauty” movement. The information really hits home when you read over what combination of chemicals comprise the list of ingredients in your favorite make-up. Eye opening and kind of terrifying, honestly. Take a minute and go read it. I bet you can’t pronounce 99% of what you find.

When you stop and think about it, we’ve come a long way in improving the quality of food that we ingest. The same care and concern should be taken for what we put on our bodies.

The trend toward “natural” and “organic” has prompted a huge influx of companies to step up their game to keep up with the demand for less toxic products.

The same is true for the fragrance industry.

The reality is that using synthetic materials does help to control for consistency and uniformity. For example, if you purchase Chanel No. 5 in New York or in Paris, it will smell EXACTLY the same. That cannot be said for a natural perfume. The quality control over natural plant extracts will vary according to that particular crop. Therefore, there is no way to identically replicate one bottle to the next.

But, I think that’s part of what makes it cool in the first place. Don’t you?

So, imagine my delight when I got the opportunity to participate in a “Create Your Own Fragrance” class at Adorn Goods in Centreville, Delaware last Tuesday.

I have written about Adorn in the past (click here to read: Not only do they have an amazing selection of home decor and gift ideas, but they have a beautiful room perfect for hosting demonstrations, meetings, or parties.

It was there that Robin Kielkowski, owner of Brandywine Botanicals, taught a group of women the artistry of blending our own, unique, natural perfume. We learned all about fragrance strength and the importance of balancing the top, middle, and base notes to attain an aromatic masterpiece.

Our first order of business was to smell each essential oil/essence to narrow down our list of favorites. Then, following a suggested formulation process, we blended the liquids to arrive at our own signature scent. Each participant got to leave the class with a pretty little bottle (along with a few samples created by Robin).

It was a really fun evening! Adorn will be hosting another class later this fall and I will be sure to alert you of the specifics in a future article.

If you have any questions, Robin is a wealth of knowledge! Her experience in floral design and passion for researching products and learning about ingredients sourced from all over the world makes her an invaluable resource. She can be contacted at or visit her website here:

I was thrilled with my creation. It is a light, citrusy scent that is perfect for the remainder of the summer season. AND, it’s my first foray into green beauty, which has inspired me to explore other natural options. Stay tuned for details.

Happy Weekend!

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