A big part of health is self-care. If you are well presented and look your best, then you will likely feel your best too. Let’s face it—after a long journey or a hard day of manual labor, there’s nothing more satisfying than a shower, a shave, and some fresh clothes. The self-esteem boost of looking and feeling good is something that a lot of men (and women) overlook when it comes to their mental health.1 In many cases, a bit of pampering can go a long way.
Cologne to Help You Face the Day
The value of a good cologne should not be underestimated. The link between body odor and attractiveness is well-studied, and researchers have even found a link between a person’s perception of themselves and their fragrance of choice.2,3 Improving physical attractiveness can improve your self-esteem, and the fragrance that you choose is an important part of this.4
While there are numerous off-the-shelf fragrances that people can use, there is a lot to be said for making your own cologne. You could save a lot of money doing so, and it’s a great way to make a fragrance that is uniquely you—that makes you feel good. Additionally, if you choose to make a cologne using essential oils, many of these oils have added health benefits. So, you could make an oil that calms you, stimulates you, or helps soothe a skin condition. This doubles the level of self-care that a cologne could typically provide.
Making Cologne with Essential Oils
If you decide to make a cologne with essential oils, then the first thing that you should be aware of is that essential oils are quite volatile and also very strong. They are not, for the most part, designed to be applied directly to the skin. Indeed, if you do put them on your skin directly, then they could irritate it.5
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To avoid the risk of this happening, you should dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil. This is a milder, more gentle oil that will help slow the rate at which the essential oil is absorbed into the skin. Some of the most popular carrier oils include almond, coconut, or jojoba oils.
Choosing Essential Oils
There are many essential oils which are suitable for use in cologne but some are more common than others. Popular oils for men’s colognes include bergamot, cedarwood, sandalwood, basil, cinnamon, and black pepper essential oils. These oils have some commonalities in that they are all refreshing, stimulating, and earthy.
The Anatomy of a Good Scent
Usually, a cologne will have more than one ingredient in it. Scents are made up of a top note, which you notice first; a middle note, which comes later; and a longer-lasting base note. While you are not obliged to use multiple ingredients in your homemade cologne, it is a good idea to mix and match to create something with a decent level of complexity to it. A good rule of thumb is 30 percent top note, 50 percent middle notes, and 20 percent base note.
Your mixture will be mostly carrier oil and alcohol, with one to five drops of each of the other oils.6 Mix the oils up in a dark-colored glass bottle with a dropper lid. The dark bottle protects the oils from sunlight, slowing the rate at which the carrier oil spoils.
Essential Oils to Boost Your Wellbeing
So, which oils should you choose? Well, that depends on what you want out of your cologne. There is certainly no harm in choosing oils because you like their scent, but you may as well pick ones that have other health benefits too.
Cypress for Antimicrobial Effects
Cypress oil is a great choice if you are looking for something to keep your skin clean and clear. This essential oil has antimicrobial effects, meaning that it’s a good choice for your post-shave skin treatment.7
Sandalwood as an Anti-Inflammatory
Sandalwood is known as an anti-inflammatory, meaning that it can help to bring down post-shaving inflammation and it could help with other general aches and pains as well. It is often used in skin treatments to ease irritation.8
Bergamot for Calmness
If you are anxious about a big presentation or a job interview, then bergamot could help calm you down. Bergamot is rich in polyphenols, which can help with a number of issues, including reducing anxiety.9
Peppermint for Alertness
Peppermint oil is a great choice if you’re looking to improve your alertness. As an added bonus, it helps boost your mood and can reduce food cravings too. So, if you’re watching your weight or just trying to eat less junk food, then peppermint could be a great choice. In small quantities, peppermint oil can even improve your athletic performance.10
If you’re making essential oil-based colognes, be sure to err on the side of caution when it comes to deciding the strength. Your cologne should be highly diluted. Large doses of essential oils can cause unusual side-effects. Some essential oils mimic estrogen, for example, so exposure to large amounts of them would not be a great idea.
That’s not to say they are harmful in small doses, however. Tea tree oil is one of these estrogen-like compounds, yet it is something that many college athletes swear by to prevent skin infections.11 It’s all about using the right concentration of essential oil.
Try experimenting with some of the essential oils highlighted above to see how they work for you and which ones you like the scent of. Make your own distinctive perfume, and use it to get into a great head-space before you take on each day.
Photo credits: RuslanGrumble/shutterstock.com, AnnaOk/shutterstock.com, ChamilleWhite/shutterstock.com, Matryoha/shutterstock.com, BodyStock/shutterstock.com