Saturday, October 20, 2012

WWII Perfume Recipes

I picked up this book at an antique store a couple weeks ago:
I bought it for some perfume recipes I noticed and some of the other general "how-to"'s. However after reading it more in depth I have decided it really should be called "How to poison yourself and your family". Holy cow are there a lot of toxic chemicals in these recipes! Formaldehyde should not be used in a skin cream!! Nor would I recommend mixing your own paint by combining lead and turpentine, using Hydrochloric acid to whiten your teeth, or making a hand-cleanser from ammonia and turpentine. I would also think making your own depilatory creams with Quicklime is probably not a good idea. Yikes!
(I also liked the suggestion of inhaling some Chloroform if you have a stuffy nose. Once again, not a good idea.)

I do have plans to try some of the non-toxic recipes in this book. I haven't tried any of the perfume blends yet, but here are a few that sound interesting. I am going to try them after I finish the Victorian blend I am currently using (the recipe can be found here. I quite like it but it has a very different smell). If anyone tries these out I would love to know the results!

Note: I have edited the recipes slightly. They all recommend being set in a base of alcohol, but I would recommend using an oil instead, such as grapeseed oil. The scent will have more staying power if you use an oil and it moisturises your skin at the same time! It is up to your personal preference what you use so I have only listed the essential oils required for each blend. THESE RECIPES ARE MEANT TO BE DILUTED! Do not use them full strength on your skin. The essential oils should be less than 10% of the final product.
(Also note citrus oils can make your skin more photosensitive so use caution if you are going to be out in the sun for a while)

Inexpensive Perfume
7 parts Bergamot essential oil
3 1/2 parts Lemon essential oil
3 1/2 parts Lavender essential oil

16 parts Lemon essential oil
1/2 part Lemongrass essential oil
4 parts Orange essential oil

Simple Perfume #1
15 parts Orange essential oil
9 parts Neroli essential oil
5 parts Bergamot essential oil
3 parts Rosemary essential oil

Simple Perfume #7
3 parts Bergamot essential oil
1 part Lemon essential oil
1/4 part Lavender essential oil
1/4 part Clove essential oil
1/2 part Sandalwood

Anyone else love trying out vintage beauty recipes? I make most of my own beauty products and always find historical beauty recipes fascinating. (Not all of the recipes I come across are safe but the majority of them are). Does anyone else make their own beauty products? I would love some new recipes to try :)

That's All.


  1. Erk, I have used recipes from the past before... but only 'harmless' ones e.g. boiling nettles or using beer for hair shine. No turpentine for me LOL.

  2. I love trying out vintage beauty recipes, too, especially for things like hair conditioners and laundry waters (not so much a beauty recipe, I know, but still the same general camp), but agree that there are some that must be avoided like the plague due to the chemicals they call for that we now know to be very, very dangerous to one's health.

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful vintage scent recipes with us, I'm bookmarking this post for future reference.

    ♥ Jessica

  3. Great recipes! I love perfume and it is always nice to be able to smell period. :)

    Does the 18th century count? I have a blog where I try to recreate old beauty recipes as close as possible. (Not using harmful stuff, for example). I have a few beavuty books from the 1940's with recipes, but I haven't tried any yet. I plan to eventually.

    1. It sure does count. I actually read and love your blog where you post the old beauty recipes. I haven't tried any yet but a couple are on my "to-make" list :)

  4. Excuse my inexperience but, according to your comments, each mix should be diluted in say, grape seed oil, right? Meaning, 8% blend of essential oils and 92% of grape seed oil?
    Thanks in advance!


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