Fixing Fragrance in Scented Products

The beautiful scent found with many herbs is easily lost. Dried herbs or oils can loose the scent very quickly; but there are ways of holding it.

Without a fixative, perfumes release essential oils at various times resulting in a fragrance that changes over time – no good if you’re going out for a long night! A good fixative will prevent both uneven oil release, and poor after smell. Synthetic and natural fixatives are used in modern perfumery. Animal fixatives include ambergris (an intestinal waxy substance from sperm whales), musk and clivet. Fixatives can be added to essential oils to improve their properties.
There are many essential oils that have high boiling points – this means they slow down the evaporation of perfume. Useful essential oils include:
  • basil
  • cassia
  • cedarwood
  • clary sage
  • clove
  • coriander
  • cumin
  • cypress
  • mace
  • marjoram
  • myrtle
  • nutmeg
  • oakmoss
  • orris
  • patchouli
  • sandalwood
  • spikewood
  • thyme
  • vetiver
  • ylang-ylang
Other dried plant materials that are good fixatives but that can only be used in pot pourri include:
  • flowers of chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla and Anthemis nobilis)
  • leaves of clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
  • lemon verbena leaves
  • nutmeg
  • oakmoss
  • orris root
  • russian tarragon leaves
  • sandalwood chips
  • angelica seeds and roots
  • sweet marjoram
  • sweet vanilla grass
  • vanilla pods
  • cloves (whole)
Other natural fixatives in the forms of resins and oleo-resins include:
  • angelica resin
  • balsam of Peru
  • balsam of Tolu
  • frankincense
  • galbanum
  • labdanum
  • myrrh
  • oakmoss resinoil
  • orris resinoil
  • storax