Ladies, if you’ve ever worn Chanel Sycomore, Lancome Hypnose, or Sarah Jessica Parker Covet, you’ve enjoyed the base note of vetiver essential oil.
Men can find the unique fragrance in Prada Infusion de Vetiver, Lancome Sagamore, Carven Vetiver, and more.
Would you be surprised to learn that vetiver is one of the most popular of all ingredients in perfumes? Wherever it’s found, vetiver lends a grounding feeling, sensuous, and warm aroma perfect for a wide range of applications.
Have you ever tried it in your own blends, for its grounding and calming effects? Reputed as a favorite among base notes, vetiver can lead you in lots of fun directions. Want a new relaxing and moisturizing body oil, air freshener, or cleansing mist? Start with vetiver and add the right ingredients, then sit back and enjoy.
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What Is Vetiver? Where Does Vetiver Grow?
Related to lemongrass and part of the Poaceae family of plants—scientifically called vetiveria zizanioides—vetiver is also called “khus” in its native India, where it was once used for making ropes, screens, mats, baskets, blinds, and insect and rodent repellents.
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What Is Vetiver Used For?
Historically, vetiver was thought to help increase safety and financial resources, and its hedges were used to trap crop residues and silts to form an earth embankment. Ancient Sanskrit manuscripts detailed its use as a water purifier, and inscriptions on copper plates dating back to 1103 AD listed “khus” perfume as belonging to the Royals. As recently as the 1950s, vetiver grass was shown to have the ability to help improve soil fertility and facilitate ground water recharge, and was used in India to help reclaim the soil for planting.
Where Does Vetiver Essential Oil Come From?
The essential oil comes from the roots of the plants, which are interlinked underground and grow about 12 feet into the soil. Known in India as the “oil of tranquility,” vetiver was known to possess many potential health benefits as well.
Health Benefits of Vetiver Essential Oil
In traditional medicine, the herb was used in many ways. In aromatherapy, vetiver is considered to be primarily grounding, with the following potential emotional benefits:
- Promotes restful sleep.
- Relaxing, calming.
- Restores one’s connections to his/her roots.
- Awakens sexual desire.
- Helps ease a tired mind.
Its incredible benefits have made it historically sought after, and clearly modern day formulators have caught on. (Though to get the real benefits, you should use the essential oil and not a synthetic replication.)
If you're familiar with the scent of vetiver, you know that its earthy scent is loved by many but also benefits from being balanced by accompanying middle and top notes.
What Are The 3 Different Notes of Perfume?
At its simplest level, perfumery consists of composing a balance of ingredients using three different categories:
- Top notes make up between 10 and 30 percent of the blend.
- Middle notes make up between 30 and 60 percent of the blend.
- Base notes make up between 15 and 30 percent of the blend.
Top Notes – The First Impression
What is a top note essential oil? The top notes (also called the “head notes”) are those you’re likely to smell first, but they quickly evaporate, usually within 5 to 30 minutes. These are the ones that rush at your senses when you first smell the fragrance, and create its first impression. They typically come from flowers and leaves, and are often uplifting and stimulating. Some top notes include basil, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, neroli, and sage.
Middle Notes – The Heart of the Fragrance
Middle notes last a little longer, maybe a few hours. These come to the fore once the top notes have evaporated, and are considered the “heart” of the fragrance. You’re likely to detect them about 10 to 30 minutes after you’ve applied. They are usually linked to creating balance between mind and body. So which essential oils are good for middle notes? Think full-bodied scents like chamomile, cinnamon, geranium, ginger, rose, and ylang ylang.
Base Notes – The Long Lasting Scent
Base notes evaporate the most slowly of all three, and may linger for a day or more. They are said to mingle with the heart notes to create the full body of the fragrance, but most of all, they provide the final impression. And what essential oils are base notes? Think foundation scents, those that are heavy, deep, tenacious, and strong. These oils are usually connected with grounding us and a giving us a feeling of being supported. Vetiver is a base note, along with other oils like cedarwood, clove, frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, and vanilla.
Combining the three categories to create a fragrance is where the fun lies in perfumery. How much of each you use depends on the effect you want to have. Let’s say you want to stimulate and enliven the senses. You might use more top notes, maybe two or three, compared to only one middle and one base. If you’re seeking a fragrance to encourage meditation or introspection, you may want to use more base notes, with just a bit of top and middle.
5 Best Vetiver Essential Oil Blends Recipes to Try
There’s a reason vetiver is used so commonly in perfume formulas. It has grounding aromatherapy and a scent that mingles well with others. Though it mixes well with many oils, some are better than others.
Here are some tips for blending vetiver to create the best smelling essential oil blends:
Essential Oil for Moisturizing Body Skin
Blend your favorite carrier oil (jojoba, fractionated coconut, rose hip seed, argan, evening primrose, avocado) with three drops each of lavender and palmarosa, and one drop vetiver.
Relaxing Essential Oil Blend for Diffuser
Having a stressful day? Try blending 3 drops vetiver in your aromatherapy diffuser with 10 drops petitgrain, 6 drops cedarwood Virginian, and 6 drops Peru Balsam.
Meditating Bath Essential Oil Blends
Add the following to your bath to create a relaxing, grounding escape—4 drops each bergamot and geranium, and 2 drops vetiver.
Calming Essential Oils Mist Spray
Give your room a calming, relaxing feel by misting this spray about—35 drops lemongrass, 25 drops anise seed, 25 drops allspice, 25 drops Red Mandarin, 20 drops vetiver, 20 drops bergamot, and 4 ounces pure water.
Nature Walk Perfume Essential Oils
If you can’t get to the real woods, try using a little of this fragrance instead—5 drops lavender, 4 drops lemon, and 3 drops vetiver in a 5 ml bottle filled with fractionated coconut oil or sweet almond oil.
What Scent Combinations Does Vetiver Blend Well With?
In general, vetiver blends well with:
- Ylang ylang
- Lemon and other citrus scents (lime, grapefruit)
- Clary sage
- Peru balsam
Experiment with balancing top, middle, and base notes and soon you’ll be creating beautiful blends that please your palette and give you the aromatherapy you want.
And if you are interested in other essential oils, check out our top essential oil collection. We are sure that you will find something that suits your needs.
Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Vetiver in India
The Prairie Homestead – 10 Essential Oil Recipes for Your Diffuser
Vetiver Aromatics – Perfume Recipes
Annmarie Gianni is a mother, health activist, entrepreneur, and founder of 3 successful businesses. Over ten years ago, she and her husband, Kevin, formed a team and Annmarie Skin Care was founded to provide a clean, natural skin care experience using natural, organic and wildcrafted ingredients. After a few years of focusing on creating a successful skin care business, Annmarie was able to step away and focus on raising her kids. Today, you’d find Annmarie volunteering her time at her kid’s school, helping out at community events, going on trail runs, and spending quality time with her family.
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