Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Sep 22, 2006 10:32 PM

Food as perfume?

Has anyone ever used food as perfume? Any recommendations?

I'm allergic to scented products (perfumes, colognes, soaps, etc.), but natural essences aren't a problem - especially plant-based ones. I miss being scented, so I've started to think about using bottled oils and extracts as perfume.

I occasionally dab lime-zest "oil" behind my ears - after I've been juicing limes, when I have the oil on my hands. But it's a faint and fleeting scent. And I sometimes rinse my hair in apple-cider vinegar, which makes me smell like, well, apple-cider vinegar. (This isn't necessarily a good thing...)

Could I use bottled vanilla extract as perfume? I once read that men like women to smell like sugar cookies. Or maybe a citrus oil? I have some Boyajian's Grapefruit oil in my cupboard.

Or am I nuts? (Say - would almond oil make good perfume?)


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. A dab of curry paste behind each ear turns my girlfriend into a tigress.

    1 Reply
    1. You can get all sorts of natural oils that are both food-quality and wearable. You'll be able to combine them to make your own fragrance; that's where almost all those over-priced fragrances started out: the garden.

      1. the problem with vanilla extract as a perfume would probably be staying power.. once the alcohol evaporated, I would think the scent would not last long.

        and as for almond oil, lemon oil.. I think I'd worry about it staining my clothes, particularly depending on what kind of oil is used... but it would probably smell nice.

        I think I'd start with jillp's suggestion and try your local natural food store for some natural oils that are scented with plant extracts, etc.

        2 Replies
        1. re: withalonge

          Vanilla extract (especially homemade) scent will last longer than it takes for the alcohol to evaporate.

          How do I know?

          Let's just say I had an accident in the kitchen with my jar of homemade vanilla extract. The little bugger got away from me and I ended up wearing about a tablespoon. I smelled like vanilla all day long.

          The stupidest thing is...I kept wondering why I was smelling something baking all day. was me.

          1. re: QueenB

            My grandmother once told me there was a perfume popular in the 1930s called Blue Waltz and it was essentially (no pun intended) natural vanilla essence.

        2. I've always LOVED the smell of scotch (but not the taste) and thought it would make a great perfume... except that it probably would NOT be a good idea go to work, or anyplace else for that matter, smelling like scotch. Oh well.

          1. old time bartenders would use a dab of gin behind the ears.

            1 Reply
            1. re: byrd

              I love the smell of gin and it must be the juniper berries is the reason why. So to find out if that were the case, I went to the kitchen and opened the gin, umm, I mean the juniper berries, yup. I love that smell.