Author Archives: Anya

About Anya

Anya McCoy founded the USA's first modern natural perfume line in 1991. Since then, she has nurtured and educated natural perfumers and hosts a discussion group for them. Anya is the Head Instructor at the Natural Perfumery Institute that she founded in 2007 to provide a professional course for perfumers. In 2006 she revived the Natural Perfumers Guild, a trade association. She is a recognized leader in the art and the 'go-to' person for anyone interested in natural perfume.

Homemade Perfume reviews, giveaway in newsletter

Sunday - 26 August 2018

My latest newsletter contains reviews of my new book Homemade Perfume, a book giveaway on a blog, and info on my professional perfumery course.

You can purchase Homemade Perfume  here, either a Kindle version or paperback.
In Homemade Perfume, I instruct you on how to select oils, or extracts you have made from your garden, how to blend them, and how to make lovely fragrant products like liquid or solid perfumes, body powder, room and linen sprays, and much more. Included is a carefully curated list of suppliers for everything from bottles to alcohol, tools, essential oils and miscellaneous supplies.
Reviews
“In Homemade Perfume, [Anya McCoy] gives you step by step instructions that are very clear, and with their help, you can make your own essential oils, tinctures, even hydrosols! … The book is really nicely produced, clear, with a large number of photographs so you not only have instructions, but also have visual references to help you to understand exactly what to do, and how to do it in sequence. … You really do get comprehensive advice here, and it is by far the best book I have seen on this subject.”
                                                                          –Blacknall Allen’s A Perfume Blog
For Kindle readers:
“I’m impressed. This author knows how to teach and write instructions, and is extremely knowledgeable about the topic. I’ve read a lot of instructional books (I have a strange passion for how-to books, and I have a lot of hobbies so I tend to actually use the information). This book is well-written and well-designed. It seems care was taken to make the Kindle version actually usable which is, sadly, often not the case. I was able to read and use this book on my phone – very handy for a reference book.”
                                                                        — Carol C.
“Love my book!”
                                                                                                     — Bernadette H.

On the Fragrantica blog:

All in all, Homemade Perfume by Anya McCoy is a book that I feel should not only serve as a delicious conversation piece on my coffee table, for anyone visiting my place, but also as a personal reference for when the mood strikes to get down the shelf and try composing a Sensual Tincture Room and Linen Spray (recipe on page 121) or an Easy Pomade Semi-Solid Perfume (recipe on page 116).
 Anya has already conducted that crucial subject of such an opus as harvesting your own materials and making your own scents; safety precautions. Not only are her plant suggestions thoroughly researched (she clearly mentions that should you venture outside her propositions, you need to do your own research just to be sure), but her quantitative suggestions are carefully dosed to comply with FDA guidelines for skin use and for allergy precautions.
                                                                                                  — Elena Vosnaki

“I received my copy and it’s WONDERFUL. Thank you so much. <3”

                                                                                                   –Laura E.K.
“Yay! Got mine today…it is beautiful and I was so excited as I skimmed…I have a beautiful stand of yesterday, today and tomorrow bushes that are prolific bloomers! and I never thought about tincturing or distilling them! Can’t wait!”
                                                                                                            –Judy K.
“I received my book on the 31st. Beautifully done. Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us!”
                                                                                                           –Cynthia H.
You can purchase Homemade Perfume here, either a Kindle version or paperback.
Random Selection Giveaway for readers who leave a comment
Isabelle Gellé is a noted natural perfumer, and I was honored that she reviewed Homemade Perfume for the Cafleurebon blog. If you comment on the review, you will be entered in a worldwide drawing to win a signed copy of my book. Read the review here and comment, and good luck!
Homemade Perfume is an entry book for those who want to learn about perfumery, or a perfumer/homesteader/gardener who has fragrant plants growing and wants to learn how to extract their scent.

However – Do you want to be a professional perfumer?

 Homemade Perfume, my new book, contains a lot of information but is for the hobbyist. For anyone who wants to have a career in perfumery, my online distance-learning course is comprehensive and will give you all the information you need to establish a business. The Basic Course comes with a 350-page textbook, the first ever written in the United States. I am a former adjunct professor in a graduate course at Florida Atlantic University, so I bring my decades of experience to this textbook.
Something you can’t get anywhere else – Supplemental materials that include both Word.doc and Excel.xls forms to allow you to update your perfume-making notes so that they’re easily searchable, charts, and other helpful products. Visit the old site and get 10% off tuition on both the Individual Study and the Private Tutorial Basic Courses. 10% will be refunded after paid enrollment. Also, check if the PayPal credit option appeals to you if you’re a USA resident.
Here’s a sample of the Table of Contents
Enroll now, and begin your next stage in life – as a perfumer!
The Natural Perfumery Institute – established 2007
The Natural Perfumers Guild is always working to protect the rights of natural fragrance businesses!
For over 10 years, the Natural Perfumers Guild has been a guiding force and self-regulated association dedicated to the use of natural aromatics. If you have a natural fragrance business, please join us as we continue to build our natural perfume community, define and defend the use of 100% natural aromatics, and educate the public on the beauty of them. Click here to read more, and purchase products from our members with the confidence of the naturalness of the ingredients.
From Miami, our best wishes
Anya, Brian, Gracie, Andrea, and Danny

Homemade Perfume book #1 best seller on Amazon

Monday - 30 July 2018

This has happened several times during the pre-sales time frame on Amazon – Homemade Perfume made it to #1 in Aromatherapy (and a few times in Nature Crafts, too)! Thank you for your support in pre-ordering my book, and I got word today that even though the release date isn’t until tomorrow, several buyers got emails from Amazon today that it’s shipped, and they’ll receive it tomorrow – how wonderful!

Homemade Perfume book number one aromatherapy july

Here’s some information about the book, but I invite you to go to Amazon and “look inside” for much more detail on what information and educational offerings are in Homemade Perfume!

“This unprecedented, comprehensive guide from renowned perfumer Anya McCoy is an inspiring resource for anyone interested in creating artisanal perfume at home. Discover simple step-by-step methods for making perfume without harsh chemicals. Jump right in, using local plants and common household ingredients. Soon you’ll be building your own scent collection and creating unforgettable gifts for friends and family.

This book covers a variety of techniques for capturing fragrances from natural materials, making it easy to choose the project that works for your schedule and experience level. Source your own organically grown botanicals, and enjoy the earth-friendly benefits of creating your own essential oils and extractions sustainably.

Make your own all-natural perfumes, room and linen sprays, body butters, massage oils, and more. Explore the nuances of scent blending to create delightful fragrances that are unique to you. Packed with easy methods and expert guidance, this book will become an indispensable reference as you grow into a confident scent designer.”

Buy your copy now and enjoy the fun projects that will help you make fragrant, natural gifts and products!

Homemade Perfume book by Anya McCoy July 31, 2018

Sunday - 1 July 2018
Homemade Perfume Book by Anya McCoy cover

Homemade Perfume Book by Anya McCoy cover

 

Homemade Perfume will be published July 31, 2018! You can preorder now and lock in the price. http://amzn.to/2HG7Bhs

 

This unprecedented, comprehensive guide from renowned perfumer Anya McCoy is an inspiring resource for anyone interested in creating artisanal perfume at home. Discover simple step-by-step methods for making perfume without harsh chemicals. Jump right in, using local plants and common household ingredients. Soon you’ll be building your own scent collection and creating unforgettable gifts for friends and family.

This book covers a variety of techniques for capturing fragrances from natural materials, making it easy to choose the project that works for your schedule and experience level. Source your own organically grown botanicals, and enjoy the earth-friendly benefits of creating your own essential oils and extractions sustainably.

Make your own all-natural perfumes, room and linen sprays, body butters, massage oils, and more. Explore the nuances of scent blending to create delightful fragrances that are unique to you. Packed with easy methods and expert guidance, this book will become an indispensable reference as you grow into a confident scent designer.

Jasmine Syrup Perfume for your mouth!

Thursday - 28 June 2018

So many jasmines, so much fun! You can do this with any non-toxic, organic fragrant flower you have in your garden, and the tasty syrup is fabulous in cocktails, drizzeled over ice cream or cake, or anything you can think of!

jasmine grand duke of tuscany

Big, sweet, fruity jasmine sambac ‘grand duke of tuscany’ flowers

Pick the flowers when they’re at the height of fragrance, and quickly process them. Pick over any wilted flowers, or any stems. Here’s the quick and easy recipe:

Flower Simple Syrup

2 cups of sugar

2 cups of water

2 cups of flowers

Place the sugar and water in a saucepan, and stir constantly while bringing to a boil. Once it’s boiled, remove from the heat, and add the flowers, gently stirring them into the syrup. Cover and allow to cool or up to three hours. Strain the flowers out, using a stainless steel strainer, into a sterile jar, cover, and refrigerate.

jasmine maid of orleans

jasmine maid of orleans

Homemade Perfume book

Monday - 16 April 2018

I’ve spent over forty years  extracting fragrance from plants, blending those extracts and purchased essential oils and other fragrant materials into perfume. Not just perfumes, but also sprays, body butters, and bath and body scented products. With the publication of Homemade Perfume on July 31st, all of my experience is in one book for everyone!

I wish I had this book when I started working with herbs and fragrant plants year ago, and I know you’ll appreciate the detailed information in my book, me passing my hard-earned knowledge down to you. You can pre-order the book on Amazon so you’ll get it immediately after the July 31, 2018 release date by following this link.

(Read to the end of the blog to discover the giveaway)

Homemade Perfume Book by Anya McCoy cover

Homemade Perfume Book by Anya McCoy

Capturing the Fragrance of the Garden

The self-satisfaction of tincturing or infusing that gardenia bush, or preserving the scent of the lily-of-the-valley plants that spring up each year, only to fade is something a DIYer, perfumer, crafter, soapmaker, or just lover of fragrance can enjoy after reading Homemade Perfume.

How about turning the peonies or tuberose blossoms into an indulgent body butter or solid perfume? The book is the first of its kind to give detailed instructions on how to do this, and much more. Don’t have a garden with fragrant plants? Well, I hope to encourage you to either start growing them, or seeing with your family or friends or neighbors might be willing to share.

There are also instructions on how to extract the scent from fragrant botanicals that you can purchase, such as coriander seed, vetiver, patchouli, and rosebuds (to name a few). These can easily be made into room sprays, oil or alcohol perfumes, and other scented delights.

I’ve done this for years, and now you can, too, with guidance and detailed instructions. Help lessen the burden on the Earth by growing your own! Sustainability and self-reliance are satisfying goals, and my book will help you with both.

Willing to get ambitious and start distilling, making essential oils or hydrosols? You’ll find what will – or will not – work.

Perfume Making Techniques and Instruction

Best of all, I share basic perfume making techniques. You’ll learn how to evaluate and record your impressions of the scented extracts, and how to start constructing a perfume, room or body spray, etc. I do teach an advanced course, but for someone not planning to go into the business of making perfumes, Homemade Perfume will give you the knowledge of how to create fun and fragrant projects.

Table of Contents for Homemade Perfume


HOMEMADE PERFUME BOOK TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE 1

HOMEMADE PERFUME BOOK TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE

HOMEMADE PERFUME BOOK TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE 2

HOMEMADE PERFUME BOOK TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE

HOMEMADE PERFUME BOOK TABLE OF CONTENT PAGE 3

A Book for all Growing Zones

I live in Miami, and enjoy the beauty of ylang ylang trees, frangipani, champacas, and other tropical beauties you probably never have experienced. It’s been decades since I breathed in the beauty of lilacs, linden trees, or fresh and lively conifers – so we’re even!

Homemade Perfume is written with a mix of all types of plants, from all zones. I supply a table that will allow you to select the type and duration of processing necessary for your plant, in your zone. Have a delicate flower like mock orange? That’s covered. Thick, leathery leaves? Covered? Roots or wood? Don’t worry, you’ll have the hand reference table to help you.

Forty plants are profiled in the book for further reference, and the type of fragrant part of the plant will be covered, so you can yes, find if it’s in your garden, or area, and follow the instructions for a successful scent extraction.

Other Sources for Supplies – Supplied!

I grow a lot of fragrant plants, and have a cabinet filled with my extracts, but of course, I have to buy supplemental essential oils and absolutes to round out my perfume organ. No linden trees here, no pinyon pine, so I have reputable suppliers I depend on for obtaining these oils. The appendix in the book lists these suppliers, plus alcohol, bottle, and many other items you may need.

Giveaway

Dear Readers, it’s time to spread the news about Homemade Perfume! Please do two things: Leave a comment, and share this blog post on your social media. Leave me a note about where you shared it: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.

I’m also asking if you can preorder the book on Amazon to help the search engine rating for it. You might think, why do that if I might win a copy? Well, you keep the signed copy and give the Amazon book to a friend! Win all around!

What if you’ve already preordered? You might win a signed copy, and yes, give the preordered copy to a friend. I’d still appreciate your comments and sharing!

Five helpful readers who do this will be in a random draw for a signed copy of Homemade Perfume when it is published. I would love your help in spreading the news about my book, truly the first of its kind. So many years and so many experiments went into it! Deadline for the commenting and sharing on social media is Sunday, April 22, 2018, Earth Day. Isn’t that appropriate? 🙂

The ecological wonder of The Great Green Wall

Wednesday - 10 January 2018

Forty years ago, my husband got funding for his PhD under the USA Department of AID. In return, we were going to move to Dakar, Senegal for a few years to pay back the money for the education. I was studying plant science, ethnobotany, and anthropology at the time, and did a lot of research to prepare for the move. As an avid supporter of the Appropriate Technology movement, and an agriculturist with a keen interest in arid and semi-arid tropical plants, I was ready to work at some form of halting the southward spread of the Sahara Desert into Sub-Sahelian Africa. The US AID did not require us to go to Senegal for some reason, but my love of the region that developed due to all my research never stopped.

great green wall illustration

Some time ago I discovered the incredible project known as The Great Green Wall. Stretching from Senegal on the west coast, the effort was focused on planting a 10-mile wide band of drought-resistant trees to the east coast, ending in Somalia. I believe the primary plants are acacia trees and vegetables. Once the trees become established, their roots can pull up water from the low water table, making it more available for crops, and this is badly needed in this region. The trees will also help cool the air temperatures slightly, a bonus.

great green wall

The acacia being planted is Acacia senegalia senegal, a source of gum arabic, which has many uses in the food industry and other endeavors. As a perfumer, I’m wondering if the flowers have a lovely scent like Acacia farnesiana (cassie) or Acacia dealabata (mimosa). If so, the flowers could be harvested for extraction of the scent, adding another economic bonus.

green wall women farmers

green wall women farmers

As climate change is engulfing the world, and raising fears of loss of arable farmland, floods, hurricanes, and more damage, it is heartwarming to see that an initiative started 14 years ago is providing wonderful results. I may never get to visit Senegal or the Sahelian region, but my heart has long been there, loving the culture, and the hardworking, tenacious people. Bravo to Senegal for investing so much in the project, and building the greatest horticultural feature on earth, in cooperation with the other nations.

Modern techniques for making perfume

Sunday - 7 January 2018

Perfumers need to be savvy about how to provide a safe product to their customers. Perfume bottles and lab equipment can arrive from the factory with contaminants such as dust, bits of odds and ends (like paper), pesticides (from warehouse spraying) and other assorted things that need to be removed before filling or shipping. If you’re into making perfume or perfume products, you should read this.

Isn’t the New Year all about making good choices, and upping your game? Making sure you offer a sanitized (or more) product should be a goal for every perfumer.

Trio of Anya's Garden Perfumes

Trio of Anya’s Garden Perfumes – bottles and caps washed before filling to meet sanitary standards

I’m a bit of an OCD germaphobe to begin with, so making my product containers either sanitary, disinfected, or sterile (depending upon the end use) is very important. I explain in detail how to achieve these three goals in my upcoming book Homemade Perfume due out in August 2018 from Page Street Publishing.

Sanitary is a given, and easy: wash your equipment with hot soapy water, and air dry. That is necessary for everything. Disinfection can be achieved in a heat cycle in a dishwasher, or by using a bleach or alcohol rinse. Sterilization is most important for any container that will hold a product that contains water, like a lotion or hydrosol. For this purpose I prefer a UV light unit. I rarely have a container so big I need to bleach solution. Pictured you’ll find my unit, loaded with bottles on the top, and accessory tools on the bottom. I recommend buying a unit for cosmetology or tattooing purposes, they’re inexpensive and easily portable around your studio – plus, no bleach smell!

Caution: see the blue light? It can damage your eyes, so when the unit is on, I usually drape a cloth over it. This photo took about 3 seconds, and that’s all the exposure I allowed myself.

UV sterilization unit for making perfume products safe.

UV sterilization unit for making perfume products safe.

Homemade Perfume will be a gateway book for those who wish to learn basic techniques for making perfume. It is especially written for those who grow a number of fragrant plants, or who have access to them, so they can be perfume gardeners. The basics of tincturing and infusing for perfume, enfleurage, and distillation.

You will learn how to make body-, room-, and linen sprays; face-, body-, and hair vinegars; body butters; solid perfumes; alcohol- and oil-based perfumes; and more with your fragrant extractions.

If you wish to study how to make perfume professionally, consider taking my course through the Natural Perfumery Institute. The textbook is a compilation of four decades of perfume research, experimentation, and production. This is a distance learning course, and can be successfully completed from any place in the world. Click here to learn more.

Cyber Sale on Perfumes 40% off

Monday - 27 November 2017
The biggest sale of the year, and the chance to stock up on 100% natural perfumes for yourself, your friends and family.
Use the code cyber40 at checkout for the 40% off discount!
Sale items on this page only. 
 
Strange Magic – exotic and unique, made from organic flower tinctures. Other EdPs to choose from.



4ml parfum – easy to carry in your bag or pocket. Select from 12 award-winning perfumes.
Anya's Garden Perfumes Sample Box
1/3ml samples of Anya’s Perfumes

Natural Perfume Discounts on Tuition, oils, and perfumemaking kits

Saturday - 18 November 2017

 

How Autumn got Trashed by Hurricane Irma

This was going to be most heartfelt newsletter I’ve ever sent because I want to share the events of September and October and explain why I’ve been so quiet. Yes, I kept posting on Facebook, but behind the scenes, there is a lot of recovery and catch-up going on in the day-to-day businesses I run. I decided to blog later about the events instead, and just concentrate here on the love and passion for perfumes, and their creation. And I also decided to offer discounts, and pledge 10% of the sales to hurricane relief efforts. Use the links to discounted sale items at the end of this post.
 
I’ll let you know when I have it together enough to write about September and October, it’s just too fresh right now. So a remedy? Share the project that stirs as much passion in me as creating perfumes – teaching others how to make beautiful, professional perfumes!
My perfume organ with diluted essences, a working model I introduced to natural perfumery in my Basic natural perfume course.

10th Anniversary of the Natural Perfumery Institute Blew Right By!

Something very important to me that fell by the wayside due to Irma was the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Natural Perfumery Institute, an educational place for learning the ancient and modern aspects of natural perfume. It was the first online course in natural perfumery, and I share many years experience with the students in the form of a textbook, a real textbook, the first of its kind for perfumery. I had no time to announce, or celebrate, this milestone, the 10th anniversary. Thinking about the need for such a course, and then developing it, was a goal I accomplished.
 
If you are considering studying perfumery, I am offering an early holiday discount on tuition, the perfume making kits, and select aromatics from my botanicals line. Do you, or someone you love, desire to learn perfumery? This course is dynamic and covers the breadth and depth of the art of perfumery.
 
To learn more about the discounts visit:
 
This page for the $100 to $300 discount on the course tuition and kits.
 
and:
 
This page for discounts on Boronia, Sandalwood, and Vanilla.
 
These are the only pages coded with the discounts. There will be wonderful discounts on my perfumes next week for Black Friday, so be sure to open your newsletter to see what I’m offering. The tuition and aromatics discount will be available until Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017.
 
From Miami, our best wishes
Anya, Brian, Gracie, Andrea, and Dailyn
 

natural perfumery institute textbook cover

Natural Perfumery Institute cover. Textbook written by Anya McCoy.

Hydrosols: The Tipping Point is Safety!

Thursday - 2 November 2017

I purchased my first hydrosol in 1989, a lovely gallon of Rosa damascena from the May 1989 Turkish harvest. The well-known aromatherapist must have given direction on storage and use, but I don’t recall them. I still have some of that hydrosol, archived for decades in a refrigerator, brought out now and then to sniff, or transfer a bit to a sterile sprayer for use on the tips of my hair. No sign of microbial growth, the main problem with hydrosols, but I am aware that sometimes the growth does not show up as dark swirls or gunk on the bottom of the bottle, it can be invisible.

For readers who aren’t familiar with what hydrosols are, they’re the water from distillation, and they contain water-soluble aromatics of the plant. Many now distill just for hydrosol, which is a slightly different process from distilling for essential oils, wherein hydrosols are a “byproduct” of the essential oil process.

I often make “stovetop” distillations which don’t require a distillation unit, and pop them into sterile bottles and into the fridge, with an expected shelf life of a week or so. Care must be taken to avoid allowing microbes into the hydrosol, as it is easily contaminated by your fingers, microbes in the air and such.

Refreshing rosemary simplers’ hydrosol made with fresh rosemary from my garden. Note the bottle and cap from the UV sterilization unit.

Quick and easy way to sterilize materials with UV light.

Over the years, I’ve purchased organic hydrosols that I resold, and they were microbe-free. I purchased two hydrosols for personal use, one from a very well-known herbal supplier, and the orange blossom hydrosol quickly went bad. I knew it wasn’t my having a hand in contaminating it, as it had a spray top. When I wrote them, they said they had distilled it themselves from *dried*! orange blossoms, and didn’t know about needing sterile bottles. Mind you, this is a huge company, but I guess nobody did their research. Another bad hydrosol came from a friend who was in the essential oil supply business, but who didn’t know anything about hydrosols. It went bad very quickly.

In 2009, I distilled for the first time, in a glass still, and got a few milliliters of exquisite bay leaf essential oil, and some lovely hydrosol. Well, I wasn’t stringent about sterile bottles, and the hydrosol went bad, even under refrigeration. I should have known better, but the distillation was haphazard, as we were both learning, and scrambling around. I never made that mistake again!

Here’s my problem in 2017. Everybody is loving hydrosols and jumping on the hydrosol-making trend. Too many folks, in my opinion, although they may have taken a course with a great distiller, don’t understand all the need for sterilization of equipment, and good labeling.

A few months ago, a local friend received a gift of a hydrosol made from grapes at an herbal conference. She called me when the bottle developed an obvious microbial contamination, full of dark swirls. I was shocked, and told her to toss it. What made this so urgent in my mind is the fact she has an illness that requires her to have zero immune system. Yes, she must surpress her immune system to live. No eating at buffets, no digging in the soil, no public transportation, just a very carefully-controlled environment to prevent anything from attacking her because it can KILL her.

The person who gave her the hydrosol is known to me to be very sloppy and incompetent when it comes to safety, from making body butters that can cause citrus phototoxicity and permanent scarring, to not sterilizing her bottles for hydrosols. Ugh. I had warned her many times about her careless use of essential oils, hydrosols and such, but here was an event that could cause death.

I propose that not only do makers of hydrosols get highly educated on how to sterilize, store, and distribute these beautiful fragrant waters, but that they adopt a labeling standard that can help keep the waters safe(r).

  1. Botanical and common name of plant material
  2. Date distilled
  3. Warning to those with compromised immune systems or other health concern to not use them.
  4. Instructions to not open the cap and leave the hydrosol exposed to air.
  5. Instructions to no touch the neck of the bottle so that their finger comes in contact with the hydrosol.
  6. Do not breath into the hydrosol, it may distribute microbes from your respiratory system into the hydrosol.
  7. Keep it in the refrigerator
  8. At the sign of anything “growing” inside, discard the hydrosol.
  9. Take the pH of the hydrosol, if it goes above 4.0, discard

Dear reader, can you think of anything else. Please help me correct any errors and spread the word about safety and hydrosols.