Homemade Body Spray Recipe


Homemade body sprays are easy to make–keep the supplies on hand and you can make them any time you want, for yourself and for gifts! The best part is that you can make them however you like them, choosing your own favorite scent or combinations of scents. I’ve made homemade body sprays as simple as adding vanilla or citrus extract to distilled water, but for a strong scent that lasts, a few more ingredients will make a big difference in the end result.

Polysorbate 20 is a “fragrance modifier” that emulsifies and disperses fragrance and essential oils into water. Glycerin helps retain scent. Alcohol is what makes fragrance emanate from your skin–or you wouldn’t know you’d put any on a few minutes after you’d done it. (The reason extracts work to make the simplest of sprays is because there’s alcohol in the extract! You can make your own citrus–or other fruit–extracts the same way you make homemade vanilla, soaking the peels in vodka. See how to make homemade vanilla.)

In my recipe, I’m using vodka for the alcohol. If you have any intention of selling body sprays, perfumes, or other alcohol-based fragrance products, please do your research. Depending on where you live, it may be illegal to sell products containing alcohol without a license. Use perfumer’s alcohol instead. As an alternative, you can also replace the alcohol in body sprays with witch hazel, which has additional soothing and refreshing properties.

I formulated this basic recipe to fit an 8-ounce container. Cut it in half, double it, whatever you need. Add more or less fragrance to suit yourself. Various fragrance oils and essential oils act differently–start on the low end and experiment until you like it. You can use any skin-safe liquid dye to add color to your spray, but be careful about adding more than a drop or two–you don’t want to stain your skin with your spray. Just use a little for some transparent tint. You can also add to this basic recipe with some aloe or Vitamin E and so on. Take it and run with it!

These measurements are by volume.

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How to make Homemade Body Spray:

5 ounces distilled water*
2 ounces vodka, perfumer’s alcohol, or witch hazel
1/2 ounce Polysorbate 20
1-2 teaspoons fragrance oil or essential oil
1/2 teaspoon liquid glycerin

*Exactly how much distilled water you need to fill up an 8-ounce bottle will vary slightly by how much fragrance oil or other additions you may use. Use 5 ounces to start with then top it off at the end with more distilled water.

Measure and combine all the ingredients in a pump spray bottle and shake.

(These are some complicated directions!)

The mixture will be cloudy at first (and may even foam a little at the top) then gradually clear as the solution comes together. How long it takes to clear will depend on the specific ingredients you chose to use. Mine clears within about an hour.

You can purchase glycerin, Polysorbate 20, and perfumer’s alcohol at the same sorts of online outlets where you can purchase fragrance and essential oils and other homemade soap and beauty product ingredients. I got my Polysorbate 20 from Snowdrift Farm. (They also sell perfumer’s alcohol.) I got my glycerin from Brambleberry and my fragrance oil and spray bottles from Wellington Fragrance. (Note: Put “where to buy Polysorbate 20” in a search engine and you’ll find some less expensive places to buy it than Snowdrift Farm. Their shipping was expensive, so I probably won’t use them again.) These supplies will go a long way, by the way, and make multiple bottles of body spray.

P.S. I’m making lots of these for Christmas gifts. For gifts, tie ribbon or raffia around the bottles. Make a label with homemade paper! I also made one for myself using a combination of Sugared Citrus, Angel Cake, and Apple Pie fragrance oils. I smell like some kind of fruit dumpling.

Clover: “Get in my belly.”

Uh oh….


  1. Linda Segerson says:

    This is a great gift idea…I will be making some for myself and for gift giving. Thanks…I love your ideas…keep them coming!!

    Happy Holidays!

  2. Carol says:

    Looks great, but where did you get the empty bottles?

  3. IowaCowgirl says:

    These look really nice! I’m doing this!!! I love those bottles….makes me want to be a mad scientist again (I used to work in a lab…)

  4. Linda T. says:

    Um….just a quick question…..how, EXACTLY,does one go about getting on to your gift list? Hm?

  5. cyndi says:

    Wait, I’m confused. So if I’m making my own vanilla extract and I want to use it in the body spray, would I then omit the fragrance oil? Or do I just go ahead and add it too?

  6. Karo says:

    That pic of Clover is hilariously adorable!

  7. CindyP says:

    LOVE this idea…. your gift receivers are sooo lucky… all the good smells all around them 🙂

  8. farmershae says:

    This may be a dumb question, but if you use vodka as the alchohol, do you end up smelling like a fruity wino?

  9. Courtney NY via KS says:

    Thank you for posting this! I’ve been working on candles this year, thanks to your posts! Not quite ready for soap, but I think I can handle the body spray. Super cool. And that picture of Clover, makes me think, “I love you, Clover.” Just too cute!

  10. MMT says:

    Suzanne, I have everything to make this except the Polysorbate 20. Can I make it without that ingredient? I am loving making so many of my gifts this year. I made HP Peppermint soap last weekend and cut it out with cookie cutters. It is sooooo cute and smells really delicious. I also made wintergreen lip balm. I really like it too. Thanks so much for all the inspiration you have given me to do things I never would have tried if I hadn’t found your site.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      MMT, I’ve made body spray with nothing but vanilla extract and distilled water! The more quality ingredients you can add, the stronger and longer-lasting it will be. If you have glycerin and fragrance oil, that’s a lot better than just extract and water, so yes, you can make it!

  11. JOJO says:

    Suzanne, has your fragrance a name?

  12. Leah's Mom says:

    Wow…wish I had read this a little earlier in the year. That is a great gift idea. I wonder if some of the supplies can be found at a local store like “Hobby Lobby” or something similar?

    Thanks again, for the inspiration!

  13. JoyS says:

    I think Clover would eat the camera if you got close enuf!! Thanks for the recipe and the information if you are lacking ingredients ie poly-20. Since I dont NEED that I think I will try this!

  14. Judy says:

    Wooooooo – 2 teaspoons is WAY too much. Most skin-safe fragrance oils are used in topical solutions at a 5% solution (or less). 2 teaspoons of an essential oil is far too much as well. For most EO’s a 1-2% solution is suitable.

    (Personally that looks like a lot of polysorbate too. Typically the amount of poly is equal to the amount of FO or EO.)

    Just sharing (been using both FO’s & EO’s for years!)

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Judy, thanks, I did some more research and I believe you’re right. I’m going to reduce the poly 20 to 1/2 ounce. As for the fragrance, that’s really up to the individual preference as long as it’s skin-safe. I use two teaspoons in it and it doesn’t bother my skin at all–but I like it strong.

  15. emmachisett says:

    Just curious if rubbing alcohol would work or is it too “raw” a component?

  16. maddiekisses says:

    Followed this recipe to a ‘t’ and it half-way filled up an 8 oz. bottle. You mention that I should fill up the rest of the bottle with distilled water. I can certainly do this, but won’t it greatly affect the scent? Also, shouldn’t the end result be a clear liquid? Mine looks like watery milk.

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      The ingredients, before adding fragrance oil, add up to 7 1/2 ounces. I don’t know how you could end up with only 4 ounces…… The mixture will be cloudy at first, and I’ve found it depends on the fragrance or essential oil used. Some take longer to clear than others.

  17. rebelbelle says:

    I followed the recipe, but the scent doesn’t last very long. Any idea what I may have done wrong? Thanks!

  18. Necess1 says:


    Where would I find skin-safe liquid dye to add color to my body mist sprays? I’m finding colorants for soap, bath beads etc. but not water-soluble liquid dye.

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