The Beauty of Botanical Perfume – A Beginners Guide

Hello natural beauties and scent lovers everywhere. What is botanical perfumery and why is it different to natural perfume? Let the beauty and scent of nature take you on a little holiday from synthetic additives, and help you reveal your destiny on your evolutionary journey.



Please check out my book REVELATION! – Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils

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lone jasmine flower

lone jasmine flower


What is Botanical Perfume?

Botanical perfume is a perfume made only from ingredients that have been distilled or extracted from plants. This can include essential oils, CO2 extractions, absolutes, extracts, infused waters, cold pressed oils and butters and probably a few others I’ll think of once I’ve published this!

Is it a Natural Perfume?

Yes – all natural!


pretty wild violet

pretty wild violet


So What is a Natural Perfume?

A natural perfume may contain any botanical ingredients, but may also contain nature identical scents that have been synthesized. This means that it may have some essential oils in it but may also contain other compounds eg civet. Civet is a prized scent of perfumers and “noses” since the dawn of fragrance creation, as it has an obvious musky animal scent to it. According to Frangrantica

“African civet lives in savannahs and forests of South and central Africa, while Indian civet lives in Nepal, Bangladesh and Vietnam. These animals produce odorous secretion with purpose of marking their territory. Diluted, after some time, the odor of civet secretion, which normally is strong and repulsive, becomes pleasant with animalistic-musk nuance. For the purpose of collecting this secretion, animals are kept in cages. Luckily, this scent is nowadays mainly synthetic.”

So civetone is a compound created for perfumers who want the scent, but cannot get it naturally – thank goodness!. In this day I feel we should not be enslaving and torturing animals for our own pleasure. Cruelty free is the only way to go.

So for some people, as it is almost nature identical, the perfume is still referred to as “natural’. This is the same for many compounds.


Is it a Natural Perfume?

Is “natural perfume” a natural perfume? It really depends on what your opinion is. I say it is not, others say it is. The world will not end if we disagree.


Juniper berries at the spice market

Juniper berries at the spice market



At this time on earth all our matter is made of chemical structures. We couldn’t exist without these buildings blocks of nature. We are made of chemical structures and so is our environment.

To me, a botanical perfumer (first range almost ready to be released), and an Aromatherapist, I have only ever worked with botanical extracts. There is an unspoken beauty, softness and warmth to essential oils and their friends that is simply not there with synthesized compounds. It doesn’t matter if every single bond within the synthetic compound is exactly the same as in the essential oil – to me there is something missing.

As I state in my book “Revelation! reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils”:


Perfumes                     vs              Essential Oils            

Syntheti:                                       Natural:

created in a lab                           created by nature 

                                                      (with a little help)

Thin/weak                                     Round/fortified

Contractive                                   Expansive

Temporary                                     Enduring  

Subjective/personal                     Objective/universal

Ornamental                                   Therapeutic

One dimensional                           Multi dimensional

Suzanne R Banks               


This is my opinion. Others disagree. However when a client asks if “perfume X” is natural and it has synthetic compounds in it, I say no.

There is room for everyone. Create what you like, and where what you like.


Conventional Perfumes

Conventional perfumes are mostly synthetic. They are cheap to make and in my opinion smell awful. Often brands are owned by big companies who put most of the purchase price of the perfume back into marketing. The actual scent is not very valuable. Profit is the driving factor. Most of the world still loves this. I do not. These perfumes radiate outwards in a brash unforgiving nature, so you may be preceded by your scent as you walk into a room. This is not subtle, nor does it have any therapeutic benefit to the wearer or the ones who are subjected to it.


Artisan Perfume

An artisan perfumer will often make small batches and buy small amounts of raw ingredients. This makes it much more expensive to produce the perfumes.  Whether your perfume is “natural” or “botanical”, please support creative talent. By helping each other and sharing money between ourselves and by-passing big business, hopefully we can create a more inclusive, supportive world.

Pure botanical perfumes are designed for the intimate us of the wearer – for the soul, the mind and the energy. Botanical perfumes tend to be softer, more personal, and reach within; to be combined with your intention and feelings for the day, to give a result that is exponentially supportive and beneficial to YOU. You are the most important part of your botanical perfume. Like the double torus energy field in quantum physics, you draw the scent into you, mix it with your self, and then radiate this unique essence to the world. It will be different every time you use your perfume.


Rose is the Queen of oils

Rose is the Queen of oils


Thank you lovely readers. What is your opinion on “natural” and “botanical” perfumes?



Hey Do You Remember ………..?

Ooops it looks like I forgot to write an article last week! I must now treat my brain with essential oils to help me remember and be more focused. And the oils I will use are …


Please check out my new book REVELATION! – Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils

Barnes & Noble      Booktopia AU      Amazon UK

and many other stores worldwide as an ebook and paperback


Flowering rosemary in my client's garden

Flowering rosemary in my client’s garden


Sharp and strong, the scent of rosemary essential oil will awaken and stimulate your brain. Rosemary is for remembering. Remember that. Hehehehe. I’ve made my mum “smelling salts” and the main ingredient is rosemary. Just open a bottle and have a whff in the morning if you can’t wake up, or put a few drops in the bottom of the shower and have a whole body steam. This ancient herb oil has been with us for centuries which proves it’s hardiness and usefulness, even in today’s modern society. And it’s inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to grow if you have a bit of sun. For some recipes check out

10 Recipes with Rosemary Essential Oil – Rosmarinus officianalis


I've just planted some basil and it seems to be dong quite well

I’ve just planted some basil and it seems to be dong quite well


Refreshing and uplifting, the scent of basil can be quite soft as well as pungent. Often described in aromatherapy terms as “cephalic” (pertaining to the head), it is an expansive oils as it works on your mind and your brain. What’s the diff between your mind and your brain? The brain is the organ which helps run the body performing amazing functions at a very small level. “The mind is the brain in action” says Dr Joe Dispenza the wonderful neuroscientist. The mind is multi-dimensional and allows us to understand, comprehend and evolve. Have a whiff of basil to open yourself to the intelligence of the universe, and help you wake up to do your everyday work and chores. Check out these recipes

10 Recipes with Basil Essential Oil – Ocimum basilicum

10 Recipes with Basil Essential Oil – Ocimum basilicum (part 2)

Clearly I needed basil oil because I wrote one article then a few weeks later did another ……. by mistake …….



Eucalyptus radiata leaves ready to be distilled at Banalasta Estate in NSW

Eucalyptus radiata leaves ready to be distilled at Banalasta Estate in NSW


Awaken, clean out your mind and get going with eucalyptus oil. This very distinctive scent will give you an instant brain-lift and help you put ideas into action. It is the oil of clearing and cleansing, so clean out the cupboards of your mind and make space for the thoughts that really count. Once again this oil is inexpensive and easy to find, and works well when cleaning the actual cupboards in your house. Have an aromatherapy treatment while you clean by adding a few drops to soapy water. Simple and easy. Check out these recipes

10 Essential Oil Recipes to Inspire Creativity

Now I know I need to write an article “10 Recipes with Eucalyptus” so stay tuned!


Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

Check out my YouTube channel too, thanks.

copryright SR Banks 2015

Hydrosols and Floral Waters – What’s the Diff?

Please check out my new book REVELATION! – Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils

Amazon USA      Booktopia AU      Amazon UK

and many other stores worldwide as a Kindle and Paperback


Hydrosols and Floral Waters – What’s the Diff?


A lovely selection of rosewater

A lovely selection of rosewater

Recently one of my wholesale suppliers sent an email lamenting about the short shelf life of hydrosols and how difficult it is to maintain great standards for their customers.

I would have to agree. I absolutely love hydrosols but their scent doesn’t last long and it’s always disappointing when you open up a bulk container to find it has “turned”. The scent goes a bit dull and brownish and it simply isn’t right. So what’s the difference between hydrosols and floral waters?


Hydrosols are the water left over from the steam and water distillation of a plant or flower. They contain many water-soluble constituents from the plant and therefore have a different make-up to the essential oil they come from. Hydrosols also have the beautiful scent of the plant, but at a more softer, rounder level. They contain minerals, cellulose and aromatic compounds. According to Wikipedia they “contain essential oil compounds as well as organic acids..…. and will include many of the water-soluble plant pigments and flavonoids.”

Hydrosols will be harder to find in a retail environment, mostly everything will be a floral water- either the essential oil infused into the water, or the plant boiled or infused in water. If you can buy a true hydrosol its definitely worth a try.

Hydrosols can be used in skin care and as a therapuetic treatment. I remember taking a weekend class with an Indian Ayurvedic doctor and rosewater was used for an eye bath to soothe the infection and used when any kind of heat or inflammation was present. Rose water has been used in Ayurveda as a treatment for centuries and is also used by woman in their skin care regimes.

If it’s a real hydrosol it can be amazing when its fresh. If it’s not a real hydrosol it could be a floral water.

Floral Waters

The most well-known would be rose-water, orange blossom (neroli) water and pine (kewra) water. Check out this article for some fabulous Oregon scented alcohols.

Pine water (essence)

Pine water (essence)

A simple hand made rose water sneakily

A simple hand made rose water – pic sneakily

Hydrosols could be called floral waters (because they are), but this usually refers to a water that has been scented with essential oils. The best floral waters use a process that breaks essential oils into tiny droplets and forces them into de-ionised water. In this process no extra chemicals are used and the scent is true to the essential oil. The scent will also last longer and floral waters can still be used for everything that a hydrosol is used for.

If you go into a middle eastern or Indian shop and find a bottle of rose-water, for example, it probably wont be a hydrosol. It will be a floral water made in another way. That’s not to say they aren’t fabulous but always check the label to find if there are any chemical preservatives or nasty ingredients.

You can use your stunning floral water in these ways:

  • Misting your face before moisturising to soften and hydrate
  • Misting your body after the sun
  • Use in place of a facial toner for a more gentle clarifying and cooling treatment
  • particularly lovely for misting kids to help cool them down
  • add to a cocktail for a delicious scented drink
  • add a splash to a glass of water
  • use in cooking with sweets and salad dressings

I’m sure you can think of many more so don’t hesitate to use hydrosols and floral waters in your daily regime.

Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

copryright SR Banks

10 Recipes with Rose Geranium – Pelargonium graveolens

Rose geranium - pic via

Rose geranium – pic via

So what is the difference between Rose geranium and Geranium?

Good question.

Both Rose geranium and geranium come from the same species. They are from the family Geraniaceae, the genus Pelargonium and then the species Pelargonium graveolens. It seems that the common name Pelargonium roseum is actually just another term for graveolens too.

But they do smell different! Rose geranium is a lot sweeter with a distinct rosey scent and geranium just smells like geranium. There are many different cultivars and it depends where the plants are grown as to what scent they have. The particular sweet rose scented flowers will be sold as Rose geranium and others as just geranium.

Just to add something else into the mix, hundreds of years ago the Island of Reunion was famous for their geranium which was called Bourbon geranium. It is thought that this could have been Pelargonium capitatum rather than, or as well as P. graveolens. Now the neighbouring island of Madagascar produces geranium which is called Bourbon, but it is  listed from my suppliers as coming from P. graveolens.

According to Marcia Elston

“North Africa is a principal producer and includes the countries Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt. Most of the plant stock for North African development came from Grasse from P. graveloens or its hybrids; the French oil produced around Grass having the most rosaceous odor of all.”


Ok let’s get into some recipes!

Sexy black diffuser from

Sexy black diffuser from

1. Scent Your Space

In a traditional oil burner with a candle or a diffuser add 25 drops of oil


Get the party started –

Rose geranium        8 drops

Orange                    8 drops

Cedarwood Atlas     5 drops

Patchouli                 4 drops


“Fresh Saturday House Cleaning Vibe”

Don’t avoid the housework any longer –

Rose geranium        7 drops

Lemongrass            7 drops

Juniper                    7 drops

Tea tree                   4 drops


“Cheer Up!”

Add some happiness –

Rose geranium                 5 drops

Mandarin                        10 drops

Ylang Ylang                      5 drops

Sandalwood Australian    5 drops



Rub oil into your body - it's good!

Rub oil into your body – it’s good!

2. Nourishing Body Oil Blend

For a coat of your body use 3 teaspoons of carrier oil in a little dish and, add 7 – 8 drops of essential oil.

***** Always put the drops of essential oil into the bottle or dish first, then add the carrier oil. It gives the scents time to create a synergistic fusion.

For a 50ml bottle of oil add 25 drops and see my articles “Ratios for Blending Essential Oils – A Reminder of the Basics” and “Aromatherapy – It’s Easy as 1 2 3”

“Happy Days”

Get smiling in the morning –

Rose Geranium       3 drops

Lavender                 3 drops

Black spruce           2 drops



Get your cute on –

Rose geranium       3 drops

Peru balsam           3 drops

Vanilla CO2             1 drop   * see my article for more info on CO2 extracts What are CO2 Extracts in the World of Aromatherapy?


“I Like Life”

Rose geranium   2 drops

Palmarosa          2 drops

Rosemary           2 drops

Lemon                2 drops


get any cute little dish to mix your oils in

get any cute little dish to mix your oils in

3. Pure Pulse Point Perfume

In a little dish mix these oils and anoint your pulse points or chakras – 3 drops of essential oils and dilute with a few drops of carrier oil – always patch test first!

“Yee ha Lets Go!”

Rose geranium   1 drop

Black pepper      1 drop

Basil                   1 drop


“Lollipops and Laughs”

Acknowledge your inner child –

Rose geranium   1 drop

Neroli 3%            3 drops  * see my article for more info on 3% blends in jojoba


“Sweet AND Determined”

You can do it –

Rose geranium     1 drop

Nutmeg                1 drop

Lime                     1 drop


“First Class”

You are the Queen –

Rose Geranium    1 drop

Rose 3%              3 drops


Happy blending and remember to use your intention when you are creating your formulas. See my article about intention.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013





Lavender – Simple and Complicated All at the Same Time

Lavender rules the essential oil library

Lavender rules the essential oil library

The scent and uses of lavender are the easy bits to understand. What’s a little more complicated is the different types of lavender and where they are grown. There’s English lavender, French lavender, Australian lavender, New Zealand lavender, Bulgarian lavender and so much more. Some of these lavenders are the same botanical species and others are different. There’s Spike lavender and Lavandin too so what does it all mean when it comes to essential oils?


Lavandula angustifolia from Köhler's Medizinal Pflanzen

Lavandula angustifolia from Köhler’s Medizinal Pflanzen

True Lavender/English Lavender;   Lavandula angustifolia

Lavender essential oil usually refers to any of the botanical lavenders in general but the most commonly grown lavender for essential oil production is Lavandula angustifolia – sometimes referred to as “true lavender”. This used to be called Lavandula officianalis which is an older classification, and is also still called English Lavender. I have also seen this oil called “fine lavender”.

A typical analysis of this oil shows a high linalyl acetate and linalool content. This accounts for the scent of lavender among many things, and linalool has also been shown to have a calming action. As for most essential oils, there may be a few primary chemicals but there are often many other constituents. It is the oil as a whole that gives it a unique character.

I have two different bottles of Lavandula angustifolia wild harvested from the same island off the Yugoslav republic. They have slightly different scents even though it’s the same plant, it just comes from a different area.

Spike lavender - pic via

Spike lavender – pic via

Spike Lavender;   Lavandula latifolia

This lavender is Lavandula latifolia and is also grown for essential oil production. It can also be classified as Lavandula spica and the difference between this lavender and true lavender is the chemical composition. Spike lavender is much higher in camphor and also 1-8 cineole (high in eucalyptus oil). It is more pungent and the scent of camphor is strong.

This variety is grown in Spain, Portugal and France and they do vary in scent. I haven’t used or smelled Spanish Spike Lavender, but is is claimed by two Aromatherapists I admire, that the French Spike lavender is a lot softer and sweeter than the Spanish oil. The French oil has less camphor. It is interesting to note here that there are many ways an oil can vary in scent even when it is the same cultivar. The makeup of the soil and local temperatures play a big role in these variations.

True lavender tends to be the prettier plant with a prettier scent.

Lavandin and true lavender- ic via

Lavandin and true lavender- ic via


Lavandin;   Lavandula x intermedia

Lavandin is grown in France but I’m not sure where else! It is a cross between Lavandula latifolia  and Lavandula angustifolia. It s often used in place of lavender in body products, and any lavender product you can think of. I have a huge bottle of lavandin a friend recently brought back from France and it’s lovely. It has more camphor then true lavender so I have been using it as I would spike lavender. I would say lavandin and spike lavender oils are great for warming for muscles, aches and pains and to move cold energy out of the body.

ah lavender!

ah lavender!


This only scrapes the surface of all the lavender out there and if you’re a gardener you’ll know this is somewhat simplified. These are the main lavenders used for essential oil production and I love and use them all!





Digital Scent vs Analog Scent

Analog clock - great for planning ahead

Analog clock – great for planning ahead


Well I’m not sure if I can use the analog/digital signal to describe scent but I’m gong to anyway. It is usually applied to sound recording and clocks at a very basic level so check out this description:


“The difference between analog and digital technologies is that in analog technology, information is translated into electric pulses of varying amplitude. In digital technology, translation of information is into binary format (zero or one) where each bit is representative of two distinct amplitudes.”


Something stuck in my mind a while ago when I was talking to someone about my need to use an analog clock while I was doing treatments so I could plan as I was working. For example I always look up at the clock to note in my mind how long I’ve been massaging the right leg and how much time I need to spend on the back, or do I need to leave more time for the face and head, and so on. He said analog is great for planning ahead whereas digital is about right now. I loved that description!

Digital clock - the time is now!

Digital clock – the time is now!

So with analog we can quickly see what has gone before and what is to come. It shows us a range of past, present and future (but of course that is an incorrect description because we know in quantum physics all those possibilities exist at once).

With digital we see only now! That’s cool because in quantum physics that’s all we have.


Smelling an essential oil could be an analog experience - pic via

Smelling an essential oil could be an analog experience – pic via

Ok so here’s my application of signal to scent:

Essential oils come from a natural source even though they undergo a process of some sort. They are made up of molecules that have been present in a living organism and carry an energetic force. This magic that they hold can be used a tool to access higher consciousness via the brain and can also effect the body this way too. Scent is a powerful mechanism that can transform our physicality and our spirit and sub conscious too, and with essential oils we are treated to the divine scent of mother nature.

When I first started using essential oils after a weekend workshop with two amazing Australian aromatherapists, I was shocked to hear that neither of them could use perfume anymore, after using essential oils. This was 20 years ago now and of course I am exactly the same. This is because essential oils carry this invisible life force and they are undeniably powerful. They give us a range of scent from the first whiff to the lingering notes on our bodies. They connect us to past experiences and allow us to see potential for the future. They give a complexity of scent that only exists in nature and that can never be replicated, even by the masters of chemistry (according to Luca Turin a master Perfumer).

To me essential oils are ANALOG. They have range and are complex. They are old school.

Perfume is digital - pic via

Perfume seems to be digital to me – pic via


Perfume is still absorbed through the nasal cavity into the brain and can also connect us to experiences of the past, present and future – as can any smell. Perfumes that are available today will be mostly made up of molecules that have been created in a lab, and that are quite precise in their scent. So you may have hundreds of different molecules that go into a perfume and it’s the master perfumers who will conduct this symphony of scent.

People all over the world love perfume but I don’t. I don’t like the alcohol as a base. I don’t like cold feeling it gives me and the way there seems to be too many conflicting ideas in one spritz. There are, of course, some perfumes that are way better than the dross out there. With perfume there are many precise notes blended to create the scent – but usually it’s too many.

To me perfumes are a DIGITAL scent. They are precise and do not have complex ranges, as they have many digital signals mixed together. There doesn’t seem to be any expansiveness or invitation to connect with the universe.

Hey, but if it’s digital it must be about NOW, which can only be a good thing. They are modern and contemporary, and fall in line with our digital era.

There’s a place for both in our world – let’s never lose the analog!

The Benefits of Beeswax in a Body Cream

nourish your skin with oil blends

nourish your skin with oil blends or should you use cream?

I love using oil blends on my body and try to do it daily, however I do know many people who just won’t use oil on their skin because it’s too high maintenance – meaning it’s too messy, or it ruins their underwear or it takes too long to soak in or blah, blah, blah! I may be preaching to the converted here but using oils on your body can be so beneficial. When I say “oils’ I am referring to coconut oil, almond oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil and other carrier oils. This past winter my skin looked like crocodile skin so I decided to whip up a batch of cream with beeswax, oils and cocoa butter (basically because that’s the stock I had available).

Bees and their beeswax - pic via

Bees and their beeswax – pic via

It did really help my skin and I remembered one of my clients saying that her facialist sometimes talked about the right time for cream and the right time for oil. So when your body skin is scaly and horrible, that would be the perfect time to use a cream.


In a body cream, if it’s made naturally, you’ll get oil, water and emulsifying wax at the very least. You may also get essential oils, beeswax, cocoa butter, mango butter or shea butter too, to make it rich and gorgeous. Then hopefully there will be some pure essential oils added to the mix to give you a scented experience and emotional support. If you have a cheap cream made in huge vats, by big companies that is sold all over the world you’ll get water with a whole lot of synthetic crap. So when I talk about using a body cream I’m referring to a beautiful hand-made cream or a high quality cream from a boutique shop, health food shop or a market.

Handmade cream - pic via

Handmade cream – pic via

In a body oil blend you’ll be getting a carrier oil (or oils), and some essential oils which in itself is a wonderful treat but sometimes you just need a little more.

What’s the diff?

The wax. And beeswax is the bomb and adds so much more to a cream than a synthetic wax could ever do.


pola wax - a synthetic emulsifying wax

pola wax – a synthetic emulsifying wax

Most people will also use an emulsifying wax that is sure to combine the oil and the water into a smooth cream, although I’m sure others could make a beautiful cream with only beeswax. It is now much easier to find a 100% natural emulsifying wax but many waxes sold on the market will have synthetics in them. If your emuslifying wax beads are very white they probably have some synthetics in them. Anything with a number in it, like PEG-150 Stearate, is synthetic. A lot of synthetic preparations are safe to use but some are not. You can check the toxicity of ingredients at


Wax will

* provide a mild barrier between your skin and the environment and give protection which is wonderful for dry skin and rashes and will help the symptoms of eczema and psoriasis

* make your skin feel beautiful and soft as it acts as an humectant (draws and holds moisture) and as an emollient

* have some mild actions including being an anti-inflammatory agent as it has been used over the centuries for wound healing

* mild anti-bacterial action as in honey (we know to use honey for coughs and colds because of this)


I recommend using a combo of both oils and creams on your body, and as in everything in life, mix it up a bit.

And from William Cowper’s poem, “The Task” (1785): “Variety is the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavor”.


copyright suzannerbanks 2013