Using the Bramble Berry Fragrance Calculator

Have you ever started to make a batch of soap and realized you didn’t know how much fragrance or essential oil to use? When I first started soaping, trying to figure out how much scent to add to a batch was a bit of a experimental process, and it didn’t always turn out so well. Over or under-fragrancing is frustrating if you add too much of an expensive essential oil or not enough fragrance and end up with a beautiful, albeit unscented, bar of soap. Knowing how much fragrance or essential oil to add can save you both time and money!

Things have come a long way since my fragrance guesswork, and one of the best features on the Bramble Berry site is the Fragrance Calculator. It’s a handy tool that takes the guess work out of soaping and gives you complete control over your recipes. Read on to learn how to make the Fragrance Calculator for you.

We’re continually updating our fragrance calculator, so if you don’t see the fragrance or essential oil you’d like to use, let us know in the comments! In the meantime, you can use the information on general recommended usage rates at the bottom of this post to fragrance your products.


ONE: Click on this link to get to Bramble Berry’s Fragrance Calculator. You can also find it on the bottom of Bramble Berry homepage on the left side. The calculator works for a variety of products, including lotions, liquid soaps, cold process and melt & pour soaps, salts & bath fizzies, rebatch, candles and even your homemade shampoo and conditioner.

TWO: To use the calculator, enter the total amount of product you are making in grams or ounces and select the fragrance or essential oil from the list below. For the sake of this tutorial, I’ve chosen to “make” 16 oz. of cold process soap.

THREE: Now it is time to choose your fragrance or essential oil. Today I’ve gone with our sample of the month, Chai Tea Cybilla (have you gotten your package yet? Make sure to check out our Make It Month: #BrambleChai contest). Once you’ve selected the fragrance or essential oil, the calculator will take you straight to the results.

FOUR: In the Fragrance Calculator Results section, it will give you the recommendations for a light, medium or strong scent in ounces (by weight — see why weight is the best way to go in this blog post), grams, teaspoon, tablespoons and even milliliters. The ‘Notes’ section will describe the fragrance and include information about any discoloration or acceleration as well as the flashpoint and other product notes. You can print from this page so you have all the information in front of you.

Finding out how much fragrance or essential oil you need to use is really that simple. If you find that you fragrance or essential oil isn’t listed on Bramble Berry Fragrance Calculator (we do try to update it as often as possible), let us know and we will add it as soon as we can. You can also follow the recommended amounts for both essential oils and fragrance oils for various products below.

Essential Oils:

Cold Process Soap: .7 ounces per pound

Melt & Pour Soap: .25 ounces per pound

Rebatch Soap: .3 ounces per pound

Lotions: .2 ounces per pound

Liquid Soap: .3 ounces per pound

Salts & Scrubs: .3 ounces per pound

Candles: .5 ounces per pound

 Shampoo & Conditioners: .2 ounces per pound

Fragrance Oils:

Cold Process Soap: .7 ounces per pound

Melt & Pour Soap: .5 ounces per pound

Rebatch Soap: .6 ounces per pound

Lotions: .3 ounces per pound

Liquid Soap: .6 ounces per pound

Salts & Scrubs: .2 ounces per pound

Candles: 1 ounce per pound

Shampoo & Conditioners: .4 ounces per pound

Of course, some fragrances and essential oils are exceedingly strong — or sadly wimpy — in soap, and so you can always use a little more or a little less to your preference. After all, if you’re using English Rose and you know it’s a strong fragrance oil (it is!), it would be a waste of money to use a full .7 ounces per pound of soap. Always adjust to your personal nose and fragrance preference.

If you find that we’re missing your favorite Bramble Berry fragrance or essential oil from the calculator let us know in the comments below!

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53 Comments

  1. Helen says

    Here is my question. Can I mix eo’s and fo’s in the same batch of soap? Also in your chart that tells how many oz’s to use for each type of soap, I didnt see hot process soap listed.

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Helen!

      You can absolutely mix fragrance and essential oils!

      Also, the usage rates for hot process soap will be the same as the usage rates for cold process soap. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

    • Kelsey says

      Hi Angie!

      A great way to figure that out is to use the standard usage rate, which is .7 oz per pound of soap. Then you can make a blend of essential oils that add up to .7 oz per pound. :)

      -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  2. Ellen Maisen says

    Hi,
    I really appreciate all of your experimenting and informing us of good usage rates. It saves being frustrated and wasting soap!
    I have been distilling Lemon Verbena essential oil, and with my table top distiller it takes some time to get a quantity of oil from the dried leaves. I have about 2 mil right now. This seems like a strong eo. Do you have any experience with using it in CP soap? It is edible and on the skin it seems very strong.

    • says

      Hi Ellen!

      Oh that’s so neat! I very rarely hear of anybody makes their own essential oil, that’s awesome :). Because the the distillation process is different, I would imagine the usage rate would be different as well. I would recommend checking out the Teach Soap Forum, and seeing if a fellow soap maker has experience using their homemade essential oils :)

      Teach Soap Forum: http://www.teachsoap.com/forum/

      I hope this helps!

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  3. Cathy Gallahan says

    I was wondering if I will be using 44ozs of oils and the recipe is 1 part orange essential oil, 1 part patchouli essential oil & 2 parts lavender essential oil how do you put this into the fragrance calculator?

    • says

      Hi Cathy!

      I recommend calculating the amount of fragrance you use based on the total yield of your recipe, rather than just the amount of oils used :)

      I would then use the general usage rate of .7 ounces of fragrance oils per pound of soap. For example, if your yield was 64 ounces (or 4 pounds) you would use a total of 2.8 (.7 ounces multiplied by 4) ounces of fragrance.

      Then, you just need to figure out the ratios, which would be .7 ounces of orange essential oil, .7 ounces of patchouli essential oil, and 1.4 ounces of lavender essential oil.

      I hope this helps, let me know if you have any more questions :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  4. says

    This was my first time using the fragrance calculator. I used the strong suggestion for the “coconut cybilla” and the result was a soap almost “unscented”. Fortunately for me, I always make a test batch (414gms) before making the regular one. In my notes I wrote…next time more scent as is almost unscented. I used vanilla stabilizer (from Brambleberry) with the scent and the finished color is a light salmon, not bad look nice… but I tough it will be more clear, at least a beige color not a salmon color. I added the same amount of stabilizer than fragrance oil. What happened here? I used the vanilla stabilizer with “Vanilla Select”in the past and the soap color was a light beige.

    • says

      Hi there!

      Are you working with melt and pour, or cold process? Vanilla stabilizer works well in melt and pour, but can be unreliable for cold process, so we generally do not recommend using it for cold process soap. I’m sorry to hear that the Coconut Cybilla was not strong enough for you, we have always found that it results in a nice strong scent. If you’d like to tell me a little bit more about your recipe and methods, I’d be happy to help troubleshoot! :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  5. Sharon says

    How would you suggest I use the fragrance calculator if I want to add more than one essential oil in the same recipe? I usually make 1000g batches so like to measure my essential oils in grams too. For example an eo combination of 1 part Patchoulli eo to 3 parts lavender eo. Love this site:)
    Sharon

    • says

      Hi Sharon!

      I’m so glad you enjoy the blog! When in doubt, you can use the standard usage rate for essential oils and cold process soap which is .7 ounces per pound. You can then take the total and split it up between your two fragrances :). The great thing about adding fragrances to your soap is that while there is a suggested usage rate, a lot of it is personal preference! Many soapers ad less or more than our fragrance calculator suggests, just depending on if they like a stronger or lighter fragranced soap :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  6. Carolyn says

    I just wanted to “2cd” the suggestion for a quick reference guide on your essential / fragrance oils, perhaps as a download, PDF file that could be printed out by those of us, who are new to soap-making. I have used your fragrance calculator (&, yes, it is really fantastic & much appreciated), but I still added too much & ended up w/a small amount of ricing in one of my colors. I use my iPad when soaping, & just did not read it correctly, (think soaping goggles on, readers off…).

    If this is something Brambleberry would consider offering, even as an incentive for ordering a certain $$ amount of fragrance oils, that would be fantastic! Just one other idea that I would find extremely helpful with a fragrance oil reference PDF, would be the added perk of popular/ timed tested fragrance oil blends, which are offered throughout the descriptions of the FO’s offered by BB. I love being able to read those FO blends, but can never retain all that info when really needed.

    • says

      Hi Carolyn!

      Thanks for the idea, I will pass it along! :) In the meantime, I would recommend copying and pasting the quick reference guide into a word program and printing it out…I totally understand how handy that would be to have on hand while soaping! Thanks again for the idea Carolyn :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

    • says

      Hi Jen!

      Thanks for the suggestion. In the meantime, what you can do is use the suggested amount for essential oils according to the chart above, .7 ounces per pound for cold process soap, and .25 ounces per pound of melt and pour base. Of course the amount of fragrance that you use is a little bit of a personal preference as well! You can use less or more, depending on what you like :)

      -Amanda with Bramble Berry

  7. Viv says

    I am a new soapmaker and getting used to the weighing the liquids soI want to clarify before I place my first order.
    If I am making a 5# batch of cold process soap I need 3.60 oz. or about 7 tablespoons of the Relaxing fragrance oil blend.
    The bottle of oil is sold by the oz, which correct me if I am wrong is a liquid oz. measurement, so I should need a little more than the 4 oz bottle.

    Thank you for your help.

  8. Andrea says

    Potentially stupid question (so I will start off by saying I’m only in week 1 of my soaping adventures!) but if I am supposed to use .7oz per pound of cp soap then that would be 1.61oz of EO/FO for a 37oz batch but most EO/FO that I’ve found come in a 10ml bottle so I would need to use 4.5 bottles to use the recommended amount?

    I thought 37oz was a rather small batch size (while I’m testing out recipes) but 4.5 bottles of scent seems quite a lot?

    Just curious if I’m misunderstanding? :) Thanks!!
    x Andrea

    • says

      Hi Andrea!

      Welcome to the soapmaking world! We are so excited that you have started soaping and can’t wait to see how your batches turn out.

      If you do not purchase your essential and fragrance oils at Bramble Berry, they may come in smaller bottles, but if you purchase them with us, you can typically get any fragrance oil in a 2, 4 and 8 ounce size. If you are only using 10 mL bottles, you will need quite a few to get the full amount for your soap batch.

      Fragrance Oils: http://www.brambleberry.com/Fragrance-Oils-C161.aspx

      The typical usage rate for fragrances in cold process soaps is .7 ounce per pound. This will ensure that your entire batch (lye + water + oils/butters) get scented. 37 ounces is actually 3 lbs of soap and would use about 2.1 ounces of fragrance oil for the entire batch.

      I hope this helps to explain it a bit more, and if you have any other questions, let us know! =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Andrea says

        Ah! I see, and thank you for your awesome answer as usual! I’m in the UK and they mostly seem to sell alice in wonderland sized miniature bottles here (or they’re super expensive when you do find bigger bottles!) I think maybe you should think about expanding into a warehouse over here :D

        Thanks so much. And your videos are AMAZING btw!
        Love watching them and love that you stick the bloopers in!
        x Andrea

  9. says

    Hi,
    I love the calculator! It is a great tool, but like you said you have to trust you nose, and personal experience too! I just want to clarify, in the ver first list in this article, shampoos and conditioners are listed twice, once at .4, and then .2 oz per lb. later it’s listed at .4. So is it.4? I have to go with customers personal preference most of the time on hair products. But you have to use enough to cover the preservative smell. Does anyone else notice that? I can smell it, and I don’t like it, but FO or EO’s cover it up.

    • says

      Hi Dawnia!

      There are two different usage rates listed above, one for essential oils and one for fragrances oils. Because essential oils are so potent, you are going to generally use less of them in your products than you would the fragrance oils. We haven’t had a problem with the preservatives smelling too much in hair-care products. Which ones are you using?

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  10. susan butterfield says

    Thank you so much for this calculator. I’m a small soaper so I might only make two or three soaps with one fragrance and Yeah! I know now how much to use. (I was using way to less) I do have one question, if one of the fragrance oil has vanilla in it can I use the stabilizer so it doesn’t turn brown?

    • says

      Good morning, Susan!

      We are excited to hear more about your soaping, especially know that you know you can use up to a certain amount of fragrances (known more always makes soaping better!)

      If you are making melt and pour soap, you can use Vanilla Color Stabilizer to help prevent your soaps from discoloring. Vanilla Color Stabilizer only works marginally well in cold process (for 4-9 months), so I would try a tester if you are making a CP recipe.

      Vanilla Color Stabilizer: http://www.brambleberry.com/Vanilla-Color-Stabilizer-P4156.aspx

      I hope that this helps! Let us know if you have any other questions. =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  11. Sara says

    I looked up for cookie dough fragrance, but its not there. ( got it in Spain actually..)
    Anyway I thank you for sharing your fragrance calculator, im sure its going to be of great help! : )

    Thanks

    • says

      Hi Sara!

      The Bramble Berry Fragrance Calculator is actually for all Bramble Berry fragrance and essential oils. If it isn’t one of our fragrances, it isn’t going to be on there. But, never fear, you can use the handy chart above for adding fragrances to your products:

      Fragrance Oils:

      Cold Process Soap: .7 ounces per pound

      Melt & Pour Soap: .5 ounces per pound

      Rebatch Soap: .6 ounces per pound

      Lotions: .3 ounces per pound

      Liquid Soap: .6 ounces per pound

      Salts & Scrubs: .2 ounces per pound

      Candles: 1 ounce per pound

      Shampoo & Conditioners: .4 ounces per pound

      I hope that this helps! :)
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  12. Becky says

     

    Your fragrance calculator is based on weight of the finished soap, correct?  Since I am used to figuring things out using the weight of my base oils, I just need to clarify. Should I add up the weights of all the ingredients (oils, lye, water, milks, additive, colorants, and the fragrance/essential oils) to find the weight of each batch? Thanks. 

    • says

      Hi Becky!

      Our fragrance calculator calculations is based on the final weight of the soap, which is oil/butters + water + lye. You won’t actually need to add the weight of the colorants, extracts or actual fragrance because it isn’t enough to affect the scent of the final batch. I hope this helps! =)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Heather says

        I would also love for this to be added to the directions. I made a batch of CP soap that was scented lighter than I would like after cure even though I used the “medium” rate. Then I realized I only used my oil weight in the calculation!

        • Kelsey says

          Hi Heather!

          Fragrance and essential oils are considered an additive, so they are added to the total weight of your recipe, include oils, lye and liquid. Sorry for any confusion, and thanks for your suggestion!

          -Kelsey with Bramble Berry

  13. AshMac says

    P.S.
    What I would really like to see on Bramble Berry is a way to sort the fragrances by trace and by discoloration. I have to do a lot of research to get to the slower moving, non-discoloring fragrances so I can make swirl recipes. I have the book, which provides good scents for swirls, but I would like more fragrance options. :-)

  14. AshMac says

    LOL! I suppose I shouldn’t have used 3.5 ounces of English Rose to 4 pounds of soap! Perhaps then I wouldn’t have gotten seized, cracked concrete (that smells really good)! ;-) I learned a similar lesson with Woodland Elves! Alas, I didn’t know about the fragrance calculator. But now I do! Yay! I have wasted quite a bit of fragrance, but no more! Living, learning, and enjoying the journey. :-)

    • says

      Hi Ash!

      The English Rose is a tricky fragrance and can definitely accelerate trace in your soaps, so you will want to use a little less of it. If you ever have a question about any of our products, don’t hesitate to ask. We can answer here on the blog or on Bramble Berry’s Facebook page. =)

      Happy Soaping!
      -Becky with Bramble Berry

  15. Elizabeth says

    I realize that there are differences between people, concerning how much fragrance is “just right”, but is there a way that you could adjust your calculator to accommodate the strengths of different fragrances? Since you know that English Rose comes on strong, could you factor that into your calculator so I wouldn’t have to find out through trial and error that I don’t need to add very much of it?

    Frequently, I’ve seen reviews of fragrances that they are faint after soaping, to which there is a reply that “you can add more next time” … which is absolutely correct, but it doesn’t fix the problem that I just made a beautiful batch of basically unfragranced soap. Could hints about fragrance strengths be added to the “Notes” section, so this would show up in the fragrance calculator results page? Then I could see that, for the particular fragrance I’ve selected, I need to tend toward the heavy side or the light side.

    I’m afraid this comment sounds a bit negative – don’t get me wrong, I love the calculator! I just see a couple of areas where it could be even better. Thanks! :)

    • says

      Hi Elizabeth!

      Thank you so much for your feedback, we really appreciate it when our customers let us know what they would like to see in our products and services. I will pass this onto our team to see how we can improve the calculator. You can also check out our new Product Review feature and see if any other customers have notes or suggestions on using that particular product. =)

      We do have a setting in the fragrance Calculator for ‘strong’ fragrances. It is actually a matter of personal preference for fragrances, so if you finds it strong you would definitely want to use less! And, if you look at our calculator, we go by safe max usage rates, so if you want to make sure you like a particular fragrance, we would suggest using either the medium or light rates first. I hope this helps! :)

      -Becky with Bramble Berry

    • Annie Tang says

      I agree Elizabeth! This is why I rely on reviews so much because I have run into issues with fragrance oils. I love the calculator, but it is nice to have the human element as well. However, even that is problematic as I recently learned with the Woodland Elves oil. Reviewers commented on it being strong, and the calculator recommended a much smaller amount (even the strongest recommended amount) that I usually would use in soap, but for me the woodland elves turned out to be a lightweight in my soap and has almost disappeared. Realistically, I don’t know if there is a solution to this issue (or these issues), so I try to read all the reviews as well as contribute my own. There is great community spirit in the reviews!

      Annie

      • says

        Hi Annie!

        Thanks for the suggestion too! We really appreciate our customers letting us know what does and doesn’t work for them. If you are finding that your Woodland Elves fragrance oil is a bit to light in your soap, you can add a little extra as soap is a wash-off product. =)

        -Becky with Bramble Berry

      • Elizabeth says

        I always test out new FOs before making them into a full batch. It’s a bit of a challenge, but I can determine how a FO or EO will perform for me in general.

        I get a bunch of 5-oz Dixie cups and label popsicle sticks with the name of each FO/EO to be tested. I make a batch of Lots of Lather soap that’s sized to make a 4-oz sample cup for each FO/EO. Soon before I mix up the soap, I measure out around 5 ml or 5 g of each FO/EO into separate cups and place the labeled stick on top of the cup. Mix up the batch, pour 4 oz soap into the fragranced cup, stir the soap well into the FO/EO with the popsicle stick, then proceed to the next cup. I learned that it’s best to leave the stick standing upright in the middle of the cup … then, when the soap is ready to “field test”, it’s a soap on a stick! And pretty fun to use in the shower.

        This method gives you a real comparison between different FOs, so you can determine if an FO is a strong one, or a fader that requires extra dosage. You can also compare the discoloration, since the LOL recipe makes a lovely ivory colored soap on its own. However, it’s hard to really test for accelerated trace, since you’re dealing with such a small sample.

        The best way to ensure a true comparison between FOs is to weigh everything precisely. I just got a nice scale that can handle 0.1g, so it helps me with my soapy experimentation! :) But a graduated pipette like BB offers is a good way to measure a controlled amount of FO for comparison.

        As they say: Happy Soaping!
        Elizabeth, a Fragrance Addict :)
        (I posted photos of my first sample run on BB’s FB page a couple of weeks ago, but I don’t see how to post it again here…)

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