Cedarwood Perfume Ingredient: What is It? What Does It Smell Like?

Have you ever taken a walk through an evergreen forest? If you have, you might have an idea of how cedarwood smells. 

If you haven’t, true cedar features a camphoraceous top note with a woodsy, balsamic undertone, while red cedar mostly smells like a freshly sharpened pencil.

Unlike most fragrance ingredients, cedarwood, or rather, cedarwood oil, dates back to being one of the oldest and most incredible perfume ingredients. Many cultures revered it because the scent of cedarwood is believed to have a spiritual essence. 

Today, it’s used as a base note in men’s perfume or as an aftershave. Cedarwood and its essential oils are also crucial in making clothes smell heavenly and for repelling insects. 

Cedarwood oil also features several aromatherapy benefits. 

What is Cedarwood?

There are various cedar trees, but all are coniferous evergreen trees that belong to the cypress family. There’s the cedar wood family from Olympic National Park, the flat-top cedar wood from Lebanon, and the Himalayan cedar wood. 

The Virginian cedar tree is dry and features a “nervous effect” in fragrances, whereas cedar wood from the Himalayas offers some warm properties.

The red cedar tree, the most popular form of cedarwood, belongs to Juniper (Juniperus Virginiana), and it provides a pleasant aroma, making it ideal for essential oil production. 

The essential oils extracted from cedarwood are either steam distilled or cold-pressed. While most people prefer cedarwood in scents, cedarwood oil acts as the perfect treatment for skin conditions and a host of other health issues. 

What Does Cedarwood Smell Like?

Since it comes from a tree, it features a pleasant balsamic, woodsy scent that might remind you of a cedar chest. The reason the wood smells incredible is that it features thujaplicin

Cedarwood also offers some warm notes, which is why cedarwood oil blends perfectly with herbal oils like arnica, spicy essential oils like cinnamon bark, ginger, and frankincense, and woody oils like sandalwood and cypress.

Cedarwood oil also blends perfectly with exotic oils like bergamot, lemon, thyme, and vetiver, giving you sweet, spicy, woodsy, and aromatic scents. 

What Scent Family is Cedarwood?

Cedarwood is classified as a sweet, balsamic, woody scent. It’s used in almost every scent family, but it’s ideally suited for the woody fragrance family. Its woodsy aroma closely resembles that of pine.

Since cedarwood oil marries well with sandalwood and citrus notes, many perfume firms manufacture sandalwood/cedarwood-based perfumes, making it the perfect masculine scent. 

What are the Benefits of Cedarwood?

Apart from being the perfect food additive and perfume ingredient, cedarwood oil can also:

Battle Symptoms of Anxiety

Due to its earthy and woodsy smell, cedarwood essential oil reduces anxiety and promotes relaxation. Various studies show that the alcohol, Cedrol, present in the oils of conifer trees, features sedative properties that improve calmness and alleviate stress. 

Bonus Tip: If you have insomnia, blend a few drops of cedarwood oil with sandalwood for improved sleep. 

Acts as the Perfect Acne Treatment

Since cedarwood essential oil features anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, it acts as the perfect treatment for conditions such as acne or eczema.

You can use the essential oil by adding two or three drops to five teaspoons of a carrier oil and applying it on your skin for 20 minutes twice a week. 

Deter Insects

Apart from making your food smell like a dream, cedar oil also helps keep the creepy-crawlies away. So, before you pitch your tent, apply one drop of cedarwood oil on your skin—it’ll not only smell better than regular bug sprays, but it’ll be better for your body too.

If mosquitos or ants have bitten you, you can also apply cedarwood oil to the affected area (it has remarkable soothing properties). 

Eliminate Dandruff

If dandruff seems to be the bane of your existence, massaging your scalp with a mixture of cedar oil and coconut oil can help soothe your itchy, flaky scalp.

You can also try adding two drops of cedarwood oil directly into your shampoo or hair oil. It’ll not only give you that natural shine but also give your hair a fragrant smell.

Is Cedarwood a Feminine or Masculine Scent?

Since cedarwood oil gives off a sweet and woodsy aroma, most perfume firms use it for men’s and women’s perfumes. However, it’s the perfect ingredient for masculine fragrances.

Best Perfumes with Cedarwood Notes

Some of the best cedarwood-based fragrances are:

1. Byredo Mojave Ghost

The Mojave Ghost-inspired scent is one of the most top-selling perfumes from the much-loved fragrance brand, Byredo. This eau de parfum features warm and woodsy notes of cedar, sandalwood, alluring hints of magnolia, and the musky touch of amber.

2. Skylar Willow

This clean, natural fragrance by Skylar has been making waves in perfumery for its sophisticated scent. The perfect date night perfume consists of a beautiful mixture of benzoin, cedar, and galbanum, giving it an earthy, balsamic smell that’s hard to resist. 

3. Kiehl’s Vanilla and Cedarwood

If you’re looking to experiment with cedar, try this fragrance by Kiehl’s. 

It’s a fresh and spicy aroma that’s encased by a luscious zing of vanilla. The perfume also features notes of amber and iris, allowing for a sensual and smoky smell. 

The Bottom Line

Cedarwood scents can smell like pencil shavings, or even your grandad’s cigar boxes! They’re one of those camphorous fragrances that spark wonderful memories and help you relax after a long day.

Like every other scent, though, the best way to find out how cedar smells is by trying a cedar-infused perfume or using it as an essential oil.