The Poor Man’s James Bond: How To Make DIY Pheromones Out of Household Ingredients
  • I thought I'd put together this guide on exactly how to convert hormone supplement capsules into concentrates and sprays so that you can test out these remarkably inexpensive putatives on your own to see if they exhibit pheromone-like properties.

    The ones I've tried already and know for sure can be used as pheromones are:

    I also have my suspicions about:

    What you get when you order most of these are capsules containing a powder. This powder is not the kind of pure, lab-quality stuff you'll get when you order ingredient from a pheromone vendor. It's been mixed with various inactive substances which aid the manufacturing process by making it easier for machines to pour measured amounts of the powder into capsules (such as rice flour). And while we hope the dosage on the label is exact, chances are there is some variability. These are products sold at the milligram level for consumer use as oral supplements, and we're converting them into sprays to be used at the microgram level. So you can't expect the kind of consistency that you can with stuff from specialty labs, but you can expect a lifetime supply of something usable for like $10.

    What You'll Need

    You'll need a little bit of lab equipment and some basic supplies to do this well. Most of the equipment can be gotten at the Container Store for a few bucks. You'll need:
    • 10, 15, or 30mL dropper bottles
    • A perfume funnel
    • A measuring vial with marks at least for 10, 50, and 100mL (and preferably with a cap so you can shake it)
    • A coffee filter
    • Some small spray bottles
    • Perfumer's alcohol (PA) or Everclear
    • A carrier oil such as dipropylene glycol (DPG), fractionated coconut oil (FCO), or jojoba. Household grapeseed oil can also be used in a pinch.
    • Any essential oil, fragrance oil, or scent that you would like to flavor your final product with.

    Step 1: Do the math

    You want to start by figuring out how concentrated you want your concentrate to be. I base this on convenience and consistency, so wherever possible I will order my capsules at a 100mg dosage, and dissolve the contents of a single capsule into 100mL of alcohol. This yields a solution containing approximately 25mcg of pheromone per drop. A single drop of that in a 40-spray atomizer gives you about .625mcg per spray.

    If you don't know how many sprays it takes to empty the atomizer spray bottles you bought, then fill one with water a few times and empty it out by spraying it. Mine were purchased from New Directions Aromatics and yield somewhere between 37 and 40 sprays per fill. I round it up to 40 for ease of calculation.

    If you have different amounts of raw material or want to make a more diluted solution, it's easy to figure out how many micrograms of putative to expect in each drop. A drop of water is 50 microliters. A drop of alcohol, even when fixed with some carrier oil, is about half that (25mcL) due to the lower surface tension of this liquid.

    So if I have a solution, as above, which has a 1mg/mL concentration, then I know that I also have 1mcg/mcL. So a 25mcL drop will deliver 25mcg of putative. If I had used a 1000mg capsule, my concentration per drop would be 10 times that amount. I prefer to keep things at 1mg/mL because that way you are unlikely to run into limits on solubility -- it may be that a certain molecule is only soluble in ethanol at 6 or 8mg/mL, in which case you wouldn't have any reasonable degree of certainty about the actual amount of pheromone you're using.

    To get the amount of putative per spray per drop, you just divide this number by the number of sprays in a bottle. So if it's 40 sprays, then each 25mcg drop that you add to the bottle will add .625mcg per spray (25/40). So two drops would give you 1.25mcg/spray, and four drops will give you 2.5mcg/spray.

    Step 2: Dissolve the Powder

    Empty the contents of a capsule into your measuring vial, and fill it up to the 10mL line (or whatever volume you've chosen) with your solvent, which will likely be alcohol but you can also use DPG or FCO -- I really don't know how completely these will dissolve the putative, but in my experience they do a good enough job that you will get a usable product from it.

    As I mentioned, there will be a lot of inactive ingredient from the powder that will never dissolve. I will refer to this as schmutz. The downside of having this schmutz is that you can never really know if your active compound is dissolved. So you have to give it every opportunity. I recommend leaving it to soak for a couple of days, submerging the vial in a hot water bath (such as a pyrex measuring cup full of water that you have microwaved), and giving it a good shake from time to time.

    Step 3: Filter out the Schmutz

    This is what your coffee filter is for. Set your funnel into the top of a dropper bottle, press the filter into the top of the funnel, and pour your solution carefully through the filter into the dropper bottle. To minimize loss of product into the filter, I actually cut out a little circle of coffee filter with a slit through one radius, so that I can fold it into a little cone.

    You now have your putative in concentrated form!

    Step 4: Mix your carrier solution

    This is the solution of alcohol and fixative that you will add into the mix to make it a nice diluted spray. I have found that it is much easier to measure these out in advance and just make a bottle of alcohol with the fixative already added at the desired concentration. In most cases you will want this to consist of 90% alcohol and 10% oil.

    In my testing, I've found that the coconut oil derivative monolaurin has much better fixative properties than any carrier oils I've tried, and so I now just use 4 pellets (120mg) of monolaurin per 5mL of alcohol as my only fixative.

    Step 5: Mix up a test sprayer

    You should have already checked the number of sprays that your spray bottle will produce per fill, and calculated the number of drops it will take to create a spray at your desired dosage level. Now all that's left is to:
    • Add that number of drops into the sprayer
    • Add in a little fragrance (I typically add just 1 or 2 drops of essential oil or fragrance oil for an entire 40-spray atomizer)
    • Fill the spray bottle up the rest of the way with your fixed alcohol solution.

    Step 6: Test your putative and report your results!

    We're all just dying to hear about your results! Please don't leave us hanging!


    Kmacc & Calii have found some good bulk vitamin suppliers who offer some of these substances in pure powder form, meaning you won't have to worry about filtering out any schmutz, and you'll always know for sure whether or not the active ingredient dissolved in your solvent.

    The only catch is that you're going to need a good way to measure the powder. Which means you'll need to buy a milligram scale. This cheap one should be good enough.

  • I bought PEA on the British Ebay, 100 grams crystalline powder that will last me a few lifetimes I guess. GBP 14 that included postage to my country.
    Dissolved easily in perfumers alcohol, but not in DPG.

    This stuff works, no doubt. Just a few people tested it on Pherotruth and it seems it's about very low doses and that it disappears too fast.

    My experiments have been around these two aspects, and that PEA also seems to somewhat nullify other pheros.

    Would love to hear Kmacc's take on this,
  • I haven't played with it in forever, but I'm thinking PEA may be useful in low nanogram doses.

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