Just like clothes or accessories, scents can also be layered to add more dimension to one’s style. Instead of just having one signature scent, those who layer scents properly make the possibilities endless when it comes to creating moods or complementing their chosen ensembles beyond visual appeal.
Why should you layer scents?
Layering scents helps the wearer develop a fragrance that’s uniquely their own — be it for a specific mood, style, or just day-to-day wear. Plus, it adds another fun element when it comes to rediscovering one’s personal preferences.
But beyond the stimulating aspect of layering scents, this method also helps strengthen the intensity of certain notes, creating a more powerful drydown. In some cases, layering scents can also help with fragrance longevity.
That said, fragrance layering isn’t as easy as spritzing on a couple of perfumes and crossing your fingers that the scent would turn out okay. But don’t worry, that’s why we’re here to guide you through it.
Two kinds of fragrance layering
There are two ways to layer scents: using a combination of scented body care products and perfumes or layering two or more perfumes. Both versions share similar principles when it comes to selecting the scent profiles you’d like to combine. The only differences are the products involved in the process and the actual layering of products.
How to plan your fragrance layers
If you’re new to layering scents, the easiest way to start is to curate products with similar notes. It doesn’t matter if these notes shuffle at the top, middle, or base, as long as you have something in common between them.
For example, rose, jasmine, and vanilla are pretty common notes for most perfumes, so products that have these on their scent profile usually go well together.
The more you get used to fragrance layering, the more you can tweak this step to play with opposite notes like fruity scents and spicy scents combined. But if you’re still trying it little by little, going for similar notes is still more advisable.
Best places to apply scents
The most common places to wear scents (alone or when layered) are the pulse points like behind the ears or the wrists. These areas are usually warmer since blood pumps near the skin surface, allowing the scent to ‘melt’ better onto the skin and make the fragrance stronger. However, instead of rubbing the skin to apply the fragrance (a common mistake people do when applying on the wrist), make sure you dab the product on to avoid dispersing the notes of the perfume and distorting the scent.
The cleavage, arm crease (the area opposite your elbows), and the back of your knees are also ideal places to put fragrances. This is because our body’s natural moisture and oils usually gather in these areas, allowing the fragrances to cling better to the skin.
Spritzing scents on your hair is also advisable since the hair’s natural oils help the fragrance last longer. However, make sure you spray or apply it to the strands and not your scalp as the alcohol in perfumes might cause your scalp dryness or irritation.
How to layer scents when using body care products and perfumes
1. Go about your usual routine
If you’re layering scents using body care products and perfumes, the order is quite linear since you start with your body wash and lotion first before proceeding with a spray-on fragrance.
2. Let each layer settle on the skin
Body wash and body lotions usually have a milder scent profile than perfumes so building up the scent using this method is less tricky. However, make sure you already let the body care products dry and rest on the skin before you apply your perfume so that each layer would have time to absorb onto the skin. The lotion would serve as a base for the perfume to cling onto the skin for better longevity.
3. Proceed to layer perfume if desired
If you feel like your body care products aren’t doing much in enhancing the scent of your perfume, you can always do more perfume layers after steps 1 and 2.
How to layer two or more perfumes
1. Layer the scents while the fragrances while they’re still wet
Before you start layering, keep in mind that you want the perfumes to mesh together before they melt onto your skin completely. This will help the scents ‘cook’ against the skin’s natural warmth, allowing the notes to combine beautifully.
2. Start with a stronger scent
In contrast to starting with body care products as your base, layering with perfumes starts with stronger scents first. This is to avoid overpowering milder notes later in the process. Stronger scents are usually deeper fragrances like ylang-ylang, patchouli, and jasmine which usually stand out significantly in perfume mixtures. Warm and spicy perfumes also fall into this category.
3. Floral and clean scents are ideal for second/succeeding layers
Once you have your base fragrance down, floral scents like rose, orange blossom, and the like are great mixers. Clean scents like linen or cotton musk are also ideal when layering scents because these fragrances are somehow soft and subtle but still add a layer of complexity to a fragrance combination.
4. Be careful in using citrus scents in layering
5. Note it down
Noting down the combination that resulted in your signature layered scent is totally optional but recommended if you loved how it turned out. This will make it easier for you to recreate it again or maybe work out other combinations you’d like to try next.
Fragrance layering is somewhat an art form that, when done right, creates a unique sensorial experience not just for the wearer but also for those who will be able to catch a whiff of the wearer’s concoction. And who knows? Maybe this is just what you need for a style refresh.
Scent layering recommendations
Don't know where to start? Here are some basic recommendations for layering scents.
1. Jo Malone London Poppy & Barley Cologne + Honeysuckle & Davana Cologne
Jo Malone London makes it easy to start layering scents with its range of universally compatible colognes. Try layering the Poppy & Barley Cologne and Honeysuckle & Davana Cologne together for a fresh and lively floral combination.
2. Dior Miss Dior Rose N'Roses Eau De Toilette + Dior Prestige La Crème Mains De Rose Hand Cream
If you like the scent of roses, this combination can deliver. The Dior Miss Dior Rose N'Roses Eau De Toilette has the brightness of Grasse and Damascus roses. When paired with the subtle rosy scent of the Dior Prestige La Crème Mains De Rose Hand Cream, the rosy scent is amplified further.
3. Gucci Flora Gorgeous Jasmine Eau De Parfum + AERIN Ikat Jasmine Body Cream
Jasmine is one of the popular notes for scent layering. You can find it in the Gucci Flora Gorgeous Jasmine Eau De Parfum, which has a floral, earthy, woody fragrance. If you spray it on top of the AERIN Ikat Jasmine Body Cream, which has Jasmine Sambac and Jasmine Egypt Infusion, the aroma will last all day long and make an impression.
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