You have probably heard of the phrase “layering your scent” before, but you might have hesitated to inquire what it is and how to master it. We hereby composed an easy and hands-on guide to help you understand and enjoy your fragrances to the fullest by combining them. 

As a reader of LKNU, you’re a discerning customer who seeks out the best in life. Luxury and premium perfume brands cater to your high standards and deliver exceptional scents which set you apart as a true connoisseur. Fragrance layering is a wonderful way to distinguish yourself even further by creating your very own personal blend of scents which will best suit your personality and particular tastes. Engaging a perfumer to create a bespoke scent for your sole use would be ideal, but this route is usually reserved for the rich and famous, celebrities and royalty. Nevertheless, there’s no need to deprive yourself of a little bit of creative mixing. And don’t worry, you won’t need a chemist’s degree to do so!

Fragrance layering can refer to two separate approaches. One is applying different products with the same scent, such as a body lotion and and eau de parfum. This can boost diffusion, augment tenacity, and make you drop dead gorgeous to smell! 

The other, slightly more sophisticated, route involves combining two fragrances. When sprayed on top of, or nearby one another, they can result in a third, different scent. It’s a little bit like chords in music; the combined effect of two or three notes ends up sounding like more than the sum of its parts.

Originating from the Middle East, where generations upon generations have indulged in the rituals of scent combining, the art of fragrance layering involves knowing the properties of a few key ingredients, and identifying how one offsets or enhances the other. Jo Malone was the pioneer who brought this approach to the west (before her company was bought out by the Estée Lauder Group). She released a range of simple, yet quality scents, which performed beautifully when combined with one another. For instance, there was French Lime Blossom and that went wonderfully with Orange Blossom, instantly creating a unique vision of strolling the Parisian boulevards in springtime. Or someone could spray 154, a woody masculine cologne, and, on top of it, the brand’s Red Roses, in order to give volume and that je ne sais quoi touch to a classic floral, making it dark and interesting. For many people, Jo Malone is their first step into the education of how to layer fragrances. But there’s more.

When trying to recreate your own combinations, consider the following points first.

  • Consider what you already possess
  • Envision what effect you’re going for
  • Be mindful of the setting you’re going to be in

If you have fragrances from multiple fragrance families, it’s easier and more creative. You might want to classify your scents into the following categories before beginning.

  • Scents that seem too loud and aggressive
  • Scents that seem too meek and fleeting
  • Scents that aren’t “you”

Citrus scents and woody scents in your collection are especially amenable to layering, as they tend to project smoothly and adapting to everything.

Citrus provides refreshing top notes to the theme of the fragrance underneath it. From our range try Nice Bergamote (Essential Parfums) with its elegant theme of sparkling citrus and florals, or the fresh aquatic Aegean Salt & Citrus from Theodoros Kalotinis. These can effectively lighten the load of a very intense gourmand scent, or add a welcome lift to an oriental scent that is too heavy for warmer weather. Citrus notes aid diffusion, so they tend to “take with them” some of the less volatile molecules. Try Tihota with a simple citrus cologne on top, and revel into how vanilla becomes a summery distraction.

Woody scents, on the other hand, provide the deepening and grounding woodwork for the rest of what you spray on top. A scent like Cedar Woodpecker from Parle Moi makes for a wonderful accessory to make any loud scent cozy and soft, closer to the skin, more comfy. Black by Puredistance is a wonderful and lasting base under any fleeting citrus or fougère, giving them a timbre like Jeremy Irons’s rumbling voice. Swoon…

Going by specific notes is also advisable, especially when aiming for a certain effect, or making something your own by manipulating its scent. Do you want your fragrance to smell fresh and wet, like it comes from the garden? Patchouli is a natural aid to making roses more interesting, making them feel more alive, as if still attached on the bush. Oudh is also a great partner to rose, giving a mysterious and trendy aura of the East. Musk goes well with almost everything, giving a comfy aura and a cleaner veneer. Vanille-Benjoin (Affinessence) is a perfect base for building a denser gourmand, as this ambery duo of benzoin and vanilla is by its very nature, sweetish and subtly vanillic. Lighter floral notes such as neroli, lily of the valley and magnolia give a delicate and airy ambience, while richer and more saturated flower materials, such as jasmine, orange blossom absolute, and tuberose give a carnal aspect to the scent, like in Victoria (Frassai); after all, flowers are the reproductive organs of plants…

There is also a particular technique involved in layering your fragrances, and that one does require a bit of trial & error on your part. It has to do with proportion and sequence. As a rule of thumb, spray heavier, denser fragrances first, so as to provide a layer on which the lighter scent adheres to. Also be mindful of the sprayer, in that instance, as your regular 3 or 5  sprays might now be divided between two separate fragrances. A single spray of the heavier one might do the trick, whereas you can reserve 2 for the lighter scent. This is especially important with natural fragrances, as the formula is built taking into account the volatility rates of different ingredients. More lab-intensive creations bypass this by anchoring molecules into “chains”, thanks to creative chemistry.

As always, try your combination out at home first, thanks to our extensive sampling program, and then step out in the wide world and amaze with your unique personally “created” fragrance. You’re bound to get questions on what you’re wearing. You too can be the maestro of your own private orchestra of scents! Isn’t that cool?