Have you tried fragrance layering? It may sound like something of an art form; developed by ancient Middle Eastern cultures to create heady and enticing cocktails of perfume, completely unique to the wearer.
In more recent times, those in-the-know mix and match their favourite fragrances, combining different notes to create a new scent, exclusive to themselves. Being your own perfumer, if you will. Finding the right combination can enhance your notes of choice, making for a powerful and tantalizing scent that simmers on the skin.
The key is to find the right notes that work together; with the aim to delicately enhance, rather than overtly overpower. Let us give you a lesson in layering.
Each fragrance comes with a top, heart and base note; the ready-made ‘layers’ within each scent. It’s important to discover each note, as these will influence your choices of additional scents to add to the mix.
Light and delicate, the top note opens the fragrance and is the scent you smell first after spraying. These are usually sparkling, bright and fresh, and fade off the quickest as the scent develops.
As the perfume evolves, the heart unfolds from the centre of the fragrance and is warmer and softer than the top notes. The middle note often consists of spices, which warm to the skin for a sensual aroma.
Finally, the base note develops, clinging to the skin for hours, long after the top note has faded off. These are usually more intense notes, such as skin-like musk, earthy amber and wood, exotic oud and spicy vanilla.
Fragrance layering may seem a little daunting to start, especially if this is your first foray into combining perfumes. There aren’t any rules as such - it’s all about experimenting and personal taste, finding which scents you like when worn together.
Find Complimentary Notes
The easiest way to start is by finding two perfumes with a unifying note. Do your research and read the descriptions of different fragrances, looking for notes in common between the two. For example, if two different perfumes both have a heart note of jasmine, the rest of the scents featured in each fragrance will tend to compliment the others, as all of the notes will work to balance the central aroma of jasmine. The fragrances combined will then enhance each additional layer, thanks to the complimentary notes of each scent.
All About Balance
As you experiment further, try finding varying notes that work well from different fragrance families. Find notes that balance each other out, such as two different floral notes, or opposing fragrances, such as a masculine cologne layered with a feminine perfume. Try a few options to find a contrast that works for you.
Where to Spray
Once you’ve found two fragrances to layer, make sure you start with the heaviest scent first, spraying onto pulse points such as the neck, behind ears, wrists and inner elbows. These points warm up the fragrance during the day and re-release the scent throughout wear.
Whilst the first scent is still wet on the skin, spray the next fragrance directly onto it. This allows the two to fuse together, mixing the scents into one. Starting with the stronger fragrance as a base will avoid overpowering the lighter scent.
Most floral notes work well with other floral notes, layering together to develop the scent like opening buds in bloom. Layer anything from fresh freesias, to heady jasmine and classic rose. The result is like a spring fresh bouquet.
Floral notes also work well when balanced with earthy, woody aromas, which take the heady edge off of a floral fragrance. Oakmoss and vetiver add depth to overly potent florals, if they tend to be a little overpowering for your tastes.
Spices are great at warming up your scent, and work particularly well with other gourmand notes. Opulent flowers like orchid and freesia balance well with warm spices like vanilla and cinnamon, for a seductive spin on your scent.
Sweet and sharp citrus-y scents also work well with earthy woody notes, energising the fragrance for a mood-lifting effect. Avoid mixing completely opposing notes, such as sharp citrus and sweetly spiced vanilla. The tartest of the zesty scents will clash with warm and sweet vanilla.
Skin-like musk adds depth to any fragrance, as it is the most similar to the natural scent of clean skin, adding a sensual note to your perfume. Earthy amber also helps balance fresh and floral scents, for an additional layer and complexity to round off more delicate fragrances.
COOL COMBINATIONS AND WARM LAYERS
Warming Spices and Musks
Balance fiery spice notes with earthy woody aromas and sensual musks. Jo Malone Wood Sage and Sea Salt works perfectly with Jo Malone Mimosa and Cardamon, a heavier, spicier scent that warms the more delicate beach-y scent of sea salt and wood.
Heady Rose and Light Florals
The intense floral aromas of rose are beautifully feminine and romantic. For a longer-lasting base note, use Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb Precious Oil dabbed lightly onto pulse points, before misting over with Roger & Gallet Rose Eau Fraiche Fragrance. The heady bouquet of Flowerbomb will be enhanced by additional layers of romantic rose petals, and cling to the oil to last all day and night.
Flower Notes and Textural Accords
For a unique combination, try adding a textural layer to your fragrance. Relatively new to the fragrance world, textured scents like soft suede and distinctive leather are being added to perfumes to layer a unique dimension to the fragrance. Tom Ford’s Ombre Leather 16 Eau de Parfum, with woody oakmoss and patchouli, is the perfect anecdote to the heady florals of Aveda Singular Notes Patchouli Oil, intensifying the floral elements of each scent.
Masculine and Feminine Fragrances
They say opposites attract, so try mixing fragrances typically associated as men’s and women’s together. The differences in scents can enhance the fragrances, for a unique finish. YSL Mon Paris and Martin Margiela At the Barber’s both have a unifying base note of White Musk, bringing the fragrances together with a complimentary note to tie them as one. Shower with YSL Mon Paris Shower Oil, featuring orchid and patchouli, patting dry to ensure the oil and scent stay on the skin. Layer Martin Margiela At the Barbers, with masculine florals of lavender and geranium, onto fresh-from-the-shower skin to make the most of this enticing combination.
For a long-lasting base to your fragrance layers, start with a scented body crème or luxurious body oil and add your fragrance or cologne on top. Choose complimentary notes to enhance the base with lighter top notes of your perfume; the effect is longer-lasting, as the fragrance disperses over your whole body, enhanced with hints of fragrance to finish. A hair mist is also great to create a cloud of fragrance around you.
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