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Fragrance Layering


What is fragrance layering?

The art of layering your perfume can help you to find your own bespoke scent, and is ideal for fragrance fans who like to experiment; just think of it as a bit like finding your own personal sense of style: “It’s not so unlike putting on different layers of clothing,” says Andrew Goetz, co-founder of Malin + Goetz. “Each layer brings something unique and special to the ensemble.”

Why fragrance layer?

Primarily to help you find that elusive ‘the one,’ but there are other benefits, too; “layering will help your fragrance last longer as you are preventing your skin from absorbing all of the fragrance oils as quickly,” says Alex Goddard, Training Manager at Acqua di Parma. He continues: “a fragrance will smell different on each of us and layering will reinforce the true smell of said fragrance.”

How to layer:

Although much of it is down to personal taste, there are certain guidelines to think about when it comes to layering. In practical terms, Daniel Dutton, Diptyque fragrance expert, advises keeping skin ultra-hydrated in order to effectively lock in your scents. He also suggests spraying the strongest scent first, before topping it up with the lighter of the pair so that the first doesn’t overpower the second.

Classic Combinations

Most fragrance experts agree that it’s important to choose perfumes that complement each other. While there are many much-loved combinations, trialling different pairings is the best way to discover what really works for you. We love the combination of a floral scent with something on the spicier side, giving a flowery base a real kick. Try Zarko’s Pink Molecule 090.09 Eau de Parfum (with notes of elderflower, apricot and black orchid), layered with Rodin ‘3’, which has a spicy geranium edge. Another combination that works beautifully is a sandalwood-based scent with something citrusy, as the smooth sandalwood adds a creamy, softer element to the zingy citrus. Give Malin + Goetz’s Citron Vert a sophisticated twist by pairing it with Clean Reserve’s Sel Santal.


Another, more daring way to fragrance layer is by opting for scents that strongly contrast. If you’re feeling brave, Daniel suggests “choosing two that have contrasting olfactory landscapes, like something woody with something fruity, perhaps [try Diptyque Geranium Odorata with Diptyque Tam Dao].” Or, you could mix a refreshing citrus with a soft oud, like Clean Reserve’s Sueded Oud; this unlikely pairing will result in a rich, spicy aroma, perfect for evenings out or special occasions.

Universal Layering

If you’re still unsure, the good news is there are some types of fragrances that can be considered ‘universal top layers,’ as they tend to enhance whatever they are mixed with. The key to finding such scents? Follow Andrew’s advice: “It is much easier to blend fragrances that are linear in structure. What this means is that what you smell at first spritz lasts until the fragrance dries on your skin, without changing. That way, you have a steady canvas to work with.” He continues: “Woody fragrances and musks are the best fragrances to layer with since they are typically the most linear.” Clean Reserve’s Skin Reserve Blend is a musk that softens and sweetens any fragrance it’s paired with and ouds, despite being rich with great depth when worn on their own, also work well to intensify any smell you put them with. This form of layering can seem bold at first, but trust us, it’s worth it.


Alternative Ways To Layer

With the number of ways to wear fragrance constantly growing, there are so many alternatives to layering traditional perfumes. Serums and body lotions are a more affordable option, and with so many ultra luxe formulas, you don’t have to compromise on quality. Take a lightweight lotion such as Byredo’s Gypsy Water and spritz your perfume after getting dressed – try a citrus like Acqua Di Parma’s Aranca Di Capri for added zing. Zarko’s Oud Serum is perfect for mixing in with a scent-free body lotion to create a gorgeous base layer for building up with something like Zarko Pink Molecule – a sweeter scent that is intensified by the oud base notes. Byredo offers some great alternative layering products, such as hair mists and kabuki brushes; we love pairing the La Tulipe Hair Perfume with Diptyque’s floral L’Ombre Dans fragrance for a gorgeously rich result on the skin and hair. Or try lightly dusting the Byredo Blanche Kabuki Brush over Diptyque’s spicy Eau Duelle fragrance to add a powdery, pared-down twist.


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