How To Layer Perfume

How To Layer Perfume featured photo

Perfume and fragrance are a fashion statement as much as clothes are. In a time where everyone wants to stand out, layering fragrances is one way to do it. And learning how to layer perfume might give you the edge you need.

Start by moisturizing your skin so the fragrance has enough to cling to. The first layer of perfume layering is always something strong, heady, and heavy like vanilla or musk. Spritz something warm and soft for the second layer, like some floral notes. And as a top note, finish with something bright and fresh like citrus or fruits.

Layering perfumes and fragrances have no set rules. This can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. When layering scents, experiment with what you have but don’t forget to have fun with it.

In this article, we’ll go step-by-step through the basics of perfume layering. We’ll also go over the benefits of perfume layering and some helpful tips for beginners.

What is Perfume Layering?

A perfume wearer typically has a ‘signature scent’ people around them know them for. Some even have a rotation of perfumes they like to wear interchangeably, depending on their mood, occasion, or season. And if they want to take it up a notch, perfume layering is the way to go.

Perfume layering is the art of combining or mixing several fragrances together for a personalized and unique signature scent. It’s also called fragrance cocktailing or scent mixing.

The concept finds its roots in the Middle East, where it’s traditional and common.

Perfume or fragrance layering can be a simple ritual or it can be as complex as you make it out to be.

Fragrance layering doesn’t only mean spritzing two or more types of perfumes. It also isn’t limited to just perfumes.

It also means using several fragranced products (shower gels, lotions, or creams), other than perfume.

This is why some brands offer gift sets that include either a body gel or scented lotion together with their perfume in the same fragrance families. This is to encourage people to layer their fragrance for scent longevity.

Benefits of Fragrance Layering: Why You Should Do It

Layering multiple fragrances is not a new practice but it is definitely uncommon. To help you decide if it’s for you, we have below all the benefits of perfume layering:

Achieve a bespoke signature scent

Sure, by now you might have your own signature scent. But you don’t want to smell your ‘signature’ scent on another person you come across the street. But because perfumes are commercially available, this isn’t impossible.

With perfume layering, you are able to mix and match several fragrances together. This results in a truly bespoke scent that’s uniquely yours.

If you really want to smell like no one else, perfume layering might be the key you’re looking for.

Scent lasts longer

Perfumes will evaporate throughout the day. And their longevity would depend on the amount of fragrance oil concentration in the formula.

If you want your scent and fragrance to last longer, try perfume layering.

By combining several fragrance notes and perfumes together, you are strengthening its concentration, allowing it to last and smell longer.

You can have fun and be experimental

Perfume layering is both a science and an art. To find your truly unique scent, you can experiment with several perfume bottles in your home. The entire process can also be a fun experience.

It also lets you personally know what fragrance notes smell good together and what don’t. With enough experience, you can be your own fragrance aficionado.

Personalized scents for all moods and occasions

With perfume layering, you can achieve countless unique scents right in the palm of your hand.

If you find simple perfume formulas are not enough for special occasions, layering perfumes might come in handy.

How to Layer Perfume

The art of layering fragrance is more than just spritzing two or more perfumes on top of each other.

When you layer fragrances, you absolutely don’t want to get wrinkled noses and questions like “what’s that smell” in your direction.

If you’re a beginner at the whole perfume and fragrance layering game, there’s no need to fret as we’re here to help you out.

  1. Prep the skin

If you notice your favorite perfume doesn’t last as long as you expect it to, it might be because your skin is on the drier side. Perfume and fragrance need moisture to hang on to.

Prep your skin by slathering a generous amount of body lotion after you get out of the shower. This will give your skin proper moisture so the perfume molecules have something to cling to. This will help the scent to last even longer.

  1. Start heavy and strong

The basic rule of perfume layering is to choose something heavy, heady, and strong for the base fragrance notes. For this, think vanilla, musk, sandalwood, cedarwood, and similar woody notes.

This is often rich and warm and serves as the foundation of your scent. And being the bottom note, this will last the longest on your skin.

The reason for starting out with the heady notes first is so it doesn’t overpower the fragrance notes that follow.

  1. Spritz some warmth and softness

Next, think about your middle or heart note. This should still be warm but not as warm as your base note. In this layer, introduce some softness to the scent. It can be in the same scent family as your base note or something totally contradicting. Something floral is a good idea for this layer.

Many beginners can skip this layer and head straight to the top note to stick to only two scents, though that would depend entirely on you.

  1. Finish bright and fresh

Lastly, finish with a light, bright, and fresh scent, a total contrast to your base note. For this layer, think fruity or citrusy scent. This will round up your new scent.


  • As a beginner, try using no more than two fragrances together, three at most. It would be best to try your hand at layering first before being adventurous.
  • Because layering perfume can be experimental, especially for beginners, try your mixture on a non-skin surface first. This could be a piece of paper or a cotton pad. Try the mixture you have in mind and see how it smells before finally applying it to your skin.
  • Take note of the different scents you come up with, including the fragrances you mixed and matched to come up with the final scent.
  • Everything you put on your skin and body will affect your fragrance and how the scent will turn out. If you’re not including things like your bath gel, lotion, cream, and makeup in fragrance layering, opt for unscented products. This will make sure they will not alter your target fragrance.

Layering Fragrances with Bodycare

As we’ve mentioned before, layered fragrances isn’t limited to just perfumes. You can also combine scents with your perfume and bodycare products.

These products can be shower gels, lotions, creams, and scented serums among many others.

In this sense, treat these products as your base fragrance notes. Always apply them first before applying your perfume.

The same principles of which scents go first and which go last would apply.

Where to Apply Your Layers

If you’re already a perfume wearer, then you already know that the most common places to apply perfume are on the wrists and behind the ears. These are pulse points and are usually warmer. This helps the fragrance really melt into the skin so it smells stronger and lasts longer.

Other useful application points are arm creases and the backs of your knees. The cleavage is also an excellent application point. These areas are usually where the body is moist or has more oil, which perfume needs to cling to so it lasts longer.

What Scents Go Well Together?

  • Different perfumes with common notes go well together. So if two different perfumes have, for instance, a common floral note, they would go well for layering.
  • The contrasting notes of vanilla and spicy scents surprisingly go well together.
  • Floral notes generally mix well with all other scent families, whether that’s musky, woodsy, fruity, citrusy, spicy, or floral as well.
  • Musky and woodsy fragrance notes go well with fruity and citrus notes.
  • Experiment with totally contrasting scents and you could be surprised at how it turns out.

What Scents Don’t Go Well Together?

What you can layer and combine can be an endless pool of choices. But as a general rule of thumb, avoid layering two heavy and strong fragrances together or this can wrinkle some noses.


No one wants to smell odd or, err, bad. This is why so many have taken the time to find the signature scents they wear almost every day. For anyone who wants to take their perfume-wearing game up a notch, you should consider perfume layering.

To layer fragrance, start with a heavy, strong, and heady fragrance (think vanilla and musk) as your base. Then follow up with a warm and soft layer, usually something floral. Then, finish with a bright and fresh third layer (something fruity or citrusy).

And that has been our detailed guide on how to layer perfume. See our favorite vanilla perfumes and start practicing!

Michelle Jackson
Michelle Jackson