A beginner's guide to layering perfumes

Cocktail those scents!

Harper's Bazaar India

Did you know perfumes can smell completely different on different people, based on their body’s chemistries? Did you know perfumes smell different in different seasons? This makes applying perfume one of the most personal things we do in our routine. However, let’s face it, switching up your signature fragrance with every passing season is tiresome and expensive. But what if you started layering your perfumes instead of buying a new one every few months? Scent mixing is an age-old practice of wearing various fragrances at once. You can play around with your perfumes and mix them to match your mood and occasion. 

It may sound daunting at first, considering there are a gazillion possibilities and you can’t tell the outcome of two scents until you’ve tried it. But once you understand the few rules of thumb, you won’t be able to stop. Below, we’ve listed a few tips that will help you create your own summer scent from the perfumes you already own. Are you ready to create your signature scent? 

Keep the notes in mind before layering 

Before you begin layering scents, it’s important to understand the notes in your individual perfumes. There are three layers of notes—the top note is what you smell immediately after you spray it. These are usually fresh, fruity fragrances. Then comes the middle note which forms the ‘heart’ of the scent. These emerge during the middle part of the perfume’s dispersion process and are warmer and softer than the top note. And finally comes the base note which develops and stays with you hours after the top scents have evaporated. This note forms the soul of the perfume.  

If this is your first time layering perfumes and you want to play safe, choose scents that have a common note (for example, rose). However, if you’re feeling slightly more adventurous, go for two scents with completely opposite notes (for example, vanilla and something spicer like cinnamon). Don’t be afraid to experiment and get creative with this. 

Focus on the simple scents 

If you’re a scent layering noob, start with simple perfumes. These are the ones that feature maybe one or two notes (for example just jasmine or jasmine and citrus) and have a subtle fragrance. Not only are these uncomplicated scents easier to blend and mix, but they also accentuate each other. It’s the easiest way to get started!

Anchor with a floral scent  

Floral scents are extremely common and they play well with other scents as well. This is why when you’re just starting to layer perfumes, you should use a floral bouquet (a scent that mostly comprises flower notes) to anchor your other scents. A floral scent mixed with a citrusy or woody fragrance would be ideal for the summer, don’t you agree? 

Do not layer two heavy scents  

Perfume layering is all about experimentation and being playful. However, the ground rule is to never mix two heady scents as this can get extremely overwhelming. You never want to oversaturate while layering perfumes. If you mix two complex fragrances chances are that you’ll end up smelling like three perfume bottles overturned on you all at once. No one wants that.