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Layering Scents

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Over the years I've developed a slight obsession with fragrance. Whether it's in the form of a bath gel or a candle, if there's a way to add scent to my life, I'm game. One of my good friends came over the other night for dinner and she smelled amazing. She was wearing her usual perfume, but she had layered it with another scent and the result was intoxicating. I've always been intrigued by the idea of mixing fragrances to create something entirely unique, but I've never known how to do it. Since I was scared of trying and failing miserably, I headed over to Scent Bar (previously featured here) to get some tips.


Cliff "Notes"

Top Notes: Your first scent impression and is also referred to as "opening" or "head" notes. These notes usually hit you first, but don't last very long. They tend to be a bit more light and fresh.

Middle Notes: Make up the body of the blend and are sometimes referred to as "heart" notes. They're not immediately evident, like top notes, but develop on the skin over time. They're usually warmer and softer aromas.

Base Notes: Normally the most intense and heavy of the notes that appear once the top notes have worn off. Provides the lasting impression of the fragrance.


Always spray the stronger scent first. If the stronger perfume is sprayed directly on top of a softer, more subtle scent, it will completely overpower it and the layering will not be effective. Experiment to find out the best combination for you (i.e. one spray of the deeper scent and two of the softer).

There is no "right" way to spray. You can either spray the scent directly on top of one another or in two different places to create different results. For example, I like the idea of spraying one on the front of my body (on my wrist) and one on the back (at the nape of my neck).


Change up your scent based on occasion. I subscribe to the idea that you should change up your scent regularly. Whether it's taking it from day to night, a shift in seasons or even for a special occasion, having a unique scent is a great way to remember certain times in your life. My mom wore a new fragrance on my wedding day (Le Labo's Fleur de Orange) and to this day, she says that when she smells it, it brings back wonderful memories.

Test your layering. Make sure to test your desired combination before actually putting it on. Spray each scent on separate tabs and smell them alone, then smell the two together to figure out if they complement each other.


Rule of thumb for beginners. Pick one scent with multiple notes and one with a single note when starting out.  

Sweet, Spicy, or Tart? Vanilla, Musk, and Citrus are all fool-proof layering notes that work well in most situations. Vanilla adds a sweet creaminess, musk brings out a spicy sexiness, and citrus adds a bright, refreshing note.


Good starter perfumes:

Musk: Body Shop White Musk

Vanilla: Jo Malone Vanilla & Anise

Fruit: L'Occitane Citrus Verbena

Rose: Le Labo Rose

White Floral: Estée Lauder Tuberose Gardenia

Wood: Fresh Cannabis Santal

Spice: Diptyque Eau Lente

Combinations to try today:


Rose + Vanilla: Comptoir Sud Pacifique, Yosh Sottile

Fruit + Musk: Il Profumo Musc Bleu, Keiko Mecheri Tarifa

Vanilla + Fruit: Indult Tihota, Hilde Soliani Bambolina

Spice + Floral: M. Micallef Gaiac, Diptique Do Son

Fruit + Patchouli: Nasomatto Hindu Grass, Keiko Mecheri Ume

Wood + Floral: Tom Ford Jasmin Rouge, Tom Ford Santal Blush

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