A Beginner’s Guide to Fragrance Layering

A Beginner’s Guide to Fragrance Layering

When people use the term fragrance layering, they’re either talking about layering multiple fragrances to create a unique scent or layering fragrances with body products to increase longevity. Whichever you’re interested in, we’re here to provide you with the practical tips you need to become a fragrance layering expert. 

First, we’ll talk about how you can layer fragrances to create a unique scent you love and give some fragrance combination recommendations. Then, we’ll give tips on the best ways to use products to increase your fragrance’s longevity. 

How to Layer Multiple Fragrances to Create a Unique Scent

When you layer multiple fragrances, you can create a super unique signature scent. The layering process is fun and creative, and can make you feel like you have a new perfume without you having to go out and buy one. 

Yet, layering fragrances can also sometimes go wrong, leaving you with a strong scent you can’t stand. So, let's talk about how you can increase your chances of having a great layering experience. 

1. Spray New Combos On Your Bare Wrist or Arm

First and foremost, whenever you try a new combination of fragrances, it’s a good idea to apply somewhere you can easily wash off. That way, if you end up disliking the pairing, you can simply scrub it away and try again. 

A good, easily washable option is the bare skin of your wrist or forearm. It’s very easy to wash fragrance off your wrist or arm, even when you’re at work or in another public place. Being able to scrub your fragrance away in public can be important if the combination works at first, but changes for the worse throughout the day. 

Once you know your combination is promising, you can feel confident applying it to other areas, like on your chest, in your hair, on your clothes, and on various pulse points. 

2. Understand Top vs. Middle vs. Base Notes

Fragrances have top, middle, and base notes. Top notes fade away quickly, then middle notes (also called heart notes) last for longer, while base notes last the longest. 

It’s important to understand this because the base notes of your fragrance are what tend to last the longest–so, you want to pay special attention to your fragrances’ base notes when trying out combinations. 

3. Start With Shared Notes 

A good way to start layering is by choosing scents that share at least one fragrance note. Ideally, pick scents that share base notes. For example, if you have two fragrances with amber and sandalwood in their base, try wearing them together. Because they have some notes in common, they’re more likely to go well together. 

4. Explore Complementary Pairings 

Certain types of fragrances tend to pair well with each other, so you can start layering by picking complementary pairings.

Here are some combinations that tend to work well: 

Fragrance Type

Suggested Pairings 


Musk, Vanilla, Citrus, Fruity, Leather, Ambery, Woody, Aquatic, Spiced, Gourmand, Mossy


Aromatic, Floral, Citrus, Vanilla, Fruity, Musk, Spiced, Gourmand, Aquatic, Mossy


Woody, Aromatic, Floral, Aquatic, Mossy


Ambery, Woody, Floral, Musk, Vanilla


Woody, Mossy, Floral, Fruity, Vanilla


Woody, Floral, Gourmand, Fruity, Musk, Ambery


Spiced, Woody, Citrus


Woody, Ambery, Aromatic, Floral


Floral, Ambery, Woody, Vanilla


Floral, Woody, Fruity, Gourmand, Spiced, Vanilla


Citrus, Woody, Floral


Woody, Citrus, Floral, Musk

As you can see, floral and woody scents are among the most versatile fragrances. So, if you’re not sure where to begin when it comes to layering, consider starting by experimenting with your favorite woodsy or floral scents.

5. Main Fragrance + Accent Fragrance 

One way to layer is by choosing a main fragrance and an accent fragrance. Try spraying a few sprays of your main fragrance and then just one of the accent scent. Your main fragrance could be a bold one you accent with something lighter, or perhaps a simple one you accent with something more complex. Try using fragrances to transform your main scent and see what combinations you can create.

5. Experiment 

Remember that fragrances smell different on everyone due to personal skin chemistry, so don’t feel like you need to layer fragrances exactly like someone else. Have fun experimenting and finding combinations that work for you and your one-of-a-kind body chemistry. 

Fragrance Layering Ideas 

Elixir No. 55 + Elixir No. 21 

One of our favorite layering combinations is Elixir No. 55, inspired by Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, and Elixir No. 21, inspired by Tom Ford’s Black Orchid.  No. 55 has a timeless, lightweight femininity that blends gorgeously with No. 21’s opulent spice. While these fragrances may seem completely different at first sniff, you’ll find that their shared notes (mandarin orange, bergamot, jasmine, ylang-ylang, patchouli, white musk, vanilla, and vetiver) allow them to combine beautifully. 

Elixir No. 56 + Elixir No. 49

Elixir No. 56, inspired by Escentric Molecules’ Molecule 01, is an elegant single note fragrance with a woody heart. Its minimalistic nature allows it to pair wonderfully with a huge range of scents, especially those with a more aromatic or gourmand profile. We especially love this one with Elixir No. 49, a complex spiced vanilla scent inspired by Tom Ford’s Tobacco Vanille. 

Elixir No. 29 + Any Fragrance 

Baccarat Rouge 540 by MFK Dupe, Clone, Replica, Similar to, Smell like, Perfume like, Knock off, inspired, alternative, imitation, alternative, reimaged, cheap; cheapest price, best price, deal price

Elixir No. 29 is inspired by Baccarat Rouge 540, a fragrance that’s famously good for layering due to its airy presence. Try mixing a few sprays of this with one spray of any other favorite fragrance and experience how well it blends. We particularly love Elixir No. 29 with deeper fragrances that have a bit of sexiness, like Elixir No. 22, a lush spiced cherry scent. 

How to Layer Fragrances With Body Products For Longevity 

Layering fragrances with moisturizing body products can help improve the longevity of your fragrance, even when you use unscented body products. Then, scented body products can help with longevity while also helping you create a bespoke scent. Let’s go over how you can use unscented or scented products to create the effect you want. 

Keep Skin Moisturized For a Long-Lasting Scent

Using moisturizing products can help your scent’s longevity because fragrance molecules simply tend to last longer on hydrated skin compared to dry skin. If you have drier skin and fragrances tend to fade quickly on you, you may be surprised by how much longer your perfume lasts if you apply it to freshly moisturized skin. 

Capturing Fragrance in Moisturizing Products

Moisturizing products can also help fragrances last longer by essentially trapping fragrance molecules within the product. If you have a base layer of lotion, then layer perfume on top of it, your perfume oil will be suspended in the lotion. This won’t turn a lighter scent into a heavier scent, but it can make any scent linger for longer. 

Note that some people, especially those with drier skin types, will need to use a heavier moisturizing product to get this effect. If you try this trick with hydrating body lotion and find it doesn’t do much, try using a body cream or a natural oil such as coconut oil. Some fragrance enthusiasts also layer their perfumes and colognes on top of vaseline, a very heavy moisturizer that holds fragrance incredibly well. 

Remember Not to Rub 

When you layer perfume with moisturizing body lotion, be sure to add your fragrance as your last step. You don’t want to rub body products on top of fragrance because friction can damage fragrance molecules, weakening or changing your scent. So, make your fragrance your finishing touch.

Fragrance Layering With Scented Body Products

Layering fragrance with scented body products can help your scent last longer because each individual product has fragrance. If you wear a scented deodorant, scented body lotion, scented body wash, a scented hair oil, a scented aftershave lotion, and a fragrance, you have fragrance in a variety of different products on different parts of your body. Naturally, that will help ensure your fragrance lingers for longer. 

Remember to be careful of overdoing it when layering scented products alongside layers of perfume. Scented body products usually have a lower concentration of fragrance ingredients, so things like scented lotion and body spray typically aren’t overly strong. However, if you have a body product with a strong or heady scent, be conscious of that. For example, if your favorite aftershave balm has a potent scent, consider keeping other fragranced products to a minimum. 

Keeping Notes in Mind With Scented Products 

Just like when you wear multiple perfumes, you want to keep fragrance notes in mind when wearing scented body products with perfume. You want to make sure you choose complementary scents, rather than clashing scents.

In general, body products tend to have less complex scents than fragrances, so just sticking to products in the same fragrance family can work well. For example, pairing a floral fragrance with body products with overall floral notes will usually be a good combination. Choosing scents that share common notes is also a good strategy. For example, if your perfume has vanilla base notes, body products with vanilla notes will be a lovely complement.

With that said, you should also feel free to experiment with more unique combinations–experimenting is part of the fun of perfume layering. While a floral fragrance will pair well with body products that have floral notes, it may also go beautifully with body products that have fruity notes, citrus notes, fresh notes, or woody notes. 

If you’d like to try more unique pairings but aren’t sure where to start, take a look at the fragrance pairing chart earlier in this guide for inspiration.

Final Thoughts

We hope this guide has helped you learn more about the art of fragrance layering. If you have any questions, feel free to send us a message. If you’re ready to start experimenting with perfume layering, explore the full Perfame collection and find your new favorite combination. 

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