Layering Perfume is Totally On-Trend Right Now
Yes, you can mix and match.
Finding the perfect scent isn’t necessarily a one-stop perfume shop — in fact, the idea of layering perfume is nothing new, but it’s certainly been tricky to master without the helpful guidance of a fragrance expert, which is why we asked Kim-Davy Hoeu, a product developer for KDH concepts and Scentbird, to break down exactly how we can combine our favorite fragrances.
“Perfumes have actual weight,” explains Hoeu. “Certain scent molecules evaporate faster than others based on their molecular mass. Due to this, many people opt to ‘layer’ their fragrances in order to balance out certain notes based on their personal preferences. It’s a great way to customize your scents or create specialty elements to your fragrance.”
Here’s the thing the fragrance industry forgot to mention — layering perfumes is actually A-okay, acceptable, and even considered normal amongst industry insiders.
“The concept behind layering is to create a unique scent for yourself, so whatever your nose loves, is what you should spritz. However, as a good rule of thumb, citrus notes are often at the top of a perfume because they are the lightest and quickest to leave the skin. But resins and musks are best for base notes as they take the longest to dissipate.”
That means you can totally take the perfume you wore on your first date and layer it with the special bottle your new mother in law gave you as a gift — or wear the scent your mom wore every day of her life and bring it forward with a modern edge by layering your own favorite scents.
“Powerful raw materials, like oud, or gourmand notes, like vanilla, are the most difficult to layer because they instantly overwhelm other scents so be sure to use them sparingly if you want to integrate other fragrance notes.”
Hoeu warns against layering perfumes with scented skincare without deeper consideration first, citing different ingredient portfolios and strengths. You don’t want to smell like a big wedding bouquet had a lovechild with a bottle of musk, do you?
“Fragrances for body tend to be more robust and sometimes complex. This is key as the base odor for body care is stronger than a traditional face care. To mask this odor formulators will have to develop stronger notes and fragrance portfolio.”
She recommends easing into fragrance layering with a scented lotion as your base, and then applying one fragrance to the neck and another to the wrists.
“Before you begin spritzing away, it’s very important to understand what fragrance notes to focus on. You can easily figure this part out by closing your eyes and just smelling – you don’t have to necessarily know the names of the fragrance notes, but identifying the level of fragrance will be super helpful. For example, a top note is what you smell right away when you spray it, the middle note is the heart of the fragrance and is usually warmer and softer. The bottom note is what develops last and what stays with you for hours—long after the top notes has disappeared.”
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