Making Scents: All You Need to Know About Layering Fragrances
We all have those perfumes we haven’t used in … we can’t remember how long. Maybe they remind us too much of an ex, or maybe we’ve they don’t seem quite right for the season. Perhaps you’ve simply outgrown their scent (extra points if you still have Love’s Baby Soft sitting around). But don’t turn up your nose just yet! Revive that fragrance by layering it! We put our nose to the grindstone, with the guidance of David Suffit, creative fragrance director of Fine Fragrances at Givaudan, to come up with four fun fragrance combinations.
Chances are you don’t have access to all our favorite scents, so we’ll fill you in on all the details you need to know to mix and layer your perfumes on your own.
Figure out what you’re working with. Sensory overload is not what you’re aiming for here, so take a minute to figure out the different notes of all your perfumes. There’s a bit of science behind the ways different scents hit your nose, so make sure you have done your homework.
Now that you have an idea of the top, middle and base notes of your perfume collection, decide which will work best together. Choose fragrances that are opposite in their notes. Fresh notes like citrus and florals work well with musky perfumes because they add a brightness to an otherwise heavy fragrance. Vanilla will complement fresh florals because it adds a warm, creamy depth.
So you’ve figured out which fragrances you’d like to pair, but don’t start spraying all over the place just yet. The order of application makes a difference. “If you are layering two fresh scents or two warm scents, finish with the one you like the most, as it will be a little more present than the bottom layer,” recommends Suffit. However, if you’re layering two types of scents — one fresh and one warm, for example — suffit suggests starting with the warmer scent and then the fresher scent, which will provide some lift to the warmer one.
Another pro tip? Start by layering a fragrance lotion with an eau de toilet before layering two eau de toilets. This way, Suffit says, you’ll be able to find out if you like the combination of the scents in a less risky manner as the lotion’s scent will be subtler.
If your favorite fragrance has notes of spices, vanilla, ambers, wood and musk, it’s likely a scent best suited for winter. Similarly, it should come as no surprise that light, bright fragrances with notes of flowers and fruits are ideal for summer.
The best way to make a winter scent more summer-ready is to use a lighter, less concentrated fragrance mist instead of your full-fragrance perfume, says Suffit. “Another way to make your ‘winter scent’ more appropriate for the summer is to only use a sheer amount of your winter scent as the bottom layer and add a generous spray of a fresh floral or citrusy scent.”
Sofia by Sofia Vergara and Ralph Lauren Romance
The bright, fruity scent of Sofia with base notes of vanilla and sandalwood play perfectly against the more musky, rose-infused scent of Ralph Lauren’s Romance.
Fruit Défendu by Terry de Gunzburg and Smart by Andrea Maack Perfumes
Bursting with notes of fresh tropical fruit like mango and a touch of rose, Fruit Defendu works well with Smart’s deeper notes of vanilla, musk and sandalwood.
Un Martin d’Orage by Annick Goutal and Flowerbomb by Viktor & Rolf
Flowerbomb is a well-rounded scent with a bright nose of bergamot and green tea with a strong finish of musk and patchouli. It is these base notes that add depth and balance to the gardenia notes of Un Martin d’Orage.