When it comes to perfume, I’ve always been a one-at-a-time-and-you’ll-do-just-fine kind of girl. The idea of layering fragrances never even crossed my mind until a few weeks ago when I was standing in line at Starbucks and couldn’t get over how incredible the woman behind me smelled.
While we were waiting for our drinks, I worked up the courage to ask her what she was wearing.
“Oh, it’s two different perfumes, actually,” she said. “I always layer fragrances. I’m wearing a grapefruit body spray and The One by Dolce & Gabbana right now.”
And at that moment, I swear I could hear the faint strains of “A Whole New World” playing somewhere off in the distance. I thanked my new friend and decided that I would try living life on the edge, layering my fragrances the very next day.
The following morning, I found myself starring at my perfume collection–Love Story by Chloé, Nirvana White by Elizabeth and James, Atlas Mountain Rose by The Body Shop, Replica Beach Walk by Maison Martin Margiela, and a teeny tiny sample of Neroli Portofino by Tom Ford–feeling very unsure of how to proceed. Which two to choose? Should I use more than two? What if I made a mistake? And how much should I be spraying on my body?
I’d like to say that I consulted a perfume guru at Sephora or did a simple Google search or something, but the truth of the matter is that I took a shot in the dark. I grabbed the two scents that I wear the most often–Beach Walk and Atlas Mountain Rose–and spritzed one on my left wrist and the other on my right.
I held my breath for a few seconds, waiting for a putrid scent to hit my nostrils. When none came, I decided that the result of my experiment was unoffensive enough to be taken out in public, so I headed out to meet a few friends for dinner.
As it would turn out, my shot in the dark was pretty spot-on. All three of my dinner dates agreed that I’d never smelled better.
“It smells like you’re wearing rose-scented sunscreen if that makes sense,” said one of my friends. “It’s really pretty.”
Bolstered by the praise I’d received over dinner, I grew bold. I decided to wear both of the perfumes to work the next day, knowing that my coworkers would probably be more likely to tell me I smelled like a chemical factory than my well-meaning friends were.
But again, the layered fragrances were a hit: two of my coworkers said they loved my “new perfume.” Another one said, “I’m not usually a big fan of perfume, but whatever you’re wearing smells nice.”
So while my shot-in-the-dark perfume layering experiment was a success, I’ve come to realize that it was definitely a case of beginner’s luck. Things could have very easily gone south for me because, as it would turn out, haphazardly spraying perfume on your skin doesn’t usually yield great results. There are actually a lot of things to consider when layering scents–some perfume layering rules, you could say. I think the most important rule is to layer scents that either share a base note–in the case of Atlas Mountain Rose and Beach Walk, that would be powder–or belong to fragrance families that common sense tells you are complementary (vanilla and fruit, for example). You should also consider using at least one single-note fragrance because combining scents that have a ton of different notes could quickly lead to olfactory overload. Be sure to spray on the strongest scent first, so you don’t overwhelm the other fragrance, and finally, don’t spray too much, guys. A spritz of each perfume should be enough.
So now that I’m a brand new perfume-layering convert, I want to know: what scents do you layer? Or are you a one-perfume-at-a-time kind of girl? What are your rules for layering perfumes? Have you ever had a bad experience layering fragrances? Let me know in the comments!