Friday, November 09, 2007

Perfume Tip #4: Layering

I have thought about writing a piece on layering for quite some time and yet it has always eluded me in its complexity. After discovering a most glorious combination this week, I must talk about it now. But first, a little background. There are two factions of perfumistas. Those in favor of layering and those who think it's a shame to the art and a terrible distortion of a perfectly good scent. This perfumista has discovered the joys of layering and found that it has made her perfume collection vastly more interesting! While some may think it's a marketing gimmick to encourage you to buy more, once your perfect combination is discovered those thoughts will fade away quickly.

The house of Jo Malone has done a remarkable job describing the art of layering. Anyone reluctant about this subject should head to their nearest Jo Malone counter and ask to experiment with scents that layer well. In addition, Bond No. 9 encourages it, as does Creed, Memoir Liquide and probably many more of which I am not aware.

Once you start experimenting, scents you had previously dismissed as unwearable for you suddenly become possibilities when softened or enriched by another fragrance. One such example, and the most glorious combination I have tried is L'Aromarine Vanille layered with Jo Malone Pomegranite Noir. My tiny decant of JM Pom. Noir had sat at the bottom of my decant basket and become quite lonely for months. I simply thought it was too dark for me. The Vanille brings it to life, gives it a delicate sweetness and compliments it perfectly for a sweet and spicy holiday scent to remember! Another intriguing combination for the holidays is Ava Luxe Milk over Ava Luxe Madeline. This one is along the same lines as the previous, but a tad bit softer and less spicy. Nonetheless, it is the peeerrrrfect Christmas fragrance, reminding me of all the reasons I love the holiday, mostly the rich fragrances associated with it.

For more ideas, I offer a few scent families that layer well:
  • Vanilla with citrus

  • Musk with florals

  • Gourmand with florals

  • Spices with sweet fragrances

Ultimately, you could utilize every one of your fragrances, even the ones you think you abhor, by layering them. I encourage you to give it a try and I would love to hear the combinations that work well. Starting by layering a complex fragrance with a single note fragrance is recommended. One note of caution, make sure you are near a sink when you start to experiment. You may need to scrub a few before you find the magic combination that encourages you to say, "Aha!"

What are your thoughts on layering? Are there any combinations that you love?

Update 11/30/07: New layering discovery! Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur under Frederic Malle Lipstick Rose is a divine combination of girly, frilly and seductive vixen and it makes MR much more tolerable to me.


Anonymous said...

I tried layering CB I Hate Perfume's Burning Leaves and was most pleased with it layered with amber scents, especially I ProfumiAmbre De Nepal and Maitre PG Ambre Precieux. both are ambers on the sweeter side and the smoke in Burning Leaves is a nice complement. Otherwise, I can't stand Burning Leaves!

Anonymous said...

I layered Musc Bleu osmo absolue of Il Profvmo with Wild Honeysuckle of I Profumi di Firenze.
Honeysuckle warmed up with the Musc and became more intriguing and sexy.

Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of layering. I find the Malone range seems to disappear really easy on me and I am not going to pay more money for more products to have a scent stay around. I would rather buy another bottle of something else.

Perfumeshrine said...

Interesting post! Thanks for the suggestions.

Layering is a double-edged sword I guess. After all, I think most of us who have more than a couple of scents and rotate them inadvertedly layer (remnants of one beneath another atop, subtly influencing the latter; that sort of thing).

In fact I have a whole list of layering combinations (by venerable noses, no less) on this page of my Info Site:


Divina said...

Mmmhmm, definitely into layering, although I must admit I do not experiment too often. My favorite combination is AG's Vanille exquise over SMN's Garofano.

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Hello Kim,

What a glorious combination you have there! And I truly believe that most scents we dislike can be salvaged by layering. Enjoy!

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Oh, what a creative combination- honeysuckle with musk. Thanks for the suggestion!

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Hello Lady Jicky,
You are in the other faction and there is certainly no harm in that! Don't stop at Jo Malone, however. There are many other houses if you're willing to try.

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...


Oh, how fantastic that you have a whole page devoted to this topic! I will explore today. Thanks for your thoughts!

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Goodmorning Divina,

Sounds lovely! :-) Did you have a good weekend?

Anonymous said...

I guess if you live in a country where you pay nearly double for that same bottle you get in the USA then you have to think twice about layering.We have steep luxury tax and boy do they heap it on perfume/cosmetics here.
I love body lotion , soap, talc and bath gel but...........

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Lady Jicky,

Say no more. I completely understand! Thanks for reading. :-)


Divina said...

Mmm, weekend...well partly :P Had to study a lot, but I had fun on Saturday night at least :) Went to the shops also (trying to find a dress or something for a function), but everything out there seemed to bore me. There doesn't seem to be anything exciting in the clothes/shoes department at the moment. Or is it just me?

Hope your weekend was fab my dear fragrant friend :)

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

I know the feeling about clothing these days! Fashions in the states make me feel like I'm pregnant with all the empire waists! Not that I don't want to be, but I would like a little time. Hehe. Glad you had fun Saturday night! Have a great day!


chayaruchama said...

Hello !

I feel for both camps...
I like your choices!

Sometimes, I need to be able to 'salvage'a scent that won't play nicely; other times, I want to amp-up, or accentuate a quality that I feel is present but needs a nudge.

Some things just seem perfect as they are.

Be well, my pretty !

ForTheLoveOfPerfume said...

Goodmorning Chayaruchama!

Oh, you have such a way with words. I couldn't have said it better! Amateur perfumers we are but I like the possibility layering offers. There are some with which I refuse to experiment -my L'Artisans, my Nasomatto, my By Killian and my parfums. Any others that I am luke warm about you bet I will!

Have a wonderful day!