Why We Love Layers and You Should, Too

Joelle NealyComment

In a world where the surroundings of life are mostly mass-produced, how can we create a sense of one’s own space? Gathering the things that speak to us, the physical manifestations of our memories and loved ones, and layering those cherished, slightly worn objects in our living spaces turns a house into a home, an empty room into a cozy space. Minimalists, avert your eyes! Seriously, if minimalism speaks to you - do your thing. But I’m talking about overstuffed armchairs, your great-grandmother’s handknit throw blanket, a stack of books with lifetimes waiting within, that funny little figurine you picked up at an antique shop. Layers.

Layers make rooms - and fragrances - more complex. They’re a way to get a lot of life into one thing. And more than anything, they give you a chance to make something your own. You start with one thing, and then take it in the direction that makes it more...you. Whether it’s your living room, your favorite outfit, that secret curry recipe - no one else can do it exactly like you do. There’s always that one extra thing that makes it special. So, if you’re feeling bold, apply that theory to your fragrances. Try layering, and see what you get!

 Layering fragrances is a dynamic experiment. We’re not going to lie, it can go horribly wrong. But when it’s right, it’s so right. Before you start, here are a few tips:

  • Don’t make the mistake of applying too much fragrance -- keep the total amount to approximately what you would normally wear.
  • Remember, you can always ease into layering by starting with a shower gel or lotion and a different perfume.
  • If you don’t like the results of your experiment, use an oil to wipe off the fragrance, scrub with soap, and if it’s still there, use a swab of alcohol.

Start with your favorite perfume and a single note fragrance. To make it even more fail-proof, pick a single note that is contained within or related to your favorite. Starting with a fragrance made up of notes of lemon, rose, wood, and vanilla, for example, you could add a note of citrus, rose, wood, or vanilla to bring out those aspects of the perfume and change it up a bit. Adding citrus would make it brighter and more fresh, adding vanilla would make it sweeter.

Blend two fragrances that are related in a fragrance family. If you love florals, try a bit of your favorite jasmine layered with a some of your go-to rose. The two florals should play nicely together. If you want nothing more than to smell like delicious cake, layer that deep vanilla you always love with a lighter tea and biscuit scent.

In this scenario, opposites attract. Try fragrances that have nothing to do with one another - a fresh cedar and a creamy orange blossom or bold spices and sweet vanilla. If you’re unsure of how two scents will mix, dip two small pieces of (preferable acid-free) paper or even cotton swabs into each fragrance, and smell them together to see what you think. When you find the right combination, you’ll have a complex, unique fragrance all your own.

Layering is an adventure. Be brave, be bold - and have fun with it!