A Beginner's Guide To Fragrance Layering

A Beginner's Guide To Fragrance Layering

Stefanie Grant-Cassel

When I came up with the idea to make natural perfumes with matching deodorant and body care, it didn't take me long to realize that my fragrances were going to need to be relatively simple* in order to keep everything affordable. And while I think my little perfumes stand alone beautifully, (why is "simple" so seriously underrated in the perfume world anyway?) it can also be SUPER fun to mix them together to make something more fancy and complex! 
If you've ever dreamed about creating your own signature scent or changing up your go-to fragrance seasonally but have no idea where to start, this post is for you! 
Also, great news, it's actually super easy - 
So, one thing most fragrance brands do that I think is kind of annoying and rude is to make everything sound seriously fancy and unapproachable and complex, like it's all some big mystery that little ol' you could never possibly unravel, and of course it's so expensive that it must be really good??
But anyone can be good at perfume, because everyone has their own sense of smell and taste. What do you like? What do you think smells good on you? What do you want to smell like? (Because that's what really matters.) Whatever it is, I promise you it'll be A-OK. You don't need anyone's approval to mix and wear what you love. 
So, okay... great. Now that you know there are no rules, where do you start?! 
I do happen to have a few guidelines to get you started: 
1. Know what you like. 
First things first, if you're interested in designing/combining your own fragrances, you have to learn what different things smell like and what you're into. Do you normally go for sweet stuff? Or are you more into earthy scents? Obsessed with lavender? Patchouli? Jasmine? Amber? Sandalwood?
No idea what those smell like???
Order some samples ($3) or single-note perfumes ($10) if you're not sure, and even if you are pretty sure, make sure you also throw in a couple that don't seem quite your jam. You might just change your mind and discover something new to love!
2. Pair two (or more) perfumes that have one or more overlapping notes. 
For example: 
Dolce Vita and Luscious are two very different scents, but they both contain vetiver. 
Worn together, the combination of lime, neroli, jasmine, vanilla, ginger, vetiver, and patchouli makes a lovely sweet, citrusy, floral, earthy blend that smells good enough to eat. One of my favorite combos! 
dolce vita and luscious perfume twinkle apothecary
3. Wait... what??
I know. That's kind of a lot. Maybe think of it this way: pick a favorite fragrance, and decide which new direction you want to take it - i.e., sweeter, lighter, spicier, more fresh, or deep, or earthy.   
For instance, Goddess (orange, patchouli, palmarosa, geranium) is best friends with Basic (vanilla, orange, lavender, lemon.)
They both have bright citrus notes (orange + lemon) fresh herbal notes (palmarosa + lavender) and the sweet vanilla note from Basic blends beautifully with the earthy patchouli note of Goddess, adding warmth and depth.
goddess and basic perfumes twinkle apothecary
They're amazing together! 
But... if you wanted something more warm/earthy/spicy, you could pair Goddess with Beau Spice (sandalwood, clove, labdanum, patchouli.) 
If you wanted something really refreshing and herbal, you could pair Goddess with Nasty Woman (frankincense, lavender, patchouli, cedar wood.)
And if you wanted a light, sweet floral with just a hint of earthiness, you could pair it with Florcore (rose, jasmine, geranium, ylang ylang.)
Or, whatever else you can dream up! It really just depends on your personal preference.
4. If that all sounds a bit too complicated, start with single note fragrances!
Here are a couple of my favorite combinations:
vanilla and patchouli perfumes twinkle apothecary
Patchouli + Vanilla: It's earthy and herbal, yet sweet and warm. Truly intoxicating. You could add a floral and/or a spice note to really bump up the sensuality factor...
lavender vanilla coffee perfume twinkle apothecary
If you want to get a bit more adventurous, try three notes! Lavender, vanilla, and coffee sounds a bit crazy, but it's amazing. If you've ever had a lavender latte you know what I'm talking about, right?! 
4 notes! You can't go wrong with this combination of lavender, patchouli, vanilla, and cedar wood. Classic!  
beau spice and coffee perfume twinkle apothecary
5 notes... now we're talking! The coffee adds a sweet richness to the earthy spiciness of Beau Spice. 
I could basically keep going with this forever. And I have tons of ideas to get you started in all of my perfume listings. Check out the "fragrance notes" section of each scent to see my suggestions: 
fragrance notes twinkle apothecary perfume
This is the listing for Blissed. I HIGHLY recommend the Mulholland + Blissed combo. It's one of my go tos! 
5. Pick your poison. 
The actual, physical combining of the scents can be done in a lot of different ways.
You can apply two (or more) roll-on perfumes by rolling one (or more) on your right wrist, and one or more on your left wrist, then rubbing them together. The perfume police says you're not supposed to do that because it "crushes the scent molecules" but you know I like to keep it casual, so whateves... 
You could also mist a body spray all over and apply a different roll-on perfume to your pulse points. 
Or spray two different spray on perfumes right on top on one another! 
Or, layer a perfume on top of a different body oil. Or body powder. Or you could wear a different body oil, body spray, and perfume all at the same time. It's your life - get crazy! 
And if you want to keep it minimal as far as products go, I'd be happy to mix you up your own signature roll-on perfume or body spray
The main thing is to have fun. 
Perfume is an art - it's all about creativity and self expression! So keep an open mind (or, nose) and don't be afraid to experiment. You may think something smells good in your head, but totally hate it once you try it on, and that's OK. It happens to me all the time! Wash it off and try again. 
And of course, I'm always available if you have questions. Making new scents is kind of my favorite thing in the whole world and I love sharing what I love with others, so I'm more than happy to give guidance and suggestions!
Are you ready to start mixing? Let me know what you come up with!
*I do have plans to make a more "traditional" (and higher end, with more exotic and complex notes) perfume line in the future, but it will be a while before that dream comes to life! Thankfully I have PLENTY of fragrances to tie me over in the meantime... 

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