Perfume layering: Make a scent statement

Perfume layering: Make a scent statement

How do you layer perfumes? What fragrances work well together? Follow your nose—and these perfume-layering tips—to create your own unique scent style.

It would be hard to talk about fall fashion trends without the mention of layering. When the temperature dips, we grab our scarves, vests, light coats, denim jackets, blanket wraps and sweaters and pile on as many as we can. And who could blame us? The multi-layered approach to getting dressed is a great way to customize our outfits—after all the greatest style is all about individuality.

And perfume layering, we believe, is much like styling a great fashion look. The final statement being that the sum is potentially greater than the parts.

We spoke to Ash Huzenlaub, CEO of Commodity Goods, a company with the tagline “fragrance made personal”, on this multi-scent approach. “We want to enable people to enjoy a unique fragrance experience,” says the perfume exec. The niche perfume house, specializes in single-note scents like Tea, Wool and Rain—we included its Gold perfume in our recent article on gold-inspired fragrances.

Of course any perfume worth its salt can be worn as a stand-alone scent, but sometimes straying off the beaten path of spritz-and-go is a great way to experiment. And we’re advocates of experimentation: Fragrance should be creative and fun after all. And a little surprising too. At least we think so.

Here are our tips for fragrance cocktailing and layering, just in time for fall.

Perfume layering: Where to start

You’re probably already scent layering and don’t even know it. If you wear scented moisturizer and then spray your perfume, that’s scent layering! If you haven’t—this is a good place to start. Pick a scented moisturizer of your choice and then layer a fragrance on top. Most scented moisturizers aren’t overpowering so there’s no big fear of overdoing it here. The scents will diffuse throughout the day, and layering your perfume directly onto your moisturizer will help the fragrance last longer. For fall, we recommend going with an earthy-scented moisturizer and layering that with a citrus perfume. The warmth and energy from this combo is the perfect transition to fall.


Lotus Aroma Velvet Body Lotion in Ho Wood and Exotic Verbena, $18 (200 ml),
Guerlain Aqua Allegoria Limon Verde, $70 (75 ml),

Mixing fragrances: Pair dark with light

Want to go bolder? Try an approach that best reflects the type of outfits we put together for the season—think cozy with texture. On this tact, start with a woody and warm perfume as your base and layer a light floral scent on top. The darkness of the former will give spice and warmth—the best part of fall—while the light or white floral provides a softer, cashmere-like veil. Our pick? Commodity Wool, an oriental fougure with notes of bourbon, basil, apple, amber and cedarwood; with Aerin Jasmine Ikat, a floral fragrance with jasmine, tuberose and sandalwood.


Commodity Wool, $120 (100 ml),
Aerin Ikat Jasmine, $110 (50 ml),

If you’re still unsure, Jo Malone offers a great perfume layering tool on its site called “The Art of Perfume Combining”. Jo Malone, in fact, was one of the earliest proponents of mix-mastering your perfumes to make a unique scent statement.

On the site, you can pick your favourite Jo Malone scent (Wood, Sage and Sea Salt sounds good for fall, no?) and then decide whether you want to go fresher or warmer, and Jo Malone will reco a perfect pair of spritzes for you.

Don’t be limited by just sticking with one brand though. “I watched a customer buy Commodity Mimosa and then walk over to buy Tom Ford Neroli Portofino because she said she layers them together,” says Huzenlaub. “I would have never thought of that, and likely would have suggested she just layer Commodity fragrance, but I would have been wrong. It works for her, and that’s the type of perfume cocktailing we want to encourage.”


Commodity Mimosa, $120 (100 ml),
Tom Ford Neroli Portofino, $345 (100 ml),

Perfume cocktailing: Be confident

150911_CommodityGoods-395 1So you‘ve mastered the two-spritz layer? When you start layering three (or more) spritzes, it helps to think of each perfume as a base, middle or top note. That way you can think about how the scents will work together and layer them accordingly. Start with the heavier fragrances on the bottom (oriental, gourmand or woody); then bring on the floral or aromatic perfume into the the middle; and layer the lightest scents (citrus, fruit) on top as the final layer.

Another fun way to think about how to layer perfumes is in terms of storytelling: Commodity is really good at this.

Its scent cocktails focus on creating a recipe for a mood or a situation. For example, the brand’s Brunch scent cocktail—the “cocktail” being its mix of what perfumes to wear together—is a combination of Commodity’s Gin, Mimosa and Moss fragrances. But really, according to Huzenlaub, scent cocktailing is about balance and play.

The key is to mix and match and wear until you find a combo that smells great and is very much you. “Layering is a fun experience,” says Huzenlaub. “You have to go into it with that goal in mind.”

Take a look at Commodity’s full list of layered scent cocktails here.

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This article was written by

Alexandra Donaldson is the editorial assistant at The Whale & The Rose and a freelance writer and content creator. Although she recently took up yoga in an effort to be a healthy adult, she still binge-watches cartoons on a regular basis and dreams of running away to a cottage in the woods. She has yet to nail down her favourite perfume, but knows that it smells green, earthy and maybe a little bit spicy, but definitely not sweet.