If you own several fragrances already and like experimenting with new things, you can actually play around with mixing them to create your very own personalized “bespoke” fragrance!
And if you didn’t know, layering perfumes is actually a “thing”. There are multipage forum discussions all about it online. Some perfumistas are adamently against it whose objections usually stem from the view of perfumes being works of art and tampering with that being sacriligious.
I’m a bit more in the middle ground here. While I DO believe perfumes are works of art, they are still toiletry items. And just as I would have no objection to blending 2 different shades of lipstick to get the perfect color, I don’t object to perfumes being blended together to create custom fragrance cocktails. There are even a few sellers online that specialize in blending perfumes for others.
My mother always said not to mix perfumes because they would “clash” but she was wrong. She was wrong about a lot of things I’ve discovered as an adult lol. While some blends are definitely better than others, anything can be blended together. Are they not made from “perfume ingredients” afterall? Somewhere out there is every combination imaginable I’m sure.
There are two ways to layer perfumes; mixing them into a vial or container before application or by spraying multiple perfumes directly on. And there are two different techniques when spraying directly on; either by applying multiple perfumes in the same locations so they mix on the body or applying multiple perfumes on different parts of the body so you smell the individual perfumes sometimes simultaniously and sometimes individually.
Personally I don’t layer my perfumes to really create completely new fragrances (although I did once create a mix from combining one spray from every perfume I own, well over 100 bottles) but mostly to enhance certain notes within them, especially in my classics like Mitsouko and Vol de Nuit, which have been greatly altered since the IFRA regulation compliance reformulations that have affected so many other perfumes as well.
For example, I love the oakmoss in Mitsouko and sometimes want the peach to have a greater presence so I will layer Liaisons Dangereueses with my “Mitsy”. They are both fruity chypres afterall and share a few similar notes of oakmoss and peach. So layering them gives the LD a deeper chypre feel while giving the Mitsy a grander, sweeter peach. I LOVE this combo so much!
And while I really love Vol de Nuit as is, sometimes I like to amp up that iris note and also give it a bit of sweetness by layering it with either Iris Poudre or Khol de Bahrein. It’s gorgeous! 😍
I’ve also found a love in Dames Chocolate Man Chocolate perfume that layers well with almost all of my orientals and gives Shalimar a little gourmand kick.
If you are interested in trying out layering your own fragrances, you can totally dive right in and start spraying away but to avoid too much waste, I recommend knowing what notes are in your fragrances first and also knowing what fragrance familes your perfumes fall into. Examples of fragramce families per Fragrantica:
You are more likely to hit a winning combo by layering frags within the same family. A few examples of frag families are florals, aquatics, herbals a.k.a fougeres, vanilla orientals, and woods like cedars and ouds. The above chart is from Fragrantica.com under groups if you want to learn further about frag families. While you can definitely mix fougeres into some potent woody oud perfumes, it may be really over the top. But adding an oriental vanilla into a smokey oud can be divine!
I love referring to the note pyramids on Fragrantica.com that are found listed under almost every perfume you can imagine. The site is easy to use, just type the name of the frag into their search bar. I’ve found them sooo very helpful in matching up possible layering combinations. Here is an example pyramid of FlowerBombs notes:
For the real layering enthusiasts, there are perfume kits on the market now created just for layering, like the Clean Reserve kit at Sephora, the Mixologie Kit at the Grommet, or basically the entire Demeter library at Walgreens.
And while not every layering attempt will be a winner, it’s still fun to play around with and experiment with fragrances. And who knows, you may just stumble onto the best thing you’ve ever smelled! ❤