I am a bit maverick-y when it comes to perfume. I know- shocking, right? I love masterfully composed exclusive perfumes like Acqua di Parma Profumo and sweet, charming gems from the drugstore like Lady Stetson. Another thing I like to do is layer my perfumes. Some might find this sacrilege but I find some of the most delicious scents have come out of my layering experiments. It is often accidental. I will put on a perfume, then a few hours later reapply as I’m leaving, forgetting which perfume I originally applied. Most of the times, it’s a happy accident.

My scent mood rarely changes dramatically during the day, so instinctively I seem to choose scents that luckily work together. This is another reason I tend to favour simple scents. They are easier to layer! Its not always easy in this age of “a million perfumes that all smell like the same mix of a million synthetic ingredients” but it’s easier than you’d think. It’s not a new concept to perfume- Jo Malone actually offers layering menus on their website with suggestions of perfumes that work well together.

My layering trick is pretty simple. I try to start with a soft skin scent to work with as a “base note”. Soft musks, ambers, and woodsy notes well as base notes. Creamy sweet gourmande perfumes also work well as a base. Scents that melt into the skin and make you have to lean in close to smell are the ones that make good base scents.

Then its time to look for a top note. Yes, I know perfumes are made into 3 notes- top, middle/heart and base, but I find it best to keep things simple when doing this yourself. Top and Base are really the only things you need. As far as light and airy, I tend to favour floral and green notes for the top note, as they compliment a richer base note. The base note is calmed and softened by the airy top, and the top is grounded and enhanced by the richness of the base notes.

Annick Goutal Songes, Musc Bleu, AK Musk, Sisley Eau de Campagne, Sexy Angelic, Etro Heliotrope

Some of my favourite base suggestions:

Egyptian Musk Oil: I love Abdul Kareem and Auric Blends musk oils. They have a clean woodsy note that work as the perfect base for almost any perfume.

Il Profvmo Musc Bleu: This is the lightest cleanest musk, adds a fresh scrubbed note to any perfume.

Honore Des Pres Sexy Angelic: the soft and sweet notes hug the skin and smell amazing when topped with florals. It adds a yummy aspect to clean scents.

Etro Heliotrope: The powdery sweet floral notes in this soften any scent.

Annick Goutal Songes: This sultry and dark tropical floral adds a sensual sweetness to any perfume.

Sisley Eau de Campagne: This shimmering green shower of a perfume adds a spring shower meets green field of grass note and lightens any scent.

YSL Y, Creed  Virgin Island Water, AG La Violette, L’Artisan La Chasse aux Papillons, Floris, Guerlain

These work wonderfully when worn as top notes:

Floris Night Scented Jasmine: simple sweet and floral, this one is just gorgeous with a musk base. It becomes positively dangerous when layered with Annick Goutal Songes.

L’Artisan La Chasse Aux Papillons: Another simple summery floral, I love this one with Sexy Angelic as a base for evening.

Annick Goutal La Violette: This simple sweet violet sings like a spring day when worn with Eau de Campagne.

Then some that just work as a top or a base:

YSL “Y”: This soapy green floral chypre is so beautifully composed it pretty much works with anything. I love it with a musk. It is basically like being in a shower all day. I have blown my own mind by wearing this one with Chanel Bois des Iles. WOW. This one is still available for a song online. Get it if you don’t have it.

Guerlain Un Air de Samsara: This is basically sandalwood and jasmine with a little mint tea. I use tiny amounts with any floral and adore it.

Creed Virgin Island Water: Layer this with anything that you want to smell beachy and summery.

So, there are basically no rules for this kind of stuff. As I type this I am already thinking of others….Kiehl’s Musk, SMN Gardenia, Keiko Mecheri Jasmine…..I say just experiment, play, and see what works! Often if you think it will work, it does. Our nose knows….

Abdul Kareem Egyptian Musk, Annick Goutal La Violette, Etro Heliotrope, Floris Night Scented Jasmine, L'Artisan Parfumeur La Chasse aux Papillons, perfume layering, Sexy Angelic, Sisley Eau de Campagne, YSL Y