How to master the art of fragrance layering

A personal way to pair scents

BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / July 11 2022

We’ve always been sticklers for the rules when it comes to fragrance, keeping a strict calendar of singular scents that revolve around each respective season. We rarely stray from bright, effervescent notes for summer and moodier blends for winter. 

But we’ll be honest, we’d like to step out of our comfort zones and experiment. 

We’re all about getting creative with green makeup and the reptile nail trend, but flipping the script on fragrance is a little more complicated by comparison. 

That’s why we’ve employed the help of Ciara Mahoney and Elle Wallace, the Founders and Creative Directors of SŚAINT Parfum. 

The brand founders (and best friends) have blessed us with their expert knowledge on the tricky subject of pairing perfumes, for a somewhat literal take on personal fragrance.

Why experiment with fragrance?

“There are two beliefs when it comes to fragrance,” says Mahoney and Wallace. “One argues that every finished scent is unique and should remain as it was originally created, [while] others believe in using perfume notes and blending scents to build an individualised signature scent.” 

“The result is highly personal,” the pair admits. “And [it] captures the mood or personality of an individual.” 

“There are so many brands producing beautiful fragrances at the moment,” they went on to say. “Why wouldn't you want to indulge in them all?” 

Image credit: supplied by SŚAINT

Image credit: supplied by SŚAINT

The golden rules of fragrance layering according to SŚAINT

Mahoney and Wallace both admit that layering fragrance requires a bit of trial and error.

“Typically, two perfumes that are on the opposite side of the fragrance wheel (a circular diagram that represents every scent family woody, floral, amber, and fresh and then subfamilies within them) make good combinations,” the pair explains. 

“For example, citrus scents and woody scents in your collection of fragrances work well together, as they tend to project smoothly and adapt to most notes”. 

But their best advice is to simply “experiment and have fun while doing so”.

“It's helpful to know which fragrance notes you're drawn to,” they tell us. And then through layering your favourite notes, you can create “a custom signature scent of your own”.

Image credit: supplied by SŚAINT

Image credit: supplied by SŚAINT

How to avoid going over the top

There’s no warning signs or hard lines that can be crossed when layering fragrance. Again, it all comes down to experimentation. 

However, if you’re planning on completely dousing yourself, Mahoney and Wallace say that having a shower nearby won’t hurt.  The process “can certainly be hit-and-miss”, after all. 

“Interestingly, when the pH balance of the skin differs slightly, it can change the way a scent smells [too],” says the SŚAINT founders. “Certain skin types can project a different scent when it comes to fragrance.”

Their advice? “Always check the effect of one fragrance on your skin before layering.” Makes total scent sense. 

Main image credit: supplied by SŚAINT

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Briar is the Beauty Editor at BEAUTYcrew. Her 'down for anything' attitude has resulted in more than a handful of hair transformations, and she doesn't mind being used as a guinea pig for the industry's most unusual products and treatments. Her work has also appeared on Refinery29, Girlfriend and beautyheaven.