You Are Layering Perfume Wrong: Tips from 1701

Want to learn how to layer your perfume? 

Layering your perfumes is an art, and mastering this art can transform your fragrance experience from ordinary to extraordinary. At 1701 Fragrance, we believe that understanding the nuances of layering, from top notes to base notes, is key to creating a signature scent that’s uniquely yours. Here’s how to do it right.

Understanding the Basics of Perfume Notes

Before diving into layering, it's essential to understand the three main components of any fragrance: top notes, middle notes, and base notes.

  • Top Notes: These are the first scents you smell after applying a fragrance. They are usually light and fresh, but they evaporate quickly. Common top notes include citrus, light fruits, and herbs.
  • Middle Notes: Also known as heart notes, these scents emerge once the top notes fade. They form the core of the fragrance, often featuring floral, spicy, or fruity elements.
  • Base Notes: These are the long-lasting scents that appear after the middle notes dissipate. They provide depth and longevity to the fragrance with notes like vanilla, musk, and woods.

The Art of Layering

Layering perfumes involves combining different scents to create a complex and personalized fragrance. Here’s a step-by-step guide to mastering this technique:

Step 1: Start with the Fragrance Family

In order to layer well, you need to start with selecting your fragrance family or combination of families. There are 10 fragrance families:

  1. Citrus: Fresh and lively scents dominated by citrus notes like lemon, bergamot, and orange. Citrus fragrances are often light and refreshing.
  2. Floral: Fragrances centered around floral notes such as rose, jasmine, lily of the valley, and lavender. Floral scents can range from delicate and powdery to intense and heady.
  3. Oriental: Rich and exotic scents characterized by warm, spicy, and sometimes sweet notes such as vanilla, amber, cinnamon, and incense. Oriental fragrances often have a sensual and mysterious quality.
  4. Woody: Earthy and robust scents featuring notes like sandalwood, cedarwood, patchouli, and vetiver. Woody fragrances can be both masculine and feminine, with a grounding and comforting appeal.
  5. Fresh: Clean and crisp scents that evoke a sense of freshness and purity. Fresh fragrances often feature notes like aquatic accords, green leaves, and herbs like mint or basil.
  6. Fruity: Sweet and juicy scents reminiscent of ripe fruits such as berries, apples, peaches, and tropical fruits. Fruity fragrances are often vibrant and playful.
  7. Gourmand: Fragrances inspired by food and confectionery notes such as vanilla, caramel, chocolate, and coffee. Gourmand fragrances can be warm, sweet, and comforting.
  8. Chypre: Elegant and sophisticated scents characterized by a combination of citrus, floral, and mossy notes. Chypre fragrances often have a timeless and refined quality.
  9. Leather: Bold and distinctive scents that evoke the aroma of leather, often combined with notes like spices, woods, and tobacco. Leather fragrances are often rich and complex.
  10. Aquatic: Fresh and watery scents inspired by the ocean or aquatic environments. Aquatic fragrances can feature marine notes, sea breeze accords, and hints of saltiness.

Once you’ve selected your fragrance family it is important to not over do it. While you can have multiple layers starting with at least two gives a great start for a good laying combination.

Step 2: Carefully Select Your Body Care Products

Enhance the longevity and complexity of your fragrance by complementing it with matching body products. Opt for body washes, lotions, or oils that feature similar notes to your chosen perfume. This layering technique ensures a consistent scent experience that lasts throughout the day.

You can also opt for fragrance free (which our Founder highly recommends). Be sure you’re selecting products that provide long lasting moisture and hydration as this helps the fragrance last longer on the skin.

Step 3: Choose Scents with Similar Notes

When layering multiple fragrances, ensure they complement each other by selecting scents with overlapping or complementary base, middle, and top notes. For example, pair a floral perfume with another floral fragrance that contains similar undertones in its base, middle, and top notes. This synergy creates a seamless and balanced fragrance composition.

Step 4: Pay Attention to the Strength of the Fragrance (Start with Heavier Layers First)

Consider the concentration and intensity of each fragrance product you layer. Begin with heavier formulations, such as extrait de parfum or eau de parfum, as your base. These concentrated formulations contain a higher percentage of fragrance oils, providing a strong foundation for layering and enhancing the depth and longevity of your fragrance.

Our 1701 Eau De Parfum, for example, is specially crafted with a high concentration of oils to ensure a rich and long-lasting scent experience. Starting with such a base allows for better integration of subsequent lighter layers, such as body mists or eau de toilettes, ensuring a harmonious blend of fragrances throughout the day.

Step 5: Test on Paper

Before applying layered fragrances to your skin, test them on paper strips or blotting paper. This initial test allows you to evaluate how the scents interact and evolve over time. Pay attention to how the top, middle, and base notes unfold and whether they create a harmonious blend.

Step 6: Experiment and Customize

Don’t be afraid to experiment. Mix and match different fragrances to find a combination that speaks to you. Note how each scent evolves throughout the day and adjust your layering technique accordingly.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

  1. Overloading with Scents: Less is more. Avoid using too many fragrances at once, as this can result in an overwhelming and conflicting scent.
  2. Ignoring Your Natural Scent: Your natural body chemistry plays a significant role in how a fragrance smells on you. Test each combination to see how it interacts with your skin.
  3. Skipping Moisturization: Dry skin doesn’t hold fragrance well. Ensure your skin is moisturized to help the scent last longer. A scent-free moisturizer is best to avoid clashing with your chosen perfumes.

Pro Tip: If you end up with a combination that doesn’t quite work, use hand sanitizer or dish soap to remove the funky layers. This helps you start fresh without lingering scents interfering with your new combination.

Final Thoughts

Layering perfumes is a creative and personal process that allows you to customize your scent to reflect your mood and style. At 1701 Fragrance, we encourage you to explore and experiment with different fragrance families, body products, and scent combinations to discover your perfect blend. Embrace the art of layering, and let your fragrance journey unfold with every application.

Embrace the art of layering, and let your scent tell your story.


By following these steps, you can create a signature fragrance that is truly personalized. Happy layering with 1701!

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