Layering Your Perfume Is the Key to Smelling Effing Amazing—Here's How

What better way to dive headfirst into the world of fragrances than by discovering which perfumes you can't imagine ever parting with? There's always a way to make something that's already great even better, and in the case of fragrances, it can be done through the practice of layering them. If you haven't tried it before, take it from a beauty editor who recently discovered this: You've been severely missing out. To gain a better appreciation for it (and come up with an extensive shopping list of my own), I reached out to two of TikTok's most talented fragrance content creators, each with their own expertise and role on the social media platform's fragrance community. Scroll on to see which perfumes you should be adding to your cart right after you finish reading this.


(Image credit: @emmahoareau)

What Is Perfume Layering?

I first spoke to Emma (last name redacted), a beauty specialist with a popular TikTok account dedicated to the discussion of all things fragrances. "Layering fragrances is when you wear more than one fragrance at once! It can be two perfumes, a fragrance and a body lotion, or even your body wash and haircare," she explains. "All the scented items you use will contribute to your overall scent bubble. Layering is when you coordinate these scents." That means from the moment you apply a scented product to your skin, you'll have a fragrance signature. Emma also took the time to explain the roles of accords in fragrances. Vanilla, for example, can be combined with other notes to create a unique scent.

Emma's biggest recommendation for layering fragrances is to start with a body cream. "A great, simple way to layer that you may even already be doing is to use scented body lotions and spray perfume on top," says Emma. "The lotion will add depth to the fragrance and help its longevity." From there, you can identify perfumes with similar notes to layer over it.


(Image credit: @mishti.rahman)

How Does Layering Perfumes Work?

The second fragrance expert I had the opportunity to speak to was Lee Romaan, TikTok's self-proclaimed "local perfume enthusiast." Like Emma, Romaan has established herself online as a resource for fragrance novices and veterans alike, dedicating the majority of her content to sharing her go-to fragrances, honest reviews, and recommendations. "The term fragrance layering essentially means to pair or layer fragrances or body products to form a personalised scent. Some people do it to increase longevity or to create a unique scent. It all just depends on what you are interested in and what level of control you want to have on your sillage," she says.

For any newcomers to the world of fragrance, sillage refers to the olfactory trail created by a perfume when it is worn on the skin. But is wearing a single perfume enough? Romaan broke down her fragrance-layering process for me step by step, taking the time to highlight the importance of identifying fragrance families, similar notes, and familiar scents. "The general rule of thumb is to start off with the heaviest/strongest or darkest scent and layer it with the lighter scents (working your way up). This would allow your lighter fragrances to be carried with your heavier scents," explains Romaan.


(Image credit: @emmahoareau)

Both Romann and Emma agree that discovering unique and unexpected pairings ultimately adds to the overall olfactory experience. Romaan says, "My best tip is to experiment and have fun with fragrance layering. Don't put too much pressure on yourself to go by strict rules. It's okay if you don't like the outcome. (You always wash it off or try another day.)" According to this fragrance enthusiast and expert, there are no rules for experimentation when it comes to layering perfumes.

"I like to break boundaries in what we know about scent and experiment with alternative fragrances, oils, and lotions," Romaan says. "You get to control what you want to smell like. Who wouldn't want that? I am constantly mixing fragrances and bodycare on the daily, and I am always experimenting." Her fragrance family of choice is gourmand, while Emma favors the floral and woodsy fragrances.

Ready to try layering your perfume like the pros? Shop our fragrance expert favorites below, and get ready for compliments.


(Image credit: @meganadelaide)

Shop Emma's Favorites


(Image credit: @emmahoareau)

Shop Romaan's Favorites

Shop More Fragrances

Floral and Fresh


(Image credit: @amaka.hamelijnck)

Fruity and Bright

Woodsy and Spicy


(Image credit: @dawn.tan)

Smoky and Warm

Next up, Diarrha N'Diaye-Mbaye Wants to Be the North Star for Your Beauty Routine

Maya Thomas
Assistant Beauty Editor
Maya Thomas is Who What Wear's assistant beauty editor based just outside of Seattle, Washington. Her strong love for all things beauty and fashion stems from a strong childhood interest in the fine arts. During a gap year spent in Paris studying the history of French fashion, she shifted her focus to English literature and journalism as a student at Loyola Marymount University with the goal of one day pursuing a career in fashion. After graduating in May 2021, Maya began freelancing for as a contributing commerce writer while also building a following on her lifestyle blog, When she's not writing, Maya spends her free time catching up on reading, perusing art galleries, and enjoying a night out at the ballet every now and then.