Layering Fragrances : French Elle Guide Part 2

Perfume woman

Part 1: Layering Fragrances : Perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena’s and French Elle Suggestions

Last winter French Elle has published an installment on layering perfumes, giving helpful tips and providing eleven different suggestions. I indicate with an asterisk (*) the combinations I particularly liked. The translation from French is my own.

How to Layer

If you follow these basic rules, you will quickly learn the art of layering. So, it is your turn to play!

Choose scents that have something in common: for example, green notes, an accord of roses or an oriental vanilla base.

Have fun mixing a heady and tenacious perfume with another that is light and airy, like a citrus cologne.

Instead of choosing the same two concentrations of scent, first spray an eau de parfum in two or three places (wrist, neck, etc.) and then, for the amplified sillage, finish with a spritz of an eau de toilette.

You can also choose a complex composition (which is the case with most major classics) and add another perfume that is much simpler: a rose will do wonders layered with a patchouli.

Finally, play with textures. First, apply a body lotion on arms and chest, and once dressed, spray another fragrance behind the ears and inside the wrists.

1. New Refinement – Christian Dior Miss Dior body cream + Fan di Fendi Eau de Parfum

*2. So Chic – Chanel No 19 Body Lotion (Emulsion pour le Corps) + Prada Infusion d’Iris (I tried this layering combination with Chanel No 19 EDT, and it worked really well, making for a fantastic rich, green iris.

3. Eastern Heat – Stendhal Ambre Sublime body cream (Crème Sublime pour le Corps) + Serge Lutens Ambre Sultan

*4. Bobo New Genre – Juliette Has a Gun + The Body Shop White Musk Body Cream, an interesting musky amber.

*5. Fruity Gourmand – Juicy Couture + Jo Malone Orange Blossom lotion

*6. Grand Style – Yves Rocher Vanille Noire + Guerlain Shalimar Body Milk (Lait Divin pour le Corps)

7. Fashion Delight – Chanel Cristalle Body Emulsion + Balenciaga Eau de Parfum

*8. Futuristic Dazzle – Thierry Mugler Womanity Eau de Parfum + Serge Lutens Féminité du Bois Eau de Parfum (somewhat too sweet for my tastes, but interesting nevertheless)

9. The Eighteenth Garden – by Kilian Love and Tears Eau de Parfum + Annick Goutal Eau d’Hadrien body cream

10. Ultra-Hot – Chanel Coco Mademoiselle Moisturizing Emulsion + Eau de Parfum Intense Play for Her by Givenchy

11. Spiritual Trip – Caron Parfum Sacré + Narciso Rodriguez Essence body cream (Crème Corps Parfumée)

Image: Woman Pouring Perfume into Flask fresco, 1st Century, from Villa Farnesina.



  • violetnoir: Hmmm…Parfum Sacre plus Narciso Rodriguez…I may have to try that one for a lift to my spirits! For the life of me, I can’t even imagine how that combo would smell, V, lol! Did you try it?

    Hugs! August 18, 2011 at 11:29am Reply

  • dleep: I love reading these layering suggestions. I am so afraid I will create a monster if I start experimenting! August 18, 2011 at 11:53am Reply

  • OperaFan: Love discussions on combination scent layering!
    I have several rose soliflores, but use them mostly to intensify the rose note in other more complex perfumes. On the other hand, I would rarely wear a musk perfume alone but use it as a base to extend the wear of more ephemeral fragrances. August 18, 2011 at 12:15pm Reply

  • Alexandra: Another successful layering for me has been Le Parfume de Therese with Casmir Chopard, since both share the citrus in different manifestations. Therese makes Casmir fresher, and Casmir’s oriental vanilla is giving her the missing sweetness I was after! August 18, 2011 at 12:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: I have not tried it, but I would imagine that the musk in Essence would soften the spices considerably. Plus, both are rose rich, which would be a nice harmony. August 18, 2011 at 2:14pm Reply

  • Victoria: You can also experiment by spraying on paper. It is a low commitment way to try layering! 🙂 August 18, 2011 at 2:15pm Reply

  • Victoria: You are quite a layering expert! I love the combinations you have shared under the first thread on layering here. August 18, 2011 at 2:15pm Reply

  • Victoria: Mmmm, sounds wonderful! I am going to try it today. August 18, 2011 at 2:16pm Reply

  • Melanie: Interesting ideas…I don’t experiment with layering very much, but one that I think worked well was Muscs Koublai Khan layered with the newer Mitsouko edt. It smelled great, gave the Mitsouko some richness that it is currently lacking. August 18, 2011 at 7:33pm Reply

  • Heidi: Shaal Nur body milk is great for layering, and it thankfully lasts longer than the spray. I’ve been mixing it with Chanel #19 and #5 parfum, Diorella, Parfum de Therese, Goutal Neroli, and Sonoma Scent Studio Sienna Musk.

    Love the posts on layering, I get great ideas (esp from the commenters)! August 19, 2011 at 1:10am Reply

  • Suzanna: I was going to say it’s been a long time since we’ve seen No. 19 body products stateside!

    Would like to try the one with Eau d’Hadrien body cream, except I might switch out the By Kilian suggestion for Patou Sublime.

    An unplanned layering of Premiere Figuier Extreme over very dried-down Chanel Allure gave the earthy, rooty fig a touch of sweetness that was not altogether unpleasant. August 19, 2011 at 7:41am Reply

  • Lucy: how wonderful. I don’t know if you mean on top of each other or besides each other or on different arms. I have never done on top of each other except over a jasmine concrete which amplifies most everything in a good way August 19, 2011 at 9:52am Reply

  • Lucy: ah, yes I see, the layering in time also… August 19, 2011 at 9:52am Reply

  • Cristine: This is my first time commenting– I couldn’t resist this topic. How fun! I recently tried L’Artisan Ambre Extreme body lotion with Chanel No. 5 edt & it was very nice. I love the opening notes of No. 5 more than the dry-down, so I found that it was an improvement for me. August 19, 2011 at 11:02pm Reply

  • Grusheczka: Can’t believe I missed this posting – so fun! One of my very favorite layering combos is Frederic Malle Musc Ravageur with L’Artisan Dzing. Works incredibly well on me. Thanks for the story! September 7, 2011 at 11:57am Reply

    • indigo_girl: Layering Musc Ravageur with Acqua di Parma Colonia is wonderful. February 23, 2020 at 12:15pm Reply

  • angeldiva: Help! BdJ sisters, and brothers! I need help to layer Ma Griffe. It just powders down to a whisper on me. I can’t give up! We are talking about a Jean Carles historical fragrance. He would want me to be happy! LOL
    Peace November 17, 2014 at 3:33am Reply

    • Victoria: Hmm, what about trying a lotion under it? November 24, 2014 at 12:59pm Reply

  • Karen: After discussing what to layer with Ma Griffe in another discussion, I decided to have some fun and try a bunch of combinations! Some of my blind buys have just not resonated for me, despite me being sure they would – I cringe to admit that First, Mitsouko, and Ma Griffe have just not worked. So….. somewhere, perfumers have their head in their hands and are crying “Why! Why! Why!” as I try this with that and that with this.

    However, I will now have to brave the sampling from paper strips to myself (and my cupboard with a gazillion strips all over it looks like a crazy lady’s test site).

    Interestingly, layering First and Ma Griffe seems promising, as does First with Arpege. First and Michael Kors also might work and I’m holding initial judgment on Arpege with Ma Griffe, although it also holds promise.

    A few definitely did not work, but it’s fun – and on a rainy cold day a good project! December 2, 2014 at 8:21am Reply

    • Victoria: Some of these combos are definitely daring on paper, but they do work. It’s only tricky to get the proportions right! December 2, 2014 at 9:44am Reply

      • Karen: My measurements consisted of a spritz and a spritz! Not quite scientific! I did get brave and tried Arpege layered with Ma Griffe – so far it is wearing quite nicely. My challenge with Ma Griffe is (what I guess is) the asafoetida note, so far Arpege has smoothed that out.

        It has opened me up to thinking of perfumes in a new way – why one combination might work and another not, despite me thinking it “should”. Lots of fun, too! December 2, 2014 at 11:50am Reply

  • Clarissa: What would you layer Red Roses by Jo Malone with? The rose is just way too strong – trying to tone it down a little bit. January 21, 2015 at 7:02pm Reply

    • Victoria: Maybe, something with amber or wood? Jo Malone’s collection has many different options (Amber and Patchouli or Dark Amber and Lily), and it’s designed for layering. January 22, 2015 at 10:11am Reply

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