How to Layer Lotion and Perfume Without Overdoing It

Victoria Moorhouse
perfume layering tips

Photo: :Tetra Images / Getty Images

We’ve definitely reached for the fragrance-free body cream in fear of messing up our signature scent—or you know, becoming the girl known for overdosing on eau de toilette. But it turns out that when you know what you’re doing, layering scented body lotion and perfume is actually a genius move. To learn the dos and don’ts of how to layer lotion and perfume, we went to fragrance experts and picked up a few interesting tips along the way.

It won’t just intensify it.
At first, we thought putting on scented lotion and perfume would be a train-wreck waiting to happen. No one wants to walk into a room and overwhelm her colleagues with a cloud of hydrangea. Steven Claisse, Senior Perfumer at Takasago and perfumer of various CLEAN Fragrances, explains that layering these two fragrance-filled objects won’t intensify the smell, but complement different notes. In fact, Claisse says that lotion under perfume is a good way to introduce layering in general. Good to know when you receive those gift sets around the holidays.

It makes it last.
If you feel like fragrance always evaporates into thin air the second you put it on your skin, layering is going to be a godsend. Chris Wyatt, Executive Director of Global Education at Jo Malone, tells us that it will help you keep your scent stick around longer, which we definitely appreciate. “Fragrance layering is the best way to make your scent last longer using,” he says. “For example, if Pomegranate Noir ($124, jomalone.com) is your scent of choice, you can add Pomegranate Noir Bath Oil to your morning bath.”

Apply Your Lotion First
Do you apply your moisturizer after your shower? Good—that’s exactly the way you should be doing it. “I recommend putting the lotion on first then shortly after misting on the fragrance,” explains Claisse. “You will have a great fragrance base with just the lotion and a complimentary mist of scent to enhance the fragrance experience.”

Know What Compliments Each Other
When it comes to the layering process, you have to pick scents that work well together. Claisse says to try slathering on a floral body lotion and spritzing on a musky scent, like CLEAN White Woods ($38, sephora.com) to make it a bit deeper, richer and sexier. In general, you should always layer a light scent with one that’s stronger. Here’s a quick cheat sheet of the fragrance types that work best together:
Musk and Floral
Oriental and Fruity
Oriental and Gourmand
Citrus and Woody
Fruity and Floral
Floral and Oriental

If you’re interested in learning more about layering lotion and fragrance, Jo Malone even offers a feature on their website that walks you through what products go well together, based on if you want your scent to smell fresher or warmer. In fact, Wyatt tells us that their fragrances are specifically made so that clashing isn’t really a concern. “The Jo Malone London signature is fragrances that are simple yet sophisticated in their composition, he says. “There is clarity in the way they are created, allowing them to stay true to their ingredients, and the result is that all combine well with another.”

Know What Not to Layer
You’ll want to keep green florals and and oriental fragrances separate, explains Steven. “These tend to clash,” he says. “They are overly juxtaposed and will likely produce a scent that is very discorded.” And while we like interesting scents, discordant fragrance is never one of our perfume goals.

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