An expert breaks down the ins and outs of the art of layering for us and how a complementary body lotion can be the perfect thoughtful Christmas present

It’s nearly Christmas gift-giving season, and we couldn’t be more excited. Nothing says joy quite like surprising our loved ones with the perfect pressie – and receiving our own, let’s be honest. But are you struggling for gift ideas? We’re here to help and shed light on one of the most underrated Christmas presents going – luxurious body lotions.

The not-so-humble accompaniment to their favourite scent could be the ideal thoughtful gift, as well as the key to mastering one of the biggest beauty trends of the moment – fragrance layering. Whether it’s a light, floral lotion that oozes romance, or an opulent amber number that’s sure to turn heads at the Christmas party, we’ve got them all at Boots.

With this in mind, we’ve nabbed some time with William Andrews, Head of Education, luxury division at Coty and an industry-recognised fragrance expert, on how we can layer lotion and perfume scents like a pro for the gift that will keep on giving this Christmas and beyond.

What is perfume layering?

Perfume layering is having a moment right now and, according to William, it’s as straightforward as the name suggests. "It’s the idea of 'layering' one scent on top of another, to create an intensified fragrance," he explains. As well as perfumes, you can do this with shower gels and body lotions to make your scent last longer, too.

What are the benefits of perfume layering?

We all want to make a lasting impression when we enter a room and turns out, layering could be the secret.

"Most perfumes have been lovingly crafted, so when used correctly, the idea of 'layering' scent can work well," says William. "I’d suggest using products in the same range. Some fragrances are available in body lotion and shower gel formats, and are often in gift sets.

"By using them together, it builds up a layer of perfume on your skin before you finish off with the actual fragrance. The concoction ultimately creates a long-lasting, intensified cloud of scent."

How can you layer scents properly?

It starts with the shower gel and then the body lotion once you’ve dried, then it’s onto the application of the fragrance itself.

"When it comes to layering, my top piece of advice is always finishing with the actual fragrance, as this is the purest form of the scent," says William. "There’s 'The Precision Technique' where the wearer applies it carefully on targeted areas of the body, such as pulse points. There’s also 'The Dramatic Technique', which is as dramatic as the name suggests! A giant cloud is spritzed into the air, followed by an exuberant swoon into the scented haze, providing the perfect finishing all-over coverage."

The takeaway? There's no hard and fast rule of thumb when it comes to how to layer scents on your body. "Just go with your mood and enjoy the daily application scent ritual you create," adds William.

Which scents work well with each other?

The most important thing is to try to stick to the same brand, according to William.

"Some people are obsessed with layering one perfume on top of another," says William. "I like to keep in mind the fact that most fragrances have been expertly created exactly the way the perfumer intended. By layering different brands, the individual distinctivity of the fragrances is lost. I prefer to celebrate the perfumer’s idea and enjoy a fragrance for what it is. Instead, stick to the same brands for the best complementing scent."

Any tips for creating a signature scent?

When it comes to choosing the fragrance for you, it mightn’t be as tricky as we’d thought.

"Although you can’t smell yourself, we all have a unique base skin odour, which is defined by our genetics," says William. "I’d suggest trying a few and trusting your own instinct here. If you like it, then it’s likely to complement your own natural scent and could be a great option for you."

If you know their favourite perfume or if you’re able to have a stealthy nose (detective skills at the ready) at their go-to, a complementary body lotion could be the perfect present. Want to give them a surprise? Take a look at its scent profile online to get a hint of what they like.

10 of the best luxury body lotions to gift this Christmas

Whether you’re looking for some gift inspiration for a loved one or for yourself, here are 10 of Team H&B’s favourites to layer or rock solo.

Shop more beautifully scented body lotions in our full range.

Try: Dior J’adore Beautifying Body Milk

• Size: 200ml

• Fragrance family: floral

Composed of a harmonious blend of cotton nectar and jasmine flower extract, this scent is perfect for those who love to feel fresh and clean. Consider it the ultimate hydrating post-shower treat that works to beautify the appearance of the skin and leave behind a luminous finish. As for the bottle? It’s sure to take pride of place on anyone’s dressing table.

Try: Joy by Dior Moisturizing Body Lotion

• Size: 200ml

• Fragrance family: floral, woody, musk

If you love a fresh, floral fragrance with a hint of citrus, then this dreamy body lotion could be right up your street. Just a smell of the top notes of zetsy bergamont, sweet mandarin and heady florals and you’ll be enveloped in feelings of joy, while its ultra-fresh and airy texture offers a relaxing touch of escapism – count us in.

Try: Estée Lauder Beautiful Body Lotion

• Size: 200ml

• Fragrance family: floral

A feminine, romantic scent, bottled – this body lotion isn’t only beautiful by name as it’s a timeless classic, but its brimming with a rich blend of rose, lily, tuberose and orange flower. It’s a truly all-encompassing fragrance and the perfect accompaniment to a special occasion.

Try: Laura Mercier Souffle Body Crème – Ambre Vanille

• Size: 300g

Consider this warming scent the ultimate ode to the colder months. Comforting vanilla and amber combine for a rich, luxurious concoction that lasts all day. Plus, it earns bonus points as it contains sweet almond and honey, both of which can help soothe and nourish.

Try: Ren Clean Skincare Moroccan Rose Otto Body Lotion

• Size: 200ml

Bursting with damask rose petals, this floral body lotion is nothing short of pure bliss. Just a small amount massaged onto cleansed skin will uplift and revitalise the senses, while the infusion of shea butter will help hydrate and smooth any dry areas. The results? Velvety soft skin that smells as good as it looks.

Try: Clinique Aromatics Elixir Body Smoother

• Size: 200ml

Clinique's gorgeous body smoothing lotion makes for the perfect gift. The sensuous blend contains rose essence, sandalwood, chamomile, oakmoss and ylang ylang, making it a cocooning, cold-weather classic that we return to time and time again. Apply to pulse points for a more subtle finish.

Try: Elemis Exotic Frangipani Monoi Body Cream

• Size: 200ml

If you’re looking to treat someone special to a spa-like indulgence from home, then consider Elemis your answer. A cult favourite, this nourishing body cream is the perfect excuse to enjoy a quiet moment of peace. Fragranced with frangipani flowers, it’ll leave limbs feeling soft, supple and beautifully scented.

Try: Rituals The Ritual of Samurai After Shave Refresh Gel

• Size: 100ml

One for him, The Ritual of Samurai is the perfect post-shave gel. The addition of aloe vera is a dream for minimising redness and irritation, while the refreshing scent of basil and tiger grass are both refreshing and invigorating. A total treat.

Try: Sol de Janeiro Beija Flor  Elasti-Cream

• Size: 150ml

Trust us when we say this body cream is addictive. Notes of salted caramel and sweet pistachio combine to create a showstopping finish that’s sure to last from dawn until dusk. Not just a pretty scent, this fast-absorbing body cream also contains cacay oil to help deliver valuable moisture, improving the appearance and softness of skin.

Try: Dior Sauvage Face and Beard Moisturiser

• Size: 75ml

• Fragrance family: aromatic fougere

The perfect Christmas gift for the man who has it all, this nourishing face and beard moisturiser from Dior is a lesson in luxury. Not only is it lightweight and non-sticky in texture, but the scent is sure to make an impression – for all the right reasons.

For more gorgeous body lotions, perfect for layering or wearing on its own, check out our full range.