Buying Fragrances: A Complete Guide

There are so many ways to purchase a fragrance nowadays. There are still physical stores, but also many online webshops. With all these places to go, what are the ones that suit you best? And how do you actually go about deciding which fragrance you buy? Here are some tips!

Things To Keep In Mind When Buying A Fragrance

When buying a fragrance, there are a few things you can do in advance. You first have to know what you’re looking for. What are you missing in your collection, or which fragrance do you have your eyes on.

There are a few things that you can look at to see what kind of scent a fragrance has. The first thing you can look at is the bottle. The bottle can actually represent the scent. For example, a black bottle usually means that the fragrance is more of a nighttime fragrance, maybe even a bit more on the seductive side. A gold bottle, however, can indicate that the scent is on the sweeter side. Of course, you shouldn’t buy a fragrance based on the bottle, but this is something that can give you an idea of what type of fragrance you’re looking at.

An even better way to do this is to look at the name. Things like ‘night’, ‘nuit’, ‘extreme’, ‘intense’, or ‘fresh’ all indicate what you can expect from a fragrance. These hints in the name can somewhat help you in your search for a fragrance. If you’re looking for a new nighttime fragrance, you can quickly look at some fragrances with names that indicate that they work great in the night. These fragrances are usually a bit deeper and stronger, just like an ‘intense’ or ‘extreme’ fragrance.

You also shouldn’t forget that, if you already have a fragrance that works great for you, you don’t need a completely new one. Many fragrances have these so-called flankers. Those are basically a different take on the fragrance you already like. For example, the original Acqua Di Gio now has many flankers like the popular Acqua Di Gio Profomu, but also Acqua Di Gio Absolu and Acqua Di Gio Essenza.

But, the most important thing is to know what you’re looking for. Understand what you want. You can go to sites like to look at what notes a fragrance is made up of. If you like woody fragrances, look for fragrances with woody notes. Just take your time before purchasing. In the end, a few extra hours of research will be well worth it!

Purchasing Fragrances In Department Stores

When I think of buying fragrances, I used to just go to the nearest department store, try a few out, and maybe purchase the one I liked best. Over time, I realized that there are much better and cheaper ways to purchase fragrances. However, purchasing fragrances in department stores, or any physical store for that matter, can still be a good idea.

If you’re new to fragrances, the sales people over at the fragrance section might be of help. They usually have a nice understanding of most fragrances and can certainly point you in the right direction. If you have a general idea of what type of fragrance you want or want some recommendations, you can just ask them and they’ll help you.

However, for most people, these salespeople are just a bit annoying. Sometimes you just want to walk around for a bit and try some without being interrupted.

Another big upside to going to one of these stores is that you can actually smell the fragrance. You can just walk around and smell the ones you’re interested in and then make up your mind.

This is also the only reason why I go to these stores for fragrances. I just want to try some out before buying them.

Buying fragrances in department stores also guarantee you get the real deal. Some people like this peace of mind. However, most of the time, ordering online will be cheaper.

What About Online Webshops

Online webshops can include many, many things. Most department stores have their online webshops, but there are also many individual sellers with their own webshops.

The webshops of department stores are pretty nice to check out every now and then as they show you what is on sale at the time. They usually also have a little description of the fragrance and what you can expect of it.

Individual sellers or other online webshops usually also have some type of discount code you can apply which you can’t when you’re in the store. Just Google the store you want to buy from and add the word discount or something similar. You’ll almost always get some type of discount this way.

This really is the main factor why most people buy their fragrances online nowadays and why it is the recommended method of buying a fragrance. They are usually a bit cheaper and it is just more convenient. Just make sure you do your research before purchasing online.

There are many online webshops nowadays, and I’ll discuss the ones most commonly used, as well as some other recommendations.

Purchasing Your Fragrances From Amazon

Amazon is currently the biggest online retailer. They sell pretty much anything in the world, including fragrances.

Not only do they sell fragrances, they sell almost any fragrance you can imagine. So if you’re looking for a fragrance online, there is a good chance Amazon has it. This is because Amazon allows third parties to actually sell on the Amazon platform. So anyone in the world is actually able to sell from Amazon. This gives them a huge selection of products.

However, this also brings risks with it. All these different sellers do give you a wide variety of products and even prices, but they can also bring you fake sellers or scammers. There are definitely some complaints from buyers from Amazon that they received a fake product.

Sometimes, a fragrance is watered down. Someone took out a bit of the fragrance and replaced it with some water, making it last way shorter than the original would. Some people received fake or broken bottles and some just received an overall fak fragrance.

If you want to know more about buying fragrances on Amazon, you can read another article I wrote on this topic: ‘Are Fragrances On Amazon Real‘.

However, most of the times, you’ll get the real deal on Amazon. They offer pretty good prices compared to some other online webshops and they are one of the most trusted and well-known companies of today.

Other Big Online Webshops

Amazon isn’t the only big online retailer. There are also others, like Groupon or Wish. All these places do have some reliable sellers, so purchasing fragrances from these sites will be safe.

However, always make sure to do your own research before buying one. Especially if you buy from a lesser known website. These can be shady sometimes. If you see that a webshop sells their fragrances as ‘testers’, you’ll almost always have a fake website.

These ‘testers’ are the fragrances that are supposed to stand in the department stores for people to test it out. However, sometimes, they are sold before they get there. Most websites that sell fakes say that their prices are that low because they sell the testers.

Some Benefits When Purchasing Your Fragrances On eBay

Purchasing fragrances from eBay is pretty safe, as you have protection from PayPal. If you receive a fake, you can easily get your money back from PayPal when you returned the product.

To prevent you from buying fake fragrances, make sure to look at the feedback the seller has. If he/she has a lot of feedback, and mostly positive, you can assume that the seller sells legit fragrances.

You can also tell from the pictures and the price. Prices that are too good to be true, are usually that way. And if the pictures are unclear and blurry, that also lets you know that the seller might hide something. Also, if you only see stock photos of the fragrance, ask for photos of the real bottle. If they refuse, you know enough.

Another benefit from eBay is that they have so many different fragrances. People are allowed to sell their stuff on eBay, so there is so much variety. You can buy full bottles in all sizes, but you can also buy decants. These are small bottles of fragrance sold for a cheap price.

Discount Stores – The Fragrance Buying Secrets

A fragrance discount store is basically what it says it is. A store that sells fragrances at a discounted price. The main question is; are these fragrances legit. And yes, they are, if you get them from the right website.

The main benefit of buying fragrances at these discount stores is that they are pretty cheap, especially compared to physical stores. The reason for this is that these discount stores get their fragrances from the grey market.

What these discounters do, comes down to this. They purchase their stock in countries or other places where the price of the fragrance is much lower than the country they’re based in. The prices in an Asian country are probably much lower than the prices in a country like the United States.

Purchasing these fragrances for cheap allows them to sell them for a cheaper price as well. This is why some webshops can offer much lower prices than the market norm. And the great part is that these fragrances are authentic and real!

This practice isn’t illegal, but it doesn’t really support the company of the fragrance. However, you do get your fragrances for a much cheaper price.

Authentic Discount Stores

Luckily for us, there are many legit discount stores. Some of the most popular ones are:

  • FragranceNet is a pretty amazing and popular site. They have a wide variety and there is always an ongoing discount. On their site, you’ll see a nice 30% off everything, but, there is almost always a better one. If you google FragranceNet discount, you can almost certainly find a 35-37% discount code. And 37% off a fragrance is quite a bit. Make sure to use that when purchasing here! Your best bet to find some great deals is if you sort by New Arrivals. When the fragrances are sorted like that, you’ll see what they recently received and there are usually some sought after fragrances or some pretty good deals. You have to be quick though, as they can go away pretty fast.
  • FragranceX is another pretty popular site that sells discounted fragrances. Just like FragranceNet, FragranceX has a wide variety of discounted fragrances. If you know what you’re looking for, you can just search for that. If you’re just looking around for new fragrances or great deals, your best bet would be New Arrivals page. Their Hard To Find page has been the same for a long time now, so you don’t need to bother looking there.
  • This last site is basically the same as FragranceX. It is called and it is run by the same company as FragranceX. The website looks exactly the same as well. However, if you find something on FragranceX, go to and look it up. Usually, has a little bit of a cheaper price. It will only save you one to two dollars, but it’s something.

The only downside with these discount stores is that the shipping isn’t too fast. It usually takes like one to two weeks. However, their service is pretty good. If you have any complaints, you can contact them and they will solve it!

Fake Discount Stores

These discount stores are pretty great. Sadly, many people try to take advantage of that and sell fakes.

These fake websites show up every now and then and most of them disappear just as quickly. But sometimes, they stick around a bit longer.

The first thing to look out for is just a ridiculously low price. Some fragrances get discontinued, making the existing ones go up in value. Luckily, some of these fake discounters just don’t care and leave the price really low. If a fragrance that usually goes for around $300 is being displayed for $50, you just know it is a fake.

This doesn’t only go for discontinued fragrances, however. Some websites have a generally low price point for all fragrances. A Creed Aventus 3.4oz bottle for $50 is a guaranteed fake. But that goes for a whole lot of fragrances. The general rule is: If it’s too good to be true, it usually is. Just keep that in mind.

Niche Fragrance Websites

Looking for niche fragrances can be quite difficult. They aren’t sold as much as your typical designer fragrances, so you might have to dig a little deeper.

But luckily, there are some pretty good and reliable websites that sell these niche fragrances.

  • Lucky Scent is probably the best-known niche fragrance webshop. Although it is quite popular, Lucky Scent doesn’t really give out any discounts. They do offer free shipping every now and then. Besides that, they probably have the largest niche fragrance selection, so you should be able to find what you’re looking for all the time!
  • Beverly Hills Perfumery has a whole bunch of niche fragrances. When you go to their website, you can see all the different brands that they sell. You can also contact the owner of the website and he’ll help you with some things if you need that. Beverly Hills Perfumery also gives you samples with every bottle you purchase. These are some great spray sample of other great niche fragrances.
  • Twisted Lilly has quite a large collection of niche fragrances as well. The main benefit of shopping here is that they usually have some sort of sale going on. When you visit their website, the homepage shows you if there is an ongoing sale or not. Besides the frequent sales, they also have free shipping for the United States when the order is above $75.
  • Parfum 1 is basically a different version of the above mentioned Twisted Lilly. Their website, however, does look a bit old. But this does not take away from the great deals you can get over here. Just like Twisted Lilly, they do have frequent sales going on, as well as the free shipping for the United States when the order is higher than $75.

These websites all sell legit niche fragrances. Sometimes, you might not be able to find the niche fragrance you’re looking for. This can be because these sites have their niche fragrances on rotation. Meaning, some month they do have a certain niche fragrance, where other months, they have a different one. Just make sure to check it every now and then or just contact the company!

Monthly Subscription Services

Monthly subscription services can also be a very good choice. These services charge you a monthly fee and in return, they send you a small bottle of a fragrance of your choice.

These monthly subscription services always send you enough for the month so you’ll never be without a fragrance. Most of the time, you even get to choose the fragrances yourself. These fragrances can range from the cheaper ones to pretty expensive fragrances.

Because these companies have such a large number of different fragrances, they might be worth signing up to just to try a whole bunch of different ones before buying an actual full sized bottle.

These monthly subscription services are especially great for people who can be a bit indecisive. With all the different fragrances in the world, settling down with just a few can be quite a difficult task.

These companies solve this problem by providing you a new one of your choosing every month, giving you the option to try out multiple different ones!

Some great monthly fragrance subscription services are:

  • Scentbird. Scentbird is probably the best known of all these monthly subscription services. They send you enough fragrance for a month, and they let you choose the fragrances you want. They have a pretty large selection, around 450+ designer fragrances. You’ll most likely find quite a bunch of fragrances you like on Scentbird!
  • Scentbox. Scentbox is pretty much the same as Scentbird. They let you choose from their large selection of fragrances and then send them to your doorstep every month. Pretty neat!
  • Scent Trunk. Scent Trunk is the cheapest of these three and they do something special as well. When you sign up for Scent Trunk, they send you a palette of different scents. This is for them so they can find out what type of scents you like. By the time you actually subscribe to them, they know what you like and send you something similar each month!

Fragrance Decants

Fragrance decants are one of the best and cheapest ways to try out new and expensive fragrances. A fragrance decant is basically a rebottled version of the fragrance. People or companies buy a large bottle, which is a cheaper cost per spray, and then divide the fragrance over multiple smaller bottles.

For example, someone buys a 250ml bottle of Tobacco Vanille for $605. This would mean that 1ml costs $2,42. If someone purchases the same fragrance but a 100ml bottle, 1 ml would cost $320 : 100ml = $3,20. You can see the difference in cost per ml. So this person has the cheapest cost per ml available. He then puts these cheaper ml’s into smaller bottles and sells them for a cheaper price. He can do this because his costs are lower as well.

This way, the decant seller is able to make a little money, while also providing the buyer with a much lower cost.

If you’d like to learn more about fragrance decants, where to purchase them, and how to save money with them, you can read this article I wrote over here!

Fragrance decants are my personal favorite way to try out new fragrances. They are cheap, and if you get them from the right website, they are reliable.

Fragrance decants are also sold on eBay or any similar online marketplace. You can even buy these decants from Facebook groups. Just make sure the sellers are legit.


A fragrance sample is a small little bottle you receive with most purchases of a real fragrance bottle. They are the cards with a little bottle in the middle. They are used to let you try a new fragrance, so you can come back and purchase it.

Because these samples are given away, they are usually sold quite cheap. However, these samples you receive aren’t the largest of bottles. Think of 1ml, maybe a bit more, but not something you can use for a few days. Therefore, purchasing a fragrance sample could be considered a waste.

In my opinion, you’d be better of purchasing decants. These are a bit bigger so they can last you longer and they usually have more fragrances available. A company won’t give out Creed samples left and right.

However, when you do make a purchase, online or in a physical store, make sure to ask for samples. You’ll almost always get at least one sample you can try out. Just ask the staff or send an email to the company and maybe they give you a few. They are always a nice bonus!

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are also places where you can purchase fragrances, decants, samples, or even swap fragrances.

Some of the larger groups are Fragrance Marketplace, Fragrance Swap, and LFSG’s sales, swaps, and splits. In these groups, you can purchase fragrances or you can swap them. Although swapping them is becoming less and less common, you can still just trade your fragrance for someone else’s fragrance.

You can also purchase decants and samples on these Facebook groups. However, these Facebook groups also have fake sellers. Really the main precaution to take is to pay via Goods & Services. This way, if you get scammed, you can get your money back through PayPal.

The main benefit to these Facebook groups is the number of people in there. Some groups are really big, meaning that there are a whole bunch of different fragrances. You might even find some of the harder to find or discontinued fragrances.


There are many places where you can buy fragrances. If you are worried that you might buy fake fragrances on online shops or discount stores, I’d recommend you just go to a department store and give yourself that peace of mind.

However, if you don’t worry about that too much, I’d say you check out these other options, as they will save you a lot of money.

Furthermore, there are some other great options for you to try out different fragrances without having to buy full bottles. First, there are monthly subscription services like Scentbird. But you can also buy decant from places like eBay or The Fragrance Decant Boutique.

Overall, go with what feels right to you. You are the one purchasing and you should go with what feels right for you!

Jasper Pieterse

Hi, my name is Jasper and I've been a long time fragrance fan. Ever since 2014, I started to get a huge interest in fragrances and I've had my nose on countless of different fragrances. I'm excited to share my experiences!

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