I wanted to recently gift myself something nice, and beautiful for my recent birthday. I decided to get some perfume. However, one look at the price tag and I felt burnt! It was annoying that I could not pamper myself with perfume without burning a hole in my wallet. I kept wondering – where and how can I get some expensive perfume for cheap? So spent hours trying to figure out a way, and here’s what I learned!
Expensive perfume can be bought for cheap if you buy them online, purchase discovery kits that give you more fragrances at the same cost, or invest in a fragrance subscription box. Another option is to buy the lower-priced hair spray or room spray options if you are looking to enjoy a particular fragrance.
After my endless research, I realized that there are a ton of options for buying an expensive perfume for cheap although most are not common knowledge! Fortunately for you, the great part is that my research has led me to some insane hacks that I will share below!
1. Buy Perfume from a Pure Online Retailer
I do not mind shopping for groceries online. I order my clothes online. And now I order my perfume too! Yes, there are good, safe, and original stores that are selling perfumes at a lower rate and are giving us better discounts. This perhaps is because the usual overheads that a retail store has such as rent, electricity, staff or large banner advertising are significantly reduced.
Some of the pureplay online stores are FragranceNet, FragranceX , Luckyscent and Perfumania. Since they do not have any brick and mortar storefront to manage they are able to give deep discounts to their customers. I read a number of Reddit threads as well, and it seems that they are retailing genuine products.
And yes, it is possible to find a perfume you want without ever stepping and smelling it first in a store. As long as you know what type of fragrances you gravitate towards such as citrus, florals, woody etc you can largely find something you will like.
2. Get FREE Samples from a Department Store
You can also buy perfume from department stores such as Sephora, Nordstrom, Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Planet Parfum, Douglas, Ici Paris XL, and Neiman Marcus. Online and offline – these stores usually will give you a good buying experience.
Also with a department store, you are assured that these are genuine products and usually the return policy is very good! The best part is that when checking out you can request some free samples. Really!
In fact, at a Sephora, Nordstrom or similar luxe department store, the retail staff will happily provide a few sample vials of their latest offerings. Just ask!
3. Buy Perfume Testers and Perfume Samples
It is actually possible to buy perfume in sample-sized bottles directly from luxury retailers online such as TheAromi.com. From USD 3 to USD 5, you can buy little vials of luxury perfume or cologne bottles.
The idea is that if you buy some samples, and you love it – you are likely to go for the full-size bottles. Sometimes, you may also get discount coupons for future purchases along with the samples in order to encourage you to purchase the bigger bottle.
Department stores and certain wholesale stores, are also willing to sell you perfume testers during their clearance sales. Yes, you will probably get them half full and possibly not box packed – but surely it will be cheaper than the one inside the fancy packaging.
Just be aware that the perfume tester you are buying has not ‘turned’ i.e. smells more of alcohol, and has not become discolored i.e. become either much darker or too clear, light. Point being opened fragrances start evaporating as soon as they mix with air, and the fragrance top-notes start to disappear. It leaves a rather strong alcohol smell and can be quite oily to apply. Check out this article in case you want to check if your perfume tester is still OK to buy.
4. Buy Perfume Samples from the Manufacturer
Sometimes going direct to the manufacturer online is your best bet!
For example, Le Labo gives an opportunity to buy some iconic hand-made perfume sized in 0.05-ounce bottles. They are perfume vials that are usually priced at under USD 6. It essentially gives you access to the Estee Lauder brand without breaking a sweat. However, since these are all hand-made, be aware that moving up to a full-size bottle will be incredibly expensive if you are on the lookout for cheap perfumes.
Similarly, if you go online to the Hugo Boss store, you are likely to find a good combination pack that you can buy and split the purchase with a friend. For example, you keep the Eau de Cologne and gift the aftershave version with your Dad? Who knows, Christmas might come early!
One other luxury perfume brand is Hermes. They actually encourage you to ask for a free fragrance sample before you commit! You can check out the link here to the instructions for this request.
6. Buy During Discount Days & Black Fridays!
Another option is to buy during deep discount days. For example, online you will see huge discounts around the Chinese New Year and Black Friday.
Some stores such as Nordstrom run Scent Events and will ply you with free samples of expensive perfume. Collect the goodies then and store them well to wear them through the year! It cannot get cheaper than this.
7. Buy a Perfume Discovery Set!
So one great way to get a large collection of perfumes in a much less expensive manner is to buy perfume discovery sets! These are mini scents that are bottled to give you a wider variety of fragrances. They are larger than sample bottles so give you ample amount to experience the fragrance.
Fragrance discovery sets also give you an opportunity to mix things up, layer perfumes, and even just test out a new scent without committing to a whole bottle!
Since these are small bottles they are also referred to as Perfume Travel Coffret as they are the perfect size allowed for in-flight travel i.e. well under 100 ml.
Perfume Coffrets most commonly come as a set of five scent bottles.
You can choose from some popular sets such as Christian Dior perfume travel coffrets, Yves Saint Laurent Le Vestiaire Des Parfums Discovery Set, Le Labo Discovery Set, and even the Perfume Society’s Indulgence Discovery Box that allows you to buy a box full of multiple brands as miniatures.
8. Fragrance Subscription Box
Another super option is to sign up for a subscription service for perfumes. Yes! That’s possible. There are services where you can register to receive a box of fragrances every month, or periodically.
These boxes are full of surprises as the fragrance subscription provider selects the scents for you. Usually these will include newly launched fragrances, scents which are currently on-trend and sometimes will also give you a discount coupon for the fragrance you’d like to size up to a larger bottle.
The great part of fragrance subscription services is that one, you get to experience a wide variety of brands each month, two, you get access to the newly launched scents and three, you can leave the headache of finding you new perfumes to try each month to an expert ‘nose’.
9. Sign-up for a fragrance newsletter!
In a world where data is everything, people are willing to sweeten the pot if you just share your email address to receive their newsletters.
In fact, a lot of beauty and perfume product manufacturers hope to keep you engaged with newsletters. For example, take a look at the Giorgio Armani brand – they offer you a 10 percent discount for your next purchase if you sign for their beauty newsletter.
Sounds quite simple doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t have to be more complicated than that!
10. Perfume Giveaways on Social Media
When it comes to perfumes and makeup sets, social media is the platform where you get to learn a lot. This applies even to securing free perfumes through giveaways!
If you would like to be updated about instant perfume giveaways or opportunities to win a bottle of perfume, then it. is perhaps a good option to follow the perfume brands on social media.
For example, I saw on Instagram Creed Boutique and Clive Christian Perfumes have at times tied up with influencers to run perfume giveaways. I would think that would be a good way to keep yourself aware of a possible freebie!
11. Buy Fragrances at Estate Sales
Estate sales can often go both ways! You may win some or you may lose some! But sometimes, you will find amazing treasure trove that includes perfumes!
As you know estate sales or garage sales happen all the time. Sometimes when people are cleaning up or moving out they’re just happy to just get rid of stuff, including vintage perfumes. If you have time, visit such a sale and possibly score an Ester Lauder or Elisabeth Arden. There are at times very expensive perfumes priced for a few dollars! You never know when you might get lucky.
For me, though, estate sale is not really a preferred option. So, let’s move on to the next tip!
12. Buy Perfume at Duty-Free Shops
You may have noticed that the cost of a perfume bottle at a duty-free shop is far lesser than usual. This may not always be the case, but it is the case a lot of times! Fragrances cost much lesser at a duty-free shop that what you would experience in the open market.
This is because local taxes have been excused at duty-free shops and therefore they possibly can pass on that margin to the customer. The shops are usually located at the airport and only accessible to travelers, but certain countries also have business districts where these duty-free shops are present and items like perfume can be bought by travelers without paying any local tax.
You’ll just have to remember to carry your passport, of course.
13. Buying with Gift Cards
Not sure if you’ve noticed, but many times gift cards available at department stores such as at Sephoras and others are available online at a discount itself. You can possibly save between 5 percent to 20 percent on the actual perfume MRP if you are paying via a gift card.
For instance, you’re buying a perfume that costs $100 and you have an option to pay through a gift card too. So, instead of paying directly through your credit card, just make sure to check out if there are any deals running on a gift card. Even if you end up buying a gift card worth a $100 for just 90 bucks, you’ve saved a good 10% on the perfume!
There isn’t always a deal running on a gift card, but it is worth checking out.
One thing to remember is that sometimes (very rarely) gift cards can have certain stipulations on usage. This could mean that you may be asked to split the gift card across two purchases or even wait a few days before you make a purchase using a gift card. So, just be sure that you read through the terms and conditions on using the gift card before buying one.
14. Buy a Hair Spray Version of the Perfume
If you are really interested in a certain scent and don’t really care what form of perfume is it used in, consider buying a hair spray!
Perfume brands many times take some of their popular expensive fragrances and extend the line with options of hair sprays, scented lotions, room spray etc. If you’re really really particular about getting that particular fragrance then perhaps use the hair spray, for example. It’s still the same fragrance!
Of course, point to note, hair sprays are very diluted so the quantity of fragrance is far lesser than the traditional Eau de Parfum or Eau de Cologne would have. However, it will at least let you experience the fragrance rather inexpensively!
15. Buy Perfume with Credit Card Cashback or Digital Wallets
Many of us use credit cards for purchasing all kinds of things online! But sometimes, there are offers being run by online store for a credit card from a particular bank!
More often than not there will be a credit card offer or digital wallet that will allow you to get 5-10 percent cash back on purchases. Using this route would be a great idea especially if you are able to use this option during discount days at your perfume shop.
16. Ask for Discount Codes Online
Several of us order online, and get a discount coupon that can be redeemed on our next our purchase.
However, many times these codes go to waste as they’re usually time-bound. There are sites and communities online on Facebook and Reddit that happily exchange and share these discount codes. So you can possibly score a discount code for FragranceNet and get an even deeper discount than what they already offer!
17. Agree for a Product Review!
Many times, legitimate good perfume brands want to conduct market research and understand their audience a bit better. They want to understand whether you liked the product or not!
For that, some perfume brands will willingly ship free samples your way! Yes, you can sign up to become a tester or product reviewer.
Generally, the ask is if you did like the perfume, would you be able to recommend it further on an online marketplace.
18. Grab Free Perfume Samples
Who doesn’t like free samples? So, if you are okay to get free samples (and why wouldn’t you be), this tip is going to be super amazing! With this trick, you can grab several free perfume samples. You can start a whole new collection.
There are a few sites that indeed provide you with free perfume samples – no strings attached! All you have to do is just signup or visit their sites regularly in order to check out or sign up to receive free perfume samples. They even offer a plethora of other beauty products which you can benefit from!
Here are some of the top sites that will provide you with FREE perfume samples –
19. Make your Own Perfume at Home:
Ok, if none of these tips work for you then how about making an expensive smelling perfume all by yourself at home instead?
For example, take your favorite perfume and see what all ingredients have they advertised in terms of fragrance notes. You can read up on some of the most important and expensive ingredients used in a good perfume.
Now that you know the type notes you like in a perfume, how about creating a similar perfume at home?
If you’re unsure how to make your own perfume at home, or don’t know how then let me guide you. Take a look at this article to learn more about the step-by-step process.
20. BONUS Tip – Perfume Swap!
If you are tired of using a particular type of perfume or if you just happen to have received a perfume as a gift that you dislike, you can swap your perfume with another perfume enthusiast!
There is a possibility to actually swap perfume bottles and try out different perfumes inexpensively. This includes swapping out second-hand perfume bottles, buying decants, etc.
This tip may not work for everyone as there are a few risks involved and there aren’t any assurances whether what you get as a perfume swap is the real deal. Nevertheless, it is a great option to add a new perfume to your repertoire!
If this is what interests you, here is a Reddit community dedicated to Perfume Exchange to get you started. There are several Facebook pages dedicated to this.
A word of caution – do not enter and start buying if you can’t tell fakes from originals because these are not regulated communities in that sense.
More related information –
- Should Perfume be Used on Skin or Clothes? A Comprehensive Guide!
- Why is Perfume Called Toilet Water? Eau de Toilette Explained!
- Does Perfume Damage Jewelry? Here’s What We Found!
- Can I Carry Perfume on a Plane? THIS is What You Should Remember!
- Does Perfume Get Better with Age? You Should Know THIS!
Credit for the Featured Image of this article is to Cindy Liu