How to Tell if Perfume is Fake? [The Complete Guide!]

Do you know the feeling of buying a classic perfume and then have doubts about whether it is an authentic product? Well, I do! And, I hope you never have to go through it! But, with so many fake perfume products flooding the market, you can not take your chances! The real question is how do you know for sure whether the perfume is authentic or fake?

Most fake perfumes will usually come wrapped in messy packing. The box paperboard will mostly be flimsy, and tape or glue may be visible from the outside. Look out for any spelling errors in the product description or brand name! Unbelievably cheap price is another tell-tale sign of a fake perfume.

I decided to reach out to the experts and research ways to tell a fake perfume product from a genuine one so as to not fall for the trap again!

In this article, I’ll share with you what I’ve learned about spotting fake perfume. You’ll get to understand some of the typical characteristics of fake perfume products in further detail. By the end of this article, you will have enough information to spot some of the most common red flags that you should look out for when buying a perfume.

So, read on and you’ll acquire the tools to tell when a perfume is fake!

Where will You Come across Fake Perfumes?

Before we discuss the characteristics of fake perfumes and provide you with the red signals, let me warn you that although you’ll likely come across fake perfumes mostly at flea market stalls, you can even find high sophisticated counterfeits in large fragrance shops every once in a while!

The fake perfume “industry” is an expanding industry. Estimates of annual worldwide sales of fake beauty products, including fake perfumes, are exceeding hundreds of billions of dollars. It also seems as if fakes are flourishing in developed and developing countries. Thus, you will find fake perfumes literally anywhere.

Another common source of fake perfumes is when you are buying them online! Some websites, particularly the ones that involve an individual selling a product as a business owner (like eBay), tend to have higher counterfeit products than others. It is difficult to call out any websites since most tend to sell genuine products as well!

Whether it is a flea-market stall or a well-known fragrance shop, remember that when a classic perfume is offered as a one-off cheap special, the chances are great that it is a fake product.

With that being said, let’s dive into some of the most common red signals of a fake perfume!

1. The Wrapping is Messy

One of the first things that you should notice for a fake perfume is its packaging.

If the cellophane wrapping seems to move around the box rather than clinging tightly to it, it might be a sign that you are looking at a fake perfume.

To convey the luxurious and exotic image of an original perfume the packaging is generally just as important to the manufacturer as the perfume itself. The cellophane around an authentic perfume’s box is thick and folded very professionally around it. The cellophane will usually be held together and end with visible but flawless seams.

As a rule of thumb, you probably will be looking at a fake perfume if the wrapping’s seam is more than 5 mm wide or uneven. For counterfeit products, you may notice that the cellophane doesn’t end at the seam, and is usually extended by about half an inch.

Another sign that the product might be fake, is when adhesives like tape and glue are visible on the outside of the box. Manufacturers of fake products just don’t give as much attention to small detail as the classic perfume manufacturers.

2. The Box’s Paperboard is Flimsy

Manufacturers of original perfume use high-quality paperboard to protect the bottle inside the box. The box is designed to keep the perfume bottle in place and safe.

Flimsy paperboard boxes most often indicate that the manufacturer doesn’t care whether the bottle is well protected, and thus only holds cheap fake perfume.

Sometimes, the inside of the paperboard is greyish and not white. This is also a red signal that you might be looking at a fake perfume. 

3. The Information on the Label Differs from that on the Website

When you want to buy a perfume unknown to you, take the time and search for the product on the internet before you visit the shop.

Save the link on your phone and when you look at the products in the shop compare the detail on the label with the information on the website. Even a small mismatch is a sign that the product you are looking at is a fake perfume.

Another thing that you can do once you’ve purchased a product is to reach out to the customer service of the brand to confirm the details mentioned on the package!

4. Serial Numbers and Barcodes are not Printed but Glued on

Authentic perfumes’ boxes will always have a serial number and a barcode printed at the one end of the box.  If they are on the side of the box, it is a red signal. Manufacturers of fake perfume often put a barcode on one side of the box instead of on the one end.

Another thing to note is that fake products generally have a barcode but not a serial number on the box. Furthermore, the barcode is printed on a label and then glued onto the box in most cases.

If it is an authentic perfume, you’ll find the same numbers that are printed on the box also printed on the bottle inside the box. Make sure the numbers and barcode are printed on the bottle and not skillfully pasted.

Double-check that the serial numbers on the box and the bottle are a match.

An authentic perfume’s box also shows a batch code and in most cases also a manufacturing date. If you don’t find a batch number or date on the box, it is most probably a fake product.

5. There are Spelling Mistakes on the Label

If you spot a spelling mistake on the box or the bottle, you can be one hundred percent sure that it is a fake product!

Manufacturers of original perfumes have content writers, proofreaders, and spell-checkers to ensure that their labels are correct. Misspelled words are a definite red signal that you are looking at a fake.

The spelling mistakes can be small like switching an “E” to an “I” or use “A” instead of “An.” Another give-away is bad grammar and if US English and UK English are used interchangeably on the label. If you find spelling or grammar mistakes on the label it might be a fake perfume.

Sometimes, you may even come across a bottle that has got the spelling of the brand wrong! You may think this might a mistake on part of people selling fake products, but in reality, this is an easy way to avoid litigation.

6. The Bottle doesn’t Feel Smooth in Your hand

An authentic perfume is always presented in a high-quality bottle with a smooth and fine surface. There will be no bubbles in the glass. Generally, the bottle of fake perfume is contoured and even rough.

The not-so-smooth surface of a fake perfume bottle also leads to smudges on the text and logo. Another bottle test you can perform is to turn the bottle upside down and test whether the cap sits tight on the bottle.

The caps of the authentic perfume bottles don’t come off easily when the bottle is held upside down. On a legitimate perfume bottle, a tight cap is put in place to prevent perfume from spilling or leakage. This will usually be lacking in a counterfeit product.

7. You cannot Smell the Fragrance after a few Hours

Original perfumes have several levels of fragrance. The essential oils in perfumes are divided into what are called top notes, middle notes, and base notes.

Typically, you can smell the top notes immediately and they last about half an hour. The mid notes can be sensed after about 30 minutes and last for two to four hours, while the base note is what is left on the skin after 6 to 8 hours. This will vary from one perfume to another, and also on the type of perfume that you purchase (EDT, EDP, Cologne, etc)

That said, a good quality perfume will usually last from about 3 hours to over 12 hours!

A counterfeit perfume will not last long. In fact, it will usually fade away in a matter of minutes.

If you have the time, put a few drops on your arm and determine whether you can still smell the fragrance after about half an hour. Fake perfumes smell bad after some time or don’t have a smell anymore.

8. Perfume Color

Another factor that you should consider when identifying whether a perfume is fake or genuine is the color of the perfume inside the bottle.

Most authentic perfumes are usually light in color. However, counterfeit perfume products usually contain a darker, more chemical-like color of the perfume.

Perfume color is easier to spot when the original bottle is transparent. For perfumes that come in a bottle that have a color of their own, it is difficult to spot a fake using this factor alone.

FAQs –

When buying a perfume, you may have a few additional questions regarding its authenticity. I will try and cover some of the most common questions that you may have about fake perfume in this section.

1. Can I Verify from the Seller Whether the Perfume is Authentic Before Buying?

To verify whether the perfume is authentic before buying, ask the seller to show the original barcode and serial number along with the bottle. Then, call up the customer service number of the brand and verify if the product is legit.

If you’re buying online, check for the product description and details, and match it to the ones mentioned on the brand website.

2. Are Perfumes from Fake?

Since FragranceNet has a reputation for providing perfume at a discounted price, people tend to believe that it may be selling fake perfume.

Perfumes sold on are usually authentic. However, reviews from a few customers who purchased the product seem to indicate that fake perfumes are also being sold. Check for the packaging, serial number, spelling errors, and other telltale signs to verify the authenticity of the perfume.

Go through the warning signs mentioned in this article above to validate whether the perfume is fake or genuine.

3. Are Perfumes on Amazon Fake?

Perfumes sold on Amazon can be fake. You may not realize this but most products sold on Amazon are not sold by Amazon. They are usually sold by third-party sellers. While there are quality checks in place, and most Amazon sellers are genuine, some sellers also tend to sell fakes!

Check for the telltale signs of fake perfume to validate the authenticity of perfume even when buying it from Amazon!

4. Does Fake Perfume Smell the Same as Authentic Perfume?

Generally speaking, fake perfumes have a similar smell. But they don’t smell the same as genuine perfume. Most fake perfumes are made by diluting the original perfume with alcohol and oils. Counterfeit perfumes are usually not created from scratch. Thus, they tend to have a similar scent to the authentic perfume.

That said, the scent will usually not last that long since the perfume is heavily diluted.

5. Do Fake Perfumes Have Barcodes?

Fake perfume products usually don’t have a barcode. Even if a barcode exists, it will usually be stuck on top of the packaging and can be easily removed. Furthermore, in some cases, the barcode may be printed on the box but will lack the number below the barcode.

Another thing to note is the serial number. It is often not present on the box. Sometimes, the serial number may be visible on the box but may be either missing from the bottle or there may be a mismatch of the serial number between that on the bottle and the outer box.

6. Are Tester Perfumes Fake?

Perfume testers are authentic and contain original perfume when bought from a branded store. Perfume manufacturers that create perfume for big retail stores also create perfume testers. The purpose of perfume testers is usually to allow customers to sample a more expensive perfume before they buy.

Though perfume testers are usually not for sale, they are occasionally sold by certain stores at a cheaper rate.

7. Are Reject Perfumes Fake?

Reject perfumes are usually authentic though there is no way to certify that other than the smell. Reject perfumes are usually original branded perfume that gets rejected from being displayed or sold to the customer either due to some flaw in the packaging, bottle design or quality of the perfume.

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