How To Shop For Fragrance Online – Like A Pro


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There’s no doubt about it; the internet has forever changed the way we shop. Now, we can have pretty much anything delivered to our doorstep – often within 24 hours – from our groceries to the latest skincare offering. Literally, the world is our oyster or should we say the internet is our dream department store!

But one thing that can be a little difficult to buy online is fragrance; scent is such a personal thing, and it can be kinda hard to determine whether you’d like it without smelling it first. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a dreamy new fragrance online, you just need to know what to look out for. Here’s everything you need to know before you shop for fragrance online.

Know the Concentration

One of the first things you need to understand when buying a fragrance is why some are so damn expensive and some are considerably more affordable! The higher the concentration of actual perfume, the higher the price tag. The higher concentration means it costs more to make, but it will also last longer on your skin, so you’ll spray less and probably use less daily. The most common types of fragrance are:

Perfume (Parfum): Parfum is the highest fragrance concentration and will have anywhere between 15 percent and 40 percent fragrance, although most parfums range between 20 and 30 percent. Parfums will typically remain fragrant for longer – between six to eight hours.

Eau de Parfum (EDP): Eau de Parfum, which is more common than parfum, will have a concentration range of 15 to 20 percent. This means they’ll last four to five hours, making them ideal for everyday wear.

Eau de Toilette (EDT): Eau de Toilette will typically have a concentration of 5 to 15 percent and is much lighter in scent.

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Know the Notes

Most fragrances are made up of three notes: a base, a middle, and a top note. The base note will be the heaviest and will typically last around six hours. The middle note, which is also known as the heart of the fragrance, will be slightly lighter while the top note is the lightest and will only remain fragrant for thirty minutes. When you’re looking for fragrances online, make sure you like the base and middle notes, as these will be the most potent. For example, if you love rose, look for it in the middle or base notes; if it’s only in the top note, your favorite scent could be gone in an hour or overpowered by other notes that you don’t like.

Know Your Fave Fragrances

Scent is a very personal yet instinctual thing, which means it’s something that doesn’t vary a lot – there will be particular scents that you’ll immediately love and so try and look for these.

Take a look at the fragrances you like best and find out what notes they have. There’re likely to be one or two in common; for example, if you love Juicy Couture’s, Viva La Juicy, $65, which has notes of amber and jasmine, you’ll also like Euphoria by Calvin Klein, $43, as it has a similar, creamy yet fresh scents with notes of amber, pomegranate mahogany, and blossom. Also, check out the fragrance family and try to stick to that. The most common fragrance families are floral, citrus, wood, fruit, and musk. To find out more about fragrance families, check out the fragrance families and how to layer fragrances here.

Know the Fragrance Buzzwords

When you’re browsing, you’ll notice the same buzzwords keep popping up – light, floral, fresh are all super common. And while some of the fragrance words are easier to decode than others, words like gourmand can throw you off your game. Here’s a quick glossary of the more complex fragrance-related words:

Gourmand: Sugary, sweet, rich fragrances
Aromatic: Natural, fresh, herby fragrances
Animalic: Natural, warm  fragrances
Spicy: Spicy, warm and sometimes sweet fragrances
Fougere: Floral, woody fragrances

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Pay Attention to the Name and Packaging

Although you’re shopping for the scent, the packaging and fragrance name can be a good indication of whether a fragrance will suit your vibe. While we’re not suggesting that you buy a fragrance for the packaging or marketing campaign, it can help you decide. For example, dark fragrance bottles normally contain rich, luxurious scents that are perfect for night time. Similarly, if you’re looking for a light, floral fragrance, a fragrance with the name Velvet Orchid, is likely to be too rich and potent.

Try a Sample

There are now plenty of websites and brands that offer samples, like Sephora or Lucky Scent, so you can trial your scent before you make it your signature. We’d definitely recommend this as it’ll allow you to smell how a fragrance wears on your skin, as due to your own unique pheromones, it can smell slightly different on each person.

Use Reputable Sites

Whenever you’re shopping online, we recommend using a well-known website or retailer, to avoid accidentally buying a knock-off perfume. Also, be wary when buying from resale websites like eBay or Amazon, and try to check the seller out beforehand.

Let us know your favorite fragrance in the comments below or if you have any tips for shopping online.