The Ultimate Guide to Buying Fragrance Online

How To Shop Perfume Online

I’m the sort of person who some people would hate to go shopping with because I have to try everything on before I contemplate buying! But sadly, when it comes to shopping for fragrance online, we don’t always have the luxury of trying before we buy.

When it comes to choosing your signature scent, you want it to be the perfect fragrance for you. Not only do we want a bottle that we love, but we also want a perfume that appeals to our senses, and maybe even reflects a part of our personality. But how can you judge all of that from behind a screen?

Although I’m still hoping we can create ‘smell-o-vision’ one day in the future, I’ve put together a list of top tips to help you ‘blind buy’ with confidence in the meantime. So if you’re looking to buy a new fragrance for yourself or a loved one, but you’re feeling stuck, I’ve got your back!


1. Research and Reach Out…

Although the online shopping world offers a different experience than in-store shopping (where you can quickly ask for advice at the fragrance counter or try a tester) it doesn’t mean that you’re alone online.

There are plenty of fragrance reviews from experts – like our very own Thomas, The Candy Perfume Boy – and novices alike, which can all help you understand more about a fragrance, how long it lasts and how it compares to other perfumes.

Whether you read our blog, watch a YouTube video, learn through our social media channels or even listen to a fragrance podcast, there are plenty of ways to research a perfume before you buy it.

And if you’re looking for specific advice, recommendations and guidance, our social channels are always open, so please feel free to pop us a message with any questions you have about perfume and we’ll be more than happy to help.


2. Keep It In The Family…

Another way to approach blind-buying is by sticking to the type of perfumes you know you’re comfortable with. If you’re a fan of sweet, gourmand fragrances, then take a look at other perfumes in this category, or if you’re buying for someone who typically likes aromatic fragrances, then browse different scents in this field.

If the concept of fragrance families is alien to you, that’s normal; I was new to the term when I started at Escentual! In short, it’s a term used to sum up what type of fragrance it is; fruity aromas have fruity notes, floral perfumes have floral notes, and so on. And more often than not, there’s a crossover, so a fruity-floral fragrance would have a blend of both types of notes.

And thankfully, our in-house fragrance expert, Thomas, has created a series of edits explaining some of the most popular fragrance families. From chypre to fougere, gourmand to aquatic, floral to citrus, solar to fruity – and not forgetting woody – he has you covered.

Or of course, feel free to opt for something outside of your usual fragrance family if you’re feeling adventurous!


3. Take Note Of What You Like…

You can even shop for a perfume by searching for a particular fragrance note that you like. A ‘fragrance note’ is just like a perfume ingredient; just like a cake is made up of ingredients like flour, butter, egg and sugar, a perfume features a number of perfume notes which are mixed together to create the end result. So, if your favourite scent has a strong vanilla note in it, keep an eye out for other vanilla-heavy perfumes.


4. Try a Perfume Pen, Body Wash or Hair Mist…

It can be quite an expensive risk to buy a full-sized perfume before knowing what it smells like, especially if you end up not liking it! If this is something you’re worried about, another top recommendation is to try an ancillary fragrance product before diving in and buying the full-sized perfume itself.

There are lots of scented products – from body lotions and shower gels, to deodorants and hair mists – and that’s not including scented candles or perfume pens. These are generally cheaper but still give you a great indication of the scent; once you know that you like the aroma, you can indulge in the perfume itself. Plus, by using a fragrance alongside a fragranced body product, you can help prolong and intensify the scent!


5. Make The Most Of Samples…

If you’re lucky enough to get a fragrance sample in the post, this is a great way to find out what type of fragrances you like. But you can also take the opportunity to learn from samples even if you don’t like them; research the notes and fragrance family and keep them in mind when you’re searching for perfumes in the future.

You can even try to get those you live with to join in the discussion; ask them if they like or dislike a fragrance and then you can bear that in mind for gifting seasons!

If you’re looking to try something a little bit different, our EscentualScents campaign has been designed to give you the chance to try eight mystery fragrances each month, before we reveal what each vial is in our exclusive fragrance group – it might just help you find your new favourite scent!


6. Try Other Scents By Your Favourite Perfumer…

This top tip comes from Sarah from KGA and Perfume Pros, who joined Ceryn for an Instagram Live during our EscentualScents campaign back in September. One of Sarah’s recommendations was to find out who the perfumer is for your favourite fragrance and take a look at what else they have created. She explained that expert perfumers often have a particular style so you might find some comparisons between their fragrances. For lots of people, fragrance-buying can be a bit like clothes shopping; you have a brand and a style that you keep returning to.


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7. Keep Up To Date With Your Favourite Perfume Collection…

You might be lucky and learn that your favourite perfumer has created a more intense version of your favourite scent, given it a summery twist or added another fragrance to the collection. This is a good place to start if you’re feeling brave and want to try something new, but also want to choose something that you’re more confident you’ll enjoy.

And let’s be honest, sometimes we buy for the bottle – I’ve been guilty of that! – so if a brand releases your favourite fragrance in a chic new bottle, why not treat yourself?


Discover More:

The Escentual Fragrance Hub

The Escentual Niche Fragrance Hub

How to Test Fragrance Like An Expert