The 13 Best Affordable Fragrances of 2023

Glossier You takes the cake with its subtle scent that molds to the wearer.

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Two of the best affordable fragrances on a colored pattern background

Ulta

It’s only natural to want to smell great. But even if you make enough money to afford one of the many expensive fragrances that line the shelves of fancy department stores, you may not want to shell out that kind of cash for something so fleeting. After all, perfume doesn’t last forever. Don’t let that deter you from embracing your own signature scent, though! Over the years, we’ve learned that, like mascara and pizza, a fragrance doesn't have to be expensive to be good.

Case in point? The cult favorite Glossier You is only $64 for 1.7 ounces, while many expensive fragrances ring up at over $100 for a bottle that size. Glossier isn’t the only brand offering deliciously-scented perfumes at great prices, though. 

Ahead, uncover the 13 best affordable fragrances—all of which are under $75. 

Best Overall

Glossier You

Glossier You

Glossier

What We Love: It’s designed to mesh with the wearer’s pH, so it smells different on everyone. 

What We Don’t Love: The scent doesn’t last very long.

Glossier You may be one of the most recognizable fragrances available — the minimalist pink ombre bottle can be spotted in countless Instagram posts and aesthetically pleasing shelfies. What’s inside the pretty bottle is what really helped it claim our best overall spot, though. This perfume has racked up thousands of five-star reviews for its unique scent profile, which combines spicy, woodsy, and floral notes like pink pepper, ambrette seeds, and white iris. The soft, warm scent molds to the wearer, so rather than smelling just like what’s in the bottle, you get your own unique scent — sort of like a customized fragrance for a fraction of the cost of mixing your own. Our one strife is that scent doesn’t last very long, but luckily the bottle is compact enough to store in your purse if you need a midday re-up. 

Price at time of publish: $114

Top Notes: Pink pepper, amber, and white iris | Size: 1.7 oz | Type: Eau de parfum

Best Gender-Neutral

Dossier Ambery Saffron

Dossier Ambery Saffron

Walmart

What We Love: It smells like Baccarat Rouge 540, which is much more expensive. 

What We Don’t Love: Some shoppers report that it wears off quickly.

If you love smelling expensive but don’t want to actually shell out the cash for a pricey bottle of perfume, Dossier has you covered. The brand is known for its fragrance dupes, and the Ambery Saffron Eau de Parfum is designed to smell like Baccarat Rouge 540, which costs just under $200 for a 1.1-ounce bottle. This perfume opens up with a bright burst of saffron and orange blossom, but quickly mellows out as hints of cedarwood and sultry amber come to the forefront. One of our favorite things about this warm, woody scent is that it's gender-neutral. Needless to say, fragrance lovers swoon over this dupe, but some people say it fails to linger.  

Price at time of publish: $49

Top Notes: Saffron and orange blossom | Size: 1.7 oz | Type: Eau de Parfum 

Best Floral

Philosophy Amazing Grace Eau de Toilette

Philosophy Amazing Grace Eau de Toilette

Ulta

What We Love: It’s fresh and floral, but subtle, too. 

What We Don’t Love: The scent can feel overpowering depending on how much you spray, but if you only use a spritz — instead of a few — you should be fine. 

You know the moment when you step out of the shower and just smell clean? Philosophy bottled that feeling to create its soft, cult-favorite floral fragrance, Amazing Grace. It has lovely notes of refreshing bergamot, uplifting muguet blossoms, and powdery musk. I like to describe it as delightfully feminine, and think it would be appropriate for a young person's first fragrance — it’s ideal for special occasions and everyday wear alike as it’s not overpowering.

Price at time of publish: $54 for 2 oz

Top Notes: Bergamot | Size: 2 oz | Type: Eau de Toilette 

Best Fresh

Bath & Body Works Gingham Fine Fragrance Mist

Bath and Body Works Gingham Fine Fragrance Mist

Bath and Body Works

What We Love: It’s fresh, fruity, and floral — not to mention super affordable. 

What We Don’t Love: The scent doesn’t linger as long as a true Eau de Parfum.

Bath & Body Works fragrance mists invoke feelings of nostalgia — for many of us, these sprays were our first foray into the perfume world. Contrary to popular belief, the scents aren’t just reserved for adolescents, though. With notes of blue freesia, white peach, fresh clementines, and violets, this fresh, fruity, and floral scent proves that B&BW can create an elevated, elegant choice for adults, too. At eight ounces, this bottle is also the largest on our list, so it will last a longer time. Keep in mind, though, that because it isn’t a true Eau de Parfum, the scent won’t linger as long as other options. 

Price at time of publish: $17

Top Notes: Blue freesia, white peach, fresh clementine | Size: 8 oz | Type: Fine Fragrance Mist 

Best Earthy

Pacifica Dream Moon Spray Perfume

Pacifica Dream Moon Spray Perfume

Ulta

What We Love: This fragrance is made with clean ingredients and sustainable packaging. 

What We Don’t Love: It doesn’t come with a cap for the spray nozzle, which makes it difficult to travel with. 

There’s multiple aspects to consider when selecting your new signature scent. While you need to actually like the fragrance, the bottle should also be uplifting and make you want to reach for it more than anything else in your collection. The bright ombre glass bottle of Pacifica Dream Moon Spray Perfume is what initially grabbed our attention, but it’s the full moon-inspired fragrance inside that makes us spritz it over and over again. While it features delicate notes of pink rose, the scent is warmed with sandalwood and patchouli, creating an earthy aroma that’s grounding and uplifting all at once. 

Price at time of publish: $22

Top Notes: Pink rose, sandalwood, patchouli | Size: 1 oz | Type: Spray Perfume

Best Aquatic

"VACATION" by Vacation Eau de Toilette

VACATION by Vacation Eau de Toilette

Ulta

What We Love: It smells like a day on vacation, complete with hints of coconut and pool water. 

What We Don’t Love: If you’re not a fan of sweet scents, you may want to skip this one.

While many aquatic scents have oceanic notes, "VACATION" by Vacation Eau de Toilette gives the category a whole new definition by leaning more towards pool water. Before you write it off, hear us out: It’s actually delightfully unique with its notes of lush coconut water and coconut milk, sweet bergamot and pineapple, sea salt, and the slightest hint of pool water. The result is tropical and warm, and it works great as a summer scent or for those wishing to live in a summer state of mind all year long. 

Price at time of publish: $60

Top Notes: Petitgrain essence, coconut water, coconut milk | Size: 1 oz | Type: Eau de Toilette 

Best Woody

Snif Sweet Ash

Snif Sweet Ash

Snif

What We Love: This scent comes with a mini travel-size vile, too. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s so strong that it can sometimes cause headaches.

When you think of fir or balsam heavy scents, your mind might immediately picture a holiday candle. Snif Sweet Ash transforms those notes into a lovely, wearable fragrance that will catch the attention of others as you walk by. Earthy notes of juniper, balsam, and white moss are lightened and brightened with delicate bergamot, warm vanilla bean, and spicy patchouli giving a sweet and spicy touch. I find it to be the ultimate cozy, winter scent — and it’s genderless! — so, it’s no wonder it’s sold out multiple times since it first launched in 2021. 

Price at time of publish: $65

Top Notes: Juniper, bergamot, and fir balsam​​ | Size: 1 oz | Type: Perfume

Best Fruity

Dossier Fruity Almond

Dossier Fruity Almond

Dossier

What We Love: It smells like Carolina Herrera Good Girl, but for a whole lot less. 

What We Don’t Love: The bottle itself is pretty basic.

Another unbeatable dupe from Dossier is Fruity Almond. The sweet, fruity fragrance combines notes of juicy peach with almonds, fresh orange blossoms, and warm tonka beans, and smells super similar to Carolina Herrera Good Girl (but is less than half the price of the designer fragrance). Not only does it smell incredible, but this perfume is also vegan, cruelty-free, and made with clean ingredients. We do wish there was a little more thought put into the design of the bottle, but other than that this is a solid pick. 

Price at time of publish: $29

Top Notes: Peach and almond | Size: 1.7 oz | Type: Eau de Parfum

Best Rollerball

Lake & Skye 11 11 Fragrance Oil Rollerball

Lake and Skye 11 11 Fragrance Oil Rollerball

Ulta

What We Love: It’s musky, woody, and fresh, not to mention incredibly long lasting. 

What We Don’t Love: It’s pretty small for a rollerball bottle (but a little goes a long way).

Many perfume bottles aren’t compatible for travel — that’s where fragrance rollerballs come in. These mini tubes deposit scented oils directly onto your pulse points, and can be safely stored in your carry-ons without the fear of leaks. We like 11 11 from Lake & Skye for its simplistic blend of musk and white amber. Though it only has two notes, it somehow feels fresh, woody, musky all at once; plus, it lasts all day long. Despite the small size, it deposits the ideal amount, so the tube should last you a long time. 

Price at time of publish: $48

Top Notes: Musky white amber | Size: 0.33 oz | Type: Fragrance Oil

Best Warm & Spicy

Ariana Grande Cloud Eau de Parfum Spray

Ariana Grande Cloud Eau de Parfum

Ulta

What We Love: The bottle is adorable. 

What We Don’t Love: Some people mention that the scent feels a bit juvenile.

We can all agree on the fact that Ariana Grande knows how to sing, but her ventures into beauty truly showcase how multifaceted she is. While R.E.M. Beauty receives a lot of attention, we consider Ariana Grande Cloud Eau de Parfum the underdog. It is simultaneously light, airy, warm, and spicy. One spray gives way to notes of lavender blossoms, pears, and creme de coconut that intermingle with deeper hints of praline, vanilla orchid, and sensual musk. Altogether, it creates a vibrato for your nose when spritzed onto skin. While we think the scent is great for people of any age, it’s worth mentioning that some reviewers think it smells a bit juvenile. 

Price at time of publish: $64

Top Notes: Lavender blossom, juicy pear, bergamot | Size: 3.4 oz | Type: Eau de Parfum 

Best Gourmand

Billie Eilish Eilish Eau de Parfum

Billie Eilish Eilish Eau de Parfum

Ulta

What We Love: It’s a sweet, warm scent that lasts all day. 

What We Don’t Love: The bottle can be difficult to open

Celebrity fragrances can really be hit or miss — and to our surprise this one from Billie Eilish is a total hit. Gourmand scents have a tendency to be overpowering, but because there are spicy and fruity additions, it mellows out the perfume as a whole, and makes it easily digestible, even for the most sensitive noses. Initially, sugared petals is what shines, but mandarins and berries add a unique brightness before creamy vanilla, cocoa, and soft spices peer through to make this scent warm and inviting. This is our top pick for date night because it’s surprisingly sensual without feeling over the top. 

Price at time of publish: $81

Top Notes: Sugared petals, mandarin, warm berries | Size: 3.4 oz | Type: Eau de Parfum 

Best Clean

Dime I Love Your Smell, Baby Perfume

Dime I Love Your Smell, Baby Perfume

Dime

What We Love: It’s made with clean ingredients and is hypoallergenic. 

What We Don’t Love: Despite being fruity and floral, some people think it smells more like a men’s cologne.

Made with clean ingredients (like water and alcohol derived from sugar cane), the Dime I Love Your Smell, Baby Perfume is hypoallergenic, so you never have to worry about it having an adverse reaction with your skin. It’s a surprisingly complex fragrance: Fruity top notes of peach and raspberry give way to middle and base notes of lily of the valley, rose, and cotton candy (yes, really). Though it is primarily fruity and floral, a few reviewers say it smells more like men’s cologne. In our eyes, that makes it a wonderful gender-neutral fragrance.

Price at time of publish: $48

Top Notes: Peach, raspberry, red fruits| Size: 1.7 oz | Type: Eau de Toilette

Best Fragrance Mist

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa ’62 Bum Bum Hair & Body Fragrance Mist

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa 62 Bum Bum Hair & Body Fragrance Mist

Sephora

What We Love: It’s a warm, sweet scent that’s instantly recognizable. 

What We Don’t Love: The bottle can leak if it’s not stored properly.

If you’re a fan of he Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Cream, you’ll love this fragrance mist. It perfectly bottles the scent of the iconic body cream. Salted caramel, pistachio, and vanilla intertwine to bring this intoxicating aroma to life. We love that the mist is layerable, so the more you spray, the stronger it gets — just be sure not to go too spritz-happy — one to two mistings should be enough. Also, it’s important to store it upright or the bottle can leak. 

Price at time of publish: $35

Top Notes: Salted caramel, pistachio, vanilla | Size: 8.1 oz. | Type: Fragrance Mist 

What to Keep in Mind

Top Notes

Top notes are what you smell first. So even if a fragrance has middle and base notes that are musky or earthy, if the top notes are fruity, that’s the general vibe the scent will put off. That said, consider how you want to smell and shop with those top notes in mind. We’ve organized a lot of this list with top notes in mind, so if you’re looking for a fruity scent you can’t go wrong with Dossier Fruity Almond, but if you prefer more floral fragrance profiles, try Philosophy Amazing Grace Eau de Toilette.

Size

Size matters most when it comes to traveling. If you want to take your signature scent with you, you’ll want to find a bottle that’s less than 1.7 ounces to fit within the TSA’s liquid requirements. A number of the fragrances on our list are less than that, but you should also take the container into consideration. Bottles have a tendency to spill, so it’s better to pack a roller ball, like Lake & Skye 11 11 Fragrance Oil Rollerball, because it’s more compact and less likely to accidentally open. 

On the other hand, if you’re not traveling and want your fragrance to last a long time, opt for larger bottles. Fragrance mists, compared to Eau de Parfums, usually come in bigger containers and cost less. Both Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa ’62 Bum Bum Hair & Body Fragrance Mist and Bath & Body Works Gingham Fine Fragrance Mist are about eight ounces and significantly cheaper than other options on this list. That said, the scent itself doesn’t linger as long.

Type

You may notice that there are fragrance mists and eau de parfums on this list, but what really is the difference between them? Well, Eau de Parfums are more concentrated, therefore the scent will linger longer than a fragrance mist. If you want to catch a whiff of your perfume throughout the day, you may want to opt for an Eau de Parfum.

Your Questions, Answered

What differentiates an affordable fragrance from an expensive one?

With so many fragrances on the market, many of which are at drastically different price points, you might be wondering what sets scents apart to warrant such a steep price increase. According to Kristin Scott, master perfumer, founder, and formulator of ATUM Fragrance, a pricier fragrance typically lasts longer. 

“Expensive fragrances tend to be more layered, and more complex,” she explains. “They will have top, mid, and base notes. The top notes last around half an hour, then the mid notes linger for two to four hours leaving the base notes for the rest of the day.” Meanwhile, she says that cheaper fragrances contain heavy top notes and tend to be sweeter. “Top notes are the first to evaporate, thus affecting the longevity of the perfumes,” she adds.

Other factors that contribute to the price of a perfume are the ingredients used to create it. “Expensive fragrances may use unique notes and accords blended using raw material ingredients that are more costly due to superior quality, demand, and availability,” says Greta Pagel, the Fragrance Director at Good Chemistry & ILLUME brands.

Then there’s the fact that some fragrances are packaged more ornately than others and, as Maison Margiela Fragrances National Fragrance Ambassador, Ross Barry, points out, that can raise the price of the product. 

Still, it’s important to remember that an expensive price tag doesn’t automatically equate to a better fragrance. “I always say that you should wear a fragrance because you connect to it,” Barry says. ‘So, think about how the fragrance makes you feel and if you love it, get it. After all, fragrance in general is cost-effective. Think about how many times you can wear it versus an article of clothing. It’s like the perfect accessory to any outfit or occasion.”

How long does perfume last when spritzed on? 

It depends on the fragrance concentration. According to Sephora Beauty Director Myiesha Sewell, Eau de Toilette sprays have 5 to 15 percent concentration and last about three hours. “Eau de Parfums have 15 to 20 percent and last about five hours,” she adds. “Parfum has 20 to 30 percent and lasts about eight hours.” 

Fragrance type aside, Sewell says knowing where to spray your fragrance can extend its wear. “Spraying fragrance on pulse points increases longevity because it's where the body carries more heat,” she shares. “Perhaps a strange analogy but sort of like stovetop potpourri; the ingredients smell great on their own but are intensified when heat is applied.”

Can you extend the life of a fragrance?

In addition to spraying fragrance on pulse points, Barry says that applying your scent on hydrated skin, as opposed to dry skin or fabric, can make the aroma last longer. “Fragrance always lasts longer on hydrated skin so make sure you use a lotion or a body oil prior to applying your scent as it will help that fragrance last,” he says.

How long does perfume last before going bad in the bottle?

Over the past few years, beauty expiration dates have been a hot topic of conversation, and like makeup and skincare, fragrance does eventually go bad. “Fragrance has an average shelf life of three to five years, however, higher concentrated fragrances like parfum and pure parfum tend to last longer,” Barry says.

Why Shop With US

Rebecca Norris is a full-time freelance writer, and Mary Honkus is InStyle's Commerce Editor. Norris writes for a variety of publications, covering everything from beauty and wellness to style and celebrity news, while Honkus has four years of experience in the beauty industry, and is partial to finding signature scents. To determine the best affordable fragrances, Norris spoke with a handful of fragrance experts — including Kristin Scott, master perfumer, founder, and formulator of ATUM Fragrance; Greta Pagel, the Fragrance Director at Good Chemistry & ILLUME brands; Maison Margiela Fragrances National Fragrance Ambassador, Ross Barry; and Sephora Beauty Director Myiesha Sewell — to determine what makes a high-quality scent, what differentiates the cost, and how to make even the most affordable, less concentrated fragrances last longer.

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