Beauty Fragrance After Trying Scentbird for a Month, I Can Say I’m a New Fan of the Service If you’re a fragrance enthusiast who likes to switch up scents, Scentbird is definitely worth the hype. By Stacey Nguyen Stacey Nguyen Stacey Nguyen is a writer who has worked with POPSUGAR, Buzzfeed, HappySprout, and more. Prior to working as a full-time commerce and entertainment writer, she was a content marketer who developed blogs about stationery for JetPens.com. In addition to collaborating with media publishers, she produces marketing copy for lifestyle brands. She has nine years of writing experience and frequently writes about caring for pets, shopping, streaming, and gardening. InStyle's editorial guidelines Published on April 25, 2023 @ 12:32PM Pin Share Tweet Email In This Article View All In This Article How I Tested Scentbird Key Specs How Does Scentbird Work? Scentbird Cost Delivery and Packaging Quality and Ease of Use Pros and Cons Who’s Scentbird Good For? Final Thoughts Frequently Asked Questions We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more. Photo: InStyle / Stacey Nguyen Perfume enthusiasts know how ridiculously expensive fragrances get — hello, $325 bottle of Baccarat Rouge 540! As someone who also loves picking up new scents, I religiously check discount stores like T.J. Maxx to hunt down designer perfumes and plan around Sephora sales to get the best fragrance deals possible. But even after I manage to scoop up an irresistible discount, it takes me a while to finish bottles, which makes investing in full-size perfumes feel somewhat wasteful. Given my love for perfume deals and desire to switch up fragrances, I’ve long toyed around with the idea of trying out a perfume subscription. After doing my own research, I landed on Scentbird, one of the most popular fragrance subscription services on the market. The company gives subscribers access to over 600 fragrances and sends them one to three, 8 mL samples every month. After trying Scentbird for a month, I have some major thoughts that might help those who are still on the fence about the fragrance subscription service. How I Tested Scentbird I signed up for Scentbird’s subscription for one month, evaluating major factors like ease of ordering, timeliness of delivery, perfume packaging, and perfume value. I wanted to see how easy it was to get recommendations, glean information, and choose my desired fragrance. Once I selected my product, I paid attention to how quickly my package arrived and if my fragrance was packed safely. When it came to the actual fragrance itself, I felt it necessary to determine whether or not Scentbird offered greater value than comparable travel sprays, so I considered how many milliliters I received per dollar. After taking the initial scent profile quiz and perusing the website, I selected Rain by Commodity, a floral aquatic scent. When I received it, I tried my fragrance for a week to get a feel for its performance. I noted how quickly the scent settled into its base notes after I spritzed it on my wrists and clothes, and how long it lasted. Overall, I was pretty satisfied with my purchase, even though there are a few minor drawbacks to the service. Key Specs Base price: $16.95Free shipping? Yes Delivery frequency: MonthlyNo. of items per shipment: 1-3Sample size: 8 mL How Does Scentbird Work? Scentbird is a monthly perfume subscription that sends you an 8 mL atomizer with every delivery, which amounts to 120 sprays. It features over 600 fragrances, including picks from niche and designer brands. Each month, you can add perfumes to your Scentbird queue before the company processes your order and bills you. You can get up to three items a month, but the most basic plan is the one-sample subscription for $16.95 per month. Since Scentbird doesn’t accept returns for its subscription items, you want to make sure to confirm your upcoming scent before the company processes your order. If you leave your queue empty, Scentbird will send you its Fragrance of the Month by default. When it comes to managing your account, you can cancel your subscription at any time or pause it for up to three months. InStyle / Stacey Nguyen shop now: starting at $17; scentbird.com When you first sign up, Scentbird directs you to a scent profile quiz that generates fragrance recommendations based on your answers. Scentbird asks relatively basic, if somewhat vague, questions, such as your preference between warm and fresh notes. There’s also a major emphasis on vibes, so it’s not very specific about brands or scent notes. When I took the quiz, I received 12 recommendations, my results indicating that I was into “soft, creamy, and floral scents.” While I didn’t find the quiz particularly helpful, it was easy enough to browse through Scentbird’s fragrance family encyclopedia and notes library. You can also use the “Filter” button at the top right corner of the perfume page to filter by brands and perfume notes. Because I didn’t want any of the recommended products after taking Scentbird’s perfume quiz, I searched through the “Floral Watery” fragrance family to pick my scent. Scentbird Cost Scentbird’s plans start at $16.95 per month, but first-time subscribers can receive 50 percent off their first order and get a free case for their atomizer bottle. I paid $9.16 in total for my first order, with tax included, and shipping was also free. While I personally opted for the one-sample plan, you can try up to three perfumes a month — two bottles cost $27, and three cost $37. For under $10, the first shipment was well worth the cost of trying out the subscription. The 8 mL atomizer is almost the size of a typical 10 mL travel-size spray, which usually costs $30 to $40 for a designer fragrance. Even with the regular $16.95 subscription price, you can potentially save some money. That said, you probably won’t get as great a value as you would with a 100 mL bottle, but the point of Scentbird is to sample before you commit to a large bottle. Note that when you add fragrances to your queue, some items may come with a premium $5, $10, or $15 fee on top of your recurring subscription cost. For example, Prada Candy, a popular beauty counter go-to, costs $10 extra on Scentbird. In that case, you wouldn’t be saving with the service — you’d be paying about $27 for 8 mL ($3.38 per mL) when the regular travel spray is $30 for 10 mL on Sephora ($3 per mL). With premium perfumes, it’s worth doing some quick math and double-checking how much a comparable travel-size spray costs outside of Scentbird. The scent that I picked, Rain by Commodity, is only available in a 100 mL bottle. When I tried it out, I found that it didn’t project very much or last very long. As much as I loved the scent, I couldn’t justify paying the $135 retail price for a full 100 mL bottle. In fact, given my new member discount ($9.16), I was getting a better value per mL ($1.15 per mL versus $1.35 per mL). Even without the discount, I’d rather pay $16.95 to test the perfume than spring for the full-size bottle. Delivery and Packaging From the time they sign up, members have 12 hours to add items to their queue before Scentbird processes their first order. Four days after I selected my fragrance, my order shipped, and I received the product a week after my shipment confirmation. As Scentbird promised, my package arrived within 10 to 13 days of my initial order date. When I got my shipment, my perfume came in a recyclable gray bubble mailer with the Scentbird brand name printed on the back. My shipment featured a mini fabric drawstring bag and a magnetic case protecting a glass atomizer bottle. When I removed the magnetic case, I could see the fragrance vial clearly labeled as Rain by Commodity. My shipment didn’t come with packing slips, but Scentbird did include two cards, one for instructions on using the atomizer and the other for information about my chosen fragrance. InStyle / Stacey Nguyen shop now: starting at $17; scentbird.com Quality and Ease of Use When considering ease of use, I would be remiss not to mention the information cards that Scentbird sends with its perfume subscriptions. I received two cards: one for Scentbird’s general information and the other for my designated fragrance. The former comes with a QR code that links to a page with information on how to use the atomizer and update your queue. The latter features an image of the full-size bottle, as well as easy-to-glean information about the perfume’s background and fragrance notes. Scentbird’s atomizer comes in a luxe gold color and is roughly the size of a mascara tube, making it easy to carry around. I liked that you could lock it inside by twisting it to the right, keeping it from accidentally spraying your fragrance. The perfume also fit perfectly inside my small phone crossbody bag, which made it easy to touch up my scent throughout the day. The magnetic case is quite handsome, featuring a warm greige body with Scentbird’s name in gold. However, it does feel as though it could snap off if you dropped it hard enough. Still, it’s a welcome added layer of protection for the glass vial inside, as most travel-size sprays do not even come with a case. Plus, the included cloth drawstring pouch offers another added layer of protection for your fragrance. In regards to my actual product, Rain by Commodity is a mellow floral aquatic perfume featuring notes of lemon verbena, lotus blossom, and water musk. As I expected from its notes, it turned out to be a light fragrance. The opening is a fresh, herbal citrusy scent, but the fragrance quickly settles into its musky base notes within an hour. Ultimately, Rain performs like a body mist or eau de toilette, dissipating after three to four hours of wear. Pros and Cons Pros Easy to search for products by brand, note, fragrance family, or scent typeSubscriptions start at a relatively accessible $16.95 per monthLuxurious packaging featuring gold atomizer with lockable, magnetic caseFeatures an ample amount of fragrance close to the size of a traditional travel sprayCan cancel your subscription at any time or pause for up to three months Cons Some fragrances come with extra premium additional costs of up $15Perfume profile quiz isn’t particularly specific or helpful No returns or exchanges available for subscription orders Who’s Scentbird Good For? Scentbird is great for both fragrance novices in search of their signature scent as well as enthusiasts who like to switch up their perfumes. The initial scent profile quiz allows you to whittle down your perfume options and your preferred fragrance families, which can be helpful if you know very little about perfumes. But if you’re not really into the recommendations, you can also easily search fragrances by notes and brands. If you want to test different scents at your leisure without committing to an expensive, full-size bottle, you get pretty good value with Scentbird. Many samples only cost you the $16.95 subscription fee, and they come in almost the same size as a travel spray or rollerball that typically costs upward of $30. While you’re not getting the original packaging, Scentbird’s stylish case and atomizer are still sleek enough to display alongside your main collection. InStyle / Stacey Nguyen shop now: starting at $17; scentbird.com Final Thoughts I found it very easy to navigate Scentbird’s offerings and sign up for my fragrance. When it came to the product design, I appreciated how well the atomizer fit into my purse, although I wish the magnetic case was sturdier. I also enjoyed my perfume and found it to be a lovely spring scent; however, it didn’t project very much and wasn’t long-lasting. I can’t complain too much though since I only paid $9.16 for my subscription and the product was still, overall, pretty pleasant. Given my first month’s experience with Scentbird, I would definitely consider extending my subscription. As someone who takes literally years to finish up perfumes, I find Scentbird a more sustainable option than buying multiple expensive fragrances at a time. I’d also recommend it to fellow fragrance enthusiasts who want to try new perfumes outside of their signature scent. With how easy it is to cancel or pause your plan, I feel like Scentbird is worth trying out if you’re curious about the service. Frequently Asked Questions Do Fragrance Subscription Services Send Knockoff Products? Perfumes can be inordinately expensive, but you run the chance of picking up fakes if you scour for deals on sites such as eBay or Mercari. Instead of paying full price for a bottle from a department store, check out fragrance subscription services to try out the real thing without breaking the bank. Scentbird, for example, offers 100 percent authentic products provided by authorized vendors or directly from perfume brands. Can You Return or Exchange Fragrances From a Subscription Box? Return and exchange policies will vary depending on the subscription service you’re using. While Scentbird does not allow you to return subscription items (unless they’re damaged or defective), it does accept returns for full-size fragrances and gift sets for up to 15 days after delivery. Can You Buy Full Bottles of Fragrances From a Subscription Service? Fragrance subscription services will often sell full bottles of fragrances so that subscribers can buy full-size versions after trying out their monthly samples. In fact, some services may even offer exclusive discounts for members. However, Scentbird’s full-size bottles are more or less on par with retail prices. Can You Cancel Your Fragrance Subscription Before Your Next Box? If you decide that you don’t want to continue your fragrance subscription, most perfume subscription services will let you cancel without much fuss. You just want to keep a close eye on your next billing date so that you cancel your subscription before being charged for your next box.