Best Perfumes of 2021
Best affordable perfumes
It’s not easy to find the perfect fragrance — let alone one that fits into your budget. But whether you prefer something light and floral or a muskier smell, there are many memorable perfumes out there that won’t break the bank.
Most high-end perfumes can be expensive, but if you’re on a budget, there are still plenty of worthwhile options.
How to choose a perfume that suits your personality
Based on the concentration of pure perfume oil in a fragrance, perfumes can be divided into four categories: Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, Eau De Cologne and body mist. Parfum lasts the longest and is typically the most expensive option. Body mists are the most affordable but do not last quite as long as others.
Given your personal preference, most perfumes are available with fresh, floral or woody notes. Many people prefer fresh and floral for the day and oriental and woody for the night.
Most perfumes are available in 0.3-ounce to 1.5-ounce bottles. You can also purchase a miniature bottle of an expensive brand for less as they still last a long time.
Cost of perfumes
You can expect to pay from about $15-$100 or more for perfumes. Affordable brands are usually in the range of $15-$29. You can find mid-range brands that contain a stronger concentration for about $30-$99. If you don’t mind splurging, you can find designer perfumes for $100 or more.
How to wear perfume
Put a small amount on the warm spots of your body, like the pulse points of your neck, wrists or inner elbows, as they will help to naturally diffuse the scent. After applying, do not rub your wrists together, as that can actually weaken the scent.
Cheap perfume FAQ
What is the shelf life of perfumes?
A. The average shelf life of most perfumes is 3-5 years, though stronger perfumes can last up to 10 years.
Can I store my perfume in the fridge?
A. It is best to store your perfume in a cool, dry space. The cold temperature of the fridge can change the chemical balance of most perfumes.
Best oriental perfume
Ellis Brooklyn SALT Eau de Parfum: available at Credo Beauty, Sephora and Ulta Beauty
Inspired by saltwater, this perfume has key notes of ylang-ylang, Tahitian tiaré and ambergris. It is also PETA-certified and cruelty-free.
Best fresh perfume
Clean Reserve Warm Cotton: available at Amazon, Sephora and Ulta Beauty
Warm Cotton is inspired by the smell of freshly laundered tees with a blend of citrus and amber. It is gluten-free and comes in eco-conscious packaging.
Best floral perfume
Philosophy Amazing Grace Ballet Rose Eau de Toilette: available at Sephora and Ulta Beauty
This classic fragrance combines the scent of pink rose petals with lychee and bergamot to create an aura of femininity.
Best woody perfume
SKYLAR Willow Eau de Toilette: available at Sephora
Inspired by nature and created with the keynotes of cedarwood and pine, this perfume smells earthy and clean. It is also hypoallergenic.
Best fruity & citrus perfume
Elizabeth Arden White Tea Mandarin Blossom Eau de Toilette: available at Ulta Beauty
This combines the tangy sweetness of mandarin and sweet tea to give you a crisp yet sensual smell. The musk adds a note of softness to it.
Best sweet perfume
LAVANILA The Healthy Fragrance - Pure Vanilla Eau de Parfum: available at Amazon and Ulta Beauty
Made with pure Madagascar vanilla with tonka beans, this perfume is free of harsh chemicals and gentle on sensitive skin.
Best warm & spicy perfume
Dolce&Gabbana The One Eau de Parfum Rollerball: available at Sephora and Ulta Beauty
This modern fragrance combines mandarin, bergamot and peach to give it a sophisticated yet sweet scent with vanilla and amber as the base notes.
Best perfume for spring
Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Eau de Parfum Travel Size Perfume: available at Sephora and Ulta Beauty
This combines a gourmand floral scent with orange blossom and patchouli. It smells like a bouquet of spring flowers in a bottle.
Best perfume for summer
HUDA BEAUTY KAYALI CITRUS: available at Huda Beauty and Sephora
Crisp bergamot and pink grapefruit give this a light and airy vibe that is ideal for summer. It has a perfect balance of fresh and floral scents.
Best perfume for fall
MUGLER Alien Eau To Go: available at Sephora and Ulta Beauty
This warm floral scent of jasmine, Cashmeran wood and amber gives you the warm vibe of fall. A little spritz of this perfume goes a long way.
Best perfume for winter
Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium Eau de Parfum: available at Sephora and Ulta Beauty
This indulgent perfume is a blend of neon coffee and orange blossom, making it sweet yet warm for chilly winter nights.
Best clean perfume
By Rosie Jane Rosie Perfume: available at Amazon, Credo Beauty and Sephora
With key notes of rose, musk and vanilla, this hypoallergenic scent can be used alone or layered. It is free of parabens and phthalates.
Best unisex perfume
Abbott NYC The Cape Eau de Parfum: available at Amazon and Credo Beauty
The cool refreshing scent has a blend of mint, ginger and moss, and it is inspired by a winter surfing escape in Cape Cod.
Best perfume for sensitive skin
PHLUR Hanami Eau de Parfum: available at Credo Beauty and Sephora
Made with subtle notes of hazelnut and fig, this perfume is for those who believe in “less is more.” This minimalist fragrance is safe for all skin types.
Best hair & body fragrance mist
Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa '62 Hair and Body Fragrance Mist: available at Sephora
This delicate, warm and spicy scent can be used to lightly mist your hair and skin. It is vegan and cruelty-free.