If you’re in the market for a new fragrance but don’t have the budget to drop a hundred plus dollars on a bottle, you’ve come to the right place. We tapped Mona Kattan, co-founder and president of Huda Beauty & Kayali (and self-proclaimed fragrance obsessive who owns over 2,000 bottles of perfume!), for some advice. Below, you’ll find tips on choosing a signature scent, how to make it last longer on your skin and a few perfume dupes you can shop now.
How do you choose or find a signature scent?
“The first step is identifying what scent families you’re typically drawn to,” explains Kattan. “For example, I love sweet gourmands or very fresh and floral fragrances. Once I figured that out, I started testing a variety of perfumes within those families to see what worked for me,” she says. For reference, scents are usually broken down into four main categories: floral, oriental, woody and fresh (though some break it down even further into seven or eight categories to include citrus, aromatic and chypre).
“I highly suggest doing some research beforehand to make the sampling process easier, but there is no better way to do this than to test various perfumes, because each one smells differently on different people,” advises Kattan. “And it can change over time as well, so when you sample a new perfume, be sure to sample it for multiple days to give yourself enough time to see if you really do enjoy it before purchasing it.”
Why are some perfumes so much more expensive than others?
“The pricing of a fragrance is primarily driven by the amount of oil in the juice and the origin of the ingredients,” explains Kattan. “The less alcohol a perfume has and the more oils it has in it, the pricier and longer lasting the perfume will be. This is because alcohol evaporates quickly leaving little fragrance on the skin for a shorter amount of time,” says Kattan.
“The origin and rarity of the ingredients in a perfume is one of the main drivers of price. For example, the rarer and more unusual the flowers or musks used in a formulation, the more expensive the perfume will be.”
Do you have any tips for making your perfume last longer?
“Yes! For starters, your skin should always be properly moisturized in order to absorb the perfume, which in turn, makes a perfume last longer. I always suggest applying lotion or vaseline before spritzing,” says Kattan.
As for where to spritz, Kattan advises that you should always spray your perfume to your pulse points (i.e., the insides of your wrists, behind the ears, insides of your elbows and behind your knees) because those areas will heat up during the day and cause your skin to release the scent as you move. And remember: Don’t rub your wrists together afterward. (It can dull the top notes of your perfume and accelerate evaporation.)
OK, now that we’ve completed a course in fragrance 101, let’s peruse some top perfume dupes for our favorite designer fragrances.
6 Perfume Dupes You Can Shop Now:
1. Vogue by Milton Lloyd, 1.85 oz, $9
Fans of Chanel No.5 call this dupe a dead ringer for the iconic scent. “Dating back to the ‘20’s, Chanel was the first to use materials called aldehydes in perfumery,” says Kattan. “Aldehydes are really unique and perfumers say they help bring radiance to a fragrance or help it pop.” This UK dupe has the aforementioned aldehydes and shared notes of ylang ylang and neroli to serve as a close approximation of the classic (at a fraction of the cost).
2. Gingham by Bath and Body Works, 1.7 oz, $40
Do you J'Adore Dior? Then you might want to try a spritz of this eau de parfum from Bath and Body Works (aka where many of us first discovered fragrance). “J’Adore Dior is a floral and fruity fragrance that also has soft wood undertones. The combination gives this scent a fresh, clean and feminine smell," says Kattan. To find something comparable, search for a similar combination of top and bottom layered notes. Gingham blends violet with citrus notes (as does J’Adore).
3. Katy Perry Killer Queen Eau de Parfum Spray, 3.4 oz, $20
Love Viktor & Rolf’s Flower Bomb? The fruity favorite is sweet and floral and very feminine. Katy Perry’s Killer Queen (named after the legendary song by Queen) shares some of the same notes of patchouli and jasmine making the two scents quite similar.
4. Instyle Fragrances Inspired by Thierry Mugler’s Angel, 3.4 oz, $9
If you can’t get enough Thierry Mugler’s Angel, you’re not the only one. It’s consistently been a bestseller worldwide since it first came onto the scene in 1992. “It’s the ultimate gourmand fragrance,” says Kattan. “Gourmand is a perfume known for synthetic edible notes and is often called a dessert fragrance. This juice has an abundance of one ingredient called praline, or ethyl maltol, which smells like cotton candy,” she explains. This dupe from Instyle Fragrances says it on the label: It’s directly inspired by Thierry Mugler’s Angel.
5. Yves Rocher Naturelle L'Eau de Toilette, 2.5 oz, $50
If you love Dolce & Gabanna’s Light Blue, you might want to try this lesser-known scent from Yves Rocher. As Kattan notes, D&G’s version features “a bright burst of citrus with a contrasting base of woods and musks, which make the fragrance an instant mood lifter.” This indie dupe includes notes of lemon, bergamot, cedar and musk to give it a similarly refreshing feel as the designer version.
6. Zara Applejuice Eau de Toilette, 3.4 oz, $18
If your go-to scent is Marc Jacobs Daisy, you are a fan of green notes. “The original Daisy is classified in the fragrance industry as a floral green scent. Green notes in perfumery bring a crisp, lush, natural feeling to a fragrance,” explains Kattan. “Daisy is combined with mouthwatering strawberry, chic florals and sleek woods.” Zara’s Applejuice features notes of apple, peony and violet to give you a fair likeness to MJ’s version.