Madison Vanderberg
May 04, 2016 10:00 am
Michael Loccisano/FilmMagic

It is SO HARD to find a new perfume. When you sample them in the store, you’re not even sure if what you’re smelling is what you’re actually smelling because you’ve smelled SO MANY and then they all start to smell the same! Or you get a headache and go home without buying anything. Or you buy something and then try it on at home and your roommate is like, “OMG THAT IS GIVING ME A MIGRAINE!”

Here are some better ways to shop for a new fragrance so you’re absolutely sure you’ve found THE ONE.

Pinrose Petal Packs


Pinrose’s Petal Packs are my new everything. For $24 you get 20 assorted individually wrapped fragrance wipes by online perfumery Pinrose.   You can travel with them or keep in your gym bag or just wear a new one every day until you decide which fragrance you like the best. You can build your own pack or choose one of their curated bundles and then when you’ve used them all you can buy the full-sized fragrance you love the best. (Or just keep buying the sampler packs because traveling with a bottle of fragrance is a basic guarantee it’s going to explode in your luggage). Bonus: You can also take their online quiz if you’d like to find your signature scent that way.


The Sephora Samplers are not cheap, but they are great. They run in price from $25 to $100 and feature up to a dozen delux samples or vials (depending on which sampler you buy). When you’ve used up the whole set, it includes a voucher to exchange for a free full-size or roller ball of your favorite scent. Bonus: If you are a Beauty Insider, there is always a free fragrance mini with $25 purchase.


There are various websites where you can buy the spray vials of perfumes for under $2. Some sites like even have samples as cheap as $.49 per vial. However, you DO have to pay shipping.


Scentbird is like the Birchbox of fragrances. This subscription service will send you a fragrance of your choice each month, lasting up to 4 sprays per day for 30 days, for $15 each month. You have the option to choose which fragrance you would like to try each month and can rate their selection of scents (a ‘la rating movies you’ve seen on Netflix) for a tailored list of fragrances they think you’ll like the best.

Ask for samples at Sephora, Nordstrom and Ulta

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Sephora, Nordstrom and Ulta are really the only brick and mortars that will bottle up fragrance samples for you. Nordstrom will sometimes hand you three or four mini bottles if you say you’re only in the market for a certain scent. I once said, “Can I take home some Burberry Brit to try on?” and they handed me three vials of it. At best, you get a few samples for free, at worst, they say “No” and you carry on with your day.