HOW TO: SPOT A FAKE PERFUME? A guide to buying.

April 19, 2022

When purchasing expensive perfume, you’ll want to know that you’re buying the real deal. Imitation perfumes are easily manufactured and can therefore be quite cheaper than the authentic ones. Yet, they ususally don’t have the same quality or scent, and on top of that they could even be harmful to your health. Understanding the ‘tell tale’ of fake perfumes can therefore help you make an informed choice.

Authentic or Counterfeit? (Photos: Unsplash)


“You have to know how an original looks and smells like. That way you’ll be equipped for spotting the fakes right away. Educate yourself first hand, make sure you have an experience with the real deal.”

Most counterfeit perfumes purchases can be avoided by going to a reputable seller or a well know establishment that purchases its stock from authorised distributors. Avoid flea markets at all cost, at least when it comes to perfumes. If you’re walking down the street, and you see a vendor selling a fragrance out of his own pocket and for a really low price… We can quarantee, it’s a fake.

If you are unfamiliar with the designer perfume you are planning to purchase, go to a department store and examine it first. Then order it off the Internet so you can compare it with the product you are thinking about buying.


“If the price is unusually low, it’s probably for a reason. The rule “You get what you pay for.”, usually applies.”

If a designer fragrance seems too cheap, it’s likely because it is a fake. Although this isn’t always indicative of quality of the perfume, if the price is too good to be true, then it probably is. Comparing your product’s price to prices on the market helps to determine that. You can simply google the product and check if the pricing matches on one to two websites.


“Check if the bottle and packaging look flimsy or precise. The look itself tells a lot. It should look flawless.”

You can spot an authentic perfume versus an imitation right off the bat just with the packaging!

Check for grammar, misspellings, poorly laid out info. Real packaging is made from high quality paperboard and their engraved texts should be clear and properly visible. Boxes made from thin, flimsy material are often counterfeit. Look for the bar code on the packaging. The bar code must be placed on the lowest back portion and not on the sides.

Lastly, legitimate perfumes typically have cellophane tightly wrapped around the box. If the plastic is loose or badly wrapped, to the point where it is moving around the box, it is a clear sign that you need to look for your perfume elsewhere. Also check to see if there is any excess glue or tape. Real perfume shouldn’t have any messy glue residue or extra tape inside or outside the container.

Perfume bottles (Photo: Unsplash)


“Look for any differences in color shade, color richness or transparency.”

Another tell tale sign of a fake perfume is the color of the fragrance itself. Even a slight difference in color could mean that you’re looking at a counterfeit. Authentic perfumes are manufactured carefully to the dot to make sure there’s consistency in terms of quality, color, scent etc., regardless of how many are produced. They’re known to be created with only the best quality ingredients that have gone through years of research.

  • SMELL!

“Smell it if you can and see how it evolves in time- does it have a fragrance structure of base , middle and top notes?”

Counterfeit fragrances excel in mimicking an authetic perfume’s smell, but that’s about it. The scent could seem similar at first, but quality and longevity on a fake would be weaker than of an authentic perfume. Authentic perfumes will have 3 layers that unveil themselves over time, consisting of the top, middle and base notes. This complexity ensures that the scent is carried and multidimensional, allowing the scent to change from the initial application until complete skin absorption. Fake perfumes will only consist of a top layer, making them flat and often nonexistent shortly after the application.

Testing a fragrance (Photo: Unsplash)

According to board-certified dermatologist Dr. Gaile Robredo-Vitas, the main concern with using knock-off perfume is its unpredictability. Counterfeit perfumes don’t have to pass manufacturing standards so you never really know what’s in them, she explains. These products could contain poor quality, unregulated, and possibly toxic ingredients, which puts the user at risk of allergic reactions. In short, if you want to smell good on a budget, do your research and remeber: »If the price is too good to be true, it’s unfortunately proabaly because it’s a fake.«