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Scents have an uncanny ability to trigger memories and emotions in a way that other beauty products do not. So, it’s no surprise that many beauty lovers find fragrance to be an innately personal category. Now, thanks to these fragrance subscription boxes, you can have a really fun experience exploring your scent preferences.
These clever perfume subscription boxes reimagine the department store salesperson chasing you down with a paper-scented sample into a personal, at-home experience that allows you to explore your fragrance palette without committing to the hefty price tags that come with most full-sized fragrance bottles.
The ability to sample and test new trending scents, classic staples, and under-the-radar gems at a fraction of the cost invites a level of experimentation and discovery that makes searching for your signature fragrance a whole lot of fun.
The 7 Best Perfume Subscription Boxes of 2020
Best Overall: Scentbird
In an attempt to eliminate the clutter of half-used fragrance bottles on your nightstand, Scentbird designed a monthly subscription service to help you regularly switch up your scent.
For around $15 per month, you can browse and select a favorite scent from a catalog of over 500 designer and niche fragrances. Plus, they come delivered in a travel-friendly, 8-milliliter vial filled with about 140 sprays to get you through four weeks and then some.
The vial fits snugly in the chic silver atomizer case that is included in your first order and is perfect for travel, on-the-go spritzing. From forever classics by Gucci, Prada, and Acqua di Parma to noteworthy newness from Tom Ford, Tocca, and Fresh, Scentbird's extensive selection invites you to discover new fragrances or revert back to tried-and-true favorites each month.
You’ll be sent monthly suggestions based on the user scent preferences you fill out at sign up, and you can continue to add favorites to your queue to enjoy month after month. And, if you just so happen to stumble upon your forever favorite, you can purchase the full-size bottle and cancel the subscription portion anytime.
Best Value: The Fragrance Club
There’s a reason—scratch that—many reasons why this fragrance and cologne club makes our list.
The Fragrance Club has lots of options depending on the frequency of your delivery, including bimonthly shipments for roughly $9 per month. Let’s face it, some days we’re spritzing old favorites from our nightstand, and these samples can pile up quick. Plus, when your sample weighs in at 10 milliliters—about 25% more than competitors—it’s sure to last you well past that one-month cutoff mark.
The samples themselves are also something to be admired. Your welcome package will come with a fancy leather case—available in black or white, with gold trim detailing—and an insert bottle with your selected fragrance. The case makes the whole experience less sample-y and more like a luxury travel scent that you’d proudly display on your vanity or regularly pull out of your clutch to show off.
To start, you'll create a fragrance queue including three preselected offerings that will be curated in upcoming deliveries (with the option to swap and make changes along the way). With selections from Versace, Gucci, and Coach, new scents are updated regularly, and there’s plenty to choose from.
Your order is shipped within 24 hours of purchase.
Best Variety: Margot Elena
It’s not exactly your traditional fragrance subscription box, but the assortment of products found inside this seasonal box is sure to delight any fragrance junkie or novice scent explorer alike.
Margot Elena is the name behind the brands Lollia, Library of Flowers, TokyoMilk, and The Cottage Greenhouse—whose products you have likely stopped to sniff while browsing through Anthropologie, thanks to their eye-catching packaging and aromatic scents.
The seasonal assortment includes a whopping 12 to 15 products from each of the four Margot Elena brands. For around $50 per month, you'll get either two full-sized products or four minis, along with a bonus surprise gift that ranges anywhere from trendy nail color to a greeting card, cosmetic bag, candle, or tunic. With upward of $200 in products packed into each box, it’s not hard to see the value.
The extensive range of pampering products will have you indulging head-to-toe with delicious fragrances and candles, scented oils and creams, and pampering aromatherapy. The ornate packaging also makes these products some of the most giftable on earth, so even if it’s not fit for your scent preferences, it will be a welcome surprise to pass along to a friend.
Most Personalized: Scent Trunk
Unlike other fragrance subscription boxes that require you to fill out your preferences from the start, Scent Trunk helps you discover them from the get-go.
The brand's concept is to showcase the art of perfumery by educating you about scent families, notes, and layering, allowing you to explore and curate a custom product to meet your preferences. It all starts with ordering the Discovery Palette (around $8, separate from the subscription) which gives you the opportunity to sniff six different fragrance families—citrus, wood, aromatic, floral, amber, and chypre (the green, earthy family). You can easily decipher your top picks and least favorites to guide Scent Trunk's curators in crafting the perfect scent for you.
You’ll fill in your preferences using an online guided scent test, which resident fragrance experts will use to curate a scent that genuinely matches your preferences. Each month, you’ll receive a 30-day supply of your custom signature scent for about $16—stamped with your name—that you are sure to love. You also have the option to change your preferences to try something new or go all-in on a full-sized bottle of your custom fragrance.
Best Hidden Gems: Luxury Scent Box (LUXSB)
The concept is simple: sample first, size up later. This perfume subscription concept first launched as a local service running out of the brand's brick-and-mortar Santa Ana, California, store in 2010.
In 2016, Luxury Scent Box rolled out nationwide, and just last year the sister-founded brand relaunched (and renamed) as LUXSB, and their fragrance expertise is clear from the start. Their impressive selection of scents includes a plethora of usual department store favorites, delightfully unusual, hard-to-find scents that you won’t find anywhere else, plus all those buzzworthy newbies that are impossible to track down (like Juliette Has Gun, TokyoMilk, or Jimmy Choo).
With an average growth rate of over 200% annually, it’s easy to say subscribers are pleased with their options and selections. As a member, you have the option to choose your fragrance for the month, select from a lineup of generated recommendations based on your preferences, or get picks directly from one of the brand's fragrance specialists.
For around $15 per month, you’ll receive a .30-ounce/9-milliliter spray to fit into your reusable case, which Luxury Scent Box provides every season in your February, May, August, and November boxes. Once you find a scent you love, you can purchase the full-sized bottle at a membership discount.
Best Scent Story: Perfume Surprise
If you love perfume and also love jewelry, this box combines your two favorite things and delivers them to your doorstep as a welcome surprise each month.
And, instead of receiving just one perfume sample every month, this box (for around $25 each) includes five, 2.5-milliliter mini spray bottles and a jewelry surprise. Each month’s fragrance and jewelry selection is curated based on a theme. For example, one month’s theme could include a lineup of scents that share a warm, sensual smell, and classic notes like vanilla, wood, and exotic flowers and spices.
The jewelry piece—which could include anything from a charm bracelet to a watch—will also be aligned with the theme, for a cohesive fragrance story to explore each month. It’s not the cheapest fragrance subscription box, but it definitely holds its value usually in the jewelry piece alone—not to mention the lineup of coveted fragrance brands like Marc Jacobs, Versace, and Salvatore Ferragamo.
Best Sampling: Scentbox
If the branding and concept looks familiar, you’re not alone (or seeing double). Many elements of this fragrance experience are often confused with Scentbird; so often, they’re phone recording says, “If you’re calling for Scentbird you’ve reached the wrong company,” when you dial to speak to customer service.
But don’t let the vague similarities confuse you—the Scentbox monthly service also delivers on a convenient fragrance sampling experience, with almost double the arsenal of scents to choose from.
With a selection of over 850 designer fragrances, subscribers have an extensive mix of trending, classic, and coveted scents to browse each month. Choose from luxury picks from brands like Byredo, Chloe, and Creed. Once a fragrance selection is made, Scentbox delivers an 8-milliliter refillable travel atomizer to your doorstep, filled with a 30-day supply, so you can spritz all month long.
For about $15 per month, Scentbox makes the entire experience feel fun and pressure-free, with convenient month-to-month memberships that make it easy to switch up your picks, cancel, or commit to a full-sized favorite.
How We Chose the Best Perfume Subscription Boxes
It started with a list of 15 fragrance subscription services, which pretty much covered any companies that existed in this category. From there, we dove into the experience for each one to learn about the method of their fragrance-selection madness. While almost all began with completing a scent profile, some—like Scent Trunk—went above and beyond delivering actual samples of different scent families for a real-life smell test, which made for a more fun and memorable experience. Next, we looked into the fragrance selection.
While many were flooded with the usual suspects you can find on any discount shelf, few (like Scent Box and Luxury Scent) delivered a range of hidden gems and hard-to-find favorites from brands like Byredo and Jimmy Choo. Then, we compared the unboxing experience and sample size, where companies like Margot Elena impressed.
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