With so many colognes on the market, how do you know which one is for you? Fragrance smells slightly differently on everyone—because things like skin type and diet can affect how a cologne mingles with your body's pheromones. That's why sampling your next signature scent is the only way to determine if it's the one, before you commit to that full-size bottle.
And although sampling cologne might seem like a lot of extra effort (especially for guys who prefer a streamlined grooming routine), finding the scent that's right for you is much easier than committing to the wrong one. Plus, once you know where to get cologne samples, fragrance shopping won't seem so difficult. Ahead, these hacks offer insight on how to score free or relatively cheap cologne samples so you can leave a satisfactory olfactory impression.
Get Free Samples With Other Purchases
This hack is really minimal effort. Next time you're ordering something from Sephora or Ulta, add up to three free samples of cologne to your cart. True, you'll be choosing from a limited selection, will most likely be new product drops, but the exertion is next to nothing, and you might as well build your sample library here. Plus, sampling new fragrance launches keeps you on-trend when it comes to scent.
Ask at a Department Store
Visit the cologne counter at a department store like Saks, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, or Nordstroms to request a fragrance sample. Again, these will mostly likely be newly launched scents, although depending on your rapport with a sales clerk, you might be able to score an oldie but goodie. Sure, asking for a sample of Calvin Klein's Obsession might make you feel like asking for a sample of vanilla, but remind the sales clerk that body chemistry can affect how a scent sits on your skin. And you're that extra.
Ask at a Beauty Specialty Store
Beauty specialty shops like Sephora or Ulta will pour you a sample vial of men's cologne upon request. You might feel intimidated at one of these beauty emporiums, but the staff is there to assist you, and that means doling out samples of cologne.
Buy Individual Samples
You can buy best-selling men’s cologne samples from TheAromi.com. The popular site has a solid reputation, which makes it way better than buying samples off eBay, where what you get varies from seller to seller. At TheAromi.com, you can buy individual luxury cologne samples from $4, or order a monthly sample subscription package for $20, which also includes a coupon for a full-size purchase.
You can also buy individual samples from luxe lines like Le Labo, where 0.05 ounces of their iconic scents are $4 to $6 a pop. You can even purchase samples online with free shipping.
Buy a Travel Coffret
A fragrance coffret is a discovery set of popular colognes, ideal for travel. Each coffret comes with three to five vials of the brand's top-selling cologne. Vials are sample-sized, at an ounce or two, and sometimes you'll also score a pocket atomizer for easy spritzing.
Buy a Mini Version of a Full-Size Bottle
Minis are a great way to sample a cologne and enjoy the aesthetic of the bottle in which it comes, if you're into that kind of thing. After all cologne is all about the experience. A mini lets you commit to a luxury fragrance for a fraction of the price.
Try a Subscription Service
Subscription services like Scentbird let you browse hundreds of legacy luxury colognes and lesser known artisanal and clean beauty scents to choose your next signature scent. Once you sign up for the service, you'll be guided through a series of quizzes to help you figure out your fragrance preferences. Then you'll set up a queue and arrange to have a 30-day supply of each scent delivered every month.
Although this option might seem like a lot of effort, it's time well-spent, especially as you don't even need to leave your house or build rapport with beauty experts.