I'm a Fragrance Enthusiast—Here’s What I Thought About ScentBox's Subscription

ScentBox is a better fit for fragrance novices.

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Scentbox Packaging

Byrdie / Stacey Nguyen

  • Offers a selection of over 1,000 fragrances

  • Can filter perfumes by brands and notes on site for easy browsing

  • Atomizer is sturdy and easy to use

  • Subscribers can exchange perfumes if they do not like their selection

  • Starting plan is affordable and usually cheaper than typical travel sprays

  • Can cheaper than typical travel sprays

  • Many fragrances are locked behind Premium or Platinum plans

  • Company’s shipment schedule can potentially lead to two-week waiting periods



Scentbox Packaging

Byrdie / Stacey Nguyen

Prior to my mid-twenties, I didn’t think much about how fragrances evoke moods or add character to someone’s presence. Personally, I’d spritz on random fruity scents from Body Works to freshen up on warm days. But after falling down a YouTube perfume rabbit hole early in the pandemic, I started thinking deeply about fragrance as a form of self-expression and became more willing to spend good money on it.  

There were, however, a few problems with my newfound perfume fascination. First, my signature scent shifted from season to season, if not month to month. Frankly, I’m pretty fickle when it comes to committing to a fragrance. My second problem was that fragrances are exorbitantly expensive, so changing my vibe multiple times a year cost a pretty penny. 

Naturally, the concept of a fragrance subscription appealed to me because I could test out new perfumes every month without investing in full-size bottles. Eager to try out a perfume subscription, I signed up for ScentBox, a monthly fragrance subscription that allows subscribers to choose one to three 8-mL samples of perfume each month. After one month of trying out ScentBox, ahead are my honest thoughts about the service.

How I Tested ScentBox

After signing up for ScentBox and perusing its website for options, I settled on Mon Guerlain Bloom of Rose, an offshoot of Mon Guerlain by Guerlain. When my fragrance arrived, I tested it for about a week, spraying it on my clothes and wrists. In addition to the perfume itself, I also took into account the service’s ease of use, its shipping policies, and its atomizer form.

Scentbox perfume bottle and box

Byrdie / Stacey Nguyen

I also wanted to test a more complicated benchmark: how much value I got from my perfume. There’s the objective matter of cost per milliliter. Then, there are the more subjective matters of how long the fragrance lasted on my skin and how I felt about it. When it comes to longevity preferences, some people reach for mellow skin scents, while others spring for long-lasting beast-mode perfumes. 

I fall somewhere between these two camps, but testing for longevity does let me evaluate how much wear I get out of a fragrance. I also wanted to see whether or not I enjoyed the perfume I received—would it still feel worth the $17 if I ended up gifting the fragrance or going through the trouble of exchanging it? I was determined to find out.

How Does ScentBox Work?

ScentBox is a perfume subscription service that sends its members at least one 8-mL fragrance sample each month from its collection of over 1,000 scents. There are three subscriber tiers: Standard, Premium, and Platinum. With the Standard tier, you can choose from around 600 designer fragrances, although you need to pay more to upgrade to the Platinum or Premium plans for increased access to ScentBox’s collection. No matter your plan, however, you can get up to three samples per shipment, and you can pause or cancel at any time. Members are also eligible for one free exchange shipment per month up to five times within a year.

ScentBox ships on the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th of each month, with an order period of seven to 13 days before each shipment day. For example, if you subscribe on the 8th, your order’s prospective shipping date will be the 21st. You want to note shipping dates before you subscribe to avoid a two-week processing time between when you subscribe and when your perfume ships. After your order ships, you may need to wait seven to 10 business days for your items to arrive.

scentbox atomizer

Byrdie / Stacey Nguyen

When you sign up, you’ll be directed to a scent profile quiz, which I personally found to be a little vague. While perfume is admittedly vibes-based, I felt it was a bit of a reach to connect my favorite type of music with my taste in fragrance. ScentBox generated 15 recommendations for me based on my answers, but 10 options were grayed out because I wasn’t a Premium or Platinum tier subscriber. 

In search of more choices, I went to ScentBox’s main perfume page and whittled down my options by note, brand, fragrance family, personality, occasion, and season. While I liked these filters, I still noticed that many perfumes belonged to the more expensive subscription tiers. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remove them from my search results, so I ended up surfing through quite a few fragrances. 

ScentBox Cost

ScentBox plans start at $17 per month, with discounts for first-time subscribers. When I signed up, I was charged $10 as a new ScentBox member—and luckily, ScentBox doesn’t charge for delivery, so I didn’t have to pay for shipping. Personally, I opted for the cheapest plan for one fragrance at $17 per month, but you can receive up to three scents each month. One-scent plans start at $17, two-scent plans at $29, and three-scent plans at $41.

As I mentioned earlier, Scentbird subscriptions are divided into Standard, Premium, and Platinum tears, each divided by how many perfumes you have access to. Standard plan members can select from over 600 fragrances, while Premium and Platinum subscribers get access to over 850 and 1,000 fragrances respectively. As you’d expect, Premium and Platinum plans are more expensive than the Standard plan. For example, a Platinum plan is $31 for one scent, $57 for two scents, and $78 for three scents. 

scentbox contents

Byrdie / Stacey Nguyen

Perfumes designated as Premium or Platinum picks tend to be more expensive designer picks from brands like Tom Ford, Viktor & Rolf, and more. On the other hand, celebrity perfumes, such as those by Ariana Grande, and more affordable brands, such as Juicy Couture, tend to be slotted into the cheaper Standard category. 

If you’re going with the basic $17 plan, you’ll be paying about $2.12/mL for an 8-mL sample. For a lower-end celebrity travel spray (think R.E.M. by Ariana Grande), you’ll typically shell out $26 for 10 mL at Ulta, which plays out to $2.60/mL—in that case, you’d be saving with ScentBox. My chosen eau de toilette, Mon Guerlain Bloom of Rose by Guerlain retails for $118 for a 100-mL bottle, which is about $1.18/mL. I’m paying $1.25/mL with my $10 new subscriber cost, so ScentBox is technically more expensive per milliliter. That said, I didn’t feel like this was an entirely fair comparison because I couldn’t find a travel spray for Bloom of Rose.

Delivery and Packaging

My order arrived within ScentBox’s designated time window. However, there was almost a two-week period between when ScentBox charged my credit card and when my product shipped because ScentBox only sends out subscription items four times a month. I became a member on the 23rd, but since the cutoff date for shipping on the 28th was the 21st, my prospective shipping date was pushed to the 7th. ScentBox sent my order on the 5th, but there was still a 13-day wait. Those eager to receive their first sample in a timely manner should definitely keep an eye out for shipping cutoff dates.

Scentbox packaging

Byrdie / Stacey Nguyen

That said, I only waited two days between when my order shipped and when I received my item, as ScentBox uses First-Class Mail. My package came in a sleek, if not showy, square bubble mailer—it’s gold and features the ScentBox logo printed on the back. If you’d like to exchange your item, you can place it right back in the packaging. The mailer is also recyclable if you can find a center that accepts plastic mailers. 

I found my atomizer inside a paper box along with a packing slip, a free exchange notification card, and coupon card. Although I appreciated learning about the exchange program and liked that ScentBox offered a coupon, I wish there was more information about my designated fragrance in the packaging.

Quality and Ease of Use

My fragrance atomizer came in a paper box that ScentBox calls a keepsake box. The perfume’s name was clearly labeled with a printed sticker at the bottom of my atomizer. The atomizer case itself features a durable plastic material and has the ScentBox logo printed on its body. To reveal the spray nozzle, you simply twist it clockwise. You can even see how much perfume you have left by pulling up the glass vial when the nozzle is exposed. 

I appreciated how durable the atomizer case felt and how easy it was to use—you even get one each month. And my case fit perfectly inside my phone crossbody purse, which made it quite portable. The only thing that I took issue with was how easy it was to get dust and fingerprints on it. 

scentbox product and packaging

Byrdie / Stacey Nguyen

It turns out I didn’t even need to take my scent on the go, mostly because Bloom of Rose is a powerhouse. I usually do three sprays with my perfumes, but even only spraying my left wrist and blouse was borderline headache-inducing. Even though Bloom of Rose is an eau de toilette—which is supposed to be lighter—it stayed on my skin and clothes for five to six hours. One spritz covered a sufficient surface area on my body for a day out—a rollerball would have just concentrated the fragrance in one place. 

Bloom of Rose’s listed notes include Carla lavender, Sambac jasmine, vanilla from Tahiti, sandalwood, Bulgarian rose, and neroli. It opens with a sharp bergamot and lavender scent, then settles into a warm woody gourmand scent. Once it mellows down a bit, it transforms into a much more approachable smell—it reminds me of the floral sample scents you might find inside magazines. While I didn’t love Bloom of Rose, I’m glad that I used a sample size instead of buying a 100-mL bottle.

Who’s ScentBox Good For?

ScentBox is ideal for perfume beginners just trying out fragrances for the first time. Its scent profile quiz generates quite a few recommendations, and the clear-to-see filters on the website also allow users to look through fragrance notes and brands easily. Plus, with the selection for the basic Standard plan, beginners can get a feel for fragrances from popular designer brands. Regarding the actual product design, ScentBox’s atomizer is compact, easy to use, and fairly durable, allowing for simple portability without worrying about damage or spillage. 

For perfume enthusiasts who have tried their fair share of fragrances, you may want to consider ScentBox’s Premium and Platinum plans. While these subscriptions cost more, they offer access to luxury and niche brands. Sometimes, you might even get a better deal through ScentBox than if you were shopping retail price. For example, say you wanted to try Oud Wood by Tom Ford, which ScentBox lists as a Platinum fragrance. You’d pay $31 for an 8-mL travel spray with ScentBox ($3.87/mL) instead of $70 for a 10-mL travel spray ($7/mL). Of course, you wouldn’t get the designer packaging, but you’d be saving almost $40.

Final Thoughts

After trying out ScentBox for a month, I came out with mixed to positive feelings about it. The ScentBox website itself is pretty seamless to browse, despite many options being grayed out for me because of my plan. Even though I didn’t like the recommendations generated by ScentBox’s quiz, it was easy to browse options with the brand and note filters. The ordering process was also simple, but I wish there wasn’t a two-week delay between when I selected my choice and when my order shipped. 

Although the fragrance I selected didn’t end up being one that I loved, I won’t fault ScentBox for that—experimenting with new scents is part of the process! The fragrance wasn’t egregious enough that I felt like I had wasted money, and I liked that ScentBox offered me the safety net of an exchange option. What won me over was ScentBox’s atomizer design. Not only did I find it fun and intuitive to use, but I also appreciated how sturdy it felt. 

Since I’m familiar with many fragrances in its Standard plan, I don’t see myself continuing my ScentBox subscription. However, even with ScentBox’s most basic subscription, subscribers can access over 600 perfumes from mainstream and classic brands. That said, I’d recommend this service to friends who are just getting started on their fragrance journeys.

  • How Much Do Fragrance Subscriptions Cost?

    Fragrance subscriptions usually cost no more than $20 per month, with free shipping included. ScentBox, for example, costs $17 per month for one 8-mL atomizer. One caveat is that you will usually pay more than this $20 estimate if you pick out multiple fragrances each month or select a higher tier.

  • How Many Items Do Fragrance Subscriptions Send Every Month?

    Fragrance subscription services typically send one atomizer or rollerball per month. Companies that let you pick out multiple fragrances, like ScentBox, will usually let you pick out up to three scents per month. But some companies may offer more than three scents per shipment depending on their policy.

  • Do Fragrance Subscriptions Send You Full Bottles or Sample Sizes?

    Fragrance subscriptions will usually only send you sample sizes for your recurring shipments. However, many fragrance subscription companies also feature full-size fragrances that you can purchase separately. Of course, note that most subscription boxes offer relatively generous sample sizes. Instead of the 1- or 2-mL sampler you might receive at a department store, you’ll likely get an 8- or 9-mL atomizer, which is almost the size of a traditional 10-mL travel spray. 

  • Do Fragrance Subscriptions Just Sell Perfume?

    Most fragrance subscriptions will offer perfume, cologne, and eau de toilette products. When it comes to non-fragrance items, many perfume subscription companies may also sell items like candles and body care products. 


  • Base price $17
  • Free shipping? Yes
  • Delivery frequency Monthly
  • No. of items per shipment 1–3
  • Sample size 8 mL

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