Smell is the sense that has scientifically been proven to be most closely associated with memory. A scent has the power to throw us right back to a place or time in a very visceral way, which is why finding the right perfume or cologne to wear, casually and for special occasions, is critical. Of course, the main priority is to smell good to ourselves and to others, but also to link ourselves to an alluringly pleasant scent in the memories of our loved ones and of anyone with whom we spend a lot of time.
The problem is that a tiny bottle of perfume can cost you several hundred dollars. When something is that expensive and sold in such a small quantity, it’s harder to let yourself use it as frequently as if you knew you could easily afford another bottle or two. That’s why we’ve scoured the internet for the best fragrance brands producing quality scents at an affordable price. It’s time to find your favorite perfume and never leave the house without a spray of it, or two.
Eauso Vert, $165-$185
Eauso Vert is a new fragrance company founded by beauty industry veterans Faye Harris and Tanya Gonzalez. The duo wanted to create a clean and simple fragrance line made from responsibly sourced ingredients and recycled materials. In order to do this, Harris and Gonazalez used Green Chemistry, a practice that prioritizes energy efficiency, the use of renewable raw ingredients, and the avoidance of hazardous materials. The brand’s perfume bottles embody its natural and minimalist aesthetic with caps made from light natural wood, meaning every bottle’s top has a unique finish and color variation, and recyclable glass.
Eauso Vert’s fragrances are all subtle enough to wear on a daily basis, though that doesn’t mean they’re not totally irresistible. The Boozy Patchouli, made from Italian bergamot, pink pepper from southeastern Madagascar, and upcycled rose from Turkey is probably the scent with the most muscle, while the Sintra offers a nice background of sandalwood and musk.
Phlur’s Missing Person perfume is among my favorite discoveries during my fragrance deep-dive. It’s only one of Phlur’s nine colorful perfumes, but it’s the type of scent that leaves you wanting more and that you miss once it’s no longer there. Perhaps that’s exactly the point? I found myself easily incorporating it into my morning routine and felt that it was an organic addition to the chemicals already present on my skin.
What I love about the brand itself is that it’s honest about its ingredients, some of which are natural and some of which are not. Its reliance on synthetic ingredients, which Phlur is forthright about, comes from a desire to preserve endangered plants and therefore support their longevity.
Henry Rose, $120
Henry Rose was launched in 2019 by Michelle Pfeiffer, who claims she went a decade without wearing perfume after finding out that dozens of fragrance brands used toxic ingredients and offered little to no transparency about this. Named after her daughter, Claudia Rose, and son, John Henry, Henry Rose was inspired by Pfeiffer’s desire to only use products that would be safe for her children to be around. After a lot of trial and error, the brand was able to create a line of fragrances, each of which is EWG Verified™ (a mark that stands for health, transparency, and good manufacturing practices), and has partnered up with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP), the only leading science-based policy and advocacy organization with a focus on breast cancer prevention, women's health, and environmental justice. It feels good to support a brand that genuinely cares about the wellbeing of its customers.
For me, the collection’s standouts are Fog, which balances sandalwood with musk, rolling over you like a cloud, and Jake’s House, which is alluringly fresh and ends on a sharp, spicy note reminiscent of newly cut cedar wood.
Dossier is known for bringing high-end fragrances to the masses without compromising quality, so this is the brand to check out if you’ve been pining after a Chanel or Le Labo perfume that you have to take out a bank loan for. I absolutely love the Woody Sage scent, which is modeled after Jo Malone's Wood Sage & Sea Salt, and gives off the aroma of a salty, savory baked good in the middle of its time in the oven. On the other end of the spectrum is Spicy Orchard, which resembles Tom Ford's Black Orchid, and has some harder, sharper edges that are rounded out by a soft echo of orchids. If you fall in love with any of the scents Dossier has to offer (and you will), you can shop for it in candle form as well to truly be surrounded by your favorite odor at all times.
Snif is another fragrance brand working to improve the accessibility of captivating perfumes and make it easier to find your new scent while shopping online. The company offers trial kits, which include one to three fragrances and small sample vials of each so you can “snif” before you buy. You don’t have to pay for anything in the kit until you decide what you want to keep and what you want to return, which you can do for free. Plus, you’re rewarded with a 23% discount for purchasing all the fragrances in your kit, as keeping all three costs $150 (instead of $195, if purchased individually). I rarely find online fragrance companies that actually let you try out their perfumes for free—they only offer sample sizes of their scents that you have to purchase and then keep, even if you don’t like how any of them smell.
My favorite Snif scent is Tart Deco because of how uniquely playful and youthful its cherry notes are, and the brand’s entire line is equally cheeky, daring you to take a little snif.
I thought I’d find myself in a dizzy, nauseous state after trying out so many different perfumes, but I was simply more and more pleased as I made my way through all the scents these brands have to offer. When you’re in the market for a new fragrance, your biggest fear is that you’ll end up buying something that someone else considers “cheap perfume” because of some discernibly low quality you overlooked. Rest assured that if you shop from any of these quality brands, the only one that’s going to know how little you’re spending is your wallet.