Perfume being sprayed on a ladies arm
Smelling good was never so affordable!

How to smell divine without breaking the bank

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links meaning that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase - thank you.

Scent is one of our most powerful senses. Just a hint of an aroma can change our mood emotionally and mentally, but perfume is frequently seen as a luxury item and often only worn on special occasions because of the cost. If anything can put a spring in my step then it's smelling good! I love a good perfume and at the moment I am wearing them on a daily basis to keep myself cheerful in the current climate. I am very much a 'mood' person and like to have a range of different scents to use depending on how I feel, or want to feel. (I try and spray them more on my clothes than on myself to keep my contact with them to a minimum but be careful doing this on light coloured clothing). The trouble is that I have high end tastes so how to have a dressing table with a full selection of premium smelling perfumes on it without breaking the bank?

Step forward the 'inspired by' perfume companies. If you haven't heard of these before they are companies that sell perfumes that are extremely close to the original scent, but at a fraction of the price. Most of the money you pay for a premium perfume is for the brand name, the packaging and the obligatory full on marketing campaign. The actual perfume ingredients cost very little compared to the rest.

I was therefore really interested to have a look at the new breed of companies that make 'inspired by' or 'similar to' perfumes for men and women and have been really impressed by the quality and the price. I have listed my top three companies here (in no particular order).

Step forward the 'inspired by' perfume companies

Divain -

This company does a huge range of perfumes, nearly 500, and covers all the brands you can imagine. The company is based in Madrid but postage to the UK is a very reasonable £3.18 and all my orders have arrived in 3 - 5 days. If you buy two bottles of perfume the shipping is free. The perfumes I have tried (Chanel Chance, Lancome Tresor Midnight Rose and also their La Vie est Belle) were all spot on. The scents are a 12% concentrate and I have found the ones I tried to be well scented with fairly good staying power, you need to spray a couple of times day. For perfumes with a stronger concentrate see Copycat Fragrance below. A 100ml bottle costs £19, which when you compare this to about £94.50 for 100ml of Chanel Chance eau de toilette at John Lewis, is extremely good value. The only downside is that they only do the 100ml size. The company send out two perfume samples with your order, based on your perfume selection but I understand that they are working on a system to enable customers to select their own samples, possibly in bundle packs too.

Copycat Fragrances -

Copycat Fragrances is based in Leeds. They have a smaller selection (approximately 34 for women) and they do stick to brands like Tom Ford and Creed so you may not find the specific perfume that you want. All their perfumes have an approximate 20% concentration, are made in London and the company claim their perfumes are 90% identical to the originals. They do sell samples and have a range of different bottle sizes and shipping is free. I ordered the Tom Ford Neroli Portofino and it was absolutely fantastic. A really good quality perfume that lasted the day. The various size options available are a 5ml sample for £6.95, 30ml bottle £24.95, 50ml bottle £39.95 and 100ml bottle £54.95. A great choice for stronger, longer lasting perfumes.

The Essence Vault -

The Essence Vault is also based in the UK and has about fifty perfumes for women, plus bundle offers. They tell me their concentrations range from 15% - 20% and I was impressed with the staying power of the samples that I ordered. They also cover the popular Tom Ford and Creed scents but also have a range of others such as Paco Rabanne Lady Million, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb and Dior J'adore so you may well find your favourite scent here. They have a range of size options available, a 5ml sample of Inspired by Eternity (for her) is £5.95, 30ml is £14.95 and 100ml £24.95. Shipping is free in the UK.

Some of the bottle sizes are too big for handbags so I just decant the perfume into a luxury atomiser. These tiny little spray bottles are refillable and hold about 5ml (about 60 - 65 sprays) so plenty for a few days (or nights) out, and they fit easily into a pocket or small clutch bag.

If you prefer a more natural product then try Neal's Yard Pure Essence Eau de Parfum No 2 Rose at £39 for 50ml. This perfume is made with 100% natural fragrance and essential oils, which is great for anyone with allergies to conventional perfumes. With rose, pink pepper, palmarosa, rose geranium, cedarwood and benzoin this gorgeous perfume wears well for day or night. They also do a Pure Essence Eau de Parfum No 1 Frankincense for the same price. For something a little cheaper and handbag friendly I also use their Remedies to Roll in Womans Balance at £8 for 9ml. This smells great whilst helping you relax and wind down at the same time.

We all have our favourite perfumes that make us feel good and build our self confidence and now you can treat yourself for less!

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