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The Best Budget Perfumes for 2021
Your Ultimate Guide to the Best Cheap Perfumes
Fragrances can be incredibly personal. There’s a wide range of scents and fragrances available that are perfect for daily use or special occasions. Scents can be comforting or they can be alluring, fruity or earthy, citrusy or musky. The best one is all up to you.
The good news is, you don’t have to spend a fortune just to smell like a million dollars! In this guide, we show you our top picks for the best cheap perfumes that will leave you smelling fresh, fruity, or spicy, depending on your style!
In A Hurry? This is the Best Cheap Perfume:
If there ever was happiness in a bottle, then this cheap perfume might be it. Crafted with a blend of fresh, vibrant notes and sensual undertones, the Happy Spray by Clinique is their best-selling women’s fragrance.
This minimalist-looking bottle is the perfect gift for anyone who needs an instant pick-me-up, or a daily comforting scent that can lighten up any room. The fragrance lasts all day.
At A Glance: Our Top Picks for the Best Affordable Perfumes
BEST AMBER VANILLA PERFUME
BEYONCE HEAT FOR WOMEN
Speaking of sweet, Beyonce’s 2010 amber vanilla fragrance is just that. The bottle is an alluring red after Queen Bey’s favorite color.
One of the most enjoyable parts of choosing a scent is all the different options you get. It might seem daunting at first, but don’t worry! Once you learn all the basics, then mixing and matching is the fun part.
The first thing you need to know is that typical fragrances consist of notes. There are multiple layers called the base notes, head/top notes, and middle/heart notes. The blend of these scents provide the overall fragrance.
This is why you’ll find floral fragrances with notes from violet leaves, peony, bulgarian rose, freesia, lilies, orange-blossom, and roses. Others will have a spicy scent with notes of cinnamon, star anise, pepper, vanilla, or nutmeg; while a fruity fragrance typically features notes such as creamy coconut, mandarin orange, black currant, and passionfruit. If these aren’t your thing, you can opt for a scent with more earthy notes. Some popular ones include patchouli, white musk, and sandalwood which have a sweet, full aroma.
But of course, the best part about choosing your (cheap) perfume is that most of them are actually a combination of different kinds of scents — complex and unique, just like the wearer! There are also plenty of benefits to wearing a good scent. For one, it’s proven to lift our mood. A good scent can make us feel fun, bold, or happy. It can set the stage for plenty of occasions, whether it’s a date night or a summer trip with the fam.
If you don’t quite know where to start yet, we’ve outlined some of the best products just for you. They range from cruelty-free natural aromas to spicy, alluring fragrances. Read on to find out what they are!
Top 10 Best Cheap Perfumes
Let’s Go Over Each Fragrance
Feel happy, be happy! This feminine scent is sure to lift anyone’s mood, and if you’re looking for a fresh and light fragrance, look no further. The body mist is the best of both worlds, with vibrant fruity notes like ruby red grapefruit and bergamot mixed with the combined floral scent of a Hawaiian wedding flower.
Recommended for: those who want a bright scent that isn’t too overpowering and is suited for daily use.
Pros and Cons of the Clinique Happy Spray
|✔️ Light, feminine scent |
✔️ Great for day use
✔️ No overpowering odor
|✖️ Might be too light for some |
Scents are even more powerful when they can trigger emotional responses. Some things remind us of better days while others excite and enchant. This one smells like comfort.
Comfort comes in all shapes, sizes, and scents, too — the smell of fresh laundry, your favorite home-cooked meal, and even a warm bath. The Philosophy Pure Grace is an eau de parfum that is clean, pure, and homey; the philosophy behind being nothing smells better than soap-and-water.
Add a few notes of water lily, leafy greens, and musk, and you’ve got yourself a signature scent that is perfect for the sophisticate within us. The inviting head notes are bergamot, lily, lavender, lemon, and neroli; while florals like lily of the valley, rose, and jasmine make up the heart. The base is a strong musk to balance it out. Recommended for: classy, clean days where you want to feel like a million bucks.
Pros and Cons of the Philosophy Pure Grace
|✔️ Simple, sophisticated fragrance|
✔️ Suitable for daily use
✔️ Pleasant floral notes
|✖️ Might not be suitable for special occasions |
Like we said, fragrances can be incredibly personal. You wear them, and you feel almost transformed. Much like the clothes we wear and the accessories we don, they can make us feel like different people if we want an escape even just for a night. But that’s not what the Glossier You is for.
Instead of making you feel like someone else, the Glossier You is all about making you feel comfortable in your own skin and celebrating all the best parts of yourself. The first scent is pink pepper, a top note that piques anyone’s curiosity. The ambrette seeds and amber notes make up the heart. Once you’re completely pulled in, the floral scent of white irises balance it all out. A complex fragrance for a unique human being, just like you.
Pros and Cons of the Glossier You
|✔️ Personalized fragrance|
✔️ Complex notes of spice, fruit, and florals
✔️ Perfect for daily use
|✖️ Simple packaging |
Scents can be incredibly intimate, too. The Vera Wang Embrace is named after this gesture of affection and intimacy. The Green Tea & Pear Blossom variant is just as irresistible, with a mix of pear blossom and bergamot as the initial notes along with peony, freesia, and orange blossom for the heart.
Wearing it feels like a warm hug from someone you love. Perfect for: summertime, walks on the beach, or going on dates!
Pros and Cons of the Vera Wang Embrace
|✔️ Beautiful floral scent |
✔️ Strong without being overpowering
✔️ Lasts all day
|✖️ Pricey compared to others |
Modesty can be a superpower. The Amazing Grace from Philosophy is a scent that is calm, collected, and unobtrusive, yet all the while divinely feminine. It’s a perfect daily scent if you want something that is fresh and simple, like a fragrance for when you just want to smell natural.
It’s the “no makeup-makeup” of the fragrance world, if you will. The opening scent is a familiar bergamot with the mixture of muguet blossoms at the heart.
Pros and Cons of the Philosophy Amazing Grace
|✔️ Unique fragrance |
✔️ Natural scent
|✖️ Pricey compared to others |
Lemon, mint, orange peel — these top notes are what greet you when you first get a whiff of the Elizabeth Arden eau de parfum. Anyone who wants a quick, aromatic citrus scent will enjoy the complex notes of jasmine and white amber combined with oakmoss, musk, and cloves.
The fresh and fruity fragrance is perfect for the summertime, or whenever we want to be whisked away to pleasant memories of fun under the sun.
Pros and Cons of the Elizabeth Arden
|✔️ Complex aroma |
✔️ Great for summer
✔️ Bright notes of jasmine, amber, and oakmoss
|✖️ Light scent requires multiple spritzes throughout the day |
While this isn’t exactly a cheap perfume, you’re definitely getting what you’re paying for. The Calvin Klein Obsession is an irresistible mix of spicy scents, notes of sandalwood, orange blossom, vanilla, incense, and vetiver.
If you’re a huge fan of these scents, then you’re going to be obsessed with this fragrance. It’s perfect for any occasion, whether that’s a date night or a vacation.
Pros and Cons of the Calvin Klein Obsession
|✔️ Deep, sensual fragrance |
✔️ Strong scent, requires only a few spritzes
✔️ Perfect for day and night use
|✖️ A little expensive |
Do you miss girl’s nights as much as we do? The Bath & Body Works Into the Night fragrance mist is perfect for reminiscing about nights where we get dolled up and dressed to the nines. Imagine long gowns, high slits, curled updos, and crazy afterparties — all in a single eau de parfum.
This one is the perfect blend of sweet, feminine, and sensual. It’s perfect for those who like the floral scent of midnight jasmine coupled with dark berries and rich amber.
Pros and Cons of the Bath & Body Works Into the Night
|✔️ Sweet and feminine scent |
✔️ Great for nights out
|✖️ Requires multiple spritzes|
Speaking of sweet, Beyonce’s 2010 amber vanilla fragrance is just that. The bottle is an alluring red after Queen Bey’s favorite color. Then, you get drawn in by sweet-smelling peaches, magnolias, and orchids, which make up the top notes.
At the heart, you’ll find the passionate fragrance of honeysuckle, almonds, and musky cream. Sequoia wood and tonka bean make up the signature base. Wear this on chilly nights out and you’ll be an absolute hit.
Pros and Cons of the Beyonce Heat for Women
|✔️ Long-lasting vanilla scent |
✔️ Suitable for any occasion
✔️ Beautiful bottle packaging
|✖️ Stronger than other scents on the list|
You can’t go wrong with a classic. The woody floral fragrance of SJP’s Lovely is an ode to signature smells that we all know and love. Head notes of lavender, martini, and palisander rosewood greet you like a warm hug.
As you go deeper, you discover the exciting aromas of patchouli, orchid, and narcissus right at the heart. These natural ingredients make for a classic bottle that you’re sure to be reaching for daily.
Pros and Cons of Lovely by Sarah Jessica Parker
|✔️ Beautiful packaging |
✔️ Fun floral notes
✔️ Great for daily use
|✖️ Could last longer|
Best Budget Fragrances Comparison Table
It shouldn’t take a fortune to smell great. With these budget-friendly fragrances, you’re well on your way to finding that signature fragrance you’ll know and love. Whether it’s an eau de parfum with citrus notes or a musky eau de toilette, there is no shortage of wonderful products to choose from!
We hope this guide was helpful in your quest to find the perfect fragrance. Want to read similar content? Let us know in the comments below!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the number 1 perfume in the world?
According to beauty magazine Byrdie, the top-selling fragrances in the United States are on the softer side. These include Coco Mademoiselle and Chanel Chance, two of the biggest named brands in the market.
The UK has a similar taste with Chanel Chance also being a top contender. Even in Japan, where it can be offensive to wear anything overpowering, Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle, Chance, and No. 5 take the cake.
Which perfumes smell expensive?
Smelling expensive is definitely subjective, but there are a few fragrances that simply exude a million bucks when people get a hold of them. According to WhoWhatWear’s list, these products are the:
- Maison Francis Kurkdjian Paris Baccarat Rouge 540 Eau De Parfum (it is expensive, too — $300 a bottle!)
- Frederic Malle Portrait of a Lady
- Le Labo Santal 33.
There are certainly key odors here that make these fragrances “rich”, but we’ll leave that to the wearers. All I know is, even just saying those names already makes me feel expensive.
What is the best smelling cheap perfume?
Like we said, aromas are incredibly personal. The best you can do is find one that works for you or works for the occasion. We hope this guide was helpful in getting you one step closer to finding your forever fragrance!
Joey is an AB Psychology graduate of the University of St. La Salle – Bacolod. Her life’s passions include writing, film, and spending hours on end binge-watching fashion vloggers on Youtube.