5 Tips to Online Fragrance Shop Like a Pro

There's always a unique pressure that comes with picking a scent online—from the vast options available to not being able to sniff it IRL and seeing how it settles on your skin, but that's where we come in. After all, there's no better way to boost your confidence and uplift your mood than a spritz of your signature scent. So, we created this easy guide to find out exactly how to choose your next fragrance and make sure you never end up with a perfume that clashes with your personality. Read on for everything you need to know to shop online-fragrances like an industry expert and professional nose, Christopher Gordon of Maison Anonyme

Do the Research

We love how easy it is to find our favorite scents and other beauty must-haves online, but be cautious of discounted retailers. Many of these sites aren't official resellers of the product, which leads to expiration and overall quality issues outside of the brand's control. When you can, always buy directly from the brand and use extreme caution when shopping for discounted perfumes. 

Learn the Lingo

If you find yourself totally lost trying to decipher perfume from parfum, and you can't remember which note is the strongest, let us help you piece it together. Perfume is the strongest with 20% – 30% pure perfume and lasts up to 24 hrs, whereas parfum is only 15% - 20% pure perfume essence and can last up to 8 hours. 

Each scent has a top, middle, and bottom note, with the top note being the strongest and the one you initially smell when you test it out—however, it usually fades in about 15 minutes to the middle note or the heart note. "The story of the scent resides in what is known as the heart of the fragrance," says Christopher Gordon of Maison Anonyme. The heart note is the body of the perfume and will be the smell that lasts for hours. Once that's done, you're left with the bottom note, which is primarily richer scents.

Know Your Fragrance Families


The floral family is full of intoxicating scents of blooms—think lilies, jasmine, and roses. But within this family, there can also be fruity floral, which adds in strawberries and other fruits, and floral oriental scents, which adds orange blossom, nutmeg, and vanilla for a spicer finish.


This family is known for its simple yet elegant finish that utilizes anything citrus, green, and clean smelling—think a fresh meadow. 


Woodsy fragrances are opulent and warm, perfect for people who love a more masculine finish. Sandalwood, patchouli, and cedarwood are a few notes you can find in woodsy perfumes. 


The unofficial official scent of going out is this sensual, warm, and bold fragrance family. You'll find oriental perfumes to be a mix of exotic florals and spicy notes like cinnamon, coriander, coffee, vanilla, and even chocolate.  

Is packaging important?

A perfume bottle is more than just a vessel to house the scent—it's part of the story and is heavily used to communicate with the consumer, so the design is essential to the story evoked. The story is best told through "glass because it is non-reactive and won't impart a smell of its own," explains Gordon. Unlike plastic, which doesn't hold the scent as effectively as glass, so contamination and changing the smell of the notes are more likely to occur.  And even though glass offers good protection, always be sure to never store your fragrance in an area that receives direct sunlight because this will deteriorate the integrity of the smell. 

Price Matters

Perfumes are expensive because of the high-quality ingredients used. However, before buying a whole bottle, we recommend purchasing the travel size or taking advantage of samples. This way, you can test it out and see how it wears on you without committing your wallet to a scent you don't love. 

Tell us in the comment below if this helped rethink how you scent shop!