How to Stop Buying Perfume All the Time

There’s a way to stay in the perfume game without obsessing over scents all of the time. Here’s what it is.

Published Categorized as Fragrance
carballo /123RF

You know you’re into perfumes when, every time you walk into a department store, your nose gets held hostage by the barrage of smells from all the scents on the shelves. And when your fiancé eventually feels compelled to try to drag you out of the store (“try” being the magic word here).

Seriously now, how can you not be?

So many fragrances get released or reformulated every year that you can’t help but feel compelled to try at least a scent or two whenever you step into a well-stocked store. When it’s love at first whiff, you can’t help but feel an urge to buy full-sized bottles of them.

We joke about it, you know, but it’s a serious problem. An interest in perfume becomes an obsession, which slowly but surely turns into an addiction. At a certain point in time, you find yourself with a closet full of pricey fragrances you rarely wear.

The question is, how can you stop?

To stop buying perfumes all of the time, be sensible about your collection and indulge your obsessions wisely. Most of us only need one or two full-sized bottles for our signature scents and a few 30-50 ml perfumes for certain occasions. The rest can come from perfume subscription boxes.

How do you know when it’s time to stop buying perfume?

When almost every scent you get a whiff of seems too good and too special to give up, and you’re having a hard time controlling the urge to buy a full-sized bottle, it’s time.

Unless you’re a perfume collector for real (as alluring as that sounds, I am definitely not one, and chances are high that neither are you), you won’t get much out of having thirty or so bottles sitting there on your night drawer and collecting dust.

Trust me; I’ve been there myself. Years ago, I would consistently spend more than I could afford on the latest and greatest fragrances, only for a momentary sense of satisfaction that ranked up my credit card bill and failed to make me any happier in the long term.

That’s the thing about material possessions, you know. We all love them, but we should never forget that there are more important things in life than piling up bottles of juice on the shelves of your closet.

Try Before You Buy

The fact that you liked the scent of a perfume you smelled on a test strip at the store doesn’t necessarily make it worthy of a full bottle.

Perfume reacts differently to every wearer’s skin, and how it smells on you is largely determined by your skin type and the chemical contents of your sweat.

This is the main reason why blind-buying perfume, even if it smells fabulous on your best friend and your favorite YouTuber has fallen in love with it, is never a good idea in the first place. Until you’ve tested it on your skin, you just don’t know if it will suit you or not.

Simply put, no matter how much praise you’ve seen, heard, and read about a new scent, and even if it contains some of your all-time favorite notes, you should still vet it to determine if it’s truly full-bottle-worthy or not.

That “vetting” is best done by buying a travel-sized bottle from the perfume house or a retailer or, in case they don’t happen to sell one, getting a decant from a perfume subscription box.

Most decants contain about a week’s supply of juice, more than enough to help you decide whether you like how it smells on you (and how long it lasts, and if the sillage is there or not).

Sign Up for a Perfume Subscription Box

Perfume subscriptions have been all the rage lately, and for a good reason. For a monthly fee between $15 and $20, anyone can get travel-sized decants of some of the best designer and niche fragrances shipped to their front door.

All the members of our editorial team are signed up for at least one perfume subscription box, and we think they are the best way to please your inner fragrance addict without having to break the bank for full-sized bottles.

Our go-to perfume subscription services (that’s Scentbird stateside and Yuniqu in Europe) come at a reasonable price and offer a vast selection of timeless and up-and-coming scents in sleek bottles with atomizers that deliver a delicate, luxurious mist.

Don’t Forget That All Perfumes Expire

If you’ve stashed away too many fragrances in your closet, most of them will probably expire before you’ve even had the opportunity to use them up.

Most fragrances have a shelf life of 3-5 years when stored in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight. (Though there are exceptions that last less and those that won’t fade out for well over a decade.)

Keep in mind that this is only a rule of thumb. The exact shelf life of a fragrance depends on the formula, the ingredients, and the storage.

For example, citrusy and floral scents have a shorter shelf life than their woody and animalistic counterparts because their fragrant molecules are more volatile, and therefore more susceptible to oxidation.

Naturally-derived ingredients tend to oxidize sooner than lab-synthesized ingredients, which is why perfumes made with essential oils (natural) will alter their scent sooner than those with fragrance oils (synthetic).

The Bottom Line

You can stop buying perfume all of the time by limiting your full-sized bottle purchases only to your signature scents and a few other scents for variety.

The good news is that there’s no need to get pinchpenny about your perfume collection. By signing up for a perfume subscription box, you can indulge in your obsession without breaking the bank or overcrowding your night drawer with half-used bottles.

By Simona

Fragrance addict. Makeup lover. Confidence coach for women. Co-founder of Sterlish.


  1. I needed this!
    I’m 22 full bottles in and this helped jolt me back 2 reality. Indeed, there are more important things in life than piling them up.
    Ps: I just stumbled on this site when checking reviews for my 2 new additions: MFK Baccarat Rouge 540 and Aqua Celestia Cologne Forte…very relatable.
    I have read over 10 articles so far and they’ve been very informative and helpful. Kuddos to your team!!!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *