How to buy perfume as a gift - a handy guide

Buying perfume as a gift can be an overwhelming task. Here we reveal the simple tricks to ensure your present always hits the right note


Buying perfume as a gift isn’t easy. We’ve all been there, standing motionless in a store, eyeing up shelves of perfume bottles and wondering which one our partner/parent/sibling/best friend (delete as applicable) will not only appreciate but wear and enjoy. It’s so overwhelming that, after spritzing multiple blotting papers and overloading your senses with note after note, it feels easier just to give up and buy them a gift voucher. But what if we told you that choosing a fragrance for someone else isn’t as daunting as it seems? We have pulled together a straightforward guide with 5 simple tricks to help you shop for scented gifts with success. 


Turn fragrance detective: What do they like?

If you have a close relationship with the person you’re shopping for, you may well know what perfume they currently wear. That can tell you a lot about the type of fragrance they like. Fragrances sit in different families (woody, fruity, and floral to name a few) so knowing the family they tend to be drawn to can help point you in the right direction. 


Think about their hobbies (yes, really)

Take a moment to think about the recipient and what they enjoy doing. It seems a little strange we know, but it could help. If they enjoy gardening, you might want to go for something floral. Are they a keen tennis player? Then perhaps something citrusy and fresh would be up their street. Shopping for an avid reader, then look for something warm and cosy they can wear whilst curled up on the sofa with a good book. See, surprisingly useful.


Match the personality to the perfume

The way we talk about perfumes – delicate, bold, quirky, chic, etc – can often be used to describe people, so think about how you would describe the person you’re buying for and align that with the way the fragrance is described in the store or online.


Keep it simple and go classic

Some perfumes are crowd-pleasers and others are more derisive. If you’re not sure what to choose, stay safe and go classic with a fresh fragrance (think green or citrus notes). Alternatively, soft floral fragrances are widely liked.


Gift them options

Instead of buying one bottle of perfume, why not buy a selection of minis or a discovery set? That way they can try a few different scents and if they love one in particular, you’ll know what to get them next year!


Think outside the bottle

Perfume is a wonderful gift but if it all still feels too overwhelming, why not lower the stakes? Instead of an eau de parfum, why not give them a hair and body mist or a parfum d’interieur? It’s still the thoughtful gift of scent, but it’s not something they will feel obliged to use every day.

Amy Lawrenson

Amy Lawrenson

Amy Lawrenson is a UK beauty editor with over 13 years of experience writing for magazines and websites including ELLE, Grazia, Women's Health and Byrdie. She has a keen interest in all things beauty and wellness, especially skincare because who doesn't want a clear, glowing complexion?