I still stand by my motto- you don’t have to be rich to smell good ( but you’d be in trouble if you had an Amouage habit). Seriously though, I get so many searches for “budget perfume” and “cheap perfume that smells good” that I know there is still a strong demand for good, accessible scent. Buy cheap doesn’t mean smell cheap. There. That’s another motto.
In writing this guide, I have to put out this disclaimer: prices may vary from site to site and store to store and month to month, but today, these prices are pretty much the norm with just a quid or two either way depending on stockist. This guide is similar to the 2014 guide elsewhere on this blog, but with just a few changes to reflect changing prices or new discoveries.
1. Coty L’Aimant– it’s at the top of every bargain guide I write. If you like Chanel No 5, this was made six years later in 1927. It’s a powdery floral with lasting power that many more expensive perfumes still can’t match. My tip is buy the Parfum de Toilette and not the cologne. I bought my bottle from Boots.
2. Jessica Simpson Fancy Nights: A bargain buy that smells remarkably like Prada Eau de Parfum. Its has papyrus and patchouli and makes for a smooth milky, spicy scent that is far from the usual celeb-u-scent fruity floral. You can buy it from allbeauty.com.
3. Intimately Beckham For Her: I see this around a lot and it’s always well under ten quid. But here’s why it’s a good seller: it’s a light and pretty floral that is ideally suited to work or everyday and passes the commuter test ( i.e nobody will faint on the morning train). Available from Boots, Superdrug, Amazon UK, or my local chemist!
4. Next Just Pink: A darling of a scent that is very much in the same vein as Narciso Rodriguez For Her or Ralph Lauren Romance. Available from Next. A 30ml bottle costs just £8.
5. Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Flankers. There are no less than five of these on allbeauty.com right now- all under ten quid and all good. I know because I’ve tried them. They make great presents for friends and are crowd pleasing refreshing daytime florals. This is not to say they are dull or predictable, but it’s a good brand that’s a safe bet, and they are all particularly wearable in summer. Try Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Camellia or Elizabeth Arden Green Tea Honeysuckle.
6. Kantali by Milton Lloyd. Now don’t shoot me, but this smells a bit like Opium and only costs five quid. When I say YSL Opium, I don’t mean the fabulous powdery pre- reformulation stuff , but a thinner version of the new one that you can buy everywhere. It lasts at least six hours and I like it. Think a pared-down Opium style eau de cologne with eau de parfum staying power. You can buy it from Amazon UK.
7. LUSH solid perfumes: LUSH Gorilla are a bit hit and miss with me, but having said that, they inspire passionate reactions, which is a good thing. LUSH solid perfumes come in delightful quirky tins and are priced between £6 and £9 depending on the scent. Try LUSH Karma for £9. Longevity is… Wow. You can buy it from LUSH instore or online.
8. Jovan Musk For Women. You’ve got to have a musk on in your scent wardrobe and Jovan is a good bet. Currently under £10 on allbeauty.com, either Jovan or Alyssa Ashley are a safe pair of hands for a decent and affordable musk fragrance.
9. The Body Shop Smoky Poppy Eau de Toilette 30ml. Currently £8.50 and part of a range of 30ml scents at the same price. Smoky Poppy is an Oriental-lite which I was quite taken by, and there are others in the range such as Honeymania, Vanilla, Moringa, Strawberry and Coconut. Great for layering, but only eau de toilette strength so may need lunch time top ups.
10. Avon: You can’t do a bargain perfume list without including our dear friends Avon. Avon Timeless retails at around £6 ( depending on the brochure) and is an ambery chypre that was brought back by popular demand after being discontinued. Little Pink Dress is a lovely day time floral with lots of Peony, and Avon no 1 Bestseller Far Away and all its flankers were recently on sale for as little as £7 a bottle. I also love the Avon Scent Essence Sparkly Citrus which I bought for only £4.