Carrie Underwood once sang, “I can tell by the smell of that perfume, it’s like 40 dollars too cheap.” Burn. Most of us hear “cheap perfume” and think of saccharine-sweet, alcohol-heavy, vanilla-coconut scents that suffocate us in elevators. But it doesn’t have to be like that. In fact, what if we told you there are a bunch of fragrances on the market that come cheap and chic? You better believe it.
Ahead, scope our favorite under-$50 fragrances that don’t sacrifice quality or aesthetic. Quick: Someone alert the girl on Carrie’s bad side.
Gourmand lives up to its name with its collection of so-good-you-want-to-drink-them fragrances (but please, don’t). Our favorite of the bunch is Thé Matcha — a fresh hit of citrus, green tea, and white flowers.
Gourmand Eau De Parfum in Thé Matcha, $20, available at Urban Outfitters.
If a caftan-clad fortune teller embraced you, we imagine she’d smell a bit like this solid perfume. That is, like warm incense, woody pencil shavings (really — they’re in here, and they’ll take you back to middle school), and dried flowers.
Catbird Tarot Deck Solid Perfume, $18, available at Catbird.
It’s hard to believe this perfume is under $40. Not only is the bottle straight out of a charming apothecary, the juice inside is a surprising blend of spicy, wake-you-up citrus, pretty, light florals, and sexy woodiness.
Korres Bellflower Tangerine Pink Pepper Eau de Toilette, $38.50, available at Sephora.
This perfume oil is a favorite of Megan McIntyre, our beauty features director. Why? “It’s almost marzipan-esque, but then it opens up into this lush, floral gardenia that is just pure heaven,” she says. “I’ve never smelled anything like it, and that’s partly why I love it — you’re not going to walk by 15 other women wearing the same scent.” Now that the secret’s out, though, we can’t guarantee that last bit.
Olivine More Than Stars Perfume Oil, $48, available at Olivine Atelier.
Picture yourself sinking into a frothy pink bubble bath surrounded by rose-scented candles, with the Ramones playing in the background. Now boil that experience into a scent, and you get Punk Bouquet.
& Other Stories Punk Bouquet Body Mist, $20, available at & Other Stories.
This $30 perfume is Amber Rose’s go-to. “I’ve been wearing that for years. When you smell that, you know I’m coming,” she told Refinery29. We don’t blame her: The scent is as sexy as it is light and playful, thanks to notes like vanilla, sandalwood, and bergamot.
Moschino Cheap And Chic Eau De Toilette, $32.79, available at Walmart.
This is the brand’s best-selling scent for good reason: The floral concoction smells clean and fresh, so it’s perfect for everyday wear. It’s also light enough to not offend your desk mates if you touch up before happy hour. In fact, they’ll probably want to know exactly what it is.
Philosophy Amazing Grace Fragrance, $48, available at Philosophy.
For more of our faves, visit Refinery29.
By: Mi-Anne Chan