Perfumes Dupes on the High Street for Men and Women – Are They Worth the Money?
Are you looking for a cheaper alternative to your designer perfume or aftershave? One that smells divine while not breaking the bank. The aroma probably won’t last as long as your expensive favourite but a quick spritz every four hours will do the trick. In the past, cheaper perfumes were mostly a poor replacement. I have experienced “dodgy” perfumes which have become slightly pongy after a few hours – they were usually poorly packaged, too.
Thankfully, this has all changed in recent years and, for the better. Having a spritz of my favourite aroma is a mood lifter, especially when it doesn’t cost the equivalent to a food shop.
Certain perfumes transport me back in time. They can remind me of friends, family and past events – you can probably relate to this. It is a well-known fact that, when we smell a certain fragrance, it sends signals to our brain’s smell centre, “the olfactory bulb,” which is linked to areas of the brain which controls emotion, memory, mood and behaviour. This explains why certain fragrances can trigger vivid memories and emotions in us. I still love the memories that certain perfumes invoke in me – happy (and sad) memories of friends and family I have lost. Whenever I smell either Miss Dior or Clinique’s’ Aromatics Elixir, I think of my mum, which I find comforting.
Je Reviens Perfume Worth. My Favourite perfume from my youth.
My first memory of owning my very own perfume was when I was fourteen. I was on a flight to the Spanish Costas with my mum. This would have been around 1974. She bought me some Je Reviens Perfume (Worth). I remember feeling so grown up and thrilled, opening the beautiful blue box which contained a dark blue round glass bottle of parfum in a velvet pouch. The smell was divine – floral, and woody. I remember that I only needed a tiny amount and it seemed to last all day. Apparently, so many of the traditional ingredients which made these older favourites so potent like this one have either been banned or restricted/classified as allergens. This has led to most older perfumes not having quite the same heady scent as they once did.
For the last ten years, my favourite perfumes have been Jo Malones “Pomegranate” and “Lime Basil & Mandarin” and Thierry Mugler’s “Alien.” I tend to fall in love with a perfume when I smell it on someone else. I know this can be a costly mistake if it smells completely different on me – so I always check with a tester first.
I always thought “Alien” was too powerful a scent for me. But, lately, I really like its strong, dramatic bouquet. Maybe, my perfume taste has changed with age and “the change.” Perhaps, I am looking for a more intense, heady aroma. Hormones may come into play. I usually receive my favourite perfumes as gifts for Christmas and birthdays. The price has shot up over recent years and I can’t warrant pulling out £110.oo to £250.oo for a bottle of perfume, especially the way things are with the cost of living rise. It simply wouldn’t be sensible.
So, as I like to have the odd spritz of perfume, here and there, ( just to feel good), I have been on a mission to find “lesser expensive” perfumes on the high street. This is to see if they match up to their more costly versions.
My task has also included aftershaves for the menfolk in my family. Both my sons, who are in their thirties, are the toughest bunch of critics regarding their smelly stuff and are even more fussy than I am. So, it’s been interesting to hear their opinions. My husband, on the other hand, is not so fussy. He is from the old school of “Aramis” and “Sven” and I’m sure he wore “Hai Karate”, once, when we were on a date, in the early days. If it smells nice, he will wear it. In fact, he has been wearing the Aldi “Pomegranate” and “Lime and Basil” dupes from Aldi – absolutely loves them!
My main aim is to save money by having a quality, cheaper back up product. This will most definitely make my more expensive perfume last longer. Plus, I tend to throw the “purse version” dupes in my handbag on a night out – so handy for a quick spritz.
To fully evaluate the products, I have bought a few wooden trays and placed all the dupes in the hall of my home for everyone to try.
I started buying Aldi dupes a few years ago – and wrote a post around that time, read here. This time, I have been trying perfumes from Marks and Spencer, Zara and Next. Here are my findings. I hope you find them useful.
Next “Summer Sun” 30ml Eau De Parfum £12.00 Dupe for Estée Lauder “Bronze Goddess” Eau de Parfum 50ml £64.00
Throughout the summer months, I have always sought out a balmy scent. My past favourites have been “Sunflowers” by Elizabeth Arden and Estee Lauder’s “Bronze Goddess”. I picked up the Next’s “Summer Sun”, last summer, while browsing in their shop. After a quick spritz of the tester, I was immediately transported to a tropical beach, coconuts and suncream (I wish!). The aromas were of mandarin oranges and caramel – pure “summer lovin”. It certainly had similarities with the “Bronze Goddess” perfume, but as you can see, what a saving on price.
There are only a few drops left in this bottle so I will be buying this, again (if they re-stock). Like most dupes a quick spritz was applied after a few hours.
The longevity was particularly good. It is an Eau De Parfum which may have explained why it lasted so well. It certainly kept its heady scent.
Marks and Spencer “Midnight Blossom” Eau De Toilette 100ml £9.50 dupe for YSL “Black Opium” Eau de Parfum 50ml £92.00
This is ideal as a light perfume. If you are a fan of “Black Opium”, it is “similar” but nowhere near as powerful an aroma. It doesn’t come close in terms of complexity, longevity and certainly not as intense as the YSL version. It did fade rather quickly, but, for the price paid, it is a nice enough fragrance – though I must admit to using it as a room fragrance.
Zara “Violet Blossom” Eau De Parfum 90ml £12.99 dupe for Mugler “Alien” Refillable Eau de Parfum 60ml £92.00
Violet blossom has similar hues to Alien but not a direct dupe for it. The parallels are when it is first applied – it has the same dark fruity, aroma while still giving a freshness. It is, of course, down to personal taste whether you like this perfume – it may be too heady like its more expensive sister, for some. I found the longevity good. It became a much more subtle aroma after an hour or so, without disappearing altogether, like some dupes. I pop it into my handbag for a little top up when I go out. A friend of mine who wears Alien, said she didn’t think it was similar when I was wearing it, the other day. So, opinions vary. I would re-purchase – because I believe it is excellent value for money and I genuinely like the heady smooth, warm scent.
Marks and Spencer “Pink Pepper” Eau de Toilette 100ml £9.50 Dupe for Lancôme “La Vie Est Belle” Eau De Parfum 100ml £125.00.
I received a free sample of “Pink Pepper” to try and liked it, immediately. It has a fresh, peppercorn, fruity fragrance which I found very appealing. When I wore it, I received a few compliments asking what perfume I was wearing? I have donned “La Vie Est” in the past and can say there are definite similarities between the two. I may treat myself to a bottle of this in the summertime – what is not to love for £9.50? The only negative is it did fade much quicker than the real article.
Zara “Oud Vibrant Leather” 60ML Eau De Parfum 17.99 dupe for Aventus “Creed” Eau de Parfum, 50ml £210
This aftershave has a beautiful, woody, amber and citrus aroma. It has got the “thumbs up” from my oldest son who has been trying it. My oldest son likes “CREED” and says there are definite similarities between this one and the real deal. This aftershave is a steal for the price tag. My son has a quick spritz before work, or before the gym, saving his more expensive favourites for outings.
The only let down is its longevity and projection. They are average but, for the cheap price tag, there are no complaints. And, this is terrific value for money. My other son has just ordered some of this for himself. He said he could still smell the lovely aroma on his clothing the following day.
Zara “Tobacco Collection” Eau de Toilette £16.99 100ml dupe for Tom Ford “Private Blend Tobacco Vanille” Eau de Parfum, 50ml £210.00
I have been having the odd spritz of this aftershave, too, as I quite like the mix of coconut, sandalwood, honey and tobacco. I am sure there’s chocolate in there too! Its scent is rich and warm. So, this may be more suited to the colder months. This is not for you if you are not a lover of sweet scents. I found the longevity quite good and, for the price, it is a steal. No complaints from this camp.
Zara “Night Pour Homme//II Sport” Eau De Parfum £16.99 dupe for Paco Rabanne “Invictus for Men” Eau de Toilette 50ml or Diesel “Bad” Eau de Toilette by Diesel 100ml £72.00
This aftershave was launched by Zara in 2018. The top note is Bergamot; middle note is Lavender; and the base note is Cedar. The consensus was that both the “sillage” and longevity are moderate – while, again, being terrific value for money. My sons say it is a fresh versatile scent which they find appealing and a good budget version of Diesel “Bad”.
So, are cheaper perfume/aftershave dupes worth it?
With the likes of Jo Malone behind new fragrances at Zara, perfumes on the High Street have become more refined and are there to be discovered. So you don’t always have to break the budget to smell expensive. Whether you like clean-smelling fragrances or fruity scents or just want to find an aroma similar to your signature perfume on a budget, brands such as H&M, Marks and Spencer, & Other Stories, The Body Shop and Zara are all leading the way for more affordable high street perfumes.
I hope you have enjoyed my post and the lovely wafts we have road tested. Have a try the next time you are in either of these shops. There are always lots of testers available. The boys in my family have certainly changed their minds about cheaper perfumes and, like me, they will now be permanent fixtures on their fragrance shelf alongside their premium favourites.
Disclosure: This is not a sponsered post. All items are my own. Like most blogs, this post may contain affiliate links (from which I might make a small commission if you make a purchase). This helps towards the running costs of my blog.