Is Perfume a Good Gift? (You Must Read This!)

Gift-giving can be an exciting experience and sincere gesture. But because fragrances are so subjective, you might wonder if perfume is a good gift, whether it be for the holidays, birthdays, or an anniversary.

Perfume can be a good gift if you purchase a fragrance that your gift recipient often wears. It might also be a good gift if the fragrance notes are similar to a scent your gift recipient likes to wear. Otherwise, you would have to do some research and be willing to take the risk of your loved one either not liking the scent, or possibly having an allergic reaction to it.

Let me help you narrow down your choices to decide whether perfume is the right gift choice.

Is Perfume a Good Gift

Giving Perfume as a Gift

It’s possible for perfume to be a good choice if you know the gift recipient really well. Giving perfume as a gift works well if:

  • You know exactly which scent a person wears.
  • You know that they want to continue to wear that scent.
  • You have an idea of whether or not that person needs to replenish their favorite fragrance.
  • They’ve blatantly stated that they would prefer to receive perfume as a gift.
  • There’s no question about the nature of your relationship.

When you choose the right scent for the right person, perfume is a great gift. It indicates that you’re thoughtful, observant, and sensitive to that person’s preferences. And in most cases you’re getting that person something that you already know that they’ll love, which can cause them to be even more appreciative of your gift selection.

Otherwise, you may want to pause before choosing to buy perfume as a gift.

When Isn’t Perfume a Good Gift?

Generally speaking, perfumes can be a good gift idea, but there are times when perfume is a horrible gift idea.

Perfume gift sets are readily available especially during winter holidays, like Christmas and for Mother’s Day. Often you’ll see these sets stacked on end caps, which are known to get the most attention in stores.

With an abundance of options and attractive packaging, you might be convinced that choosing any of those fragrances would make for a great gift. But the opposite might be true.

Personal Scent Preferences

If you’re unfamiliar with the person you’re buying the gift for, then you shouldn’t choose perfume as a gift.

When giving perfume as a gift, it helps to know a person’s likes and dislikes. Do they lean more towards floral scents or earthy ones? Do they like fresh perfume fragrances, or would it be best to get them a spicy oriental fragrance?

When giving perfume as a gift, you want that person to enjoy it enough to wear it. If that person dislikes floral fragrances and that’s the scent category you purchase for them, then it either won’t be worn, or it might be regifted.

But even if you know that a person loves the scent of jasmine, or lily and vanilla, or even a smoky vanilla scent, the perfume you purchase may not be likable. Not all vanillas or jasmines or sandalwoods are the same. So the perfume you select might not actually appeal to your gift recipient.

It can also help to understand this person’s perfume habits. Does this person like to wear perfume during warmer months or cooler ones? It helps to know this because the scent you’d choose would be different. Fresh, citrus, airy, or floral scents are better worn during warmer months. Spicy, warm, earthy scents best fit cooler months.

And it would help to know what this person already has on hand. Might they need a good summer fragrance, or do they need a perfume to wear for special occasions? Would you be expanding their perfume collection or simply cluttering it?

Potential Allergic Reactions

Researching whether or not a person wears perfume at all should also influence your decision about whether or not to buy someone perfume as a gift. Some people simply dislike fragrances. If you think they should have a signature scent, buying perfume for someone who doesn’t like perfumes, simply isn’t a good idea.

Other people have to refrain from wearing fragrances, even if they like how they smell, because they will experience any number of allergic reactions.

For some people, simply inhaling fragrance oils leads to a respiratory reaction. They may sneeze, experience watery eyes, or an itchy throat.

For others, their skin may not respond well to the fragrance oils or other ingredients in the perfume – leading to a contact reaction.

Once the perfume is sprayed on, they may break out into hives, experience redness, or some other form of skin irritation.

Simply Not a Good Fit

Not every scent that smells nice in a tester bottle will smell lovely once sprayed onto someone’s skin.

And this is something that you simply won’t know until the perfume is sprayed on.

If your gift recipient is open to trying new fragrances and you’re okay with the possibility that the perfume might not work out well, then giving it as a gift might not seem like a loss to you.

Questionable Relationship Status

Historically, perfume is given to someone who is special in your life. It’s a symbolic gesture of affection. Whether it’s a spouse, partner, parent, or child, you tend to have a strong relationship with the person you give perfume to.

When you’re in a platonic relationship with someone, and then give them perfume as a gift, the recipient might not know how to interpret the gesture.

Whether it’s a coworker or someone you simply hang out with, that person might begin to question the true nature of your relationship.

If that person shares the same feelings as you, then it might work out for the best. But it would help to have an idea of whether or not that friend feels the same way as you before giving them perfume as a gift.

Generally speaking, if you’re purchasing perfume as a gift for no other reason than to fulfill an obligation, or if you’re unsure of how that person feels about you, then you might want to consider a different gift idea.

Perfume Gift-Giving Suggestions

If you insist on giving perfume as a gift, even without deeply knowing the gift recipient, here are some suggestions.

Choose a Budget and Stick with It

One of the benefits of giving perfume as a gift is that there are many different price ranges to choose from. Some really great fragrances, like Curve for Men, are still very reasonably priced.

Consider a Perfume Sample Set

Another way to give perfume as a gift is to purchase a sample set. Usually a sample set includes multiple bottles of perfume – each one usually under 1 fl oz (30 mL).

This way, your gift recipient can test out a handful of scents in order to find the one that works best and that they like the most from a particular fragrance line or collection.

Put Thought Into It

If you’re at least fairly close to the gift recipient, you can ask one of their close friends or family members what kind of perfume they wear. Or, you can ask the future gift recipient what they would like, so long as you don’t reveal too much about the gift to them.

Otherwise, observe the person’s likes and dislikes as much as you can before settling on a fragrance.

Remain Flexible

Consider that your choice might not work out. Choose not to be offended if the person dislikes the scent or returns it to the store.

Find More Ideas in Our reviews

Now that you know the basic rules, these reviews below can help you find better gift ideas. We have great reviews whether you are brand based or have a different goal in mind.

Round-Up Reviews:

Brand Reviews:

Product Reviews:



Alternative Scented Gift Ideas

Instead of perfume, you might want to give a different type of scented gift, like a lotion or candle.

Scented Body Lotions

Typically formulated with less intense fragrance notes, lotions can be a good alternative to perfumes. They’re also less expensive in some cases, so giving it to someone who you may not know well, might turn out to be the better choice.

Fragrances for the Home

You can also consider alternative scented gifts, like candles or incense.

House fragrances are also very subjective, but there are some scents that are universally liked, like fresh linen, lavender, or vanilla.

It’s also a lot easier to research the types of fragrances that a person likes to have in their home.
Lastly, the skin factor doesn’t present a wildcard into the situation. A candle’s cold throw is very similar to its hot throw, so it’s a pretty safe choice.

Final Thoughts

Buying perfume for someone as a gift is only a good idea if you know that person well.

Having a firm understanding of that person and the kinds of fragrances that they like can lead to a positive outcome. Without this information, you might simply be wasting money.


Hello and welcome to Fragrance Advice! My name is Grace Young, and I’ve been drawn to fragrances since I was a little girl. There's just something about scent that brings me so much joy! 

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