One word: Don’t.
We have been hearing about people saving a bundle buying designer fragrances online. They are not mere savings of a few dollars, but close to 60% or more. How can this be possible?
Simple: They are fakes, replicas, or knockoffs.
We understand that many girls love a scent, and sometimes we can’t always afford it, but if you consider what you are getting, you’re not really saving any money at all.
First, let us explain the concept of knockoffs. The crime involved is a violation of intellectual property. Although one can argue that designer brand names profit from selling a lifestyle at gouged prices (the actual cost of producing a bottle of perfume is between 1/5 and 1/4 the retail price), they are the ones who ultimately created the fragrance and the images that you associate with when you use it. Purchasing knockoffs and replicas, on an ideological level, is not only wrong, but it drains your favorite company’s chances of staying afloat in this tough economy.
Practically speaking, however, you are not getting more for your money when you buy fakes. In perfumery jargon, there is first the top/head note which is the immediate scent that flourishes between 5 to 20 minutes after application. The middle/heart note is the soul of the perfume, and arrives 10 to 30 minutes after application. The final, most difficult class is the base note. They are equivalent to the finish of a good bottle of Bordeaux or Bourgogne (pinot noir). The Base interacts differently with each person’s pH and skin. Once you get past the 1 hour mark, that’s when the men separate from the boys: you will begin to understand why a Chanel No.5 lasted almost 100 years in popularity, when the knockoffs producers were still 3rd world savages.
Now there are many guides online to spot fakes. Needless to say, EBAY, a chasm of designer fake con-artists, provides guides to blowing the whistle on scam artists. However, one needs to understand that the knock-off product won’t disappear if a seller gets caught. It merely gets re-directed to a newly created re-seller.
So how does one steer clear of these fakers? Online guides tell you to inspect the packaging, the alignment of the words on the bottle (which should all be imprinted on the bottle, not stickered), the grammar, the fluid oz. size, and even the color of the liquid itself. They are all good tips. At the same time, the producers of knock-offs have access to these guides as well, so they can alter their products accordingly, and pass the scrutiny of all who follow the published advice. As for the color of the perfume, a basic knowledge of chemistry can enable one to change the foggiest of liquids to a crystal clear solution with a drop of the correct chemical. (i.e. acid in to aqueous solution)
If you were to break down the cost of producing a bottle of perfume, the packaging is sometimes more than the perfume itself; but let us suppose the packaging is authentic, the fake artist can still add water to the original perfume, much as spotty bars water down their good spirits. Don’t be fooled by shrink wraps. All it takes is a hair dryer to make an item look unopened.
We at the organization say, trust your nose! No matter how convincing a perfume swindler can make his packaging, you can never fake the middle and base notes, both which depend on an expert combination of oils to carry the longevity of the afterscent.
We put our noses to the test and tried several of our favorite perfumes from large online perfume stores. You can do this test too, if you decide you want to.
1. Make sure they have a return policy (restocking charges may apply). You will lose some money on shipping and restocking, but you will learn a valuable lesson in detecting fakes. Who knows? You may land an authentic item if you are lucky.
2. When the product arrives, do a test on either arm. On one arm, use an authentic bottle purchased from a department store you trust. At the same spot on your other arm, apply the online-bought identical perfume.
3. Now watch the clock, and either sit and wait, or go about your business. During set intervals, take a whiff of each arm where you sprayed. The longer you wait, the more apparent it will be which is the authentic perfume. It’s a mistake to think the real item lasts longer than the fake. While this is generally true, a fake or knockoff can last as long, if not longer, but the complexity, the layers, and depth of the fragrance, the oiliness, the richness won’t be there. It’s difficult to put in words, but you will understand once you have tried it.
4. For those who do not have an authentic store purchased perfume, either buy one if you can afford it, or visit the department store. Perform the same procedure in your car in the parking lot outside the store, then go in and spray their tester on your other arm. Repeat Step 3. (Note: Once you have determined the authenticity (or inauthenticity) of your online purchase, make sure to patronize that store and purchase the real item. Keep the real dealers in business. If you don’t, they may close down tomorrow.
5. Return the product if you feel it is a fake. Take a loss, learn a lesson, and steer clear in the future. A $20-$30 dollars loss (including shipping charges), in our book is worth the lesson.
6. You may find you can live with a fake. But understand that with a knockoff, in order to make that scent last, you may have to spray 5 times when you only have to do it once with the real deal. Now you walk around stinking like a prostitute because you are worried that it will all wear off 8 hours later. It’s not worth it. Volume-wise, you are using more of the product, even if you are paying less.
Remember. Online stores could be merchants from car trunks in alleys. You spent your whole life avoiding those replica stores in the mall, but their supplier could be the same supplier at your online store, it could even be the same owner! It takes nothing to create a website and only a fee to get their website to the top of the search engine list (called SEO = search engine optimization). Just because it’s the first hit on Google Search results, doesn’t necessarily mean they are legitimate.
Opinions and reviews, similarly, could be written by ghost reviewers who work for that online company. In fact, dummy review sites for perfumes are often set up by the store themselves. We are talking about people who make a living faking. And finally, if you can’t really afford it, consider not faking it yourself and call it the day. Don’t give business to knockoffs. It’s better to feel clean and refresh with an authentic bar of Ivory or Dove soap.
Good Luck and trust your nose! If it’s turning itself up at an online purchase, it’s probably FAKE!
Also a reminder:
“Testers” don’t look as fancy, but they contain the same perfume, if you decide to buy those. Also, consider buying in bulk…3.4 Oz may save you more. If you buy authentic, one spray before you leave your home could last you an entire day.
The concentrations are as follows:
Eau de Toilette EDT contains 4 – 10% perfume oil
Eau de Parfum EDP contains 8 – 15% perfume oil
PARFUM or Perfume contains 15 – 25%
Perfume oil 15-30% perfume oil in an oil rather than alcohol base)