Beauty and Fragrance: The Difference Between Designer and Knock Off Perfumes

Are perfume knock offs just as good as the designer originals?

Designer perfumes are coveted for their wonderful scents, but are generally very expensive. Because of this, many fragrance manufacturers create products similar to the designer originals and sell them for a fraction of the price. But, are these “knock off” scents just as good as the originals they imitate? A little information about perfume will help you determine the best value.

Perfume chemists create their fragrances to contain different “notes”. These notes are the various scents contained in the perfume, which become apparent at different times as the fragrance is worn. A “top note” is the scent that is most apparent for the first 15 minutes after the perfume is applied. The “middle note” is the scent that takes over after the first 15 minutes and lingers for several hours. Finally, the “end notes” are the longest lasting of the scents; they are usually the base fragrance in the perfume.

In testing a knock off scent, it is important to wear it for a long duration to ensure that all of the notes are as pleasing as the initial fragrance. Some imposter fragrances duplicate the top note very effectively, but are less successful with the middle or end notes. So, always test both a perfume and its knock off for several hours before making a purchase decision. While most designers claim to use superior ingredients to those used in copies, if the scent is similar and is pleasing in the knock off, the cost of the original ingredients may be immaterial.

Another factor to consider in buying a perfume is the strength of scent you usually purchase. Pure perfumes are generally harder to copy than less concentrated colognes and eau de parfums. So, if you generally buy concentrated perfume, you are unlikely to be satisfied with a knock off. However, if you lean toward cologne, you may be able to locate a very pleasing knock off.

Another thing to think about is the variety available in a particular scent. Often, a designer scent is offered in perfumes, eau de parfums, lotions, soaps, bath gels or crystals, and powders of various sizes. The perfume and cologne products usually offer a choice of dab or spray bottles. Many knock offs do not offer the variety of product types available with the original. So, if it is important for you to be able to layer a scent by using the soap, powder and perfume spray, it may be best to stick with the original.

Most perfume designers spend large amounts of money on creating packaging and on advertising and other marketing. All of these items add expenses that the designer must allow for when establishing the price for a perfume. By avoiding these expenses, often the manufacturer of a knock off can buy similar ingredients to the original, but still offer their formula for less.

When it comes to perfume, it is really about personal preference. If you enjoy a scent and it stays pleasing over time, you should purchase it and wear it regardless of whether it has a designer label or is an imposter. Knock offs vary radically in quality and the test must be an individual one.

Written by Ann MacDonald – 2002 Pagewise

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