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How to safely buy fragrances. Original vs Dupe vs Fake (updated)

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     Fragrance purchases are increasing, and perfume connoisseurs are extremely particular about their perfume. As the most popular way to procure perfume is through perfume shops, there’s a big problem. Several perfume distributors sell imitation perfume that looks like the real deal but smells nothing like the designer perfume from which they came.

Perfume companies have been pointing fingers at third-party retailers for many years now because counterfeiters have been known to take advantage of perfume lovers who want a great deal on expensive designer perfumes by selling fake perfumes online or in small perfume stores or kiosks.

The terms original perfume vs duplicate perfume vs fake perfume often gets confused amongst consumers since all three terms refer to a fragrance made to look like an original one that’s popular and difficult to get.

Original perfume: A perfume that is an exact copy of the original perfume which has been made by a perfume company after purchasing the rights from the perfume company that created it. Only perfume companies are allowed to manufacture their own perfume or “original” perfume, so this would also be referred to as “genuine” perfume – i.e., your perfume is genuine if it has not been tampered with and still smells like the original (authentic) fragrance you love and purchased before.

Duplicate perfume: A duplicate perfume is more similar to an original perfume than a fake one, but it may sometimes contain more or fewer ingredients than its original version depending on who manufactures it (e.g., perfume company vs perfume house). The fragrance may also be slightly different from the original perfume due to the different proportions of ingredients used in creating it.

Fake perfume: A fake perfume is a cheap perfume that has been made using synthetic chemicals and environmentally hazardous materials to reduce costs, and the quality of the perfume will be so poor that it smells nothing like the actual perfume it’s trying to imitate.

You like a perfume lover need to know how to tell if your perfume has gone bad so you can get rid of it before anyone else gets hurt by its contents. Here are some things you need to know about counterfeit perfumes.

How are fake perfumes different from real perfumes? Here are some ways how counterfeit perfume is different from a real perfume:

1. Fake perfume smells awful and has little to no lasting power.

2. Real perfume can cost as much as RM300 per ounce, while fake perfume costs only a fraction of the price — circa RM20 per ounce. In many cases, you get what you pay for since synthetic chemicals are used in making a fake perfume that can cause headaches, allergic reactions, and rashes on your skin even with just an occasional sniff of the perfume. There have been reports of women getting kidney infections after wearing fake perfumes containing urine residue and animal feces!

3. Real perfume notes include natural extracts and oils such as jasmine, rose and orange blossom among others which create a long-lasting perfume.

4. Fake perfume notes include chemicals like linalool, coumarin, and phthalates among others which can cause headaches and rashes on the skin if you use fake perfume for years continuously.

5. Real perfume is created by perfume companies that purchase the rights to make their perfume or original perfume (i.e., real perfume). Perfume companies are allowed to manufacture their own perfume because perfume manufacturing is protected under laws like copyrights and trademarks so it’s not legal for third-party retailers or distributors to sell designer perfumes without permission from the manufacturer/perfume company who created them.

6. On the other hand, third party retailers can create “duplicate” perfumes (i.e., perfume dupes, perfume clones or perfume lookalikes) and sell them online and offline using images of the perfume bottle and perfume name without permission from the original perfume company – e.g., perfume retailers like Amazon and eBay may not be able to sell originals but they can sell fragrance dupes or perfume clones that smell similar yet cost a fraction of the price of an original perfume. These duplicate perfumes are also known as “fragrances” since their scents have been created synthetically to resemble natural extracts used in making real perfume.

7. Fake perfumes (i.e., fake fragrances or counterfeit fragrances), however, do not bear any resemblance to real perfumes other than their perfume name, perfume bottle, and perfume notes. They have been created cheap but have no quality standard to meet so they do not resemble real perfume in any way.

How to tell if a perfume is counterfeit:

1. Open the perfume box and look for a manufacturing code which is usually located on the bottom of the box or pressed into a perfume cone inside the box that resembles a small metallic plate with numbers engraved onto it – e.g., 3A6520SC 443344JE 59P156BK 434814BR. Numbers like this are considered “untraceable” since they’re unique to each individual perfume box unless you buy multiple boxes of perfume (e.g., 10 boxes of perfume) in which case you might find a perfume box with identical numbers. The perfume company does this so that the perfume is less likely to be counterfeited.

2. Read through reviews on websites like Adagio or eBay and see if there are any complaints about fake perfume being sold online – e.g., “I ordered a new perfume from an online store and it’s a fake!”

3. Smell the perfume by dabbing a paper strip inside the atomizer so that when you spray the perfume, some of its scents are still left on the paper strip – e.g., when you used your perfume earlier, maybe all of its scents have been released into the air but if you sprayed it in another room where there is no airflow, some perfume scent may still be hanging around so if it smells anything like the perfume you sprayed earlier, then it’s probably not fake perfume.

4. Compare prices. If the perfume is being sold cheaper than its original retail price or even for free, chances are that perfume is a counterfeit – e.g., perfume retailers sell original perfumes at about 20% off their retail price because perfume companies allow them to do this to help promote perfume sales online but if you find perfume being sold cheaper than its discounted price by an online retailer, chances are that perfume is a counterfeit or knockoff perfume (i.e., duplicate).

5. Smell the perfume again after about 3-12 hours because real perfumes smell different over time as perfume notes evolve. If it still smells the same after a few hours, perfume is probably not real perfume.

6. Paying with a credit card will help you get your money back if perfume turns out to be fake – e.g., when you buy perfume from an online retailer and pay them with a bank card, there’s usually a cooling-off period during which you can ask for a refund from your bank if perfume turns out to be counterfeit or not as described on the website. This helps protect you because perfume companies won’t want bad feedback on their websites about customers who bought perfume and received knockoff fragrances instead so they’ll usually make refunds right away if this happens – e.g., “my perfume is fake what do I do?”

Draw your own conclusions. We have given you what we know, now it is up to you to decide which fragrance suits your needs the best. Before making a purchase please do some research on where the company’s are located and see if they are authorized retailers of that brand or designer perfume/cologne that you want to buy. The safest way to buy a fragrance is always going to be from the official website of the brand.  If not then proceed with caution as there may be counterfeit products being sold by unauthorized sellers who care nothing about quality assurance standards for their customers’ health and welfare.

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