How To Get Free Cologne Samples, Or Ridiculously Inexpensive For Men

When it comes to men’s cologne and fragrances, most dudes are overwhelmed by how many choices there are. Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to free cologne samples?

For the last few years, each time I wanted to try a new fragrance, I just bit the bullet and purchased the bottle. Today I have a shelf of ridiculous amounts of fragrance that would be impossible to wear over the next few decades and my wallet is several hundred dollars lighter because of it.

If I had any common sense, I would have just taken the time and researched all the ways I could find some free samples so I could have saved a few bucks, or prevented the embarrassment of purchasing fragrances that I’ll never wear again.

Easiest Ways To Get Free Cologne Samples

1. Find The Retailers That Offer Free Samples

The easiest way to find free fragrance samples, is to find the department stores that offer them for free! Sounds easy right? Well… maybe not… You may find yourself wandering around the mall begging for samples with little or no success.

Luckily, we have found a few stores that will shell them out at no charge!




Both of these places have wonderful reputations on walking out with a few free samples.

But, how many samples will they allow you to take home?

Outstanding question! This usually depends on a few different things. If you are buying a few bottles of cologne, and you ask them nicely, they will most likely give you as many samples as your pockets can hold.

If you’re walking up randomly and ask for a sample, they are more than likely going to only give you a few.

At the end of the day, the person behind the counter is going to decide how many samples you get to take with you. Try to be kind and courteous because ultimately these people hold the key to those free cologne samples you’re looking for!

Looking for a Sephora or Nordstrom near you? Well, we have you covered.

Nordstrom nearest you – Just enter your zip code.

Sephora nearest you – Just pop in your zip code.

2. Take Your Own Vials With You

Not everyone has a Norstrom or Sephora next to them. Personally I’m about 60 miles away from a Sephora and about 2.5 hours away from a Nordstrom. If I want to sample a new fragrance, it is not realistic for me to drive an absurd amount just to find a retail store that will give out free samples.

This is where heading into a local retailer like Target, Wal-mart, JC Penny’s, Herbergers, or whatever makes a little more sense. These retailers typically won’t hand out a freebie sample for you to take home. If they are promoting a new product, perhaps they will have them readily available, but there is no guarantee that you will be able to snag one.

The best thing to do in this situation is to purchase your own vials or decanting kits to bring home your own.

The most common retailers will have have bottles of fragrance just sitting out that anyone walking by can pick up and spray a few squirts and then stick it back in their pocket.

The picture shown above are vials that you can spray perfume, cologne, or other things in that come from a bottle to take home as a sample. You can get a package of 100 of these things off Amazon for under $15!

*Pro Tip – Some of these places will have coffee beans sitting out on the counter. These are not meant to make your head explode on why they are there, but they are meant to sniff between smelling fragrances so your nose doesn’t get all confused on what the actual fragrance smells like.

coffee beans cologne


If you go somewhere fancy and you actually start to like the guy  behind the counter, make sure you get his/her business card or give them a tip, because they usually make commission and it would probably mean a lot to them if you purchased from them, even if it means paying a few more bucks. After all, you usually are taking time away from the employee where he/she could be working with other customers.

So in conclusion, if you buy a pack of 100 vials for $15, you’re looking at about 15 cents per fragrance sample! Not so bad!

Are you wondering which fragrances to get samples of? Well, check out our infamous post on the best cologne for men and start there!

3. Where To Get Free Cologne Samples Online

When browsing the web looking for free cologne samples, good luck! There are tons of places that promise if you fill out a form, click on this link, you will have a perfume sample. These places are mostly scams looking for some advertising dollars and I noticed when I did fill something out, it just took me to the manufacturers page that I could of found on my own.

Lesson #1 – It’s difficult

The saying, there is no such thing as a free lunch, is 100% accurate.

If you’ve found some places that are 100% legit and recommend we add it to our list, PLEASE LET ME KNOW so I can get it added to the list.

Here are a few that I found… – Mostly random stuff but currently the best I’ve found – Based out of the UK

Lesson #2 – You might have to buy something with it

If you want to get a sample of something, your best bet is the next time you order your favorite potion from FragranceX, Perfumania, or one of the other big time online retailers, ask them if they can provide you with a few samples.

Here are some places that will add samples to your order with no issues;

The Fragrance Shop – UK

Lesson #3 – Go to the manufacturers website and get your beg on…

If you’re ready to start pulling out the big guns and really start to hunt for free samples online, you might want to check out all the major manufacturers to see if they will send you one directly.

This is extremely expensive for them to do, so don’t be surprised if you have to sign up for their newsletter to do it. After all, they need to get something out of it too.

4. Are you ok paying a few bucks?

Find some online retailers –

Heading to the store and filling up vials is a long and cumbersome process. Maybe it’s not such a bad idea to just pay a few bucks and get samples sent directly to your house.

After all, it takes gas to travel to the department store. It also takes time out of your precious day which most likely has some value. Would you pay $5 so you wouldn’t have to sit in traffic, drive to the mall, get out in possibly cold and rainy weather to get a sample of fragrance?

The answer to that question is pretty simple for me… heck no…

Most places online that sell perfume samples, do it at a reasonable cost. When I say reasonable, I’m talking about less than 10 bucks per vial and for most fragrances right around 5 dollars. You simply just can’t go wrong there.

Sites That I Use

MyPerfumeSamples – These guys are great! They even have a clearance section where you can find samples for less than a dollar.

FragranceX – I buy a lot of of my stuff here and it’s super convenient they also sell samples. – Where I buy most of my fragrance – If I’m going after Creed cologne samples. I also wrote a post exclusively for Creed here.

Ready For Some Tips For Trying On Samples?

Method 1 – Using paper strips

perfume strips

These paper strips are readily available at most department stores, but also can be purchased at for under $10.


What’s awesome about this method is the amount of fragrances you smell in a short amount of time.


When smelling off a test strip, you’re only getting the top notes of the fragrance. Unfortunately many scents are complex and need to several minutes to hours to develop. Using strips, you may overlook a fragrance because the top notes are not to your desire.

*Pro Tip – If you want to track how well the fragrance progresses over time, write on the strip the time you smelled the fragrance and come back to it in a few hours.

Here are some tips for using these bad boys;

  1. Write the name of what you’re smelling on the strip so you don’t forget!
  2. Don’t soak the strip with fragrance, it only needs a small amount
  3. Don’t let the part that has the perfume oils on it, touch other surfaces or smelly objects
  4. Wait a few seconds for the initial top notes that stink with alcohol dissipate. This will most likely skew your sense of smell.
  5. For the love of goodness, don’t huff the strip… There is no need to take deep inhalations to figure out what a fragrance smells like
  6. Don’t smell too many different strips consecutively… Your nose can only hand about 3… Have some coffee beans nearby if you can to neutralize your nose

Method 2 – Apply fragrance directly on your skin

I know this method seems simple and juvenile, but it really is the best way to get a taste for what a fragrance really smells like. Everyone has different skin, so therefore the fragrance oils can smell different to other people!


This method is the best to sample fragrances. You get to smell what the fragrance actually smells like. If you’re trying to decide between a few different cologne samples, use this technique and spray a bit on your wrist and the other fragrance on your other one.


You only get 2 shots at a sample this way. (unless you convince the people you’re with to loan you their wrists)


And that about does it for how to get free cologne samples! If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave me a comment below and I would love to chat with you about it or add it to the post. Don’t worry, I’ll give you credit!

There is a topic that I may have missed for some, but I wanted to write a separate post about it. The topic is “perfume swapping” which involves trading bottles with someone. Since this doesn’t have to do with samples, I wanted to give it a full post to see what happens.

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Jason is the first ever self-proclaimed "Cologne Master" that is dedicating his expertise and knowledge to helping people choose that special scent for the 1st or 50th time.

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