SOLVED: How To Spot A Fake Fragrance

I think we can all agree, fake fragrance suck! 


The active ingredients in phony cologne and fragrance sometimes consist of urine, antifreeze, and bacteria. (According to Valerie Salembier who is the president and CEO of the Authentics Foundation)


The Authentic's Foundation is an international organization that fights counterfeiters all over the world.

Valerie is legit!


"Fake cosmetic items, such as phony perfume, lipstick, and mascara, often contain high levels of aluminum and bacteria. 

These products can also be filled with known carcinogens including arsenic, beryllium, and cadmium. Counterfeit perfumes, in particular, contain Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) classified human carcinogen that is considered one the most lethal toxic chemical for humans."

So not only are fake fragrances gross, but the FBI says they're dangerous!

People have reported rashes and burns just from using counterfeit fragrance! (info @ ACG)

Holy crap fake fragrances are bad!

Lesson #1 - Who is selling it to you?

If you're walking down the street, and you see a dude selling fragrance out of his own pocket...

It's a fake...

These vendors will always say, "100% Authentic" or some other absurd  thing..

Don't let the price fool you...

It's a fake...

So what about online? How can you tell if a retailer on Amazon or ebay is selling fakes?

So what about online? How can you tell if a retailer on Amazon or ebay is selling fakes?

The same thing applies as you walking down the street and seeing a vendor...

- Where is the person you're buying it from?

Chances are if it's coming from a foreign land...

It's a fake...

- What type of pictures are showing up in the description?

Do they look real or are they regurgitated from someplace in the dark web. Ask the seller for more if there is only one.

- What does the item description say?

Do they mention that it's authentic 100 times like they're hiding something?

Is it incomplete? Does it look like it was written by a 3-year old? 

These are all bad signs.

- Use common sense!

It's sad I have to write this but it's true... If it looks too good to be true, it probably is

If you're unsure, ask a friend...

- Check out the sellers feedback

This should be one of the first things you notice when you're looking to purchase something from an online retailer. Make sure there is plenty of good, quality feedback

Ok that's cool Mr. Cologne Master, but what about Amazon? How do I know that I'm not getting a fake?

Amazon doesn't mess around with counterfeit products.

You can see here that they have a pretty intense process regarding it so buyers don't get screwed.

When it comes from Amazon, you can sniff out the fakes a few different ways.

1. Check the ratings & reviews

Are people questioning the authenticity in the reviews?

If you see more than a few, then it's best to avoid that seller.

2. When you buy something from these guys, look at the actual seller and click on their profile

- Is it a business with good reviews? Then it's probably ok

- Is it some dude living in his mother's basement? Probably should avoid this seller and pay an extra few bucks for peace of mind.


Best way to avoid buying a counterfeit fragrance is to purchase through a legit seller.

Lesson #2 - Check the packaging

In order to compare your "fake" fragrance with the real one, you'll need to know what a 100% legit bottle looks like.

To find that information, most manufacturers have authorized dealers that we know for sure sell the real stuff.

For example lets look at Creed's Authorized Retailers

By putting in your zip-code, you can find authentic bottles of Creed at these places or visit the retailers website to see what the bottle looks like.

Go online or in-store and...

Compare everything about them.

- The packaging

Is the plastic wrapped up nicely?

Are the fonts the same on the outside of the box?

Professional manufactures rarely make mistakes so if there is any damage or loose plastic, usually that's a red flag

- The bottle

Is the sprayer the same size and shape?

Does the cap fit correctly and look the same?

Is the writing on the bottle the same font, color, and stickers match up?

If you take a peek at these two bottles, you notice the different shades and writing between the two bottles.

Can you tell which one is fake? Head over to Basenotes to find out.

Lesson #3 - Check the Batch Number

Almost every fragrance made has a batch number associated with it. 

For example...

The picture on the left is my personal bottle of Sauvage.

The picture on the right is the bottom of my bottle which shows the batch number. (The batch number is also printed on the outside of the box)

Plug that into a site like

1. Check to make sure it's legit

2. Check to make sure it was manufactured at a time that makes sense

Or you could just straight up call the manufacturer and see if they

Lesson #4 - Check the smell

Now this is where things get fun...

If everything else checks out and you made it this far, you're almost in the clear.

If you have never smelled your "allegedly fake" fragrance before, this might be tough...

I suggest you head over to my "How To Get Free Samples" page and see if you can get your hands on one.or just stop into your local store and see if they have a tester you can try.

Otherwise if you have smelled the fragrance and notice theres a difference, Congratulations you can start freaking out now because you have a fake!

Well not yet...

Every once in awhile, cologne and perfumes get reformulated and smell a little off.

Perfume houses will try to save money by using synthentic ingredients or the IFRA force perfume houses to comply by their regulations and prohibit them from using certain banned substances.

Sometimes the ingredients perfumists use go extinct or become difficult to find. This all plays a factor in reformulations.

I know... just when you found a fragrance you really like...

Double check to make sure your favorite fragrance didn't just get reformulated. My favorite places to check are Fragrantica, Basenotes, or just a Google search.

If a bunch of people are complaining about it, then maybe your fragrance just changed.

Sorry bro..

But if the smell is off and the fragrance hasn't been reformulated, head to the next step.

Lesson #5 - What to do when you find a fake

1. Get your money back

Don't take no for an answer. Let the seller know why you KNOW it's a fake and it's a crime to sell counterfeit items.

Make sure you're ready to explain your reasoning and have pictures, receipts, video, or whatever to back up your claim.

Now if you're happy with receiving your money back, you're good to go. 

But for some people, that's not enough

2. Report it

I've seen people in forums report going straight to the FBI when it comes to this stuff. I don't blame them. After all, it is illegal and could be up to a $5 million in fines or 20 years in prison.


The place you'll want to report it to though is The National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center

These guys know there stuff and can get you pointed in the right direction. 

Otherwise, has some information that might throw anyone you have to report under the bus. Their site hasn't been updated in awhile.


Please let me hear your counterfeit stories so others can learn. Otherwise if I missed something valuable that others need to know, feel free to contact me or leave a comment.

Keep it real!

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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.