acqua di gio absolu - fragrance addiction

As someone who has been a fragrance collector for many years now, I can positively say that fragrance addiction is a real thing that shouldn’t be ignored.

Recognizing this potential issue, and dealing with perfume buying addiction taboo on time can save you a lot of money and make the perfume hobby a much more enjoyable experience.

According to Very Well Mind article, “shopping addiction is a behavioral addiction that involves compulsive buying as a way to feel good and avoid negative feelings, such as anxiety and depression.

Like other behavioral addictions, shopping addiction can take over as a preoccupation that leads to problems in other areas of your life. Also, almost everyone shops to some degree, but only about 6% of the U.S. population is thought to have a shopping addiction.”

That’s why doing perfume collecting the right way shouldn’t involve any kind of guilt or buyer remorse. This article is a direct sequel to my previous topic of how to start a perfume collection, which I also recommend to read.

In this article you’ll learn the following:

  • Can perfumes be addictive?
  • Common signs of fragrance addiction
  • How many fragrances should I own?
  • How to enjoy perfume hobby?

Often we ignore the fact that the best perfumes are usually the ones most talked about.

Marin kristic

Now, let’s check out these steps in the journey of fragrance collecting and learn how this growing hobby doesn’t make too much pressure on your wallet.

Can perfumes be addictive?

Just like any other hobby, being cars, shoes, or watches, the urge to get a new and shiny bottle can be addictive and shift into different territory.

Instead of apprenticing the perfumes you already have, the thrill of buying a new bottle, giving them a couple of sprays, and putting them back alongside other fragrances you already own starts to control your behavior.

According to Health Impact News article, “Fragrances contain chemicals that have narcotic-like properties. The substances might not produce a traditional narcotic high, but they do cause dependency, which triggers the need for repeated use of the product to avoid the discomfort and irritability of withdrawal.”

So, yes. Perfume buying addiction is a real thing that provides a quick sense of euphoria via dopamine and endorphin release into the brain.

Don’t forget that buying fragrances can get very expensive, especially if you are buying retail which I never recommend. To get the best perfume deals, check out my article about the best fragrance discounters.

Common signs of fragrance addiction

Here are a couple of the recognized traits of a shopping addiction that also applies to perfume shopping:

  • The feeling of buying rush of euphoria when buying
  • Shopping when anxious, depressed, stressed, and feelings of remorse or guilt
  • An urge to lie to your family, friends, and partner about spending habits
  • Just one more bottle and I’ll be happy
  • Ending relationships with important people in your life
  • Going into debt and ignoring more important things in life than perfumes

This all gave me an epiphany moment of realizing that no matter how much the collection grows bigger, the enjoyment experience becomes.

Once there was a perfume reviewer that said probably the most profound thing about perfume addiction: “You’ll never smell better than you smell today!” I couldn’t agree more.

Easy Solution To Prevent Impulse Buying

neon sign fragrance addiction

First things first, take a look at how many perfumes you already own, and how many of them you are actually using more than a couple of times per year.

After you have done this, and hopefully weren’t surprised by some bottles which you forgot about owning, think about which of the previously-mentioned signs drive you to buy just that one more bottle.

Congratulations, you have made the first two important steps to breaking this addictive behavior. The third step is to sell everything that gathers dust.

Don’t worry about how you are going to feel about this. In the fragrance world, scarcity is a lie. No matter what anyone tries to tell you, you can always repurchase sold fragrances in the future.

I see “rare” batches of Yves Saint Laurent Kouros and M7 all the time on eBay pop out all the time and is not that rare you can buy them for a great price.

And truthfully, buying a “vintage” fragrance isn’t that great idea. The risk of buying an old bottle and getting a dud is around 50% every time.

Believing that you’ll find your signature perfume via fragrance community pressure and that you have to have and know every new release ain’t the right way.

After you have recognized the issue of fragrance addiction, the fourth step is to ignore social media and online “influence“.

Online media channels such as Facebook, YouTube, and other fragrance websites could be potentially toxic environments for those battling with a shopping addiction.

Don’t get me wrong, all these sources are packed with great information about perfumes and perfume related products, but they sometimes promote a certain lifestyle of “keeping up with the Joneses”, that is unattainable for most of us.

I find the bigger problem with this being shown as something “inspirational” and a way to “belong“.

Thankfully, in recent years, I have seen many other people starting to talk more about this, reaching out without being ashamed.

Here are my pro tips on how to deal with this fragrance issue:

  1. Go completely dark on any fragrance information for at least six months(deactivate or delete accounts)
  2. Don’t buy or sample anything for this six month period
  3. Start a new cost-free hobby like for example exercising, reading, or learning a new language until this period ends
  4. After you have successfully avoided temptations, avoid blind buying and make a list of fragrances you’ll only sample
  5. When feeling urged to buy the next bottle pick one friend that you can trust and talk about this issue and avoid excessive perfume buys
  6. Always ask yourself: will the next purchase truly make you happy

I know, I know. All of this may seem like it’s too much at once, but it works like a charm since everything you read here has been tested on yours truly.

Before we continue to the next chapter, I want you to test yourself with the final fifth step and do a simple test which I call a “10-day no perfume challenge“.

Even if you are not addicted to perfume shopping or you are just wondering if this issue has affected you, I guarantee that this tool is great for self-reflection and a solid foundation when making a decision.

All you have to do is avoid using any sort of perfumed product for ten days straight. The answer will be revealed by itself.

How many fragrances should you own

During the last decade, I have seen two different kinds of perfume collectors. Those who are happy with few fragrances and those who own many.

In which bucket do you belong, that’s up to you to decide. But, if I would have to say a number, that would be 10 holy grail scents.

Why only ten, you ask? That’s a great question. To be recognizable by your potential signature scent, having more than ten at any point will make just more pressure than enjoyment for you.

Since there is only a limited number of days in a year, the last thing you want is to be pressured about thinking about what you’ll wear.

That’s why I present to you an ideal formula that you can use to avoid perfume buying addiction. After you have gathered 10 fragrances, calculate what’s left of your finances at the end of each month.


  • $0 – don’t buy anything and/or sell excess perfumes you don’t use
  • $100 extra – buy 1 which you have sampled previously and sell excess perfumes you don’t use
  • $200 extra – buy 1 which you have sampled previously
  • $500 extra – buy 2 and sell excess perfumes you don’t use
  • $1000 extra – no limitations

As an additional safety measure, I have created a perfume buying guide called S.P.A. Signature Factor Guide.

Although, it was not originally created as something to control fragrance addiction, the main purpose of this guide is to be the easiest and the most relevant fragrance buying guide on the web.

S.P.A. stands for Scent, Performance, and Accessibility. By answering the 10 simple questions, this guide helps you decide if a particular fragrance is worth checking out.

Each category is created to target different emotions and needs which gives you important insights about your perfume taste and stands as an efficient buying guide.

With S.P.A. Signature Factor Guide not only that you’ll potentially find your signature perfume the easiest way, but you can also use it when battling with more serious topics such as fragrance buying addiction.

Being addicted to buying perfumes or not, the 10 perfume bottle mindset is a path of less is more, and quality over quantity.

How To Enjoy Perfume Hobby

think positive

When we put things into a certain perspective, enjoying the perfume hobby ain’t that hard. By avoiding rat-race, the pressure to being on top, or having the newest flanker from the line, one starts to enjoy what’s already in the collection.

Since the smell is our strongest sense which brings comfort, joy, and can remind us of the most cherished times in our lives, the perfume game should be something that gives us lasting satisfaction.

The following are my personal tips on how to enjoy perfume hobby:

  • often we ignore the fact that the best perfumes are usually the most talked about. Use this knowledge to your advantage.
  • enjoy what you already have in the collection. Use one perfume in different seasons and occasions to see how it works and changes.
  • ignore the online hype, especially for new releases. There is a possibility that the reviewers have a biased opinion due to receiving free bottles.
  • if a fragrance has stood the test of time, and is still popular after a minimum of five years, in that case, it’s worth sampling out.
  • don’t compete with others, and what others have and share online. Don’t believe the illusion that you’ll feel better by owning 100+ bottles of expensive perfume.
  • trust your nose and make a list of fragrances that you wish to sample. In the fragrance game, you and only you decide if something is good or bad.
  • when you feel that the shopping is getting out of hand, take a break from social media, Youtube, and perfume related websites for at least six months.
  • enjoy yourself by doing 80% of your time with other things in life besides perfumes.


chanel no.5 on orange and blue background

Having a fragrance addiction otherwise known as perfume buying addiction can be hard if not controlled on time.

This is something most of the “frag-heads” experience at some point of their journey and is not something that you should be ashamed of.

If you have recognized yourself in this article, I’m glad that you have found it so that you don’t have to go alone during this period.

This article is somewhat a personal story and a solution based on my research. Since it has already worked on yours truly, give it a go, and let me know in the comment section below have you dealt with fragrance addiction yourself, or do you know someone close who deals with this issue.

Find out more Scent Grail articles about perfumery, check out top lists, and other helpful reviews via links below:




Until next time, have a great time and choose your scent wisely!

Best, Marin!
#scentgrail #scentgrailtribe

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Your number one resource for Holy Grail Signature Scents.

– Marin Kristic

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  1. I actually came across your article because I wanted to know if there actually is such a thing as perfume addiction. I have finally gotten to the point where I know I am in the early stages of that addiction. After getting into an argument with my wife about my spending habits, I had promised myself that I would stop going on Youtube to watch reviews, and stop purchasing fragrances for a while. But two days later I went back online and ordered a $150 cologne. I need help man. I have promised myself that I will abstain from anything perfume related for a few months. I have been enjoying this hobby for only 8 months and already have about 70 bottles. Lets see.

    1. Hi Nahu. Thanks for reaching out. While there is no “quick fix” to fragrance addiction, and even I sometimes get succumbed to it, what really helped me is to compare the potential next buy to the best perfumes I have in my collection.

      So, for example, if my next potential fragrance is not on the level of Musc Ravageur or Tobacco Vanille, I know I’m not going to be 100% happy with the purchase and just skip it. While it not might be much, I gave up buying at least 10 – 15 new bottles this way. Hope it helps. Cheers! 🙂

    2. i have the same problem 😩. i’m past the stage of buying cheap perfumes. i am still on the search for the fragrance that defines me even if it is a very expensive one. my addiction is a search for that scent which i haven’t found yet

      1. Hi Manal. What are your current favorite fragrances? Have you tried buying samples of decants of more expensive stuff? Sampling potential full bottles are the best way to save money even with buying addiction. You would be supprised at how many hyped fragrances actually don’t live up to the expectations. Best, Marin. 🙂

  2. I just came across your article today after buying yet another bottle of vintage perfume. I have recognized my addiction over the past few months. I began collecting vintage perfume last September and my obsession began getting out of hand pretty quickly. To date, I’ve accumulated 180 bottles, among those are several “back-ups”. Many are also minis, but I’ve also accumulated 1oz-3oz sizes. I feel so overwhelmed by what I’ve done and continue to do.

    So, I’m glad I’ve found your article and take much of what you say to heart. I am very aware that I’ve become addicted to fragrance buying as a way to handle stress and anxiety, but haven’t yet dealt with it in any substantive way. I have reached a point, however, where I need to seek professional psychological help. It’s a very difficult addiction to break on one’s own. Thank you for providing this helpful and useful article. I’m very grateful that this problem is being talked/written about…it’s so necessary.

    1. Hi Yvonne. Thank you for sharing your experience with fragrance addiction. It is tough to stop buying perfumes, and we are probably all guilty of buying too many bottles we don’t actually need. That’s why it is important to take one step at a time and cut the buying circle with, for example, other hobbies in our life. I have found that going out for a run or reading a non-fragrance-related book keeps me occupied with other things in life. Keep up and feel free to leave a comment or two in the future about how you are doing with your buying addiction. Best, Marin 🙂

  3. Thanks for the pro tips. perfume addiction is a fact indeed and it pre-occupies the mind to effect a gradual withdrawal from other hobbies in some people like me. As with other addictions the only way to deal with it seems to be the will power to silence your mind and apply reason so that the enjoyable hobby lives on without guilt.

    1. Hi. I have to agree with you that willpower is probably the biggest factor when dealing with fragrance addiction. It is important to take one step at a time, and occupy yourself with other interesting things in life. Sometimes, even the simple things like taking a walk on a nice sunny day can help.

  4. Hi, thank you for this. I have over 300 bottles of perfume and bought another 2 in the early hours after having been stressed out with a project I am doing! I have switched to dupes which helps my budget, but the problem is when I see a special offer, I feel I have to get it in case I never see it again (this company always has offers so that doesn’t make much sense). The compulsion is strong. There’s no way I can leave the house without wearing at least 5 to maximise longevity of smelling pleasant!. When you have to spend a certain amount to get free postage, that’s also problematic. I know this sounds a bit ridiculous, but I really would like to know if there is a perfumes anonymous group out there. Perfume addiction is a very real thing.

    1. Hi Ruby. Thank you for sharing your personal experience with perfume addiction. Unfortunately, it is a real thing that hits me as well from time to time, no matter how hard I try to stay away from impulse buying. What helped me this year was after buying a new fragrance, one perfume from the collection had to go. Usually, the one I rarely used. What can also help you is getting a new hobby that doesn’t cost that much. For example, reading books, running, table tennis, mountain climbing, and such. Hope this helps. Best, Marin

    1. Hi John. While there is no proper word for a person addicted to buying perfumes, it should be taken seriously no matter how you look at this topic. Fragrance addiction is real and the main reason I wanted to create an article about it. Best, Marin

  5. I have a suggestion… why not work with what you already have and ‘study’ them as though they are all you will ever have?
    what I am doing is finding out the notes of all the perfumes I already have and finding out what notes they have in common so I know what I like the most.
    Then I am trying to train my nose to pick out the notes.
    I am also trying to limit myself to wearing either 1-3 fragrances a month and try to get into wearing the same one every day for a while. if you change your perfume too often then you really don’t get to appreciate it beyond the initial thrill of buying it. Wear it until you get bored and then switch. if you get bored too fast (after a few days) then maybe take a break from wearing perfume for a while and then wear one again and go through the pain barrier of wearing the same one for a while before you switch.

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