February 21, 2024


Fashion takes it to the next level.

Perfume: Pros and Cons of Decanting

6 min read

The best thing that ever happened to my perfume collection is doubling my decant budget for the months of October through December. Basically, I cut back on three months earlier on in the year and splurge October through December since that’s when new fragrances come out. If you don’t already know, decants or splits are when you go in on the cost of a bottle and everyone gets a smaller portion of the bottle or a ‘split’ for a fraction of the full bottle cost – splits almost always happen with new fragrances.

Thus my desire to increase my perfume budget for October, November and of course December – these are the months when perfumes are released in hordes and if you want to get in on some good splits, now is the time! By the time January and February have rolled around, the splits have usually died down. Perhaps not everyone will want to do it the way I do but I find it works best for me this way and I’m always much happier and have plenty of pretty things to sniff all through the January and February months.

Actually, I find that I get so many great splits throughout October-December, it keeps me very busy trying to catch up and smell them all in the months that follow! I try to pace myself and it really is fun. Just one more thing to look forward to the holidays! I’ll go straight into February and have plenty of unsniffed decants lying around (and by lying around I mean organized neatly in my most favorite storage cubby of all times that is for my decants specifically!)

This is where I come to the part that most people dislike about perfume – the cost. Decanting and swaps are perfect if you’re on a budget because you’re not paying full bottle price – and most of the time you wouldn’t use the whole bottle anyway. A smaller budget doesn’t limit your choices and what you can own – it brought you into the world of decants and believe it or not, you may end up with some very cool fragrances you never could have purchased at full bottle prices.


1. My budget. Need I say more? We’re all on a budget here!
2. I’ve never had a disastrous unsniffed purchase, because I have a strategy. I know what happens to a decant if I Love it, Like it, Or if I don’t like it I SWAP IT!
3. I love all my full bottles. I mean I adore them to infinity. I’m extremely critical in selecting fragrances I want in full bottle form. These are TO DIE FOR in my eyes.
4. You can wear a different fragrance every day! (As your collection grows!)
5. You can do wrist vs. wrist comparisons, as I find the best scent for you and your true favorites. Process of elimination, baby!
6. If you start organizing your bottles in the beginning it isn’t an overwhelming task to keep track of everything and with smaller decant bottles, storage space is less of an issue!
7. Having fragrances already in decant containers means traveling with a decant or two is very easy when you consider regulations about liquids on airplanes, in carry ons and luggage in general.
8. Decant deals online on new fragrances means price per decant is lower and more budget friendly! And newer fragrances may provide samples for a low cost that will be a steal without having to arrange a swap or a split!
9. The number of new fragrance releases doesn’t have to overwhelm you as long as you remember that you don’t have to keep up.
10. One thing I’ve learned: it’s much easier to be spontaneous with lower cost decants/swaps and it hurts the pocketbook a lot less if it turns out you don’t like the perfume. In perfume terms: occasional impulsive purchase + a little restraint = no guilt. What you don’t love could be just the item you need to swap to get your next LOVE IT fragrance!
11. Patience is a lovely thing… if the anticipation doesn’t kill you. I’ll sit on gift money for months before I make up my mind on decants I want or bottles I can’t live without, bouncing off the walls waiting for the package to come. My next major bottle will come on the holiday, and the process of elimination has already begun!
12. Decants are usually too small for the fragrance to go bad before you use it all
13. If you get decants in the 15ml – 20ml range you will be surprised how long it will last you
14. Your tastes in perfume and your sense of smell evolves with you and change as you do – what you love this year you may hate next year. Small decants, compared to a large bottle you would never make it through, are enough to keep you in the juice you love without locking you into a full bottle of a scent you may hate or grow out of tomorrow.


1. If you love all your bottles, participated in a swap could be difficult but they are fun!
2. Splits are usually done for new releases. By the time I get around to smelling them in a department store (if I don’t want to order blind), those opportunities have passed.
3. Bottles are pretty. When you do a split, only one person gets the bottle, usually the host. (The person who arranged the split, went and fronted the money, measured, poured, mailed, etc.
4. I usually miss out on sales if they’re an act-now kind of thing.
5. If you decant you need containers, small containers. It can be difficult to get the perfume into the vial and they are small so they break pretty easily if you’re not careful
6. When you use a splash sample bottle or decant bottle where your skin comes into contact with the perfume at all the scent can ‘turn’ or ‘go bad’ very quickly due to the mixing of the oils. You may also end up with cloudiness and precipitants in your bottles.
7. If you package with atomizers you have a greater risk of leakage and evaporation.
8. Decants of less than 5 ml don’t usually last more than a month – so if you go very small, you won’t get as much wear out of it but if you weren’t going to buy the full bottle regardless – this may not matter.
9. It can sometimes be difficult to arrange a split of a bottle especially if it hasn’t been released recently
10. Decants that are arranged through a site/service versus groups of decanters that frequently arrange their own splits, tend to be a little pricy. While not as expensive as a full bottle you are paying a premium for not having to arrange a split with someone or find a split that someone is already doing.

As you can see, splits, swaps and decants in general can be very affordable, even with the smallest budget and they are great if you are interested in smelling lots of different fragrances and having just a little bit of everything to try out. It’s like having hundreds of invisible accessories!

I personally feel like I wasted a good majority of my money when I was buying full bottles. Not only was I sticking with the same, albeit lovely, fragrance but I was putting my entire fragrance budget for the entire year (because that was as much as I would spend on perfume) all at once. I gave myself no room to wiggle and breathe and sniff! So the best thing that could have happened to me, though I miss it dearly, is my favorite fragrance becoming discontinued.

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