There’s nothing worse than dropping $100+ on a bottle of cologne only to discover it smells awful. If you haven’t found your signature scent or are hunting around for a new one, these methods of how to get free cologne samples will help you try before you buy.
Instead of over-committing right from the start, free cologne samples will allow you to explore the world of fragrance one tiny bottle at a time.
If you’re ready to save yourself money (and disappointment), these are the best methods to finesse free cologne samples, plus some other ways to test out fragrances before purchasing a full-sized bottle.
How To Get Free Cologne Samples
There are tons of different methods to get free cologne samples. The best ways are to visit beauty retailers and department stores to request samples in person. Though if you’re willing to put a bit of work in, many brands and retailers will send free samples if you reach out directly through the website, via email, or on social media.
1. Visit a Beauty Store
The best way to get free cologne samples is to visit a beauty store. Cosmetic retailers like Ulta and Sephora often have a large stock of men’s cologne, sometimes with free samples in tow. Simply find a salesperson, show them the cologne you’d like a sample of, and if possible, they’ll give it to you for free.
It’s worth noting that you’re more likely to get a sample at Sephora than at Ulta, and the number is limited to three—though this may vary from store to store. The samples given out are often provided by the brands to promote new products, so you may not have your pick of the litter.
If you’d rather not risk rejection, you can order online, and Sephora will offer two free samples with any purchase. You can also subscribe to Ulta’s newsletter, which provides frequent opportunities for how to get free men’s cologne samples.
It can definitely be intimidating to visit a beauty store (especially when you’re not dragged in by your girlfriend). But you’ll quickly find the people who work there are nonjudgemental and full of knowledge. They may even help you discover your next signature scent.
2. Hit Up Department Stores
You know that scene where Buddy the Elf finds himself in a department store, being sprayed left and right by perfume? If you’ve even entered a department store, you’ll know how accurate this scene really is. You’ll also know how many colognes they have on offer, with plenty of opportunities to score free samples.
In general, Nordstrom is the best department store for cologne samples, as they’re often the most generous with handouts. Other department stores like Sax, Macy’s, and Bloomingdales also have fragrance counters where you can chat up the salesperson for a tester.
Getting your sample is all about how you approach the counter. If it’s evident you’re scheming for a sample and nothing more, you’re likely to walk away with only a test strip. But if you’re genuine with your interaction and show that you’re truly looking for a new scent (though aren’t quite ready to commit), you’re more likely to wind up with a travel-sized bottle to take home with you.
It’s worth keeping in mind that samples are often provided by the brand, especially for new products, so if you’re looking for something older or hyperspecific, this may not be the best course of action.
3. Go to the Official Website
When it comes to how to get free cologne samples, you can always visit the official website of the scent. Sometimes the brand will have a free sample option that allows you to test out its latest product. But in most cases, you’ll have to reach out to the brand directly to request a sample—especially if you don’t want to pay.
Some ways to reach out to brands directly are:
- Customer service email
- Website inquiry form
- Official social media channels (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
If the brand can sense that you’re eager to try before purchasing, they’re more likely to send out samples. So be genuine with your request and present yourself as a future buyer rather than a freeloader.
4. Check Out Magazines
As a kid, you probably rifled through your parent’s magazine collection, rubbing yourself silly with the included perfume or cologne samples (No? Just me?). These kinds of inserts still exist, so hit up some print media for free cologne samples.
How to get free men’s cologne samples varies from magazine to magazine and aren’t guaranteed in the first place. Rather than subscribing to multiple outlets and hoping for the best, take a trip to your local drugstore and flip through the options to see what you can find. Remember, these free cologne samples are often hidden behind a flap, so keep your eyes peeled.
5. Inside a Subscription Box
Subscription boxes are an epic way to stock up on free cologne samples. Whether it’s fragrance specific or a general grooming kit, the best subscription boxes for men often include freebies to help you discover new products.
If you don’t mind investing in your fragrance journey, boxes like Scentbird and Scentbox send out a handful of different colognes each month to introduce you to new and boutique fragrances. While it’s not necessarily free cologne, they often include a coupon code as well if you feel like buying the full-sized product at a discounted price.
5. Bundle With Another Purchase
Already planning on restocking your favorite cologne or grooming products? Sometimes brands will offer free samples with another purchase. So while it will cost you upfront, this is still a great way to get cologne samples for free.
For example, French brand Maison Francis Kurkdjian allows you to choose two free samples at checkout with any purchase. The brand Mugler also includes two free samples with purchase and a mystery gift with orders over $120. Lastly, you’ll find that Jo Malone gives out free samples with every purchase and has daily offers on its Benefits page to score a complimentary cologne.
Seasonality also comes into play, as gift boxes are known to have deluxe samples included with purchase. So keep your eyes open around the holidays to find epic additions to sets you may already be buying in the first place.
6. Write Cologne Reviews for Samples
Wondering how to get free samples of cologne by providing feedback? Writing reviews is a sure way to secure tester products. In fact, websites like HomeTesterClub will actually send you a sample product in exchange for an honest review on their platform.
HomeTesterClub works with various products (not only fragrance), but as a tester, you can propose new products to review—like up-and-coming colognes—and may have the chance to receive a sample.
Other review websites that have worked with colognes in the past include:
7. Use Hashtags on Social Media
Never discount the power of social media, especially when it comes to how to get free cologne samples. The best way to find (and snag) these freebies is by searching for relevant hashtags or keeping up with your favorite brands.
Search for hashtags like:
This will deliver a boatload of content you can sift through to find compelling giveaways and special offers from brands.
8. Trade Your Contact Info
These days, tons of companies are promoting sponsored content across social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Most of this content includes freebies that can be redeemed in exchange for filling out a simple sign-up form.
Check out the hashtag #sopost on social media to see a collection of these kinds of posts.
At the time of writing, Macy’s is running a free fragrance giveaway, where those who sign up through the post link will receive a small selection of cologne samples. Other big brands like Tom Ford and Giorgio Armani use similar marketing strategies to capture customer information in exchange for free cologne samples, so this can be a dependable way to stock up on new scents.
9. Sign Up for Newsletters
A last strategy for how to get free samples of cologne is to sign up for relevant newsletters. Both brands and beauty publications send out exclusive offers to their mailing lists, making it well worth the sign-up. This may take the form of free cologne samples, coupon codes, or giveaways, so this is definitely the best way to stay in the loop.
Where To Buy Cologne Samples
Don’t mind spending a little to get a little? This is where to buy cologne samples to test out new scents without breaking the bank.
1. The Aromi: Buy Cologne Samples
If you’re interested in buying samples, our top pick is through The Aromi. This fragrance retailer has made serious waves by distributing samples for discounted prices. They have heaps of brands to choose from, whether you’re looking for the best men’s fragrances of all time or more boutique scent houses.
Most samples are around $4, with free shipping on orders over $80. If you’re looking for a more economical way to score cologne samples, Aromi’s Mini Offer is second to none. It includes three best-selling mini fragrances for $35 with free shipping and a coupon for $10 off your next order. This is a killer investment if you’re on the hunt for your next everyday scent.
2. Scentbird: Monthly Subscription Cologne Sampler
We mentioned Scentbird briefly when talking about subscription boxes, but this is also a super solid way to buy cologne samples. It starts with a quiz to discover your scent profile, then you get to choose the colognes you want to try out. Once a month, you’ll receive a delivery right to your door with an order from your handpicked queue.
There are many big names on the platform, like Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, and Acqua Di Parma. But you’ll also have the chance to discover tons of boutique scent houses and Scentbird exclusives. If you don’t want to shell out hundreds for designer cologne, the samples in the subscription box have up to 120 sprays, which will last you until your next one arrives.
3. Cologne Sample Sets: Try the Entire Brand Line
You can actually buy cologne sample sets from beauty retailers, department stores, and from the brand directly. These little tester kits are a fantastic way to discover the best of a brand and fall in love with a new scent.
Sample sets typically come with three to four colognes in 0.5oz bottles (like this one from Ralph Lauren). Most sample sets are premade, but some brands will allow you to build your own kit on their website with the samples you really want to try. This is an awesome way to get to know a brand’s cologne line and is easy to stash in a dop kit or gym bag for use on the go.
4. Mini Versions: Cologne Without Commitment
Most popular colognes come in mini versions. If you’re not quite ready to commit to an entire bottle of a new scent, try out the mini for a discounted price. If you end up hating it, you won’t lose out on $100 and be stuck with a full-sized bottle.
For example, this Diesel cologne is available in a mini size of 1.7 fluid ounces (about 50ml), which is much less expensive than the full 200ml bottle.
5. Travel Kits: Take a Sample on the Go
Travel kits of cologne typically come in sample sizes to adhere to TSA regulations (and to save space in your luggage). Travel colognes are often much more affordable than a full-size or mini bottle. Plus, the 0.3oz to 0.5oz spray is a perfect starter size to ensure you like the scent before going all in.
Try out this English Laundry travel set for variety on your next trip or a single baby bottle of John Varvatos for something crisp and clean.
Fragrance counters at department stores often give free cologne samples, but it’s all about how you approach them. Be genuine with your interaction and explain that you’re hoping to test out a new scent before investing in a full-sized bottle.
You can get cologne samples on websites like Amazon and eBay, but they aren’t free. It’s also important to be aware of counterfeit products being sold by third-party resellers. If you’re looking for how to get free cologne samples, it’s best to order them directly from the source.
Online free cologne samples are legit, especially if they come directly from a brand, beauty store, or reputable reseller.