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Dossier review: These under-$50 designer fragrance dupes will replace your expensive originals

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A side-by-side collage with Dossier perfumes on the left and Dossier colognes on the right.Three of the Dossier fragrance dupes we tried next to their luxury counterparts.

Sally Kaplan/Amir Ismael/Insider

While luxury brand perfumes and colognes may be of higher quality than the watered-down body mists of our youth, high-end fragrances are often marked up astronomically. Alongside quality ingredient costs, you also end up paying for the brand name, packaging, and the extravagance associated with it. 

Thankfully, Dossier is the solution for those who simply cannot afford or want to spend luxury prices on perfume. Founded in 2018, Dossier is a New York-based brand specializing in recreating popular high-end fragrances at an accessible price point. All of Dossier’s perfumes are vegan, cruelty-free, and sustainably produced. Starting at just $19, you’ll find scents inspired by brands like YSL, Le Labo, Chanel, Gucci, Tom Ford, Maison Margiela, and many more.

The verdict on Dossier

Three members of the Insider Reviews team tested a variety of Dossier fragrances, and we unanimously agreed that the overall quality and value were high and the perfumes were spot on to their luxury counterparts. Even our loved ones, who are familiar with the fragrances we wear regularly, couldn’t tell the difference. Keep reading to learn more about the specific Dossier perfumes we reviewed.

Dior Sauvage vs. Dossier Aromatic Star Anise

A bottle of Dior Sauvage cologne and Dossier Aromatic Star Anise cologne side-by-side on a table.

Amir Ismael/Insider

One of the most significant benefits of shopping at Dossier is getting your favorite scents for far less than the authentic brand name version. Dior Sauvage Eau de Toilette is one of my favorite fragrances, but at $100 for a 2-ounce bottle, I don’t like to use it every day. I tried Dossier Aromatic Star Anise, which is the brand’s interpretation of Dior Sauvage, and it smelled identical. 

At $29 for a 1.7-ounce bottle, I’m not as reserved with how often I spray it. I can buy three bottles from Dossier for the price of one from Dior. Once I finish my current bottle of Dior, I will not replace it with another. With Dossier Aromatic Star Anise, I have no reason to. — Amir Ismael, Insider Reviews senior reporter

YSL Black Opium vs. Dossier Ambery Vanilla

Three bottles of Dossier perfumes on a white surface.

Kayla Bickham/Insider

YSL Black Opium (usually $95 an ounce) was my first introduction to perfumes after I grew out of body sprays as a teen. Learning the hard way what it means to put on too much perfume has now permanently engraved its rich vanilla scent into my brain. After years and years of wear, I know Dossier’s Ambery Vanilla is its sister scent without even having a bottle of YSL Black Opium of my own anymore. A yummy fall scent is the best way to describe what both bottles smell like. However, there’s a difference or two that sets the two scents apart.

There’s something about the warmth of YSL’s take on a seductive vanilla that’s a bit more subtle than its dupe from Dossier. While the spicy gourmand is at the forefront of both perfumes, the vanilla sneaks up and takes over once settled on the skin in Black Opium, while Ambery Vanilla is more of a mix of the two scents it’s named after. Although the licorice and black coffee notes linger a bit long in Ambery Vanilla, the perfume itself doesn’t last all day. — Kayla Bickham, Insider Reviews style and beauty fellow 

YSL Libre vs. Dossier Floral Lavender

A bottle of YSL Libre and Dossier Floral Lavendar perfume on a marble surface.

Sally Kaplan/Insider

I tested Dossier’s dupe for YSL Libre perfume, which I wore on my wedding day and use for many special occasions. My wife couldn’t tell the difference at all, and I could barely tell myself after 2 years of using YSL! I also tested several other fragrances against their original inspirations and had the same reaction to each of them. I will never order expensive perfume again — I don’t know how or why Dossier didn’t exist sooner! — Sally Kaplan, Insider Reviews executive editor

Immediately after I began testing Dossier, my girlfriend ordered a few dupes of fragrances in her collection — one of which also being YSL Libre. I did a blind side-by-side smell test, and I, too, can confirm that YSL Libre and Dossier’s Floral Lavender smell exactly the same. — Amir Ismael, Insider Reviews senior reporter

Other Dossier men’s fragrances

Five bottles of different Dossier men's colognes on a table.

Amir Ismael/Insider

I was so happy with how closely Dossier matched the Dior fragrance I already had, I decided to try a few scents that I didn’t own. I’ve always liked to try new scents, but more often than not, steep prices turned me back to the fragrances that I already knew I liked.

Although I received a few samples for the purpose of this review, I’ve already purchased a few extras myself. 

I tried Spicy Vanilla, Musky Oakmoss, Aquatic Lime, Citrus Ginger, and Woody Sandalwood, and while I like some more than others for daily wear, I like having options at a low cost. I might not have a familiar point of comparison for most of the Dossier fragrances in my collection. Still, it sure beats spending upwards of $1,000 on brands like Creed, Tom Ford, Chanel, and Giorgio Armani to create the same variety. — Amir Ismael, Insider Reviews senior reporter

Other Dossier’s women’s fragrances 

I also opted to try Dossier’s Floral Marshmallow (a dupe of By Kilian’s Love, Don’t Be Shy) and Woody Sandalwood (inspired by Le Labo Santal 33). Both are scents on the warmer side. While I don’t have the luxury versions to compare the scents to, I would happily repurchase both fragrances. I still fight the urge to apply more mid-day.  — Kayla Bickham, Insider Reviews style and beauty fellow 

How does Dossier maintain affordable prices?

A newly opened box of a Dossier fragrance in unbranded and low-cost packaging.

Amir Ismael/Insider

As consumers, we’ve been conditioned to expect premium colognes and perfumes to cost a lot. Purchasing a high-end fragrance is looked at as a luxury splurge but never as a simple part of your grooming routine. So, naturally, the first thing new customers want to know is how Dossier can make these so cheap.

First and foremost, there is no substantial retail mark-up because of the brand’s direct-to-consumer model. The brand also limits costs by using generic packaging. All of the bottles are made from 100% recycled glass and come in a 100% recycled cardboard box. However, by far, the most noteworthy cost-saving is the generic branding. There’s no inflated cost because there’s no luxury brand name on the bottle. When you buy a bottle of Dossier, you’re just paying for the same high-quality ingredients used by designer brands, Dossier’s affordable packaging, and a profit margin, which is expected for any business.

Dossier also has a buy more, save more deal to save you additional money. Buy three items from $78 and get 10% off; buy four items from $99 and get 15% off; or buy five or more items from $116 and get 20% off. You’ll also get free shipping on three or more items. 

Does Dossier perfume last?

In former Business Insider Reviews style & beauty fellow Kayla Bickham’s experience, Dossier’s Ambrey Vanilla perfume did not last all day long. However, her tip to stretch all perfumes is to apply them fresh out of the shower, air dry, and then lock the scent in under a body lotion.

Cons to consider

The only point that might deter some people from Dossier is the generic packaging. If you enjoy collecting unique bottles to display on your vanity or bathroom countertop, you won’t be able to accomplish that with Dossier. If you’re okay with all of your bottles looking similar — and the tremendous amount of money you’ll save — then there shouldn’t be anything stopping you from buying Dossier. And if our reviews of Dossier compared to popular fragrances aren’t enough to convince you, try it for yourself. Dossier’s risk-free returns allow you to try fragrances and send back full-size bottles for a full refund with no questions asked.

The bottom line

Overall, we can’t recommend Dossier enough for anyone looking for affordable cologne or perfume. We each tried scents that mimic name-brand fragrances that we know and love and were impressed with how close they match.

Not only will you save money on popular fragrances you’re already familiar with, but shopping at Dossier will empower you to explore new scents.

Find all of Dossier’s luxury fragrance dupes here.

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