25 best Mother's Day fragrance and perfume gifts and sets of 2023
It takes a bold gifter to go the fragrance route.
While exciting to receive, fragrances can be ambitious gifts to shop for — they’re often personal, intimate and usually a gamble. Luckily, you don't need to roll the dice this time. We come bearing shopping tips and highly rated fragrance gift options across a slew of popular categories, brands and budgets, just in time for Mother's Day (don't worry, we have top picks for Dad's Day too!).
We tested many of these ourselves and, since finding the perfect fragrance gift isn't for the weary, we also called in some reinforcement. We chatted with gift-giving expert Lindsay Roberts Schey of The Gift Insider. She's clocked in over a decade in the world of gifting and kindly bestowed some of her wisdom on us. We also consulted with Cyra White, a fragrance enthusiast and YouTube beauty vlogger, who you can also find across #PerfumeTok. Plus, fashion stylist Tara West offers shopping tips and some handy do's and don'ts.
Our experts offer tips throughout our fragrance gift guide below. Keep scrolling to see everything (25 picks!), or click on the category links below to quickly find options that fit your giftee.
Best overall | Best gift sets | Best solids/rollerballs | Best body/hair mists | Best bath/body fragrance gifts | Best mini fragrance gifts | Best scented candles | Best diffuser gifts | Best splurge gift | Best Father's Day fragrance gifts | How to shop for fragrance gifts | Meet our experts
SCENT NOTES: papaya, jungle greens, ambrox
I tested this newer fragrance from an eco-driven brand called Abbott, and it quickly earned itself priority space on my perfume tray. The fun floral fragrance with a fruity twist was released in time for spring but I must say, its island vibes also make me very excited for summer.
The brand says on its website that its products are PETA-certified vegan, cruelty-free and use only clean, sustainable ingredients. So it may be an excellent choice if your giftee is eco-minded.
Not that packaging should make or break a fragrance to gift your loved one, but I appreciate that the glass bottle can be reused or recycled. It's also not too heavy in the hand, so it doesn't make me nervous about accidentally dropping it.
You can eventually find this scent on Sephora's website, where it recently launched but has already sold out at the time of writing (don't worry, it's available on the brand's website). The 10-ml bottle is just under $30.
SCENT NOTES: tuberose petals, golden gardenia, honeysuckle
Is your giftee always on the go? Skinny travel sprays like this pick from Ellis Brooklyn are easy to tote along, so they can smell gorgeous anywhere. I tested a handful of the brand's popular scents (Salt, Sun Fruit, Vanilla Milk, and Florist) and found myself reaching for Florist, a fresh, floral and vegan fragrance, the most often.
If you’d rather give your giftee the gift of choice and are willing to spend a little over $50, there's also a mini collection available that includes Salt, Sun Fruit, Vanilla Milk and Myth. Looking to really wow them? Add the brand's Sun Fruit-Scented Body Oil into the mix. I tried this one, too, and love the soft glow it gives my skin. (Sensitive skin folks, remember to patch test first!).
SCENT NOTES: pink strawberries, peach nectar and peony blooms
Bath & Body Works recently released its collection of Gingham scents and my nose has met all of them. The collection includes Gingham, Gingham Fresh, Gingham Vibrant, Gingham Legend, and Gingham Gorgeous.
My favorite is Gingham Gorgeous. I’m keeping its products everywhere: a mini lotion bottle in my purse, the larger mist bottle in the bathroom, a travel spray bottle in my car ... you get the picture. The floral scent is of course welcomed with opened arms around spring time, but you also pick up on the strawberry scent at first spray, which for me personally is a favorite summertime note.
Bath and Body Works famously has tons of ways to gift a scent. This particularly gift set includes: body lotion, shower gel, body mist and hand cream. Looking to keep things under $20? A mini box set includes mini shower gel, mini mist and hand cream for just $17.95 (and thanks to the packaging, you don't have to gift wrap either!). For those who love to do it themselves, you can always put together your own gift bag too, tossing it a three-wick candle or body butter to go with the collection.
Who says you can't squeeze a spa into a box? Dear Ava offers a popular gift box around $50 that includes:
When mom opens the box, she’ll see a sweet quote thanking her for all she does. I haven't seen this one in person, but reviewers are happy and mention fast shipping. Plus, the brand offers similar boxes for other special occasions.
SCENT NOTES: pistachio, almond, heliotrope, jasmine petals, vanilla, salted caramel, sandalwood
This gift set lands on our list because it's quite frankly a hot deal. This clear, zip around travel cosmetic bag includes a mini version of the best-selling, vegan-friendly Brazilian Bum Bum Cream along with the brand's shower cream gel and body fragrance mist. The $30 price tag is a bit surprising and probably means the set will sell out quickly. This set gets an average 4.5 out of 5 star rating from Sephora shoppers who say it makes an amazing gift.
SCENT NOTES: musky patchouli, sweet and creamy vanilla absolute, stimulating pepper
Solid perfumes like this sweet and spicy one from Lush are a fun fragrance alternative. They’re perfect for travel without any worry about your fragrance splish-splashing around in your carry-on. Plus, application is a breeze: Just gently rub it on your wrists and neck and go!
Lush says the Lord of Misrule's unique, multilayered scent has been a fan favorite in its "fizzing and foaming" forms, and now the solid perfume version is a top three bestseller. It's a good pick for people who love a complex earthy fragrance with a hint of spice, thanks to the combination of patchouli oil and black pepper. But it's not overwhelming because there's a dash of sweet vanilla to balance the herbal notes.
This solid perfume is vegan and self-preserving, so you don't have to worry about it going bad in your bag. Solid perfumes can come with hefty price tags, but this choice is one of the more reasonable and reliable we found.
SCENT NOTES: pink pepper, iris, ambrette, ambrox
Glossier promises this mini rollerball is the ultimate personal fragrance. The brand explains on its website that the formula is crafted as a skin-smell enhancer, saying the oil "melts into skin" so it's a scent that's uniquely yours.
I tried this one and can confirm it's warm and soft, but I would also add that it's subtle. This is probably due to the formula being made (purposely) of "mostly base notes," as the product page points out. It makes a great gift for the Glossier loyalist in your life. It sits at a fair price point (just under $30) but be warned that the bottle is pretty tiny (0.27 fl oz). It's a good size for a makeup bag, though. This pick is also vegan and cruelty-free.
SCENT NOTES: fig, bergamot, hazelnut, white florals, sandalwood, vetiver, musk
Rollerballs are not only easy to travel with but also easy to apply. This roller fragrance oil by Phlur is a nice size at 9.5mL. The brand released four fragrances in rollerball form: Missing Person, Somebody Wood, Lost Cause and Hanami. The floral and woody Hanami is my favorite of the four, though the sensual Somebody Wood is a close second.
The bottle is high quality and the oil formula feels rich on the skin. The price isn't too harsh either, just under $50. It's worth mentioning that the brand focuses on the environment, noting on its website that natural Indian Sandalwood is overharvested and nearly extinct. Instead, the brand opts for a lab-developed scent, saying it's safe for both skin and the environment and smells nearly identical to the real thing.
SCENT NOTES: Tahitian vanilla, fruity, light floral, creamy, rich bourbon vanilla
Here's a budget-pick without a budget feel. If your giftee appreciates a multitasking fragrance option, this mist is for the body and hair. It's available in a slew of fun scents, but this one's pretty popular among Amazon reviewers who mention it's perfect for summertime.
SCENT NOTES: solar tuberose, leite de coco, and creamy vanilla
Yes, Sol de Janeiro makes it to our list a second time because it's that popular. Amazon reviewers say if you love the brand's bum bum cream, this mist is a must. The vegan, beachy body mist has just under 20,000 ratings on Amazon and is under $25. If your giftee loves the sand and sun, it's a good bet they’ll enjoy the beach-inspired scent.
SCENT NOTES: sugarberry, crisp pear, lavender vanilla, honeysuckle & coconut, vanilla bean
I tested this exact hand cream collection by Dionis and had the best time. I started with the sugarberry cream, which turned out to be my favorite (followed by honeysuckle and coconut). The scent is light and fun, but it also stays with you longer than most hand creams tend to (some fade quickly after rubbing them in).
I’ve never tried a goat milk body product before and wasn't sure what to expect; I was pleasantly surprised. It absorbs well, no sticky residue, and my hands even looked healthier after using it. The brand explains that its products contain lactic acid for smoothing and whey protein to boost skin's appearance (that might explain my positive experience). Plus, the creams also contain vitamins A, D and E.
I was also surprised by the value of this set — five hand creams for $20. With the variety of fragrances and high quality of the cream, your giftee is bound to find a favorite that they can rebuy in various forms in the future (they’re available at Ulta!). If they’re a fan of the hand cream, the brand also has plenty of other skin care to explore: everything from hand soap and lip balms to foot care. Many of their products are gift sets and bundles, making gifting them even easier.
Other perks? These products are paraben-free, cruelty-free and made in the United States.
SCENT NOTES: lavender, vanilla, strawberry, coconut, mango, rose, melon
Bath bombs are fun but easy to skip when shopping for ourselves, which means they’re a thoughtful fragrance gift. This set of 12 bath bombs on Amazon has well over 40,000 ratings and is said to be moisturizing. They’re also made in the United States and individually wrapped.
SCENT NOTES: a range of scents, from dark berries and florals to musk and sandalwood
Why go big when you can go mini? West suggests opting for a small bottle as a sweet sentiment and something mom can try instead of a full size. "This is a great option because she can try multiple scents without too much commitment."
Smaller bottles also mean lighter price tags on luxury brands like Burberry.
This gift set includes four scents to test from the well-known, high-end brand, including Her EDP, Her EDT, Her London Dream EDP and Her Elixir. The variety includes a range of scents, from dark berries and florals to musk and sandalwood.
SCENT NOTES: Libre (a floral fragrance with notes of lavender, orange blossom and musk accord); Black Opium (a warm, and spicy fragrance with notes of coffee, white flowers and vanilla)
Again, when in doubt, go for mini sets. Schey is also a fan of mini fragrances, sometimes called "discovery sets" — a cute name for fragrance kits with multiple (usually travel-sized or mini) scents. These kits usually make a great choice for someone you may not know as well.
This set from Yves Saint Laurent includes two of the brand's popular women's fragrances, one floral and one warm.
SCENT NOTES: lemon, rosemary, ginger, oak moss, cardamom
If you’re looking for an elevated candle for a special occasion, Aromatique offers unique scents that use ethically sourced containers and cotton wicks. While under $20, these single-wick candles give a look of luxury. They’re also manufactured in the United States. The company says it uses only pure zinc-core wicks that are both safe and high-quality. These high-end candles get up to 40 hours of burn time.
SCENT NOTES: Varies (the Hawaii candle, pictured, has notes of pineapple, seashore, vanilla and musk)
Choosing the right candle to gift can be tricky (unless you go the safe vanilla route). Homesick makes candles that offer nostalgia, with scents reminiscent of different states and even regions. This allows your home fragrance gift to feel personal and even custom without much leg work. Grab your giftee a pick from their home state or favorite place to show off your listening skills and warm their space simultaneously.
SCENT NOTES: Varies (you can purchase a set of essential oils to use, like these ones on Amazon)
White says if you're gifting a minimalist, home scents like diffusers and candles are a great option. "They set the mood and liven up any space — especially if you're gifting someone who likes to entertain," she says.
This essential oil diffuser has over 115,000 ratings on Amazon, is under $20 and is available in five colors. It's a compact option, which most reviewers seem to appreciate. Odds are your giftee will appreciate that they won't need to create a ton of space for it. It also doubles as a night light or a mood light, with eight different colors and adjustable brightness.
SCENT NOTES: Varies (the Clean Linen set above features notes of crisp air, fresh laundry and lily of the valley)
Reed diffusers are a chic way to freshen the room, and this pick from Amazon looks pricier than it is. At just under $20, it adds a touch of glam and should be a breeze to use. The brand also offers a range of different scents but options like Clean Linen are usually a good bet for gifting; who doesn't enjoy a clean-smelling home? This pick gets your giftee up to 90 days of home fragrance.
SCENT NOTES: pink pomelo grapefruit, watery greens, lily of the valley and coriander blossom
Wall diffusers make a thoughtful home fragrance gift, and this one by Nest is a chic choice at a reasonable price point. This set comes with a wall diffuser unit and a scent in the grapefruit fragrance family.
This set gives your giftee 30 days of continuous fragrance, and they can toss in refills when they’re ready for more. Or, you can add additional refills to your present: There are plenty of Nest refills available to beef up your gifting, if you’d like. P.S. This set is also vegan and cruelty-free.
SCENT NOTES: Varies depending on fragrance (brands include Capri Blue, Anthropologie, Disney and more)
If you’ve got some wiggle room in your gifting budget, it may be worth boosting your diffuser gift to a smart option, like this smart diffuser from Pura. Along with using clean ingredients and fragrances that the brand says last up to 100 hours, this device lets users adjust the intensity, adjust scent schedules and create timers. Your giftee can choose to diffuse from a range of popular fragrance brands, like Nest, Capri Blue, Anthropologie and more.
SCENT NOTES: lemon verbena & cedar
Here's another reed diffuser to add elegant fragrance and decor to any space. This pick, available on Amazon, offers an antique-inspired aesthetic for under $30. The scents from this brand promise to add balance to a room rather than overpower it. Plus, the brand is cruelty-free and a women-owned company.
SCENT NOTES: yuzu lemon, peony, musk
Versace has a gorgeous variety of feminine fragrances, and Bright Crystal is one of the brand's bestselling perfumes. It's been around since 2006 and remains a staple in the brand's collection, offering fresh, fruity and floral vibes with a musky amber base note. This long-lasting fragrance is sometimes available in a gift set at certain retailers or even at T.J. Maxx or Marshalls. Keep your eyes open!
It's one of my personal favorite scents for years now; I also love it in a travel spray, which is just $32 at Sephora.
SCENT NOTES: green apple and green leaf, drenched mimosa, sailcloth accord and water lotus
You’re looking at Amazon's top-selling men's fragrance — and it's just $20. The fresh, aquatic scent has been a staple in men's fragrance for years, and it just so happens to be easy to find (it's also available at many retailers, even grocery stores).
SCENT NOTES: bergamot essence, iris absolute, vetiver essence
Travel-size fragrances are convenient for the giftee since they can toss them in a bag and go, and they’re convenient for the gifter as they’re easier on the wallet. If you’d like to gift a luxury brand, consider this travel-size bottle of Prada's earthy, woody fragrance. Sephora reviews say it's fresh and elegant without overpowering.
SCENT NOTES: aquatic, bergamot, patchouli
A great way to shop for fragrances outside of your wheelhouse is by searching retailer websites for their top-rated picks. This one by Versace has a serious fan base, with reviewers calling it sexy, clean and fresh. Although it's earthy and woody in nature, it also has aquatic and citrus notes.
It's more of a splurge at this price point compared to its budget-friendly competitor (Nautica), but the bottle should last your giftee a while and make a lasting impression.
"Choosing a fragrance as a gift feels personal and intimate," says West.
"I’d go with a scent that reminds you of that person; maybe it's lavender, vanilla or something floral ,like rose or orange blossoms. Or maybe earthy notes of wood or cinnamon. Then search for fragrances with soft hints of these notes and go from there," she adds.
White challenges us to consider your giftee's essence when finding the right fragrance. "Is she bold? Is she gentle? Is she glamorous? Pinpointing her general traits will help a lot with finding the perfect scent," she says.
Schey adds that if you know your giftee is the type to always try new things, go that route and go wild. "Find them something different and special. Just take note of the return policy in case it's not exactly what they were hoping for," she says.
Here are some more tips from our experts to make your shopping seamless:
Remember to use the tester sheets available next to in-store fragrances; otherwise you’ll end up smelling like an entire perfumery by the time you leave the store.
Another option is to take your giftee shopping with you. Schey's standard piece of advice is to stick with a tried-and-true fragrance favorite of the person you are gifting. But if possible, it's best to take the person you are gifting casually shopping with you and see which brands they spritz on themselves and enjoy, as well as which ones they avoid. You can even ask for "advice" on their favorites.
"If you have known someone a long time, you most likely know the type of fragrances they typically wear," Schey points out. "In this case, I’d recommend taking note of what they typically wear and either gifting the same if they are running low or asking a person at the fragrance counter for something similar."
Breanna Mona is a health and lifestyle writer and editor based in Cleveland.Best overall | Best gift sets | Best solids/rollerballs | Best body/hair mists | Best bath/body fragrance gifts | Best mini fragrance gifts | Best scented candles | Best diffuser gifts | Best splurge gift | Best Father's Day fragrance gifts | How to shop for fragrance gifts | Meet our experts SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES: these ones on Amazon SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES: SCENT NOTES: Be mindful. Avoid highly potent and overwhelming products. Consider the season. Test some scents yourself if you can Ask for advice. Find great deals. Find matching items. Lindsay Roberts Schey Tara West Cyra White