Perfume dupes at Home Bargains – would you double downshift to save up to 98%?

We put the £2 Home Bargains perfume to the test vs £84 Chanel in a smell-alike challenge at MSE Towers

MSE Update Wednesday 29 November: I've spotted these perfumes are back at Home Bargains, so it's worth a look if you missed them in February or June.

We've always been a fan of downshifting at MSE, where you switch from brands to much cheaper ‘dupes’ – lookalike products, where often even the packaging is similar to the expensive brand. Now I'm challenging you to 'downshift the downshifters' and swap your favourite £4 Lidl or £6 Aldi perfume dupe for a £1.25 or £2 version at Home Bargains. Will you take the double downshift challenge?

If you're a big fan of dupes, you've probably already seen my blogs on make-up and skincare lookalikes as well as shampoo and shower gel dupes, and maybe you've even tried MSE forum favourite Chanel-alike perfume dupe Suddenly Madame Glamour, £3.99 from Lidl, or Aldi's £5.99 perfume range such as Je Suis Belle – but can you downshift the downshifters further?

You might not think of Home Bargains as a place you can pick up decent beauty dupes, especially as they're usually limited stock like Aldi's Specialbuys so it can end up as more of a 'can you find 'em?'. Even so, I've put together the cheapest perfume dupes we've seen in a long time at MSE – will you try them?

Home Bargains perfume Similar branded perfume
Oh Yes! EDT, 50ml – £1.99 Giorgio Armani Si Passione EDP, 50ml – £55.20 at Boots
Dreamy Summer EDT, 50ml – £1.99 Marc Jacobs Daisy EDT, 50ml – £56 at The Perfume Shop
Miss Chicago EDT, 50ml – £1.99 Chanel no 5 EDP, 50ml – £84 at Boots
Opal Black EDT, 50ml – £1.99 Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium EDP, 50ml – £75.81 at Sephora
Madonna Cece Madame EDT, 50ml – £1.25 Chanel Coco Mademoiselle EDP, 50ml – £84 at The Perfume Shop
Madonna Exotique EDT, 50ml – £1.25 Thierry Mugler Alien EDT, 60ml – £63.75 at Escentual
Madonna Exquisite EDT, 50ml – £1.25 Jean Paul Gaultier Classique EDT, 50ml – £58.65 at Lookfantastic
Madonna So Sweet EDT, 50ml – £1.25 Viktor & Rolf Bonbon EDP, 50ml – £73.60 at Lookfantastic
Madonna Treat Me EDT, 50ml – £1.25 Prada Candy EDP, 50ml – £69.60 at Allbeauty

 

£1.25 Madonna Cece Madame vs £84 Chanel Coco Mademoiselle – save 99%

The Madonna perfumes have been stocked at Home Bargains for a while, and are a firm favourite on social media – especially as they used to be 99p. The price might have risen, but the savings vs the branded alternatives are still enormous – up to 99% – so still worth picking up if you're not looking to drop £50+ on 50ml of perfume.

Does the gold border, font, and pale peach colour on the packaging of Madonna Cece Madame look familiar?

Home Bargains £3.99 take on Jo Malone fragrances have also been widely praised by MoneySavers, especially as they're cheaper than Aldi's £6.99 Jo Malone-alikes, which probably explains why they were sold out when I tried to get them for this blog.

Do remember not every store will have the same stock and some stores don't seem to stock these perfume dupes at all. Check out our Cheap perfume guide for a list of other perfume dupes, some of which we have previously tested at MSE Towers.

Smell-alike testing

I pit eight of the nine perfumes above (I couldn't get Opal Black as it was sold out at Home Bargains) against their branded alternatives in February 2023 to see whether people could tell the difference, and which perfume they preferred. 

Perfumes Could you tell the difference? Which do you prefer?
Oh Yes! vs Giorgio Armani Si 93% could tell 67% preferred CHEAPER
Dreamy Summer vs Marc Jacobs Daisy 100% could tell 79% preferred BRAND
Miss Chicago vs Chanel No5 63% could NOT tell 56% preferred BRAND
Cece Madame vs Chanel Coco Mademoiselle 65% could tell 59% preferred BRAND
Exotique vs Thierry Mugler Alien 92% could tell 67% preferred BRAND
Exquisite vs Jean Paul Gaultier Classique 59% could tell 65% preferred BRAND
So Sweet vs Viktor & Rolf Bonbon 69% could tell 54% preferred BRAND
Treat Me vs Prada Candy 64% could tell 71% preferred BRAND

From our testing, although over half of people could tell the difference between the branded and the Home Bargains scents for seven of the perfumes, 63% of people could NOT tell the difference between Chanel No5 and Miss Chicago, with just over 50% of people preferring the brand. With a saving of £79, this could be one to pick up for Chanel fans.

More than half of all testers preferred the brand, some only just, except for Giorgio Armani Si Passione, where 67% of testers preferred the cheaper Oh Yes! perfume – with a £68 saving this dupe is definitely worth a look.

Of course, I didn't tell any of our testers the huge price differences so it wouldn't affect the results, but given the dupes are either £1.25 or £1.99 even if the scent is weaker – a fact remarked upon by several of our smell testers – you're not going to break the bank re-applying it throughout the day.

Personally, I thought that Oh Yes! and So Sweet smelt better than the branded Si Passione and Bonbon – and with savings of £130 combined compared to the brands I'd definitely pick up these Home Bargains dupes again.

Are they really the same scents?

Perfume companies closely guard their secret formulae, so dupes are unlikely to be exactly the same, but some can get really close. You'll also notice all Home Bargains perfumes are EDT or Eau De Toilette which usually doesn't last as long compared to EDP or Eau De Parfum which most of the big brands are. However, if your favourite big brand is an EDT like the dupe, even if you have to reapply more often you'll most likely still end up saving money so it's worth a try.

Seeing double? Oh Yes! (haha) but you'll have to agree, the Home Bargains dupes (left, and third) mimic the designs of Armani and Chanel really well

How do you know which perfumes they mimic?

As you can see, some of the perfumes – like Oh Yes! – mimic the shape of the branded bottles so are easily recognised whereas the packaging of the Madonna line mimics the design of the branded bottle or packaging so can take a little more time to decipher. Now you know the code, and the savings, would you try them?

Are you a Home Bargains shopper? What's your favourite perfume dupe? Let me know on Twitter.