If you’re a fragrance connoisseur, you probably have rows of different perfumes neatly lined up on your vanity. And if you’ve found your signature scent, you must have multiple backups of your favorite perfume.
And when you have a growing collection of perfumes, it’s natural to wonder whether they have a shelf life. Reaching for a beloved perfume only to find its scent completely changed can be quite annoying.
So, should you be keeping an eye on your perfume’s expiry date? Do perfumes last forever, or do they go off after a while?
Let’s take a closer look at whether perfumes expire, how to spot if they’ve expired, and how you can extend their shelf life.
A Perfume’s Expiration Date
Yes, perfumes expire, especially if it’s been opened.
Various factors affect how long a bottle of perfume will last. The composition of the perfume, the quality of its ingredients, and how it is stored all play a major role in sustaining its lifespan.
Reasonably, you can expect a good-quality perfume to expire in three to five years. This is also the average shelf-life of a perfume.
Perfumes with heavier notes like amber and oriental bases appear to last the longest — almost like fine wine, where the longer they are stored, the deeper and more layered they become.
Fragrances with lighter notes, like floral and citrus scents, are more volatile and thus go bad quicker than those with heavier notes.
However, if your perfume is unopened and stored properly, it can be good as new even after 10 years.
Ways to Tell If A Perfume Has Gone Bad
If you’re a collector and have an array of perfumes, it’s always a good idea to check whether the perfume has gone bad. You don’t want to apply an old and expired perfume to your skin and have to deal with skin irritation.
Here are three ways to test whether your perfume is past its expiration.
1. The Smell Test
Spritz the perfume in the air, take a whiff, and let your nose tell you if the smell is off or not.
Some fragrances have vegetable fats, which can expire quicker than those without. And you will know because it won't smell pleasant. On the other hand, perfumes with essential oils like Aroma Passions tend to last longer, as the ingredients are of the best quality and carefully selected to ensure an ideal fragrance blend.
So, if your perfume smells like vinegar, is too pungent, or has little to no fragrance, it’s time to toss the bottle.
2. The Look Test
This may be challenging, especially if you’ve had the perfume for several years and can't remember what the perfume liquid looked like initially.
The appearance and consistency of the perfume can be a major giveaway. If the perfume was initially translucent, clear, or gold but has now turned into amber or a little cloudy, these are signs that it has expired.
If the concentration of the liquid has become thicker, it is another sign that the perfume is no longer safe to use. Additionally, perfumes with large amounts of alcohol tend to evaporate. So, if the bottle is no longer as full as you remember, it means you’ve had the perfume for too long.
3. The Label Test
The most practical way to check your perfume’s longevity, especially if you still have the box it came with, is to look for the expiration date on the packaging.
This can either be a batch code or a Period After Opening (PAO) number, usually printed on the box. Some perfumes have this information on the actual bottle.
Store Your Perfumes The Right Way To Increase Longevity
One element that directly impacts your perfume’s longevity is how you store it. With proper care, you can increase the longevity of your perfumes by months and even years.
The humidity and temperature of the room where you store perfume can expedite its expiration. These two elements can cause the chemistry of the perfume’s ingredients to go haywire, which can make it go bad sooner than expected.
Keep your perfumes away from sunlight and in a room with a generally consistent temperature. The refrigerator would be perfect for your perfumes, but you can also keep them in the closet or a drawer.
And refrain from transferring the perfume to another container that is not intended to hold such liquids.
An expired perfume is not dangerous or harmful. So, there’s no real risk when you spritz on an old perfume if it still smells amazing.
But it’s still a good idea to treat your fragrances with care to maintain their scent and potency. Store your perfumes properly, and you can enjoy your favorite fragrances for much longer!