Do perfumes expire? Signs that your scent may have died down

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Do scents expire? Can the smell be extinguished? If you’ve accumulated a collection of perfumes, you might be wondering if your precious (and often expensive) bottles have a shelf life.

There is nothing worse than looking for your favorite scent only to find that the scent has completely changed and considering how much we spend on perfume most people are reluctant to throw it out. But, not only do scents differ in which scent lasts the longest on the skin, but they can also differ in expiration date.

To get all the answers to the question of whether perfumes expire and to learn more about how to extend their shelf life, we asked the fragrance expert at The perfume shop, Rebecca Wilkin for her insight.

Do perfumes expire? An expert guide

Spray perfume bottle

(Image credit: Getty)

Once you open a perfume bottle, it will unfortunately expire at some point. “Perfume has a shelf life, but how long will depend on a number of factors,” says Rebecca.

“Perfumes don’t have an expiration date and can last anywhere from a year to 10 years, but factors like the quality of the ingredients and how you store them will contribute to their shelf life.”

In other words, if your perfume exhaling is a concern, where you keep your perfume is extremely important. “On average, you should expect a new scent to last between three and five years before you start to notice changes in the scent,” says Rebecca. “However, again, it depends on how you take care of it. Factors like heat and direct sunlight can make the ingredients unstable and fade away.

How to spot an expired perfume

If you’re worried that an old favorite scent isn’t quite right, there are several ways to tell if your scent has perished just by using your senses. “Keep an eye out for color changes and trust your nose,” says Rebecca. “A favorite scent will be familiar to you; if you start to notice that he doesn’t quite smell like he used to, his days might be numbered.

When a perfume bottle is opened, it is exposed to oxygen. This oxygen can indeed alter the molecules of the perfume and cause its oxidation, just as some foundations can turn orange after application! If you’ve noticed that the smell is changing or the liquid inside takes on an odd color, usually more orange than usual, it may be a sign that something is wrong. Price and quality can be a factor, but even luxury purchases like the best Jo Malone perfumes can start to become unreliable if left in the sun for long periods of time.

And some notes are actually more likely to ring than others. Rebecca explains: “Scents with heavier notes tend to last longer, like chypre scents with base notes like patchouli, oud or amber. Lighter notes like delicate florals, green scents, or citrus notes may be more volatile and may not last as long.

So if your favorites include green, fresh, or floral scents, you might want to give them a sniff test before you spray liberally.

How to extend the life of your perfume

Perfume bottle with flowers on peach background

(Image credit: Getty)

Now that we’ve learned that the answer to whether scents expire is an unequivocal yes, it’s also worth learning how to extend the life of your favorite scent. First of all, keep your perfumes away from direct sunlight and heat. “We always recommend that you store your fragrances in a room with a stable temperature, as fluctuations in heat can quickly start to affect the ingredients,” suggests Rebecca. Equally important, make sure they’re stored out of direct sunlight, so if all of your scents are displayed on your dresser under your window, you might want to rethink if you want them. last! “

The good news is that scents last longer than ever before thanks to perfumers using stabilizers and UV filters that make scent molecules less likely to oxidize, but the best thing is to store scents in a cool place. , dark and dry. We recommend a drawer or cabinet in the shade. If your home is particularly hot, the refrigerator may also be a good option.

The good news is, if you think your scent has expired, there is no need to worry or panic. While it can be boring and financially embarrassing to buy a new bottle, perfumes that have died out cannot harm you in any way, they only offend the nostrils!


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