Does perfume expire? Can cologne go off? Does Perfume go bad? Are all questions you might be thinking about as you slowly build a mountain of fragrance on your dresser. However, if you have owned fragrance for many months or years you may have noticed that its strength has lessened, or it may have developed a strange smell.
So, can perfume go off? Well yes, it definitely can, and all is not lost as there are many things you can do to increase its life. Not only this but several key factors can determine the life of perfume; the quality, the fragrance family, and how you store it.
However, how long they last depend on the scent’s chemical composition. Many perfumes don’t have a set expiry date and can last anywhere between 1-10 years. However, three to five years is often the average shelf life of a fragrance.
The scents with a heavier base note like amber and oud last longer than other perfumes. The solution of fragrances with lighter notes is more volatile and they get off earlier. Other than the ingredients, the factor which defines the age includes how well the scent has been stored.
Because of the different storage methods, temperatures, and general environmental issues that a bottle of perfume may have to endure in its lifetime, the chemical balance of the perfume can change—molecules in the perfume can break down and recombine. These chemical changes can cause irritation and even an allergic reaction if you don’t stop using the perfume from your skin right away. This might make you think that you’re allergic to your favorite perfume when, in fact, the bottle you have is simply out of date.
The main problem with using expired perfume is the higher risk of you suffering from allergic reactions and skin irritations when you spritz the fragrance directly on your skin. Often, people end up thinking that their favorite bottle contains potentially allergic ingredients when, in reality, simply a new bottle needs to be purchased.
If your perfume does expire, applying it could result in an unpleasant smell, skin irritations, or – in extreme cases – an allergic reaction. If your perfume is more than a couple of years old, it’s probably best to test it before you use it.
You can tell if your perfume has expired by simply checking for several key signs;
- By smell
- By look (appearance)
- By expiry date
One of the most obvious ways to tell if your perfume has gone off is to smell it. Some perfumes may contain fats such as vegetable oils and can expire over time. If your scent contains no fat, it can last longer. If you notice that the scent smells vastly different from when you bought it, you can be sure it’s going off, or if it develops hints of vinegar or other more chemical notes.
A great way to test your perfume is to look at the color. Perfumes whose color becomes darker or develops opacity over time is a sign that it is aging. Often perfumes with a high concentration of alcohol can evaporate becoming much more concentrated in the essential oils. If you notice less perfume in the bottle and you’re sure you haven’t been using it, this is a good sign that it is expiring.
Often a perfume manufacturer will print some sort of expiration date on its packaging. This can come in the form of either a batch code number. These are typically found on the bottom of the perfume or printed on the box it comes in. Look for the expiry date of the perfume and check whether it has arrived or not. It is recommendable to not use perfume once it has attained the expiration age, as using such perfumes may result in allergic reactions.