How Long Does Perfume Last?

How Long Does Perfume Last?

When you spend a lot of money on perfume, it can be tempting to use it only on special occasions. You want to savor it to the last drop and don't want to waste it. However, no matter how high-end the fragrance is, the clock is ticking from the moment you open the bottle.

You often hear about how long perfume lasts on the skin but not about how long it lasts on the shelf. Your perfume will go bad eventually, and once it expires, it can alter the scent you love so much. There are steps you can take to preserve your fragrance's longevity. Let’s take a look at what you need to know about perfume’s shelf life and how long it lasts.

Does Perfume Expire? 

The short answer is yes, your perfume has an expiration date. This information may not be what you want to hear if you have a special bottle you've been savoring. 

You may have saved the fragrance you wore on your wedding day and only use it on your anniversary and special occasions. While you should hold onto the bottle if it's meaningful to you, know the fragrance inside will spoil eventually.

When you spray your perfume, the air can get into the bottle and cause the fragrance to oxidize over time. The perfume will start to smell off and won't be something you'll want to wear. 

On average, an opened bottle of perfume is good for two years. However, the longevity of your perfume can vary depending on the brand and packaging. Some fragrances can last up to 10 years, while others start to go bad after one year. 

Generally, scents with heavier base notes, like oud and amber, can last longer. Fragrances with a lot of citrus and floral ingredients tend to have a shorter shelf life. 

How Long Does Unopened Perfume Last? 

When you open perfume, you expose it to air, leading to oxidation. You may be wondering if this means unopened perfume lasts forever. While the fragrance lasts a lot longer if it's never been opened, it will still expire eventually. 

Unopened perfume bottles kept in a cool, dark place can last for years. Depending on the perfume, it can last anywhere from a couple of years to decades. The formula will determine whether it will last years or decades. For example, perfumes with high concentrations of Patchouli tend to have a shorter shelf life. 

If you find a high-quality vintage fragrance, the top notes may already have faded. But it doesn't mean you can't use it. Just remember, a lot of natural and fresh ingredients like citrus and florals will turn sooner, opened or unopened. 

How Do You Know if Your Perfume Has Expired?

Your perfume will begin to develop a different odor and color when it starts to expire. There are a few ways you can find out if your perfume has expired. 

The Smell Test

The smell test is the easiest way to determine if your perfume has gone bad. Do you still recognize the scent when you smell it? Or is there a noticeable change in the way it smells? If the scent has become significantly less potent or there's a slight vinegary smell, it's likely expired. 

The Sight Test

The sight test is the second most obvious way to tell if your fragrance has expired. Examine the color of the perfume. If it looked like a clear liquid when you got it, but now the color or consistency has changed to opaque or amber, it's time to toss it. 

Check the Expiration Date and Ingredients 

Look for the expiration date on your perfume's packaging if you still have it. If you don't have the box it came in, check the bottom of the bottle for a batch code or PAO code which stands for the period after opening. Use the batch code if the bottle is unopened to help you estimate if it's expired or not. 

You can also read the ingredients list. As we mentioned, certain ingredients like citrus don’t last as long as woody and heavier scents. The other ingredient to look for is alcohol. Fragrances that use high levels of alcohol tend to last longer. 

Alcohol can act as a preservative in fragrances. Many colognes and eau de toilettes use 90% alcohol. The less concentrated the alcohol is, the longer the perfume should last. 

Should You Only Use One Fragrance at a Time? 

You may wonder if it's best to use only one perfume at a time to make sure you can use it all before it expires. However, we know using only one scent can be boring. You want to be able to match your scent to your wardrobe or mood. 

You just want to make sure you're storing your fragrances correctly. You can also purchase smaller bottles of perfume. This will make it much easier to get through a bottle without letting it expire. 

Spongellé's Private Reserve Eau De Toilette collection comes in 10 mL bottles. They are the perfect size for taking with you on the go, and you will definitely be able to use the fragrance before it expires. 

Can You Extend Your Perfume's Shelf Life? 

You can take several steps to ensure your perfume lasts as long as possible.

Keep Your Perfume Away From Light

You may store your perfumes on your bathroom windowsill or your vanity by your bedroom window. However, these are some of the worst places to keep your fragrances. Think of your perfume as a vampire. It should stay out of the light. The light breaks down the scent molecules, making them unstable and prone to oxidation, which can make them expire faster

Keep Your Perfume Away From Heat and Humidity

The molecules will also be altered when your perfume is exposed to heat. When the chemical makeup changes, so will the scent of your perfume. Keep your fragrance in a cool dark place away from humidity, meaning not in your bathroom. 

Use Until the Bottle Is Empty 

When the amount of liquid in your perfume bottles goes down, keep using them. You don't want to let them sit. The more oxygen in the bottle, the bigger the risk for alteration. Use the perfume with the lowest levels first, or it could expire before you get to wear it. 

Keep in a Cool Place 

You can store your perfumes in the refrigerator to keep them at a low temperature. If you live in a busy household that's constantly opening the door, it may not be the best place. However, the fridge can help slow down the oxidation process. Therefore it's a good idea for citrus scents you want to last longer. 

You don't need to keep your fragrance in the fridge, but storing them where the consistent temperature is between 60 and 70 degrees is ideal. 

What Happens When You Use Expired Perfume? 

No worries if you've been using a perfume that has expired. There are no significant side effects of using a fragrance that has turned. Perfume ingredients are closely monitored by the Internation Fragrance Association (IFRA). Companies cannot use materials that become risky with age. 

The worst part about using an expired perfume is the way it smells. However, if you have sensitive skin, you could experience irritation or have an allergic reaction. You should stop using the perfume immediately and wash it off if you have any adverse reactions. 

You can play it safe and do a patch test on your skin. Spritz a small amount of fragrance on an area of your skin and wait for 24 hours. After the day has passed, examine your skin and see if you see any signs of irritation. If you don't see any redness and the perfume still smells normal, you should be good to go. 

The other thing to consider is the color of the perfume. If the fragrance has expired and changed color, it could stain your clothes. 

Perfumes To Try 

We have a few suggestions if you're looking to add some new fragrances to your collection! 

Black Orchid | Private Reserve Eau De Toilette

This fragrance is one of our most beloved here at Spongellé. The Black Orchid scent offers a refreshing scent of bergamot and luscious mandarin. The Black Orchard smell comes off as slightly spicy, and the notes of musk and exotic florals give it a sensual feel. 

Morning Bloom | Private Reserve Eau De Toilette

You'll be obsessed with our Morning Bloom fragrance if you crave the scent of fresh-cut flowers and morning dew. Despite the name, you can wear this eau de toilette any time of day.

Peony Flower | Private Reserve Eau De Toilette

If you love floral scents, Peony Flower is your scent. The fragrance captures the scent of fragrant rose stems and luscious apples with the perfect touch of peony. Try layering it over after showering with your favorite Spongellé body buffer

The Final Takeaway

Storing your perfume in a cool, dark place will preserve its longevity. You can test to see if your fragrance has turned by doing the smell and sight test. If it's time to toss some of your perfumes, replace them with one of Spongellé's incredible fragrances! 


Period After Opening & Cosmetic Shelf Life | Consumer Product Testing Company


Sensitive Skin Dos and Don'ts | Web MD