How Long Does Perfume Last?

When you have a perfume that you have been using for years, and there is a slight change in its color and smell, you might start wondering if it is expired or not. Do perfumes expire? If they do, how long do they preserve? These questions will be unraveled in the following sections of this post.

Below are the answers we have gathered to the most asked queries about perfume expiration, longevity, and proper storage. If you wish to know how to preserve your favorite perfume, here is the guide that you need to read.

How Long Can A Perfume Last If Unopened?

When opening a perfume, this question might come to your mind. It is especially that perfume bottles don’t include any expiry date. It makes it hard to tell whether it is still good or not. An unopened bottle of perfume may endure several years, depending on how it is stored, according to Givaudan perfumer Jacques Huclier, who has developed scents for companies such as Gucci, Hugo Boss, and Thierry Mugler.

According to Huclier, he once opened an old sealed perfume from the 80s. He was surprised that it smells brand new. He then concluded that each fragrance has a different lifespan. So, it might be ideal to use one bottle of perfume at a time before opening a new one.

Does this mean I Should Use One Perfume At A Time?

It might be a good idea to do so, but you don’t have to use one perfume at a time. It is especially true if you are among those who believe in using different fragrances depending on occasion and mood. Taking proper care of your perfumes is the best way to make them last for a long time. Also, displaying them in your vanity is not a good idea.

Do not be afraid to buy that new fragrance you like. As long as you store them sensibly, your collection of perfumes will last long.

The Lifespan Of A Perfume

Once opened, store your perfume the right way to enjoy it for up to five years. But, this also depends on many different factors. Most fragrances can only last around three to five years. But it varies according to the notes used to make the perfume.

Also, several factors determine the average shelf life of a perfume. The main factors being the way it is stored along with its composition. A perfumer said that a fragrance could smell the same even after 30 years when you store it the right way.

Rollerball perfumes, on the other hand, only last for a while. It is because of their exposure to extreme environments every day, especially inside our handbags.

Why Do Some Fragrances Last Longer Than Others?

Volatile raw materials mean shorter shelf life. So, natural perfumes usually won’t last long as they don’t contain preservatives. Compared to heady fragrances like oriental, chypre, oud concoctions, and woody, floral, citrus, and green notes evaporate fast. For this reason, their shelf life is shorter.

Does Perfume Expire? Why?

Yes, perfume also goes bad, just like any other fragrances. But their lifespan depends on the chemical composition of the scent. Many perfumes from huge brand names like Marc Jacobs or Chanel don’t have a fixed expiry date. Some expire in less than a year after opening, and others smell the same even after ten years.

Experts say that perfumes that feature heavier base notes last the longest. like fine wine, these perfumes get better as they age. For example, perfume with oriental scents like amber and patchouli. These scents have base notes that last longer than others.

Meanwhile, perfumes with prominent lighter base notes are more volatile. For instance, green, citrus, and floral perfumes only last for a while.

Applying an expired perfume smells unpleasant. Aside from that, it could cause irritations. What is worse is that it might even cause an allergic reaction. When your perfume is more than several years old, it is best to test it before using it.

Why Do Perfumes Expire?

The factors that determine the expiration of a perfume are the following:

  • Storage – How and where you store your perfume significantly affects its lifespan and the preservation of its scent.
  • Scent Family – The scent family of perfume also determines its lifespan. For instance, perfumes that have heavy citrus fragrances usually don’t last long. Meanwhile, oriental scent fragrances last longer.
  • Quality – Higher-quality perfumes last longer than lower-quality ones.
  • Oil Concentration – A perfume with higher fragrance oil concentration often has a longer shelf life. It is compared to those with smaller amounts of aromatic compounds. Check your perfume’s oil concentration level to determine if you can use it for a long time or not. Below are the common oil concentration of fragrances by percent/volume:
  1. Eau de toilette – 5 to 20 percent aromatic compounds
  2. Parfum de toilette or Eau de parfum – 10 to 30 percent aromatic compounds
  3. Perfume extract – 20 to 50 percent aromatic compounds
  4. Eau de cologne – 2 to 5 percent aromatic compounds
  • Shelf Life – The shelf life of a perfume is the time which they smell best and are suitable to apply on clothes or body. Some might last for a year while others last for a decade, but the average falls between 3 and 5 years. But, the way the perfume is stored significantly affects its shelf life.
  • Base Notes – A perfume also lasts long, according to its base notes. For instance, heavier perfume base notes have a longer shelf life. You can enjoy fragrances from oriental scent families for a more extended period. It is compared to those from other scent families.

Three Simple Ways To Determine If Your Perfume Is Expired

Check for signs that your perfume has already expired. These signs include a changed smell, changed color, and its expiry date.

Smell It

The most apparent indication that a perfume has gone off is if its smell is different than it used to be. Since some perfume contains fats like vegetable oils, you will notice a change in the smell of the perfume when it expires. It could also develop hints of vinegar or other chemical notes. If it doesn’t contain fat, a perfume could last longer.

Observe Its Appearance

Another way to test your perfume is to inspect its color. Perfumes that color changes, specifically become darker or eventually develop opacity, indicates that it is aging. Usually, perfumes that contain high alcohol concentrations evaporate over time and become much more concentrated in the essential oils. When you notice that the bottle contains less perfume even without using it, it is a sign that your perfume is expiring.

Check The Expiry Date

The first thing you should do to check if your perfume is expired is to check its expiry date. While most perfume doesn’t include an expiry date on their packaging, some print it in the form of either a Period After Opening or a batch code number. Usually, you can find these at the bottom part of the perfume or on its box.

What Happens When You Use a Perfume After It Has Expired?

As mentioned earlier, an expired perfume will look and smell different from when you first open it. But aside from that, it could impose an adverse ration on a person who uses it. The natural oxidation process that occurs during the lifespan of every perfume generates compounds in the formula. These compounds can irritate certain types of skin.

Can You Lengthen The Shelf Life Of Perfume?

Yes, you absolutely can! One way to do so is to keep your perfumes away from any source of heat.

Light, oxygen, and heat are the most common factors that speed up the spoilage of a perfume. If you wish to preserve it for a long time, store your perfume in a cool dark place. Keeping perfume inside the refrigerator is a technique to make it last longer.

Aside from that, some perfumes are also longer lasting than others. Generally, oriental perfumes with wood, spicy, and vanilla notes tend to sustain longer shelf life than other scents. The natural ingredients contained by these formulas are stronger and more structurally stable. These rich base notes also have better resistance to oxidation as they are less volatile.

The Right Way To Store Perfume

The ever-changing temperature could spoil your perfume. For this reason, it is ideal for storing it in a place with a consistent temperature level. The area that usually experiences a temperature change is the bathroom. Also, you should avoid storing your perfume in rooms where sunlight directly enters.

Observe bottles of perfumes that were regularly exposed to sunlight. They change in both color and smell over time. The ideal place to keep your perfume is a cool, dry, and dark place that is not exposed to direct sunlight.

Your bedroom’s drawer fits these criteria. So, think about storing them inside your drawer for a longer lifespan.

Another ideal place to store your perfume is in your wardrobe. It is also a best practice to keep your perfume’s packaging. Doing so helps to preserve the perfume by reducing evaporation.

Keeping your perfume inside its original boxes makes it look aesthetic. It also protects it against elements. Aside from that, it helps to protect the perfume bottles from damage. It is especially when you unexpectedly drop it.

Aside from that, below are more tips you can note when storing a perfume:

  • Return the bottle cap of the perfume immediately after every use. It helps to prevent air exposure.
  • Don’t shake the bottle of your perfume. According to studies, doing so could expose the perfume to heat. It is due to the friction from rubbing the bottle. Heat could break up the molecules of the perfume, making the scent evaporate. Also, shaking your perfume bottle could break down the scent. It is because air might enter the bottle.
  • Don’t place your perfume in wet and steamy places, including your vanity. You can often see popular people showing off their perfume collection on top of their vanity. But this could reduce a perfume’s lifespan. The same is true for your bathroom counter. Instead of these places, store your perfume within a drawer inside their original box.
  • Never break your perfume’s atomizer seal. Some people do this to transfer perfumes into smaller vials either to sell or gift them. When you break the seal that surrounds a perfume bottle, air, dust, and other foreign particles could break-in.


To conclude, proper care is essential to preserve the longevity of a perfume. Aside from that, applying it the right way also helps to make your favorite fragrance last longer. Do not rub your perfume on pulse points. The heat produced by the body will evaporate the notes of the perfume.

The right way to apply perfume is to spray it on moist, damp skin. This way, the skin will absorb its scent, allowing you to make every drop count.


At The Animascorp, we offer practical, real-life tips and inspiration to help you live better. From decorating and gardening advice, to entertaining and home repair how-tos.

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