The other day I was spraying one of my favourite perfumes and I was assaulted by an awful smell. I haven’t used it in a while but I didn’t think it had been THAT long. As it turns out, my old favourite had gone bad. Very, very bad. It was like a sour, vinegar-like cloud that seeped into my clothing, my hair, my mouth. Delicious.
How did it go off? It is stored in a cool, dry place and it sits with my other perfumes, some older than that perfume and they were still fine! So why this one? Where had it all gone wrong? I did some research and it turns out, here are the reasons…
How can you first tell that a fragrance is expiring?
Without smelling it, the first thing that you will notice is a change in colour. If it’s looking a little darker or thicker than usual, it has probably expired but if your perfume isn’t housed in a clear bottle, you’re going to have to spray it to find out for sure.
If the initial notes have a vinegary, acidic or sour smell, you’ll know that it’s old. Before you throw it away, keep in mind it could still be okay to use. An old fragrance, if made well, might smell strange at first, but may fade to a more muted scent of the original fragrance. Just make sure you do a little test run before heading out.
How long does perfume last?
Usually, once a bottle has been opened, it should be used fairly quickly. Michael Edwards, founder of Fragrances of the World, says, “All fragrances deteriorate with time: light, citrus-based perfumes in as little as six months, floral scents in about a year and a half”.
Without a specific use-by date, your best bet is to make sure your perfume lasts is to look after it.
What makes perfume go off?
I don’t usually like citrus scents but I know that many people do. Citrus scents are very fragile. Along with florals, fruity notes are very volatile and have a tendency to go off very quickly. Natural ingredients are also vulnerable, thanks to the lack of preservatives, whereas woody and amber scents, like a good wine, actually improve with age. Which explains why my Vera Wang Princess still smells amazing after all this time.
How can I prevent my pefume from going off?
Edwards says the best defense is to keep your fragrance in a “cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources.” Extreme heat or cold will upset the delicate balance of the oils and change the scent of the perfume. It’s actually a good idea to keep any fragrance you’re not wearing in the fridge. Remember the three enemies: sunlight, heat and air – and with that in mind, keep the perfumes in their boxes and out of the bathroom.
Another tip would be to just buy smaller bottles of perfume. I know it is tempting to get the gigantic bottles like
You are probably going to wear it every day and it might be better value for money but there’s more of a chance of the perfume going off, which would be so much worse, especially if the perfume is high-end.
If you love displaying your scents, you do you, boo. What’s the point of having something beautiful nobody is going to see anyway? Perfume is one of those rare purchases that’s intended to indulge our ~romantic side~, playing with both our memory and emotions. Just be careful where you place it in your home. The drier and cooler the place, the better!
I hope that you are all having a wonderful day!
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Au revoir xxx