For a liquid content that is converted into an aerosol before its scent comes into being, the go-to answer for “does perfume expire?” will almost readily be “no”. However, the reverse is the case. Perfumes/fragrances do expire, and they have a lifespan. Therefore, the focus of the question ought to be on how to lengthen your perfume’s lifespan. Before that, let’s see why perfumes expire.
Why Do Perfumes Expire?
Perfumes expire because of some reasons; these reasons are both intrinsic (within itself) and extrinsic (outside of itself):
- Storage: where and how you store your perfume play a big(ger) role in the preservation of its scent and/or if its lifespan increases or decreases.
- Quality: this is as simple as it gets - the greater the excellence of your perfume, the longer it stays. This goes without saying.
- Scent Family: the family of the scent plays a role in a perfume’s lifespan as well - is it from the fresh scent family? Is it from the floral scent family? Is it from the woody scent family? Is it from the oriental scent family? These questions, the answers and the subfamilies of these scent families help the life of a perfume. Typically more citrus heavy fragrances do not last as long.
- Shelf Life: perfumes have shelf lives which is the period of time in which they are suitable to be spritzed on the body or clothes. While some last for some months shy of a year and others last a decade, the sweet spot is usually within a 3-5 year timeframe. This reason works pari passu with storage - actually, storage is a big influence on the shelf life of perfumes.
Oil Concentration: colognes with higher fragrance oil concentration tend to hold up a lot longer than those with lower amounts of aromatic compounds. Check and see what the concentration level of your perfume is. Typically, most fragrances fall into the concentration by percent/volume of perfume oil as follows:
- Perfume extract: 20%-50% aromatic compounds.
- Eau de parfum/Parfum de toilette: 10-30% aromatic compounds.
- Eau de toilette: 5-20% aromatic compounds.
- Eau de colonge: 2-5% aromatic compounds.
- Base Notes: base notes help in the preservation of a perfume’s shelf life; the heavier the base note, the longer the shelf life. This is why fragrances from the oriental family tend to last longer and get better over time; fragrances from other families last less longer than those of the aforementioned scent family.
Now that we know why perfumes expire (because of: storage, quality, scent family, shelf life and base notes), we would figure out how to tell if your perfume has run out of its scent life.
3 Ways You Can Know If Your Perfume Is Expired
There are three ways to know if your perfume is expired. We can tell by conducting three checks: the sight check, the smell check and the expiry date check.
The Sight Check
This check involves using your eyes to check the color of your perfume. Has it changed from its original bluish color (if it came bluish) and is now dark bluish or something close? If it has, then it means your perfume is expired. The rule of thumb, according to experts, is that if your perfume has a darker hue, it shows that it is expired.
Evaporation is another way you can do a sight check and figure out if your perfume is still within usage period. Expired perfumes tend to dry up hence if your perfume level looks below the level it was at when you checked the last time, it means it is expired; however, be careful with this because your eyes could mistake the quantity.
The Smell Check
This is the check where your nose does the job. Perfumes without fat and/or vegetable oils last longer than those with fat and vegetable oil as ingredients. A spritz tells your nose if the perfume is possibly expired or still good for use; if you smell vinegar, if it has a different smell and if the scent smells differently, then it is expired and no good for use anymore.
The Expiry Date Check
You can also tell if your perfume is expired by checking the expiry date on the bottle or on the packaging. The expiry date should not be confused with the Best Before Date (the best time frame in which your perfume should be used). Look for the expiry date on the body of the packaging or below the packaging. The best way to find the expiry date is by checking for the Batch Number or Period After Opening (aka PAO).
- Batch Number: this comes as a number count within the 3 to 12 number count range; letters of the alphabet are often inclusive. Though these batch numbers are used as a yardstick for quality check, they also tell when and where a perfume was produced, and they are typically printed on the packaging in the course of distributing the perfumes.
- Period After Opening (aka PAO): this comes graphically on the packaging as an already opened cylindrical container with a number on it. This number is usually written side by side with the letter M; M for months, used to indicate the number of months your perfume should be used once open for use. For instance, if you see 20M on this jar, it means that your perfume should be used for only 20 months (1 year, 8 months); this is just an example though. 30 months (30M) is the recommended usage time.
Storage Tips for Your Perfume
Variations in temperature makes your perfume suffer hence it is always best to keep it in a place where it is not prone to temperature vacillation; an example of places in the home with variations in temperature is the bathroom. Rooms with direct access to sunlight are also bad for your perfume. Sunlight can actually break down some molecules faster than they normally would if kept out of the sunlight. You may have noticed in the past that your bottles of perfume that were displayed where they came into contact with sunlight on a regular basis have become clearer and have lost their original color.
Needless to say, both ends of the temperature spectrum are not good for your perfume. The best place to store your perfume has 3 markers known as CDD:
The drawer in your bedroom meets these criteria - and should be one of the places for you to store your perfume. Your wardrobe is another place. Also, remember to not throw away its packaging because it being inside its original packaging helps in the preservation of your perfume and curbs evaporation. This is the major tip to have off-hand. Not only do the perfume boxes look amazing but they provide information on your perfume, protect it from sunlight, and protect the bottles from damage in case they are bumped or dropped.
Other storage tips are:
- Cap your perfume immediately after use in order to prevent exposure to air.
- If there was any overspray around the sprayer atomizer, wipe up the access amount after spraying.
- Do not shake your perfume bottle. It has been discovered that this practice is not the best method. The friction from rubbing creates heat that will break up the molecules of the perfume, thus evaporating the scent.... Never shake your perfume as this will incorporate air into the bottle and accelerate the breakdown of the scent.
- Do not break the atomizer seal on your perfume. It is a practice by some to decant fragrances into smaller vials either to gift or to sell them. Once you break the seal around a perfume bottle you introduce air or ever worse dust and other particles into your fragrance. You also run the risk of spilling the bottle. The alcohol that is in the fragrance once exposed to the open air may actually evaporate at an accelerated rate as well.
- Steamy and wet places are not good either. That means your bathroom vanity is not a good place to store your perfume. Think of all the hot sticky steam that is in the air when you shower day after day. Take a look at your bottle of cologne on the bathroom counter after your next shower and see if there is condensation on or in the bottle. Find a drawer or box that you can safely store your fragrances in or keep them in your bathroom closet.
Argos Fragrances are all Eau de Parfum concentration are blended and macerated to perfection. Argos bottles come in luxurious packaging that not only looks amazing but provides information about the fragrance inside and protects it as well. If cared for correctly you will be enjoying your favorite Argos Fragrance for years to come. That is if there is any left in your bottles. Now that you have learnt how to extend the lifespan of your perfume, we hope you use the storage tips and other tips to keep smelling good without leaving a hole in your pocket.
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