Last Updated on August 25, 2022
If you’ve ever found a perfume that’s been stored away for years, your instinct might be to throw it away – but wait! It might still be useable.
After putting all my possessions in storage at the start of the pandemic and finally getting them back recently, I found a selection of old perfumes from brands like Marc Jacobs, Jo Malone and Viktor & Rolf.
As I’m sure you’re aware, fragrances are expensive so if I can keep them, I definitely will – otherwise I’m literally just throwing money in the bin.
So I did some research to discover how long you can really keep a perfume for and I was surprised at what I discovered. If you’re in the same boat, keep scrolling for everything you need to know.
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Do perfumes go bad with time?
In short, yes. Over time perfumes and colognes expire. How long it takes them to do so varies and depends on the chemical composition of the fragrance in question.
According to FragranceX, three to five years is the average shelf life of perfume. It all depends on the base notes of the perfume; those with heavier base notes like patchouli will last longer, while those with lighter base notes such as citrus perfumes expire quicker.
How long can I keep a perfume?
The recommended shelf life is three to five years, but it’s hard to know for certain how long you can keep perfume as it will vary between fragrances. The best way to tell is by using it. More on this below.
How do I know if my perfume has expired?
There are a few easy ways to tell whether your perfume is still good to use.
Firstly, take a good, hard look at it. Is the colour the same as when you first bought it? Over time, it can actually change and this is a clear way to tell if it’s gone off.
Plus, if there’s a lot less in the bottle than when you last checked, it may have evaporated. This happens when the perfume in question has a large alcohol concentrate.
If it still looks good, try it. Does it smell the same as it always did? Does it smell like vinegar? Then it’s definitely off.
Last but not least, try checking the expiration date of your perfume. It’s often unclear, but you’ll be able to find out how old your perfume is on checkfresh.com. You’ll need to look at the batch code of your product, but this website will help not only you to find out exactly where it is, but it allows you to check how old it really is too.
Is perfume still good after 20 years?
Perfume is said to last between 3 and 5 years, but some fragrances last longer than others.
The best way to check whether your perfume is usable is by using the advice above.