Do perfumes expire? And how to store them correctly…

Want to stop your perfumes from expiring? This is a great place to start

Do perfumes expire? And how to store them correctly…
(Image credit: Getty)

When you look at your fragrance collection, how many of those bottles have been a firm stable on your dressing table for a while now? Unlike other beauty products, knowing when (if ever) your perfumes expire can feel like an impossible guessing game. 

Between Christmas, Birthday and Valentine’s day gifts over the years, building a collection of the best perfumes and best men's fragrances can become a lot easier than you think, be it intentional or not. Given their price points and longevity, perfumes aren’t exactly the first thing you throw away during a spring clean, which means most of us end up with unfinished bottles from five years ago, all because we were 'saving some for a special occasion.’ 

So, how can we tell when it’s time to actually get rid of those old bottles? Do perfumes even have an expiration date? Richard Zuber, Managing Director of Scentsational is here to answer all of our burning questions… 

Do perfumes expire?

“Yes, perfumes do expire,” says Zuber. “However, they don't have specific expiration dates and how long they last depend on each perfume's individual chemical composition - no two scents are the same. Some perfumes have a very short shelf life (a year or so) whilst others can last for up to 10! 

These are the classics that still smell fantastic after being sat on your shelf for what feels like a decade. As a general rule of thumb, perfumes are at their best for three-five years, whilst citrus and floral scents typically last for the least amount of time.”

How can you tell when your perfume has expired?

This seems like the trickiest element but according to Zuber, it’s all very simple as you can tell by the look and smell of your perfume.

“If its scent has changed at all (for example if it's weaker, smells different entirely or has an underlying sourness), or if your perfume looks darker or is opaquer, then it's quite likely your perfume has expired.”

How do you store perfumes correctly?

One of the most important things to consider in order to make your perfumes last longer is where you store them. “Keep your perfumes away from direct sunlight and humidity fluctuations. 

Instead, Find a cool, dry place to store them - drawers for example are great. Also, be sure to always keep your perfumes' caps on and, if possible, consider storing your perfumes in a box or container to further protect them from light and heat,” says Zuber. He also advises that you don’t ever shake your perfume. Why? Well, as he explains, this will expose the liquid to excess air which is never a good thing. 

Another great tip if you're an avid perfume wearer that tends to spritz yourself regularly is to consider transferring your perfume into smaller, airtight travel containers to minimise air exposure. 

Sagal Mohammed

Sagal is a lifestyle and pop culture writer, working across print and digital for various publications including both newspapers and magazines.