Do Perfumes Expire? And Other Answers to Perfume FAQs

perfume bottles

People love to smell great all the time. Some prefer to wear a scent, while others want the fresh-out-of-the-shower smell. Thanks to the creation of perfume, people can wear any scent they desire for a long time. 

It is easy to purchase your favorite Chanel, Jo Malone, or Victoria's Secret perfume. You can prefer to have one signature smell or be playful and change according to your mood. But there is one question that not everyone knows the answer to: do perfumes expire? If so, how would you know?

If you are a perfume lover who collects various bottles in their home or someone who completely forgot that they have a perfume they no longer wear, the answer is the same: yes. As soon as you open the bottle, it starts its shelf life count and will expire eventually. However, it will typically depend on how you store the product. 

How Long Do Perfumes Last?

In general, every perfume has a two-year lifespan. When you spray your perfume, a bit of air enters the bottle. This causes oxidation that could diminish the fragrance over time. Soon, you’ll notice that you need more spray of your perfume for it to last longer.

Still, just because perfumes say last for two years doesn’t mean that they will. How soon they expire depends on how well you keep them. If you place them somewhere warm, your perfume will expire faster, lasting only from three to six months. However, if you store them in a cool place away from direct sunlight, they could last longer. 

What If You Keep the Bottle Unopened?

Since its lifespan count starts after the first spray of your perfume, does that mean it would not deteriorate if you do not use it? Unfortunately, there is no definite rule on this. So long as you keep it in the proper storage and not use it, the smell would typically be like that of a brand new. 

Every perfume has different characteristics and components. Some manufacturers add stabilizers and UV filters that help prolong the molecules' sensitivity to oxidation. 

How Would You Know That the Perfume You Have Is Already Expired?

You can refer to some signs to know whether your perfume is still good for use or no longer in its best condition. 

  • It smells slightly sour
  • It has a bit of metallic scent 
  • Its color changed; sometimes, it appears darker or has a yellowish tinge

All these are effects of the oxidation process, which typically happens faster to perfumes that use citrus, fruits, green notes, aromatics, and patchouli as their top notes. The mentioned scents are the most sensitive to oxidation. 

Best Method of Checking: 

Here is a little checking you can do to see if the scent has expired. 

  • Visually inspect the appearance of the perfume, particularly the color
  • Get a piece of paper. Spray the perfume onto the paper. Then, smell and detect if there are any off-note
  • If you are having trouble determining, asking other people's opinions could help. 

How to Prolong the Life of Your Perfume

There are only three elements to keep your perfume from: light, heat, and oxygen. If you store them away from these elements, it will keep your perfume in good condition for around two years. Think of the kind of environment that a refrigerator brings. That is the ideal environment for perfume storage. It is dark and cool, away from the heat and sunlight. 


There are not many adverse effects to using expired perfumes, although some have sensitive skin that can get irritated by it. Still, an expired perfume will not smell and last the way you want it to. If there are no expiration dates noted on your perfume's packaging, make sure to note when you first use it. That can help you gauge how long it would take for it to lose its scent. However, make sure that you store it in an ideal environment. 

Start browsing Alexandria Fragrances to find new solid scents you might want to try next. We have various choices inspired by famous brands such as Chanel, Jo Malone, and other fragrances you can select from. Try a new scent today!

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