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How To Tell When Your Perfume Has Expired

Spray or nay?
by Khatrina Bonagua | May 18, 2017
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Sorry, bro, but your favorite perfume won't last forever. Perfumes, even if they don’t have expiration dates stamped on them, do expire. The ingredients of your favorit fragrance undergo chemical changes over time. “From the time it's produced, perfumes usually have a shelf life of 3 to 5 years when stored correctly. Though, for some, it still depends on the ingredients used,” says chemist and perfumer Jen Raymundo. “For example, if your perfume has citrus or other fast-evaporating ingredients such as water or alcohol, it's more likely to expire quicker than one with woody, musky, or oriental elements.”  

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She adds: “Using expired perfume can cause skin irritation. Most of the time, the sudden irritation may make you think that you just became allergic to your favorite perfume, but in reality, the fragrance has just expired.”

According to Raymundo, there are other ways of knowing if your perfume can no longer serve its purpose of making you smell handsome. Here are two signs to look out for:

1) Change in smell

This one is the most obvious. The moment you spray it and smell a difference from its original aroma, it’s probably because chemical change has already happened. “Sometimes, an expired perfume may also develop a sour, vinegar-like smell,” Raymudo adds. So if the smell of your signature scent is not the one you are used to, it's best to toss it out.

2) Change in appearance

Another sign is when there’s a change in the liquid’s color. “Color changes are not normal in perfumes. A change in color signifies chemical changes, and this mean that the fragrance has expired,” Raymundo says. There are two ways to determine this—it’s either the color gets darker or the liquid takes on a milky appearance. So once you see a milky layer on the bottom, it’s time to throw that bottle into the trash can.

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On the other hand, there are ways to extend the life of your perfume. Raymundo suggests that you do the following:

1) Keep perfume bottles tightly closed to prevent evaporation. Air oxidizes the scent, which changes the balance of a scent's composition.

2) Store it in a dark, cool place where there is little light. Heat tends to speed up chemical changes, and as a result, cuts the perfume’s lifespan short.

3) Put your perfume inside the fridge, as it helps extend the fragrance’s life span. However, do not to store it too closely to your food, as it may absorb its scent. You don't want to smell like yesterday's leftovers. 

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