Does Perfume Have an Expiration Date? - An Expert's Guide
Perfume does not have the same expiration date as food, but using an outdated fragrance can lead to an unpleasant scent, skin irritation, or even an allergic reaction. Generally, a bottle of perfume has a shelf life of three to five years. However, an open bottle of perfume can last up to two years. From a health and safety perspective, there is no real risk in using old perfume.
Fragrances contain alcohol, so there are no microbial consequences. What really matters is the scent and if you still like it, as it changes over time. If your perfume is more than two years old, it is best to test it before using it. It is also important to keep the perfume in its original packaging, as exposure to air can disrupt the chemical balance.
An expired perfume will have less fragrance than when you last checked it, partly because many perfumes have a high alcohol content that evaporates over time. If you run out of nail polish remover, you can use some expired perfume on the nail polish and remove it with a cotton pad. Most fragrance manufacturers recommend discarding the bottle after one to three years, but since the fragrance does not expire in the same sense as food, some experts suggest that you can continue using a perfume you really like for four or even five years. The alcohol in the perfume makes it very useful for removing nail polish, as it causes the molecules of the nail polish to lose their color and come off easily.
If your perfume or cologne smells sour, like vinegar, or if you notice a significant change in the concentration of the original scent, it is likely that it has already expired. Three of the best perfumers in the country share their knowledge about perfume shelf life and how to tell if your favorite scent has expired. Temperature variations can damage your perfume, so it is best to keep it in a place where there are no temperature fluctuations; for example, avoid storing your perfume in the bathroom. It is also not recommended to cool your perfume in the fridge; removing it at room temperature can also be harmful.
You can also tell if your perfume has expired by checking the expiration date on the bottle or on the packaging. If you have a large collection of perfumes, Long suggests rotating them so that the oldest bottles are used first and the rest are stored in a cupboard or drawer. Read on to learn more about perfume expiration and how to make your favorite fragrance last longer. A spray test can tell you if your perfume is possibly expired or still good for use; if it smells like vinegar, if it has a different smell and if the scent smells differently, then it is expired and should not be used.