Myth Busters Three - Mr Hux

Myth Busters Three

Perfume doesn't expire. It can last for ever.

The answer to this question is nuanced. In simple terms, yes, perfume can indeed change over time. But let’s be real, there really isn’t a simple answer when it comes to the world of perfumery. Yes perfume can age. Yes perfume can change colour. Yes perfume can “go bad” or “expire”. But what does this really mean?

Instead of saying "expire," we'll use the term "degrade."

The longevity of a perfume depends on its chemical composition and various factors. Some perfumes remain perfectly fine even a decade after purchase, while others may only last a year.

Natural perfumes tend to degrade faster than synthetic ones. Proper storage is crucial; keep perfume away from direct sunlight and in a cool environment, such as a closet, to maintain its quality. Avoid storing it on a windowsill or in a humid bathroom, as these conditions can lead to degradation.

Oxidation, introduced through air exposure, can alter a perfume's colour and, in some cases, its fragrance. However, oxygen isn't necessarily harmful; it can aid in the maceration process.

Perfumes may darken for various reasons, such as gourmand-style fragrances undergoing oxidation or alcohol evaporating over time, leaving a more concentrated perfume oil.

So, how can you tell if your perfume has degraded? If the fragrance has weakened or changed significantly, it may be time to consider a replacement. In rare cases, degraded perfume could cause skin irritation or allergic reactions.

If you're uncertain, check the manufacturer's shelf life guideline, usually printed on the perfume's base or original packaging.

Think of perfume like fine wine; it can improve with age, but don't wait too long, or it may lose its quality.