One of the most commonly asked questions heard from budding perfumistas is "How should I store my fragrances?", and "How long until they expire?".
In an effort to ensure you get the best shelf life out of your prized perfumes, we are pleased to answer these pressing queries!
First, with regard to an expiration date, your perfume will not begin to diminish until it has been sprayed at least once. It is the introduction of oxygen to the perfume solution that facilitates the gradual degeneration of a scent (ie: when a splash bottle is opened, or an atomizer pumped for the first time).
Many modern scents bare a small icon on the base of the bottle or on the box that will indicate the "prime" use-by date, which can be calculated from the time of initial use. This symbol will appear as a small line drawing of a round container with a lifted lid. The number appearing on the side of the container eg: 24 M, suggests the product ought to be used within 24 months.
However, with careful consideration as to how you store your scents, you can extend the life of your perfume for many years beyond.
Here are the two main killers of your precious scented molecules:
For optimal results, your perfume should be stored upright, and kept in its original box. Exposure to light over a period of time will most definitely cause your fragrances to deteriorate.
You can choose to keep them either in their boxes or a dark cupboard or drawer. As beautiful as your bottles might look sitting atop a dresser or across a windowsill, light in all its forms (particularly direct sunlight) is public enemy number one!
FLUCTUATIONS IN TEMPERATURE
Take those perfumes out of the bathroom, STAT! Extreme fluctuations in temperature will rapidly spoil your scents, so bottles on bathroom counters or in bathroom cupboards are likely to spoil much faster than perfumes stored in other spaces.
Just think: Every time you or your family shower or run a hot bath, the temperature and humidity in the bathroom will increase and decrease enormously within a number of minutes. This fluctuation will destroy the molecular integrity of your perfumes and sour them swiftly.
Be mindful to avoid storing scents in other places that suffer from extreme changes in heat; another prime example being your car.
Some perfumes hold up a lot better than others so there are no absolute guarantees when it comes to storing your scents. This being said, if you follow these two simple rules, you will likely enjoy them for many, many years to come.
See also our article on storing fragrances in the refrigerator.