Perfume is one of those things that you seem to always have on hand. Almost every time I think I've run out of perfume, I somehow find a small bottle of my signature fragrance (which is Juicy Couture, by the way) tucked away in a makeup bag I long forgot about. It's almost like magic. But this got me wondering — does perfume go bad?
The general consensus is that after about five years you should check your perfume to make sure the color hasn't changed or it doesn't smell strange. If either of those things have happened, you can assume that your perfume has indeed gone bad. But I reached out to Will Yin, CEO of Scent Trunk, and he tells me that it really has to do with what kind of perfume it is.
"Knowing when to throw out a fragrance really depends on the perfume," says Yin. "Synthetic perfumes (those made from man-made chemicals) last very long — over two years! But perfumes with naturals in them will degrade a lot faster, so it's important to give them a sniff to make sure they still smell good."
If you're wondering what the difference is between a synthetic and a natural fragrance, Yin elaborates on the two. "The benefit with synthetics, is that they will smell the same all the time, whereas with naturals, it will always smell different (based on where the ingredient was grown, or even the weather in the region!)." So interesting!
To prolong the shelf life of your perfume, Yin suggests "keeping perfume in a cool, dark place (out of the sun)." This will extend its shelf life. In an interview with Marie Claire, fragrance expert Chandler Burr recommended that you store perfume in the fridge (which is indeed about as far away from heat as sunlight as you can get) to keep them as fresh as possible.
The best rule of thumb? If it smells bad, it probably is bad. Toss it and treat yourself to a new bottle. If you're on the market for a new perfume, be sure to check out Scent Trunk, a new direct-to-consumer fragrance company.