Perfumes, unlike cosmetics, do not have a fixed expiry date. However, once a bottle of perfume is open and used, the headspace, which the the amount of air let into the perfume will start to increase. This causes oxidation to take place and aging the perfume, top notes like citrus and green notes will start to slowly disappear and will not smell as fresh or sparkling. Generally, it is good to keep a perfume for about 2 years before needing to change to another bottle.
How do you know that the Perfume has Expired?
When I was working in one of the top fragrance house, I had the privilege to smell some of the most classic perfumes. Generally, perfumes with heavier base notes that are more woody or oriental tend to last much longer as compared to fresh fragrances. You can smell that the perfume have expired when it smell sour, as the top notes had oxidize, you can imagine it as a vinegary scent left with the base notes of the perfume. On top of that, the liquid of the perfume would also discolored and turn dark.
Remember to spray any old perfume on a piece of paper and smell if you detect any off-note that smell sourly before spraying it on yourself.
How to store Perfume?
How long perfume lasts is dependent on how well it is stored. In order to extend the shelf life of a perfume, it should always be kept away from sunlight and humidity. If the perfume is kept in humid places like the bathroom and constantly being exposed to sunlight, the perfume can only last for about 3 to 6 months.
If you are a perfume collector, you may be wondering, how long can an unopened bottle of perfume last? The best way to preserve a perfume would be to keep it unopened and place it in a cold place, such as the refrigerator. When I was working in a fragrance house, classic perfumes are stored in fridge to preserve it as brands tend to reformulate perfumes and discontinue fragrance over the years.
What happens if I spray Expired Perfume?
Although you would smell off, sourly and unpleasant, there would most likely be no adverse impact on your health.