How to: Store your perfume so it doesn’t go off

Wednesday, 27 January 2016


Let’s face it – fragrances don’t come cheap, and there’s no bigger let down than reaching for that favourite bottle at the back of the shelf, only to discover it’s gone off. Never happened to you? Consider yourself lucky. Most fragrances only last between three and five years, and if you notice a discolouration (particularly if the liquid darkens), or an unpleasant smell, it’s expired, and it’s time to let it go.

Here’s what you can do to help prevent your scents from going off:

Store them in a cool and dark place
Heat and humidity can have an effect on some of the ingredients – such as essential oils – in your fragrance, which changes the actual scent. Keep them in a cupboard, or even the fridge, but avoid storing them in the bathroom as the steam from the shower can change their physical properties.

Keep the cap on
We know it’s easier to leave the cap off and just spray when you’re on the run, but this allows air to enter the container, which can oxidize the fragrance and change its smell.

Keep them away from the sun
Beautiful bottles are perfect for display on your dresser, but if the morning (or afternoon, for that matter), sun beams into the room and the bottles are exposed to it, some chemical changes are going to take place.

Don’t save your fresh scents for a rainy day
Citrus-based fragrances go off first, because they contain a high percentage of citrus oils, which are highly sensitive. These fresh notes are also tend to evaporate faster than their floral and Oriental counterparts. So don’t store these for “one day” – rather use them now, and give your more resilient woody and floral scents a break.

Other articles you may be interested in:
Eight feminine scents on our wish list
Five fragrances that won’t break the bank
Fragrance bottles we adore
Fragrance myths
How to: Decant a fragrance

Written by

Anien studied English and journalism before heading off into the world of beauty. An undercover "tree hugger" and fashion lover, she's usually found with her nose in a magazine. She has far too many bottles of nail polish and is completely lost without her lip balm. Anien on Google+

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  1. Feli0017 CHEYANAND

    I had no idea perfumes can go off!!!

    2 years ago •

  1. Gladness Hosana

    WOW perfume goes off! I never knew this, interesting article, thank you

    2 years ago •

  1. Arlene Beukes

    I’m a huge perfume aficionado and literally budget for months in order to buy a new scent I love. I have a special storage box inside my underwear drawer where I hide my scents from the elements.

    3 years ago •

  1. Yashna Dukhi

    I didn’t even know perfume can go off. Good thing they stay in my cool wardrobe. Gucci will thank me

    3 years ago •

  1. Siyanda Marrengane

    Great article, especially because I want to start investing in high- end perfume.

    3 years ago •

  1. Zanri Du Plooy

    This article was very helpful, thank you. Can you do a review on Stella McCartney fragrances? Their my favourite and would love for people to be more aware of the brand as it is now more available and not as pricey in South Africa. I could only get it at Menlyn Mall in Woolworths or Stuttafords for R1800 for 50ml. Luckily I can now find it at any big Edgars store and the biggest bottle (100ml) is only R1400.

    3 years ago •

    1. Ayesha Mangera

      I love the Stella Mc Cartney too Zanri, it lasts all day! but I get it much cheaper. Try or call me 0833785323 for store details

      3 years ago •

  1. Kirthi Rampersadh

    I had noooo idea perfume goes off LOL okie so we learn something new everyday …atleast I have that one designated drawer for my perfume #blushing

    3 years ago •

  1. Yolanda Milne

    I was actually stunned to read this title, is it for real? does perfume really go off?

    that’s amazing, great article Anien

    3 years ago •

  1. Cookie Nandlall

    I always save my favourite perfume, I was not aware they go off. Interest

    3 years ago •

  1. Mpoyif

    Never knew that perfumes could go off. Mine never last that long!

    3 years ago •

  1. Dianna Pappin

    I love to keep my perfume in the box. A pain to remove every morning and open, but it does last longer as it is not exposed to sunlight and kept cool in the cupboard. Nothing worse than wearing a perfume that has gone off and smells terrible on you the entire day!

    4 years ago •


    I get a lot of perfumes as gifts so this article comes in handy.

    4 years ago •

  1. Joey

    I love my perfumes, and love having my bottles on display, fortunately they are out of direct sunlight so all my babies are safe :)

    4 years ago •

  1. Tanya Lawrence

    Thanks for all the helpful tips, I constantly leave the top of my spray off – but not anymore.

    4 years ago •

  1. Salmaa Moosa

    I do the above! And my perfumes last years! Only had a Hugo boss that discolored, the rest are as good as new.

    4 years ago •

  1. Mark Parr

    This is interesting. I was too scared to finish my perfumes but now I will have utilize and purchase a new scent.

    4 years ago •

  1. Gervase

    Wow. I had no idea they could go off although I had a few aerosol perfumes which I had saved for “one day” and were fine. I don’t have any old perfumes at the moment to test the theory of EDP vs aerosol perfumes

    4 years ago •

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