JournalHow to care for your fragrance like a Master Perfumer

How to care for your fragrance like a Master Perfumer

Scent has the power to introduce us well before words are even spoken. But how many of us think about the shelf-life of our fragrance or how we’re caring for it? Stick with us as we share insider tips so you can care for your perfume with all the knowledge of a master perfumer and know how to spot the signs when it’s time to update your fragrance wardrobe. 

While commercial fragrance has a limited shelf-life, this is less of an issue with natural fragrance – we often say “Natural Perfume ages like wine” – another good reason to make a switch!

A good indicator of your perfume reaching expiration is a colour change. If the colour has darkened over time or has developed more or less opacity, it’s a sign that your scent is at the end of its wearable life. If your fragrance has been sitting for an extended period and smells different when you put it on, it’s another sign that it’s probably time to start afresh and switch up your bottle.

5 of the top offenders that cause perfume to go off faster than it should

Scent notes

Perfumes with heavier notes tend to last the longest as compared to soft, mellow scents. Natural ingredients such as floral essences or citrus notes are more likely to go off earlier than muskier scents.


Direct sunlight is one of the top reasons why perfumes expire faster than they should. The heat can break down the chemical structure of the perfume, making it lose strength and potency. Storing your bottles in a cool place is the best way to increase shelf life. It’s also important to keep your perfumes away from spaces with temperature fluctuations. So, while the bathroom might seem like the ideal place, any perfumer worth their salt would tell you that’s not a good idea!


Some perfume oils contain fats such as vegetable oil which can deteriorate faster. In comparison, essential oils can have a much longer life. If your perfume is starting to smell a bit like vinegar, it’s probably because the ingredients have gone off.

red wine
green perfume bottle
Alcohol Content

Alcohol in perfumes can evaporate over time which results in an imbalance of essential oil concentration. Perfumes with higher concentrations of alcohol can also decrease in quantity due to evaporation.


Once a bottle has been opened, it is often exposed to oxygen which, over time, will change the composition of the chemicals. You will notice if the scent takes a turn towards the more sour, spicy side. Oxidation can increase with citrus or green top notes whereas woody or musky notes tend to oxidise at a much slower rate.

Remember, store your perfume in a cool, stable temperature. Expiration of any product is inevitable, but your choice of perfume will significantly influence its lifespan, and you’ll know now what to look out for in a scent if ‘long-lasting’ is on your agenda.

Want to learn more about fragrance and how it’s best used, join us at an upcoming workshop in Auckland, Wellington or Melbourne. 

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