Like celebrities, fragrances can go bad

Erin asks: Does perfume expire and if it does is it bad to use it?

Sarah Bellum sniffs out a response: Since I have the biggest fragrance collection of all the Beauty Brains, I told Lefty I’d answer your question, Erin. Here’s the scoop:

Perfume chemistry

It takes dozens, sometimes HUNDREDS! of different chemicals to make perfume smell so sweet. Some of those chemicals can react with each other and change over time. (If you wanna be a real geek about it you can learn more by reading the Brains’ Fragrance Science series.)

These reactions can make fragrances “go bad” over time. When that happens some of the scents change and the fragrance doesn’t smell as pretty. So once a fragrance expires you’ll know it because you just won’t like it anymore. Can it be bad for your skin? Lots of people have fragrance allergies, so it make sense that if the chemistry of the fragrance is changing over time, you could become more irritated by it. But it’s not like BOOM all of a sudden your favorite fragrance is going to make you break out in a rash. So chances are you don’t need to worry about that.

How long does perfume last

How long does it take for a fragrance to expire? Can’t say for sure, because there are sooo many different chemicals in each perfume. But in general a fragrance should be ok for about 2 years. If you keep it away from light and store it in the refrigerator, you can make it last a lot longer. Of course, it depends on which fragrance you’re talking about. Celebrity fragrances, for example, are much less stable than regular ones. Let’s take a peek at some:

“Fantasy” by Britney Spears shouldn’t last any longer than her marriage to KFed.

“Starlight” by Shania Twain will probably expire before you even buy it, considering how long her career has been over.

“Fetish” by Christina Aguilera will be very unstable unless it’s covered up better than she was on the cover of Marie Claire.

“With Love” by Hilary Duff. Not sure about this one, I get mixed it up with Duff Beer fragrance from the Simpsons.

How long do YOU keep fragrances? Do you use them up before they go bad or do you end up throwing them away? Leave a comment and share your fragrance fetishes with the Beauty Brains community.