How to Tell if your Perfume has Gone off

Does something seem to be amiss about the smell of your favorite perfume?  Have you noticed that your favorite fragrance containing citrus notes that no longer smell as citrusy?  Well, if you’ve noticed either of these things then the answer to this mystery is quite simple – perfumes expire.  They go bad.  As much as we would like to think that our favorite fragrance is eternal, the bottle of perfume you buy is not.  This is because perfumes are a complex balance of many ingredients that work together to produce just the right scent we desire but that also, over time, change chemically.  For example, the natural oil in many perfumes comes from a long chain of substituted allyl aromatics which are susceptible to decomposition and bacterial growth.  This is a fact that many people are blissfully unaware of as they choose their favorite fragrance.  Moreover, the reality that fragrances do expire is obscured by the fact perfumes do not come with expiration dates stamped on them.

Tests for whether your perfume has gone off

The Nose Test:  Ultimately, then the best way to tell if your perfume has gone bad is the same way you chose it in the first place – smell it.  If it smells “off” it probably is.  If the smell is not one you are used to then toss it out.

The Color Test:  Color changes – getting darker for example – are not a normal process in colognes.  Color changes signify chemical changes and these changes mean that the fragrance has reached the end of its life.

Look at the label:  As stated earlier, perfumes do not come with a “use by” date stamped on them.  Still there are ways to tell if your perfume may have a particularly short lifespan by reading the label on the bottle before buying it.  Some ingredients are notorious for shortening the life of perfume.  (One example is listed in the first part of this article.)  For example, perfumes containing natural ingredients tend to last less time than those containing artificial ingredients.

If all this seems discouraging there are some ways to extend the life of your favorite fragrance.  First, know that many perfumes containing essential oils last 6 years on average.  Next, minimize the contact your perfume has with oxygen and direct sunlight.  Store your perfume in dark, cool place in order to extend its life.  Finally, minimize your perfume’s contact with heat which is another natural accelerant to the aging process of fragrances.  Try these tips and you may spare yourself the disappointment of watching your favorite fragrance go to waste.

How Perfume Formulations have Changed in Past 20 Years

Back in the 1980s Coca Cola made either a huge marketing mistake or a genius move depending on how you look at it.  It changed its tried and tested formula for Coke for the first time in decades.  Immediately the public was outraged at such a move.  Coca Cola executives had to apologize and instantly return to the formula the public had come to love.  In the perfume industry reformulations are common and happen for a number of reasons such as companies finding cheaper ingredients, the decision to replace natural notes with synthetic substitutes and even trade restrictions involving certain ingredients.  What this means for consumers is that a particular cologne that they purchased back in the 1990s, for example, may have a different formulation altogether.  In fact, as little as two years ago Chanel and Dior were forced to reformulate perfumes under new EU laws.  The reason it gave was that these fragrances contain mosses which could cause allergies.  Another change that has been made in perfume formulas over the past 20 years is that there has been a push towards a classification of perfume known as “gourmand.”  Gourmand fragrance are perfumes that consists primarily of synthetic edible notes such as honey, chocolate, vanilla or candy as opposed to perfumes that contain floral notes.

As recently as 2008 the IFRA (the International Fragrance Association) issued restrictions on certain fragrance materials such as vanilla, jasmine, oakmoss, coumarin, birch tar, citrus oils, heliotropin and styrax.  This caused many manufacturers to change their formulas to come into compliance with these regulations.  The fact is perfume reformulations are being made more rapidly than in the past and this has some consumers concerned.  After all, people who wear perfume and cologne are very particular about the fragrance they have chosen.

All this means that your favorite perfumes may have been subtlety changed and may be continuing to “evolve” right under your nose.  The best way to determine if your favorite perfume has been altered recently is to trust your nose.  There are even several sites that list the formula changes for popular perfume brands.  Finally, perfume formulations are not as static as Coca Cola but the public has by in large learned to accept some of these changes.  Of course, there is nothing like having your old cologne or perfume…

Proper Perfume Storage

Perfume and cologne can be pricey purchases even when you get them at a great discount at Lily Direct. So to protect your delicate investments, make sure you are storing them properly. The following tips should help you along the way!


Don’t store perfume in the bathroom! Humidity can react negatively with scents and cause them to break down faster.

Don’t store perfume in direct sunlight.  Beautiful perfume bottles are tempting to display, especially where the sun can make the bottle sparkle. Two things happen –the sun breaks down the components of perfume very quickly and the heat from the sun can also destroy the scent and even warp the bottle.

Don’t fuss with your perfume bottle. What this means is don’t shake your bottle or open it excessively. I know it is tempting to open your bottle just to take a whiff, especially if it is a new fragrance-but don’t. If you are wearing that scent, great!-dab it on. If not, leave it alone. It is a myth that perfume must be shaken before an application to ensure that the ingredients are properly mixed. In fact, the opposite is true: Perfumes are designed to remain evenly mixed if they are stored properly. Shaking perfume not only incorporates air throughout the perfume, accelerating its breakdown, but it can also lead to breakage of the delicate glass bottles.

Do keep your fragrances at a constant temperature. A cool, dark environment is ideal but that does not mean the refrigerator unless you have purchased a small fridge or wine cooler specifically for storing your scent collection. In that case, you do not want the temperature to go below 5proper perfume storage3 degrees or just a tad colder for citrus fragrances. If investing in a fridge just for your perfume collection sounds a little extravagant, then I suggest a linen closet in a part of the house that does not get too hot in the summer months.

A perfume collection is an integral part of a woman’s life. Different days and events require different scents.  Make sure you are ready for every situation by having your scents properly taken care of and ready to go!

Fragrance Storage 101

Perfume storage can be tricky. To get the most life out of your fragrances, there are a few specific guidelines you should follow. A retail store that sells fragrances should especially follow these guidelines to the letter, but with so many variables—such as lighting, temperature and customer handling—potentially out of their control it can be hard for a retailer to keep their fragrances in the best conditions. Since Lily Direct is exclusively an online market place, we are able to keep our colognes and perfumes stored in the best possible conditions and sell you the fragrances you love at prices you’ll love even more. Once your fragrance arrives at your doorstep, follow these storage steps to ensure your favorite scent lasts a long, long time…

Heat, humidity and frequent temperature fluctuations are not ideal. Many people choose to store their perfumes in the bathroom, as they are a part of their daily beauty routine; but the heat and humidity in your bathroom will actually breakdown the chemical bonds that give your perfume scent. On the other hand, storing your fragrances in the refrigerator is not a good idea either. It’s best to store your fragrances in a dry, consistently room-temperature place such as a closet.

Direct light exposure is not your fragrance’s friend. While it may be tempting to keep your beautiful perfu"Black Orchid"me bottles on display for all to see and admire, this is not the best idea. Prolonged exposure to sunlight, or even direct light from a lightbulb, will quickly degrade the quality of your perfume. It is best to keep your fragrances in dark or opaque bottles and to store them in a drawer or closet away from light. Black Orchid Perfume for Women by Tom Ford is an example of an intoxicating scent that comes in a perfectly opaque bottle.

Tuck your fragrances away rather than keeping them on display. Light exposure is not the only reason to keep your perfumes tucked away. When you display your perfume bottles on high shelves, or in heavy traffic areas where people may handle them regularly, you are leaving them open to unnecessary damage. More often than not perfume bottles are very delicate and must be handled as little as possible and with great care. I know it’s hard to keep a beautifully packaged scent like L’eau De Kenzo Amour Perfume by Kenzo tucked away, but trust me it’s for the best.

Perfumes of the World: Estee Lauder- The Epitome of Elegance

You don’t have to be an expert the field of perfumes and cosmetics to recognize the name of Estee Lauder as one of the most prominent in business today. If you are a perfume lover, chances are you have owned and cherished at least one of the creator’s iconic creations throughout time. What originally started as a pure personal ambition from the ninth child in a Jewish immigrant family in Queens has now become the household word when it comes to elegance, refinement and beauty. Any perfume expert will recognize the perfection in such perfume formulas such as Aramis for Men, Beautiful and the flagship Youth Dew.

A bit of history

Estee Lauder started her company with a jar of skin cream in 1946. The formula, created by her uncle who was a chemist soon started to bring out new and loyal female fans. In only a few years, the cosmetics company won a reputation for research and quality. In 1953, the first fragrance for women was introduced: Youth Dew, in the form of bath oil, and then a few months later as a revolutionary perfume. This wonderfully light scent continues to be one of the bestsellers for the company. This is an absolutely captivating creation, featuring an opulent combination of rich spices, flowers and precious woods. Along time, this has been considered one of the sexiest fragrances ever created. The success was so great, in 1969 Lauder opened her first location outside the US, in London’s Harrods luxury store. 1964 saw the launch of the very first exclusive line for men: Aramis, a tradition the company will continue later with Clinique Skin Supplies for Men and Lab Series. By the end of the 1960’s another great name of the cosmetics and perfume industry was born from the same captivating and ambitious mind: Clinique Laboratories. Today, Estee Lauder is undoubtedly one of the largest privately owned fragrance and cosmetics creation companies in the world with sales estimated at one billion dollars. Many different smaller companies and brands have been created, from Aramis to Perspectives, Origines, MAC, Tommy Hilfiger, from Donna Karan to Aveda and La Mer. The wide gamut of products includes eau de perfume, colognes, eau de toilette, serums, lotions, body oils, especially made for both men and women. Perfume names such as Estee (coined as the world’s first super-perfume, Aliage, White Linen, Cinnabar, Aramis for Men are still considered as epitomes of good taste, elegance, great consumer products for those who appreciate a sense of adventure and quality. Today, the Estée Lauder Collection of skincare, makeup and fragrance exemplifies the best that art and science can achieve.

This blogger’s personal favorite: Beautiful is one of those timeless pieces that a woman can keep close to her heart for her whole life. This floral fragrance was launched in 1985 and is one of the company’s bestsellers. This romantic light bouquet includes an impressive selection of flowers combined with fresh citrus notes and wood notes at the base. The top notes will include mandarine, lily, marigold and tuberose and of course, the beautiful rose. The heart of the creation unfolds in jasmine, orange flower and ylang ylang, while the base notes are elegant and warm and rely on the power of sandalwood and vetiver. An absolute delight for the senses.

Perfume Expert FAQs: How Much Do You Know about Your Perfume?

Although everyone loves to wear a good perfume, not many people know how it should be worn and how a perfume comes into being. Below you can find a few perfume expert frequently asked questions:

How are new perfumes created?

The perfume designers have always been those lucky ones whose noses have empowered them to create true symphonies of scents that help us feel better, fall in love or just feel beautiful and desired. Creating a new perfume is very similar to the composition of a painting or a symphony. Everything starts with an idea. Perfume design begins with the inspiration of three or four distinct notes that are to be brought together. From here, everything is pure mystery and all the great perfumes that were ever created are highly comparable with the world’s greatest symphonies whose composition started from three or four dominant notes. The art of the perfume designer lays in the combination and the adjacent notes he adds so as to create a work of art that will move women’s hearts and stir men’s senses.

How many ingredients are regularly included in a perfume?

From medieval times, perfume creators were using at least 10 different notes to put together new scents, but the ones that were considered more successful were the long- formula ones. Some of the most famous perfumes in world history would include up to 300 different notes/ ingredients. This being said, this doesn’t mean that a perfume is better if it has more ingredients. Nowadays perfume creatures prefer the shorter formulae with purer notes and quality easier to maintain.

What notes does a fragrance include?

When a perfume is sprayed onto the skin, it will generally bloom in a variety of nuances. The stages of a perfume’s life on your skin will depend on composition and “notes.” These are different phases by means of which a fragrance reacts to the environment and reveals its secrets.

The top notes are generally those that you first feel when a fragrance is sprayed. They are usually the most volatile, the first experience as a bottle is opened. They won’t last for more than 15 minutes.

After these fade away, the middle or heart notes will make way on your skin, and these are in fact the core of the composition, the most dominant and longer lasting notes. Finally, after, ideally, a few hours, the basic theme fades away into the soul notes of a perfume, the foundation of any scent which basically lingers in everyone’s mind and is considered the signature of every good perfume.

How long will my fragrance last?

This is usually something that varies from one person to another. If you have chosen the highest perfume concentration to spray on your skin, this can basically last for days. An eau de perfume will last between 7 to 8 hours, while the eau de toilette can last for two- three, depending on quality. The more concentrated the scent, the longer it can remain impregnated on your skin.