Because each fragrance is unique and each ingredient has its own characteristics, the quality of preservation varies greatly from one fragrance to another. Natural fragrances will be more delicate to preserve, or at least they may evolve a little more olfactory over time.
However, the lifespan of a perfume really depends on how it is used, stored and preserved. And the factors that guarantee a long shelf life are always the same. This is what we'll be looking at below.
If a perfume is out of date, applying it can lead to an unpleasant smell, skin irritation or, in extreme cases, an allergic reaction if the concentrate is no longer properly solubilised in alcohol. Which is why it's so important to take care of it.
Before being put on the market, a perfume is generally validated from a regulatory point of view for a minimum lifespan of 3 years. To achieve this, perfume companies carry out stability tests, which involve putting the perfume to a severe test. It is placed in an oven at around 40°C for 3 months, as well as in a UV chamber. If, at the end of these tests, the perfume has retained its colour and olfactory qualities, then we know by empirical means that it will keep for at least 3 years, without being altered, under normal conditions of use and storage.
Conventional brands formulate with synthetic anti-oxidants and anti-UV agents to easily pass these tests. These ingredients are effective and inexpensive, but some, like BHT, are strongly suspected of being endocrine disruptors. At AEMIUM, we've banned them and only use natural anti-oxidants, such as vitamin E, and the best UV protection available: ... a dark glass bottle! In fact, we were inspired by the old reagent bottles from the beginning of the century to protect our fragrances.
In those days, petrochemicals didn't exist and chemists and pharmacists had to preserve their ingredients naturally in opaque or dark bottles (see photo in article).
Indeed, there are three undeniable factors that affect the quality of a perfume's preservation: UV rays (A and B), heat and exposure to the air.
Avoid exposing the bottles to sunlight, as the sun's UV rays can sensitise the fragrance. Some molecules and natural ingredients in concentrates (such as Bergamot) are particularly sensitive to light: they can change colour and smell.
Extreme heat and inconsistent temperature variations can affect the chemical composition of perfume. Like wine, a perfume should ideally be kept in a room with a controlled, constant temperature. Some people keep their perfume in their fridge. While this is an effective way of keeping a perfume for a very long time, care must be taken, as temperatures below 4°C can cause essential oils to precipitate. And if they precipitate, it means that the solution is no longer homogeneous!
Exposure to the ambient air, particularly humidity, is the final factor that will age your perfumes. So never forget to reseal your bottle if it's refillable. You should also know that when you spray perfume, while the pump is spraying, it lets a little air into the bottle through a small vent. This is why the ageing of a perfume is not linear: the more the bottle is used, the more the fragrance is exposed to air. The presence of oxygen and water will accelerate its oxidation.
So, what's the ultimate verdict?
Even though the bathroom, a hot and humid room, is not ideal for storing your perfumes, what is really important is to avoid direct light and extreme heat.
We therefore advise you to keep your perfumes away from windows and radiators in all rooms of the house.
You should also never leave a perfume in a car (the temperature variations there are too extreme).
If you want to keep a perfume for a very long time, you can put it at the bottom of your fridge or, better still, in your wine cellar.
Finally, we do not recommend shaking your bottles! Even if it's common to shake a beauty product before applying it, the same doesn't apply to perfumes! You run the risk of weakening and breaking certain notes, but above all of accelerating oxidation by mixing it with the air in your bottle
And now, to your perfumes!