Has My Perfume Gone Bad? Signs To Look For

Published: Oct 27, 2022 • Last Updated: Oct 29, 2022

Many people don't understand the subject of fragrance expiration. They think that their perfume is always good to use. But that is not really true. They can expire just like anything else, perfumes have a shelf life. Although, it is not the same with every perfume. Factors like the quality of the perfume, whether it is alcohol or oil based, the way it is packaged and the way it is stored have a direct impact on the shelf like of a perfume.  There's no exact timeframe for how long a scent lasts. If stored properly, some perfumes can last up to five years, while low-quality perfumes generally go bad in a matter of a few months. Perfumes are created through a mixture of alcohol and water in addition to a number of active and inactive ingredients. Fragrances with heavier base notes such as amber, musk and patchouli have a longer shelf life whereas if the base notes are comprised of light airy notes such as citruses, fruity or floral, the perfume generally has a shorter lifespan. 



Signs you need to look for

Smell: The easiest way to tell if your perfume has gone bad is by smelling it. You know how your favourite perfume smells, so if it smells any different than it used to smell initially, you know it has gone off. 

It would smell strange, in most instances, it would smell sour, or it can even smell like vinegar if it has been exposed to heat for longer durations.   

Colour: If your smell test fails, the next thing to do is to look for any change in the colour. Has it gone darker? It has probably oxidised and gone bad. 

If the colour of the juice was transparent or light yellow in the beginning but now has become hazy or ambery gold, it's a telltale sign that it has expired.   

Longevity: If your fragrance has expired, its longevity would have been affected. If your favourite perfume now lasts an hour on the skin but previously lasted 4 hours, it might have gone bad.

It's not a sure sign as there are other factors that come into play here, you might have changed your diet in recent weeks which in turn changed the pH level of your skin and hence perfume reacts differently with your skin now.   

Is it safe to wear an expired fragrance or cologne?

Well, there is no straight answer to this. We don't suggest you wear expiry fragrances but if you are really hell-bent on wearing that favourite cologne of yours which has now unfortunately expired, we recommend you do a patch test. Spray a small amount on your wrist and leave it on for 8-12 hours, if any allergic reaction occurs consult a doctor immediately and chuck that perfume in the bin where it belongs. 

How to store your perfume

You've just used your fragrance and are now smelling like a million bucks, where do I store it, you ask. You want to avoid direct sunlight exposure as it can change the molecules in your perfume and make them unstable. It is also important to make sure it is not exposed to extreme fluctuations in temperature or humidity. Bathrooms are typically too humid and warm so avoid them at all costs. So ideally store all your fragrances in a cool dark place away from sunlight in a bedroom drawer or a closet. And if you live in an extremely warm climate, it is recommended you store your fragrance in a fridge to increase its shelf life. 

How ScentGod can help?

You get to try a new perfume every month so the chances of a perfume going bad are extremely low. Our perfumes are packed by machines in neat little atomisers that last you a month and with over 400 perfumes to choose from, you will never be bored and we'll make sure you get fresh potent high-quality perfume delivered to your door every month. 

Want to try the latest and best-selling fragrances for a fraction of the retail price? Check out our entire catalog here:


ScentGod is Australia's very own subscription for designer fragrances where you can try a different perfume every month for just $19.95. 

Follow us on Instagram @scentgodaustralia for scent tips and the latest fragrance drops.  


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Photo of Preet Singh

Preet Singh

I have always been enamored by the power of perfumes to evoke emotions and capture memories. This profound love for fragrances led to the creation of ScentGod, a platform designed to allow everyone the luxury of discovering and wearing premium scents without the commitment of a full-sized purchase. My vision for ScentGod is more than just offering fragrances; it's about sharing passion, creating experiences, and helping people find their signature essence.

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