If you are a casual wearer of perfumes and not a collector, chances are that you buy a bottle or two and wear them until they are empty, toss the bottles and repeat, or something along those lines. You see fragrances as just another part of your toiletries and the final step in getting dressed. You probably have little concern about preserving your fragrances because you use them up within a few years. But for the fragrance collector this is a HUGE concern.
Nothing pops the perfumistas balloon quite like finding out a perfume has “turned”. So it’s very important how the collection is stored to prevent spoilage.
Romantically, every perfumista would like a gorgeous boudoir display on their dressing table or armoir. You know that classic image:
But any seasoned perfumista will tell you that while it’s lovely to have such a display, it’s not realistic if you want your frags to last.
Perfumes number one worst enemy is light, especially natural light. It really breaks down the molecules and essential oils in perfumes. Think of how the sun bleaches highlights into hair or fades anything in print, like old soda cans or rubbish lying on the ground. Same concept.
If you’ve ever seen or bought essential oils before, I’m sure you noticed the bottle was either dark brown or dark blue. That’s because those dark bottles help filter out the light. No reputable distributer of 100% natural essential oils will ever package them in clear containers. If the bottles are clear then perhaps the oils are fragrance oils and not real EOs.
Enemy number two is heat or worse, exposure to extreme variations in temperature. A combo of both light and heat is a serious recipe for disaster for your fragrances. The worst place you can store perfumes is a bathroom window, where it’s exposed to not only light but also the constant variations of temperatures from hot showers and humidity.
The most ideal place for storage then, would be a cool dark place, like a cabinet or a closet that’s away from windows and heat sources. It’s not a bad idea either to store the bottles in their original boxes but that’s not usually practical and makes it more difficult to use them.
I store my collection in the back of my little walk-in closet in my bedroom. My husband calls it my alter and perfume shrine lol. I have a small bookshelf against the back wall of the closet, so for me it’s a win-win; I still get a pretty display but it’s away from any constant light, save for when the switch is on and it’s not exposed to any natural night nor any real variations of temperature.
A perfumes shelf-life also depends on what’s actually in the juice. Citrus oils and rose absolutes, for example, are nortorious for deterioriating faster than most other perfume ingredients. Chypres tend to age very well as do resinous orientals.
You can do everything right and still the perfumes will deteroriate over time. So it’s a good idea to have realistic expectations for your fragrances but stored properly, they can still last many years, which is why there is a huge market for vintage perfumes. But that is another story for another day. ❤
~Store away from light sources
~Store away from heat sources
~Try to store with minimal fluctuations in temperature
~Try to store in original box
~If you rotate your frags, put the unused frags in their boxes in a cool dark place when not in the rotation
~Know what’s in the perfume; don’t expect natural rose or citrus based frags to last more than 5 to 10 years even when stored properly. At least check them or use them more frequently.
~If you buy vintage, expect the top notes to be off. But that doesn’t mean the heart and base won’t still be gorgeous.
~Always use common sense and when you’re not sure, Google it! 😉