How long does perfume/cologne last?

My coworker wants to start wearing cologne he bought 5 years ago but wanted to make sure that it wouldn't give me an alergic reaction. Does perfume/cologne have a shelf life?

14 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    It should still be good. Especially if it's a more expensive brand.

    The only thing that would make a perfume change over time is evaporation (caused by bad bottling) or cheap, volatile fragrance oils. Fragrance oils, because they are synthetic, tend to decay more rapidly and more easily (like from sunlight) than essential oils. Most nice perfume companies use essential oils...cheaper brands might not. I would just check it out... if it smells weird, don't wear it. If it smells nice, go ahead and try it out.

    Just because it's old doesn't mean that you would be allergic to it.

    Source(s): I'm a bio major and have had lots of upper-level chemistry.
  • 1 decade ago

    Fragrances don't last forever, although pefumes and colognes stored under the proper conditions can last MANY, MANY years. I have some VERY old perfumes that are still PERFECT because they have been stored under the right conditions. A good place to store bottles is in a cool dark drawer or closet. It all depends on the way it is stored. If it was stored in a cool dark place it will be fine. Light and Heat will destroy your perfumes. You can even store colognes & eau de toilettes in the refrigerator, but not pure parfums, because of the higher concentration of oils. NEVER store them in the bathroom because of the changing temps, and NEVER EVER store them in your car.

    Another thing to consider is air exposure, if its a splash bottle without a very tight fitting stopper it can allow in air which will destroy the fragrance.

    The best way to tell if a fragrance is starting to "turn" or has "gone bad" is to try it out, put a little on your wrist (DONT rub it! NEVER rub fragrances on your skin, that crushes the scent, just apply it and let it be) then smell it, you should be able to tell if it is OK, because first of all its bad it will no longer smell as it should, a "spoiled" perfume may take on a strong sour smell for example, another way to tell is if it has changed color, they will turn darker.

    I very highly doubt that wearing an old perfume would cause an allergic reaction unless of course the person was allergic to it in the first place. If it has "gone bad" probably the only reaction it is likely to cause is a funky smell on your skin. Trust me, If it still smells good, then there is NO reason not to wear it. There are many scents that have been discontinued for upwards of 20 years that are still selling today (for extremely high prices mind you) that were stored correctly and are still perfectly usable and are very highly sought after.

    Source(s): I have been collecting fragrances for 19 years. I own hundreds of scents, and many of them are rare, vintage bottles which are still in perfectly usable condition.
  • 1 decade ago

    I found a bottle of Channel #5 while cleaning a friends grandfathers house. He told me that it was his wife's who had passed away over 20 years ago. The bottle was still full and in the black container. For as long as I've been wearing it, the black container hasn't changed much, but you can tell it's not new. The perfume smelled very good, as a matter of fact, I thought a little better than the Channel #5's I buy. I'm not sure if it's because of age or because now they water it down a little more.

    So go figure.

  • 1 decade ago

    Everything has a shelf life. Some things longer than others. A five year old cologne probably wouldn't smell too good unless it's never been opened and even then I wouldn't chance it. (Unless he's out doors that is.)

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    It depends really some last longer then others, just tell him to type the cologne name in at Google and get some information on it, maybe it will say how long it lasts and what ever else..

  • 1 decade ago

    From my experience

    Im using Princess by Vera Wang

    It lasts for like at least 10 hours

  • 1 decade ago

    If the cap is closed and the oils (that give off the odors) don't combine with oxygen and go rancid (thereby altering the scent), perfumes should last for decades.

  • 3 years ago

    perfumes. cologne is a weaker version of fragrance and fragrance is the weakest version. yet once you relatively need the scent to final all day use physique powder first then spray.

  • 1 decade ago

    I don't think it will give an allergic reaction if it didn't do that when he first bought it but it might not smell good anymore.

  • 1 decade ago

    F I V E years ago?? I wouldn't even consider it. Tell him to break down and buy more.

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