How Long Does Perfume Last? 8 Ways To Make It Last Longer

Perfume is part of your personality, so it's worth considering that the quality of a perfume affects everything about it, from how long it lasts to how strong it is.

Having your own signature scent is one of life's little pleasures that makes you feel like you. Whether you like to spritz it all over for a cloud of scent or save it for special moments, you want your favorite perfume to stick around. Not all fragrances are created equal, and even the different scent notes can impact how long it lingers in the air.

Here’s what to know about how long perfume generally lasts, and what you can do to make the most of your favorite scents.

How Long Does Perfume Usually Last?

If you’re wondering how long perfume lasts, you’re likely curious about its time frame when worn and stored. We’ll get to both, but let’s talk about the composition of a fragrance and how that impacts its staying power.

The lifespan of perfume is contingent on the quality of the formulation and the way it’s cared for. A fragrance’s value largely determines its shelf life, both opened and unused.

Fragrances are broken down into type and alcohol concentration:

  • Eau de Parfum: This is the strongest potency of scent and the most concentrated, at 10-25% aroma to alcohol
  • Eau de Toilette: Slightly less intense at 5-10% concentration
  • Eau de Cologne: A less concentrated formula more reminiscent of a body spray with 2-5% concentration

A higher concentration equals a longer staying power and more aromatic force. Therefore, the concentration impacts how long the scent will last when sprayed.

How Long Does Unopened Perfume Last?

When unopened, a high-quality bottle of perfume can last from three to five years — sometimes even longer. This is because the exposure to light, heat, and air, which can degrade the scent and change its composition, is minimal when the perfume is still in its sealed, original packaging.

However, it's recommended to store perfumes in a cool, dark place to enhance their longevity. Some individuals have found that fragrances stored under optimal conditions can retain their integrity and aroma for up to a decade or more.

Always remember, though, that the lifespan of a perfume is dependent on its ingredients, packaging, and storage conditions.

Do Fragrances Expire Over Time?

Higher-quality perfumes tend to last far longer due to their specially-crafted formulations. Perfume can expire, especially if it has been exposed to sun, humidity, and heat. Typically, perfume is thought to last between three to five years.

That said though, if cared for, high-quality perfumes can last upwards of 10 years — in fact, vintage perfume is sought-after by many.

Quality perfume is sealed in bottles that are designed to prevent oxidation over time for the longest shelf life.

If your perfume has expired, the scent may have turned and taken on a powdery, musty, or vinegary scent. Aside from smelling unpleasant, expired fragrances could cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation. Always spot-test perfume that may have expired to make sure it doesn’t affect your skin.

How Can You Make Your Perfume Last Longer?

How long perfume lasts on your skin and clothing depends on how you prep for it, where you spray it, your body chemistry, and, of course, the quality of the scent and its fragrance notes.

If you want to make your perfume last longer so your scent trail lasts throughout the hours, here are eight tricks to try.

1. Spray It on Your Pulse Points

Perfume adapts to your pH and natural oils to create a slightly different version of the scent than anyone else.

Apply perfume to your pulse points (places where your veins are closer to the skin). These spots release heat, which helps project scent for a stronger, longer-lasting smell. Think of places like your pulses that emit heat: wrists, inside elbows, back of knees, behind ears, neck, and chest.

2. Use It on Your Clothes

Due to the composition of fabric, scents tend to linger on your clothes. For a personal scent that lasts all day, add a spritz to your clothes — just remember that fragrance may show up stronger on fabric, so start with less and add more if desired.

Also, be mindful of delicate fabrics like silk or cashmere because they may streak. We love a spritz around the neckline so you can catch whiffs throughout the day.

3. Spritz Your Hair

Hair loves to hold your favorite scents throughout the hours. For a full-body perfume experience, mist a light layer over your hair. Because your hair is more porous than your skin, the scent absorbs better and creates a lasting impression.

You’ll be catching a whiff of your perfume each time your hair moves, and so will others. Often, a spritz of perfume in the hair receives the most compliments. Just keep in mind that perfume is alcohol-based, which can dry out your hair if overused.

4. Layer Scents Wisely

If you want your signature scent to turn heads, make sure you’re not muddling conflicting scents together on your body and clothes. Any combination of contrasting smells can reduce the potency of your target fragrance and create a final scent that’s not as pleasant as it sounded.

Layer your scents strategically to make sure the fragrances work well together. For example, you can layer a body cream with an eau de parfum in the same scent, or use a few different perfumes that have complementary notes.

We recommend beginning with the Oribe Cote D'Azur Body Creme and layering the warm and sensual Cote D'Azur Eau de Parfum over your prepped skin. Not only will your skin stay hydrated, but you’ll be fully cloaked in your favorite scent.

5. Choose High-Quality Fragrances

One of the most important factors in how long your scent will last throughout the day is the quality of your product. Whatever scent notes you’re drawn to, the best type of perfume is a long-lasting one. Aim to look for high-quality, esteemed perfumes — their reputation speaks to their value.

If you’re looking for a clean, fresh, everyday scent, consider the Lake & Skye 11 11 Azure Eau de Parfum. For a gentle floral that has intriguing depth, try the House of Bo Rosario, which is both citrus and smoky.

The Vilhelm Sparkling Jo eau de parfum is a unisex scent composed of champagne, pear, and spice. For an iconic warm and sweet scent, Tom Ford Lost Cherry combines cherry, almond, amber, and spice to create something unique.

6. Try Perfume Primer

For perfume that lasts through the hours, use a perfume primer. Skin primer can help prevent the fragrance from adapting to your individual pH, which will modify the scent, making sure it smells like it was intended too and lasts for hours.

We love the Bō Nourishing Parfum Primer. It’s moisturizing for the skin with aloe vera and antioxidants while at the same time prepping the skin to bond with the perfume.

7. Check the Expiration Date

As you know, expired perfumes might smell different and lack the same longevity. In order to make your perfume last the best it can, make sure you’re starting with a product that has life in it. You can check the expiration date on your fragrance bottle by finding the batch code. Codes are printed on the bottom of the package.

If you sense your perfume is expired, it’s time to repurchase it.

8. Store Your Fragrances Properly

Proper storage can increase your fragrance’s lifespan, whether it’s an opened or unopened perfume bottle. This in turn can help it last longer on your skin.

How can you store perfume to extend its shelf life? Direct sunlight, heat, and humidity are the biggest threats to a perfume’s expiry date. They cause the alcohol to evaporate and concentration to break down.

Preserve your perfumes by keeping them in a cool, dark place. Also, ensure they live in a dry place. A bathroom isn’t ideal because of humidity unless your perfume is well-sealed in a cupboard or shelf.

The Bottom Line

Scent can impact your mood and confidence, and applying your perfumes the right way can help you make the most of them. From spraying your fragrance on your pulse points to choosing the right fragrances, these key tips can help you get your scent to last longer (and be more noticeable).