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How to store your perfume properly

Harper's Bazaar (UK) logo Harper's Bazaar (UK) 08/11/2018 Becci Vallis, Jessica Vince
 

a person sitting at a table with a vase of flowers: Why keeping it in the closet might be your best bet © Getty Images Why keeping it in the closet might be your best bet Whether you’ve found ‘the one’ and are still wearing the same Eau de Parfum you discovered in your adolescence or are a serial scenter who matches your perfume to your outfit, occasion or mood, know this: there’s a way to make your perfume smell even better.

Yes, just by storing it correctly you can prolong the intensity of those well-crafted notes.

It also means you can get away with using less so if you’re trying to justify the price tag of your new favourite perfume, then here’s your voice of reasoning. Plus, you’ll never have to leave a half-used bottle to gather dust because it doesn’t smell quite like it used to. 

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Here’s your fragrance need-to-know...

Does it matter where you store your perfume?

Just by storing it correctly you can prolong the intensity of those well-crafted notes. © Getty Just by storing it correctly you can prolong the intensity of those well-crafted notes. In a word, yes. In the same way your moisturiser is affected by temperature, perfume can alter depending on if it's too hot, humid or the temperature is constantly changing. Bathrooms are firmly out of the question, as is anywhere in direct sunlight. The bottle may look prettier when glistening in sunlight, but it’s doing nothing for the juice inside. The ideal place? Somewhere with a constant and cool temperature, recommends fragrance consultant and expert Nick Gilbert. “Ideally store your scent in the box it came in to protect it from heat and light and if it comes with a cap, keep that on too.”

Do natural vs synthetic notes make a difference?

Most fragrances contain a blend of molecular ingredients and natural extracts that are at risk of oxidising or ‘going off’. However, perfumes that are completely natural are more likely to oxidise quicker so it’s crucial you respect the ingredients and store them correctly.

Are there any ingredients that are more susceptible to going off?

According to Gilbert, citrus ingredients are the worst offenders. It helps if they’re part of a blend, as the other ingredients will protect them, but it’s something to think about if you’re investing in a new perfume. If you’re not sure you’ll use it up in the next six months, proceed with caution (or buy the smaller size bottle).

a group of clear glasses of wine: Beauty SOS: how to store your perfume properly © Rosmarie Wirz - Getty Images Beauty SOS: how to store your perfume properly

How do you know if your perfume’s passed its best before?

Once you’ve broken the seal, your perfume will smell spectacular for around a year (unless it’s solely made up of citrus ingredients). Every perfume is different, of course, but you’ll know by the change in scent. “Depending on the ingredients, they may start to develop a ‘fishy’ or ‘minty’ odour if they’re citrusy, a fatty odour for some woods, or a curry powder note for some floral materials,” says Gilbert.

Does the colour of the bottle make a difference?

Thought the bottle was just part of the branding? As well as swaying your decision on whether you even want to choose that perfume, the design of the bottle has a massive impact on preserving the ingredients inside. Clear bottles might look chic, but they’re like a fast-forward button for deterioration because the sunlight can beam straight in. So if you want your scent to go the distance, make a beeline for opaque or dark bottles.

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If I go on holiday, will the temperature change be a problem?

If you’re going skiing, you should be a-ok, cooler climes aren’t the enemy here. If however you’re jetting off somewhere where the forecast is 24/7 sunshine, beware. “Extremes of heat will start to denature the materials in the fragrance, effectively cooking them and turning them rancid quicker,” warns Gilbert. The best thing to do when you check-in is to hunt out the mini-bar and stash your bottle there. By keeping it at a constant, cool temperature you’ll help to preserve your fragrance.

What about your ‘special occasion’ scent?

© Getty Sadly, as soon as there is space inside the bottle and oxygen makes contact with the fragrance, the clock is ticking on how long the potency of those notes will last. “Don’t save a fragrance for best, use it and enjoy it because you may end up going back to it in years to come and it will have turned,” says Gilbert.

In short: keep your fragrances in the dark, once you’ve started spritzing see it through until the end, and if your fragrance starts to smell more like turmeric than tuberose it could be time to move on…

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