Perfume is delicate: The fragrance oils, essential oils, and alcohols in perfume can easily break down, causing the scent to change or disappear. A name-brand is an expensive purchase, and the buyer usually intends for it to last for a long time. However, when a fragrance turns, whether from excess heat or simply sitting too long, it can smell completely different than at the time of purchase. Larger bottles of perfume, which take longer to use up, are even more susceptible to the effects of poor storage. So, it might actually be cost effective to buy a smaller bottle. Fortunately, it is relatively easy to store perfume correctly. Check with individual brands for general shelf life information. If stored properly, most perfumes keep their scent for at least one to two years before degrading.
1. Do Keep Perfume Bottles Away From Direct Light
Well-designed perfume bottles made from glass are tempting to display out in the open. However, direct sunlight can quickly degrade the perfume. Some packaged in dark or opaque bottles can be left out, and some bathrooms may be dark enough to keep the perfume in good condition, but it is often not worth the risk. Generally, the darker the location, the better a perfume will keep. If a perfume or essential oil blend is stored in an amber colored bottle, rather than a clear glass bottle, that will actually help keep the oil blend from direct sunlight and thus will preserve the perfume for longer.
2. Don't Expose Perfume Bottles to Heat
Heat, like light, breaks down the chemical bonds that give a perfume its scent. Direct heat is not only bad for the fragrance, but it can warp or melt plastic bottles, and even lower heat over the long term breaks down perfume. It is crucial to keep a perfume collection away from any heat vents or radiators.
3. Do Store Perfume at a Consistent Temperature
It may seem like a good idea to store perfume in a refrigerator, where it is safe from all heat and light. However, this method can be just as bad for perfume: The constant temperature fluctuations from removing the perfume from the fridge to use it and then replacing it destroy the perfume. While a cool environment is best, anything that is significantly colder than room temperature puts stress on the perfume.
4. Do Keep Perfume Away from Humidity
Most people store perfume in the bathroom, where it is used most often. Unfortunately, excessive humidity can break down perfume, and when the bath or shower turns on and disperses hot water throughout the room, it is bad for the perfume. In fact, even makeup stored in a humid bathroom also breaks down more quickly. Bathroom storage is acceptable only if there is a cabinet or corner safe from steam. When in doubt, find a space in a dry room, like the bedroom, for storage.
5. Don't Open and Close Perfume Excessively
Because air, humidity, and temperature changes can affect perfume, it should be kept with its cap on and sealed in its protective bottle as much as possible. Some brands even use bottle designs that cannot be opened and can only be sprayed, which is the safest for preserving the fragrance. Use the atomizer spray for a perfume as much as possible, and avoid opening and closing the bottle too often. Exposing the perfume to its environment damages it.
6. Don't Shake Perfume Bottles
It is a myth that perfume must be shaken before use. In fact, the opposite is true: Unless the manufacturer states otherwise, perfumes are combined to remain evenly mixed, if stored properly. Shaking the bottle not only incorporates air throughout, thereby accelerating its breakdown, but it can also lead to breakage of delicate glass bottles. Keep the perfume ritual simple.
7. Do Use Applicators as Little as Possible
Perfumes that are not sprayed or misted are applied with a roller ball or by dabbing an applicator wand to the skin. These types of applications can actually introduce small amounts of dirt and oils back into the perfume bottle. While many women prefer the precision of using an applicator, using a spray is better for the perfume. Women who feel strongly about direct application can find disposable applicator wands, which will not introduce new oils into the perfume after each use. Women can also wash off the applicator after each use, to keep it clean and free from contaminants.
8. Don't Store Fragile Bottles on High Shelves
Perfume manufacturers spend a lot of time designing the perfect bottle. Often, the latter is a small work of art in of itself, and many people love to display theirs. Not only is this bad because it exposes the bottle to light, but it can also lead to more spills and breaks. And remember, hot air rises, and too much heat damages that beloved bottle of Clinique Happy or Chanel Number 5. Because perfume bottles are small and light, they are easily knocked over. Bottles that do not break get jarred, which can affect the perfume as well.
9. Do Use Linen Closets or Decorative Boxes
Linen closets are a great place to store fragrances. They are dark, free from excessive humidity, and they keep perfume bottles protected from bumps and falls. Unfortunately, not all women have the space in a linen closet, and a high-use closet can lead to more chances for an accident to happen. Decorative boxes are another good way to store perfume. The boxes protect the bottle from any environmental factors and may be easily moved and stored. Keep the cap on so as to avoid accidentally dispersing the scent throughout the room.
10. Do Buy a Travel Container
If possible, purchase a small bottle to carry. Many popular perfume brands, such as Estee Lauder and Guess, sell popular fragrances in travel-friendly bottles. Otherwise, buy an empty bottle or, better yet, use a clean sample atomizer. Spray or pour a small amount of the perfume into this bottle. Since it will be subject to movement by necessity, setting aside a portion keeps the rest of the original perfume safe at home. Women who like to re-apply perfume throughout the day should definitely consider a small, travel bottle to take with them.
Finding Perfume on eBay
Finding perfume on eBay is easy. Look for the search box on any site page and enter keywords, such as "Perfume" or "Chanel No. 5." The search results page shows all the items available on the site that match the keywords. Results can also be sorted by price, brand, and perfume name. eBay's categories also make it easy to quickly see perfumes designed for men or women. If you are looking for a specific perfume or fragrances in general, use the search bar to find men's and women's fragrances.
New or Used Perfume on eBay
While eBay offers new and used perfumes, those particularly concerned about proper storage may want to avoid used products since it may not be possible to determine how the perfume was previously stored. Perfumes still in the original box are likely the best protected because most sealed boxes completely block out light. However, some packaging does not protect the bottle from light or heat, so it is always best to check a picture of the packaging before assuming that brand new perfume has been well protected.
Those looking to buy used perfume should pay close attention to the description: Some sellers may describe how the perfume has been stored, and it is possible to find a great deal on a good perfume by finding well-cared-for used options. Look for spray bottles because roll-on applicators that have been used may have already transferred oils from the owner's skin into the perfume.
Other Perfume Options on eBay
If the thought of caring for a perfume seems too complicated, eBay has many other fragrance items that are more resilient. Body sprays, for example, are often less delicate than perfumes while still offering pleasant scents. Body sprays are typically packaged in plastic bottles, so they are not prone to breakage like glass perfume bottles. Body sprays are also made from different types of ingredients that are less delicate. In fact, many body sprays are designed to be used on the go, so a person looking for a good travel scent can consider a body spray if properly caring for a fine perfume is too challenging.
eBay also has a wide variety of refillable bottles, which can be used for travel or everyday use. These bottles come in glass or plastic. Most have atomizers or sprays, which helps preserve the perfume.
With the proper care and storage, perfume can last for years and retain its original scent. However, all perfume does expire over time, especially as brands make conscious efforts to include fewer preservatives and more natural ingredients. Anyone making the purchase of an expensive perfume should review these rules to get the most out of their investment.