Great question, CC! The short answer is 3-5 years, but the better answer is a little more complicated. First, you need to identify exactly what strength your fragrance is. This is important because each fragrance strength has a different essential oil (aromatic compounds) to alcohol ratio. Fragrances with more alcohol will have a longer shelf life because alcohol acts as a preservative.
- Parfum has the highest concentration of essential oils (approx. 20-30%) and the least amount of alcohol, which is why it is the most fragrant. However, this also means it has the shortest shelf life. Luckily, parfums are usually sold in smaller bottles. Expect your parfum to maintain its integrity for around 3 years.
- Eau de Parfum has the next highest concentration of essential oils (usually around 15%), and slightly more alcohol. While this makes Eau de Parfum last longer (around 4 years), it also means it doesn't have as strong a scent, so you have to use slightly more. I prefer Eau de parfums because of the balance between strength, cost, and shelf life.
- The weakest concentration of essential oils (approx. 10%) can be found in Eau de Toilettes. Since these fragrances have the highest alcohol content, they last the longest (5+ years). However, most people go through Eau de Toilettes quickly because they spray more on to make up for the weaker concentration of fragrance.
This concludes the first installation of "Ask Tara." Thanks again to CC for the excellent question! If you have a question you would like answered, please feel free to leave a comment or email me at email@example.com. I love to hear from my readers and help out my online friends!
Want to know more ways to get the most out of your perfume? Check out my previous post: How to Properly Apply Perfume!