View Full Version : Are Vintage Fragrances Safe To Use?

07-17-2013, 01:34 PM
I recently acquired some vintage colognes and am wondering if they are still safe to use? A few don't smell right so, I will naturally avoid them.

I am talking 40+ yr old colognes/perfumes that look, smell alright. Does anyone know the "shelf life" when it comes to fragrance?

07-17-2013, 02:04 PM
Why shouldn't they be safe? I think the only thing that can happen is that they lose their smell or the smell turns bad.
Fragrances usually consist mainly of essence oils and alcohol - I'm not a chemist but I don't think these ingredients are able to turn into something harmful.

Stanley Doble
07-17-2013, 08:22 PM
I would suspect the alcohol would evaporate unless the bottle was hermetically sealed. You might need to dilute with fresh alcohol to restore the original strength.

Incidentally this happens with shoe polish too. If you have a can of shoe polish that is dried out, hard and cracked add some varsol, paint thinner or Stoddard solvent and put the can away for a few days. It will become as good as new.

Stanley Doble
07-17-2013, 08:24 PM
On second thoughts the lighter elements of the perfume could evaporate with the alcohol.

07-18-2013, 03:15 AM
That sounds logical. But do you think the remains could do any harm?

Stanley Doble
07-18-2013, 11:32 AM
I don't see how, but then I am no chemist or cosmetic expert. I would give it a try, but if it was obviously gone bad, throw it away.