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How Long Does Aftershave Last Before It Goes Off?

Men's Grooming
Friday, 1st March, 2024

How Long Does Aftershave Last Before Going Off?

If you have fragrances such as aftershave, EDT, EDP and cologne, you’ve probably thought at some point, how long does it last in the bottled once opened, and does it go off?

If you check the bottom of any bottle of any bottle of aftershave you’ll see that there’s an open jar sign indicating how long the fragrance should last before it expires. This is usually 24m or 36m, meaning, 24 months and 36 months respectively.

This is the manufacturers guide on the lifespan of the cologne inside the bottle.

But is this accurate?

In testing, aftershave can last anything from 2 years to well over 20 years, and there’s plenty of proof of that.

The timeframe from when an aftershave goes from good to bad depends on a number of factors, including how it’s stored, the composition of the perfume and the type of scent it is.

Does Aftershave Go Off?

I have some aftershave and cologne bottles that are over 15 years old. I still use them every now and then, and they smell just the same.

In fact, there’s so many people with vintage bottles of perfume who’ve said they’ve had them over 25 years and they still smell good.

Take an old scent, my beloved Gucci Envy. This is discontinued, and has been for some time. I bought my last bottle around 2009, and I use it sparingly.

It still works well, it still smells good, and it’s definitely not “off”.

Do they become less powerful or lose potency over time? – It’s very hard to tell. Some will, and some won’t.

In my own experience it’s incredibly hard to tell, if they do, it’s negligible in my experience.

It will also depend on the scent style and formulation itself. There could be some which last longer than others, for example strong woody and musky scents vs the more fresh aquatic scents.

You do have to take care of the bottles, which is what I will go on to next.

Does Cologne Really Go Off After 36 Months?

Taking Care Of Your Fragrances To Make Them Last Longer

It’s not impossible for your bottles to go off, it can happen if you don’t store them correctly or take care of them.

If you have them sitting proudly on a shelf in direct sunlight, it may look really cool, but it will seriously deteriorate the fragrance inside, and shorten it’s life.

At the very least it will become discoloured, and you’ll not want to use it.

You should also not expose them to a lot of heat, so don’t keep them next to a radiator or somewhere which gets hot a lot.

The best place to store your fragrances is somewhere relatively cool, away from any light. A drawer is a great place to start, and it’s where I keep mine.

It’s worth noting that all fragrances are not created equally, and some will do better over time than others.

For one thing, there’s cologne, EDT, EDP and parfum, all of these are different concentrations of the perfume, so will age at different rates (read my post about the differences between EDT, EDP and Parfum)

Then there’s the ingredients themselves – Some use natural ingredients which are considered by fragrance snobs as better quality and premium, but may have a shorter life than the artificial synthetic types of ingredients some scents use.

To recap, for storing your fragrances correctly to prolong them you should:

  • Keep them in a cool, dry place
  • Keep them in a dark place, not in direct sunlight
  • A good place is a drawer or cabinet


Your fragrance should last the life of the bottle, if you store it correctly and look after it. If you use one or two bottles frequently you’ll need to replenish them faster than they’ll run out.

When it comes to how long aftershave lasts on your skin, that is another story completely. You’ll have to check out that blog post to find out, spoiler alert…It depends!

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Michael Adams

About Michael

Michael Adams is the founder and editor of Michael 84, blogger from Newcastle, UK. Sharing men's fashion tips, style advice and lifestyle information for all guys.

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