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How Long Does Aftershave Last Before It Goes Off?

Men's Grooming
Sunday, 10th February, 2019

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? It’s not an uncommon question, and it’s one which usually gets a few different answers.

If you believe what the manufacturers tell you, the lifespan of cologne bottles is 24 – 36 months, depending on the brand. It will tell you on the base of your bottle, there’s usually a sticker. The symbol you want to look out for is a bottle outline which is opened, and it will usually state 24m or 36m, signifying 24 or 36 months.

But is this the case? What happens after 2 or 3 years?

Does Aftershave Go Off?

In my experience, no. In my opinion, the labelling on the bottle with the expiry date could be there for either safety, or as part of marketing to get you to buy more bottles. I have got some bottles which are over 10 years old, and they smell as good as they did when I first got them.

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.

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.


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.

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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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