The Craziest Wives Tales for Wearing & Storing Perfume

Spraying perfume on pulse points used to be somewhat of a wives tale, but it turned out to be true because the warmth of these areas speeds up the evolution of the scent. While this doesn’t seem “crazy,” there are other wives tales that seem to be “off the wall” and they cover everything from how to wear perfume to how to store it.

But what is true, what isn’t, and what is just plan crazy?

You’re about to find out.

Old Wives Tales: How to Wear Your Perfume

It seems the ladies figured it out long ago when they started spraying perfume on their hair. Believe it or not, your hair holds fragrance much longer. You don’t have to worry too much about the alcohol in the perfume drying out your hair, as all you need is a mist and the job is done.

Unfortunately, one area where the ladies got it wrong was with rubbing the wrists together after applying perfume. It turns out that the wrist rub can change the performance of the fragrance on your skin by spoiling the top notes.

The molecules of the top notes are so light that friction can mix the oils of the skin with the perfume and “rush the fragrance.” This fast forwards scent evolution and goes straight to the heart of the fragrance. In other words, you’re shortening the life of the scent.

No one wants to do that.

If you want to really get down and dirty when it comes to old wives tales about wearing perfume, check out the history of people using perfume in warfare. They would sprinkle it over clothes, beds, sofas, garlands, shoes, jewelry, or anything their target would touch in an effort to poison them. Yes, this meant there were a few more ingredients in the bottles that you wouldn’t want to be there today.

Old Wives Tales: Storing Perfume the Right Way

Unless it’s the sixth century BCE and you are creating a perfume potion to poison your enemy or sprinkle the earth with it in an effort to cure it of poison, you want to keep your favorite fragrance in a cool, dry place.  

However, women frequently left their perfumes sitting on their vanities in order to show off their collections. This could be a sign of status, but this was actually ruining the scents. If there are rapid temperature fluctuations or a lot of sunlight, the appearance and scent can be compromised.

Fortunately, back when the ice box started being a thing, women would hide their perfumes in the refrigerator instead of out in the open. One reason why they did this was to protect their pricey investment. Interestingly, not everyone realized that they were prolonging the life of their favorite fragrances, giving them more bang for their buck.

What? The Wives Were On To Something?

As you can tell, the old wives tales panned out most of the time. It seems they knew what they were talking about when it came to many things. Perhaps, this was due to a lot of trial and error over time.

What we must consider is that these tales originated in the times when women were figuring out how to best wear and store their perfumes because money had to stretch. Yes, they were wearing their fragrances for special occasions rather than daily like we do today, but they could get by with that when using the right storage methods.

In cases where perfume bottles were darker in color, they could successfully display their favorite fragrances for a while. This and other “tales” like spraying your fragrance on your hair and storing your perfume in the refrigerator are all rules of thumb you can use now when buying perfumes that you want to make last for as long as possible.

Why You Shouldn’t Save Your Perfume for Special Occasions

Do you have that perfume that you only wear for special occasions? If so, what do you consider a “special day?” There are many people that have that one bottle of perfume that lasts for many years because they only wear it when they feel the occasion calls for it.

What you might not know is that perfume has a shelf life. That means hanging on to that favorite fragrance for years on end is doing more harm than good. Just make every day a special occasion and you won’t find yourself tossing a once perfectly good bottle of perfume in the trash.

How Long Does It Take Perfume to Go Bad?

What most people don’t know is how long a fragrance can live. The truth is that a fragrance can last an average of 3 to 5 years, but that’s not a rule of thumb. Fragrances have many qualities that can affect their shelf life. Some perfumes are like a fine wine that gets better with age, while others simply can’t stand the test of time.

How you store your perfume also comes into play. If you store it out of direct sunlight, you are in business because sunlight is perfume’s worst enemy. You also want to make sure you store it away from radiators and other sources of heat.

In other words, keep your perfume in a bedroom drawer. Some people will keep it in their refrigerator because oxygen, abrupt temperature changes, heat, and light destroy perfume.

That’s a lot of work to preserve perfume.

When Should You Toss Perfume In the Trash?

So, when should you throw perfume away? Just talking about perfume being tossed in the garbage is sinful. Again, make every day a special day so you don’t have to worry about throwing away a favorite fragrance.

But, if you must hang on to one for a while or you already have, here are the three things that will tell you whether a perfume is good or bad:

  1. Simply smell it to see if it smells “strange.” Either the scent is “off” or completely gone when it’s bad. If it smells fine, keep it and use it before it goes bad.
  • Check out the color to see if it has changed. If the color is darker, this means the fragrance is altered.
  • Take a look at the label to see what is inside. If the ingredients include citrus notes, then the shelf life is shorter than a fragrance without citrus because citrus evaporates faster. The notes that last the longest include woody, oriental, cypre, and oud, but those with all natural ingredients with no preservatives won’t last long either.

But What About Fragrances That are Over 100 Years Old?

Yes, it’s true that there have been fragrances recovered that are hundreds and even thousands of years old. It’s obvious that these fragrances were used for special occasions because they still exist in some form. You can’t really knock these fragrance conservators for the fact that perfumes weren’t as abundant in their times.

girl spraying perfume

There are even recovered perfumes that have never been opened, which are sought after by collectors. Unfortunately, your Burberry perfume will most likely not become a collector’s item in your lifetime, so you might as well enjoy it before someone does in 150 years in which it would lose its scent and never leave the bottle.

There is a degree of sadness in a bottle of perfume that wasn’t thoroughly enjoyed by its owner.

Enjoy Your Perfume Today, Tomorrow, and Every Day

So, don’t hang on to your perfume like Scrooge McDuck does the cash in his money bin. Find fragrances that you love and wear them to your heart’s content. They are here for you to enjoy every day rather than once in a while.

Be known for smelling nice all the time rather than only smelling nice on certain days. You won’t regret it.