You’ve probably heard that perfumes are best stored in a cool, dark place. But you might have wondered just how cool or dark the place should be. For instance, is the freezer an appropriate spot?
Alcohol is the main ingredient in perfume. Because of this, perfume can only freeze at the extremely low temperature of -174.6℉ (-114.7℃). Domestic freezers won’t get this cold. Antarctica isn’t even this cold. Therefore, perfume could only freeze under laboratory conditions using an industrial freezer.
Keep reading to learn why you probably won’t want to freeze your perfume, anyway.
Can Perfume Freeze Solid?
If you look at the back of your perfume bottle, you’ll notice that alcohol is the first ingredient. Water is usually second. That means there’s more alcohol than any other ingredient in your perfume.
Perfumers use food-grade ethyl alcohol, also called ethanol, in their fragrance formulas.
It’s odorless and safe for the skin. And it’s the same type of alcohol used for alcoholic beverages.
Perfume can have 20% to 40% of aromatic compounds. Eau de parfum usually has between 15% to 20% of fragrance. The remainder of the solution is mostly ethanol. There can be more than 50% and up to 85% of alcohol in either perfume or eau de parfum.
Only trace amounts of water are added to perfume, since it’s the most saturated fragrance you can buy. Under 5% of water is added to eau de parfum.
And then there are trace amounts of solvents added to prolong and preserve the scent.
That said, perfume couldn’t freeze in the way that water in an ice cube tray could.
In order to freeze perfume solid, it would have to be placed in a freezer that goes down to the very low temperature of -174.6℉ (-114.7℃).
The average person doesn’t have access to such a freezer. And humans wouldn’t even be able to withstand such temperatures. According to satellite data, the coldest place on earth right now is the Eastern Antarctic Plateau in Antarctica. It’s temperature was last reported to be -137.2℉ (-94℃).
For perspective, the typical domestic freezer can get as cold as 0℉ (-18℃).
So placing perfume in your freezer would cause it to get cold, but it won’t freeze.
What Might Cause Perfume to Freeze?
Of course it’s possible for your perfume to freeze if it’s composed of a different formula. If there’s less alcohol than there is water, then it could more readily freeze.
Water freezes because it forms strong molecular bonds that causes it to freeze at 0℉ (-18℃).
Alcohol doesn’t form such strong bonds. The more alcohol that’s present, the weaker the intermolecular bond, and the lower the temperature needed for the liquid to freeze.
So the exact freezing point for our perfume can be higher or lower than what’s mentioned here. But overall, it’s still unlikely that your perfume would ever freeze solid.
Is It Helpful to Freeze Perfume?
There’s a lot of online debate about whether or not freezing perfume actually causes it to last longer or damage it altogether.
If you were to mistakenly leave your perfume out in the car on a cold winter night, then it wouldn’t get damaged.
You would simply need to allow it to come back up to room temperature before using it.
Keeping perfume in a cold temperature wouldn’t have the same effect as storing it in a warmer temperature. You should always keep perfume out of direct sunlight and out of humid conditions. But placing it in the freezer, or even the refrigerator, won’t definitively offer any benefits.
There’s still no confirmation that keeping perfume that cool would enhance its performance or prolong its use.
Not to mention, if you store perfume in a freezer, it would be uncomfortable to use. You would either have to spray on a very cool mist of perfume each morning, or you’d have to allow yourself time for it to come down to room temperature before applying it every day.
Neither option sounds appealing to me.
In short, fragrances should not be exposed to extreme temperatures. While freezing perfume won’t permanently damage it, the extreme cold won’t be of benefit either.
Where Should You Store Perfume?
It’s still best to store perfume in a cool, dry place but the word cool might be misleading.
Instead of cool, think, room temperature. Locate a space in your home that isn’t too hot or too cold. And you want to avoid humidity.
So avoid storing your perfume in the bathroom. You’ll also want to avoid a dresser or shelf that gets direct sunlight.
That leaves closets and drawers. These are two of the best places to store your perfume. You won’t have to worry about fluctuations in temperature, humidity, or direct sunlight.