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I have to confess. Lately, I have been mesmerised by body mists. I love the way they smell. I love the way they feel on my skin. And I really LOVE how many different fragrances are available on the market. It’s a whole new world… And like any good fan, I had to try them out. From citrus and fruity to tropical fragranced body mists, I have collected enough to last for a few seasons. Yet, looking at the rows of bottles neatly stacked on my dresser, I wondered how long do they last? Do body mists expire?
Just like any beauty product, body mists do expire. Their longevity depends on the composition of the product, packaging and how they are stored. While some body mists expire in a year, others can last much longer. Two years is the average shelf life of a body mist.
But how can I tell that my body mist has actually expired, you ask? Here is all you need to know why body mists expire, the common telltale signs they have expired, and how to store them properly.
Why Do Body Mists Expire?
There is a number of reasons that can affect the shelf life of the body mist. Sunlight, fluctuating temperature and humidity are among the most common reasons for the formula of the body mist to break down.
However, fragrance oxidation remains the number one cause for body mists to degrade. Once the body mist has been opened, spritzing the product over your body allows air to enter the bottle.
Aldehydes are air-sensitive molecules often found in fragrance compositions. In the presence of oxygen, these molecules can undergo auto-oxidative decomposition, leading to an increasing amount of radical chain reactions. This degradation process can result in discolouration, viscosity changes, malodor and decreased efficacy of a fragrance composition (1,2).
Perfumers are well aware of these effects and often add fixatives to body mists, which help to slow down the evaporation of more volatile compounds in fragrance and make the scents last longer. These usually include musks and base note fragrances with more complex molecules such as benzoin, sandalwood or myrrh. You can learn more about them here.
How To Tell Your Body Mist Expired
As mentioned earlier, oxidation of your favourite body mist can change the colour, overall scent and even cause skin irritation. Let’s take a closer look.
Change of colour: The first sign your body mist has expired is a change in colour. The combination of oxidation and light can cause the body mist to turn darker.
Change of overall scent: The smell can also change due to oxidation – it sometimes becomes metallic, acidic or sour. These changes take place over some time. You might not even notice it, as our noses often get used to the scents we wear regularly and don’t even notice them.
Skin irritation: oxidation of your body mist can also increase the chance of skin irritation from fragrance. For example, the linalool in lavender oil can worsen contact dermatitis when oxidised and applied to the skin (3).
How to Store Body Mists
Sadly, once the bottle has been opened, spritzing a mist over your body allows air to enter the bottle, degrading the fragrance over time. Saying that there is a thing or two you can do to ensure your body mists last longer. Here are a few tips.
- Keep body mist bottles away from heat and humidity: Even though body mists look lovely when stacked up on shelves in your bathroom, the fluctuating temperature in the room and humid air will escalate the rate at which they degrade. Instead, keep them in a cool, dry place.
- Keep body mist bottle away from direct sunlight: Fragrance in body mist is sensitive to light, which can break down its fragrance molecules. Just like perfume, store your body mist in a dark and cool place.
- Try to finish one bottle of body mist before moving to another. Unlike perfumes, many body mists are alcohol-free and can be spritzed all over the body to hydrate and refresh. Hence, you will go through them much faster than the perfume. Still, if you find yourself with too many on your hands as I have, fish one before moving to another bottle. When half empty, air in the bottle can oxidise the fragrance in the mist.
- Store them in a dry, cool place: Avoid exposing the body mists to unnecessary fluctuation in temperature, humidity and direct sunlight. A dark, cool cupboard is a perfect place.
Is It Safe to Use Expired Body Mist?
Many body mists will last past their expiration date. However, applying them to your skin can cause irritation and even trigger allergic reactions if they are oxidised. Always do a patch test first by spritzing a small amount of the product onto a clear skin patch, like the inner wrist and leave it alone for 24-48 hours. If your skin turns red, itchy, or you experience any irritations, discard the product. If your skin hasn’t reacted, and you still want to use it, do so at your own risk.
Storing your body mists well is vital in preserving their longevity and overall efficacy. Check for changes in the body mist’s colour, smell, and viscosity to ensure it is safe to use.
How long does body mist fragrance last?
Body mist fragrances can last between 2-4 hours, depending on the formula. While natural body mist fragrances evaporate much quicker than those made with synthetic fragrances and alcohol. Your skin type, how you apply them and storage also plays a vital role in determining how long the body mist fragrance will last. You can read more about it here.
How to use body mists?
Primarily, body mists are used to refresh and rehydrate the skin. However, their primary benefit is dictated by the formula. When choosing your body mist ask yourself what role you want it to play in your skincare routine? Does your skin need a boost of hydration? Add an aromatherapy experience? Are you looking for an all-natural body mist? Read more here.