Can Perfumes Freeze? The Surprising Truth Finally Revealed!

Most of us, at least at some point of time, have heard that our perfumes need to be stored in a cool, dry and dark place – such as the fridge! But what about keeping it in a freezer? Can perfumes freeze? If so, how cold does it need to be for a perfume to freeze?

Most perfumes freeze when subjected to sub 0℃ temperatures (32℉). However, the freezing point will vary based on the alcohol content of the perfume. If your perfume freezes, let it sit at room temperature for 6-12 hours before using it.

Yet there are many nuances to understanding the exact temperature at which perfumes freeze. In this article, I do a deep-dive into why some people recommend storing their fragrances in the fridge, and whether you should make the same choice!

Does Temperature Affect Perfume?

The temperature has a direct impact on perfume’s chemistry. Since fragrances are essentially volatile compounds (with a molecular weight of less than 300 Da) subtle differences in their chemical composition create distinct scents. Extreme changes in temperature harm a perfume’s delicate balance. 

Heat especially is the worst enemy of perfume as it can break down a perfume’s original chemistry.

To best preserve a perfume, it is ideal to store it between 54℉ to 72℉ (i.e. 12℃ to 22℃). Certain Citrus based perfumes can be stored at as low as 39℉ (4℃). 

In fact, when exposed to sunlight, heat, and UV rays, the perfume’s top notes will evaporate sooner than expected, and – over time – you might see a darkening of the perfume, some cloudiness, and sometimes excessive oiliness. 

However, cold temperatures are also not a perfume’s friend!

At What Temperature Does Perfume Freeze?

Perfumes can freeze at varying temperatures. High alcohol-based perfumes freeze at approximately -90℉ to -130℉ (approx -68℃ to -90℃). However, low alcohol or water-based perfume can freeze at as high as -28℉ (-2℃). Usually, higher alcohol content in the perfume means a lower freezing temperature.

Perfumes are made up of essential oils, alcohol and a certain fraction of water. Each has its own freezing point. However, an approximate freezing point of your perfume will depend on the quantity of perfume oil and alcohol mixed in it.

Here is a quick reference table indicating the temperature at which perfume freezes :

Type of PerfumeConcentrated Perfume Oil (Fragrance Content %)Alcohol and any other Blends (Content %)WaterFreezing Point (Approx.)
Parfum (Extrait de Parfum or Pure Perfume)15% to 40% 60% to 85%Traces-90 (-68C and below
Eau de Parfum (EDP)15% to 20%80% to 85%2% to 3% -90C and below
Eau de Toilette (EDT)5% to 15%60% to 80%10% to 35%-68C and below
Eau de Cologne (EDC)2% to 5%70% to 85%5% to 15%-80C and below
Eau Fraiche1% to 3%Traces 97% to 99%-2C and below

It is important to note that while Parfum usually has the highest concentration of oil, 40% concentration is rarely sold. Usually, the fragrance content would be in the range of 20% to 30%. 

Furthermore, Eau Fraiche and other water based perfume freeze at close to the freezing temperatures of water i.e. 0℃ (32℉) since it largely consists of water.

Is it Okay for Perfume to Freeze?

It is not recommended to subject any type of perfume to freezing temperatures. 

Scents are made of small molecules that float in the air. These molecules are combined with diffusers such as alcohol to allow us to smell them. The chemistry of these molecules gets affected when frozen or subjected to heat. 

Furthermore, you will never know exactly what essential oils have been used in your perfume. So, even though it may survive the temperature of your freezer, freezing a perfume will most definitely alter its quality.

Does Cold Weather Ruin Perfume?

Cold weather will not ruin a high alcohol based perfume unless you are experiencing frigid temperatures of -76℉ (-60℃) and below. However, water based or low alcohol based perfumes may crystallize when exposed to sub 0℃ temperatures (32℉).

You can leave your perfume in the mailbox or a car in the cold weather overnight. But, do not keep it there for a prolonged period of time as humidity will oxidize the fragrance and it will lose its potency. 

Can you Store Perfume in the Fridge?

Many people keep their perfumes in the fridge hoping it lasts longer. However, it may not necessarily be so.

You can store perfume in the fridge if you stay in hot or humid locations where ideal storage temperature can not be achieved. The ideal temperature for storing perfumes is between 54℉ to 72℉ (i.e. 12℃ to 22℃). However, a typical household fridge provides a temperature range of 35℉ (2℃) to 46℉ (8℃).

That said, even though you can store perfume in the fridge, it may not necessarily be the best choice. 

Perfumes should be stored in a dark, dry, and cool closet with ideal storing temperature range. It should be in a place where it is not moved a lot and can stand upright as it came in the box. Ideally, keep it in the original box as it will keep the perfume dry and minimize exposure to sunlight and UV rays. 

Many people also like to keep perfumes handy and store it on top of their dresser or office desk drawer. However, that will just reduce the potency of the perfume. Some of the top notes – typically citrus-based – may evaporate due to exposure to the light and the constant shaking or movement of its contents.  

Even a bathroom ledge is not a good place for perfume as the steam from a hot shower – essentially the humid air – will mix in with the alcohol and help it to evaporate into the air faster.

Can Cologne Freeze?

Colognes freeze when subjected to an extreme temperature of -112℉ (-80℃) due to its high alcohol content. Thus, cold weather or a household fridge will not freeze the cologne. However, the glass or crystal bottle containing the cologne can become very cold and might shatter if not handled carefully.

Many people like a cold splash of cologne and hence like to keep it in the fridge. So you can store it there as long as you do not expose it to constant changes in temperature. 

However, it is best recommended not to store your cologne in the freezer but rather store it outside the freezer in your fridge.

Final Thoughts

Perfumes are really delicate and complex compounds. The behaviour of your perfume can greatly depend on its constituents such as alcohol used while its production. While higher alcohol can mean a lower freezing temperature, a perfume with high concentration (of essential oil) can be very sensitive to marginal temperate swings.

Perfumes like Eau De Colognes and Eau De Toilette are more robust and can be stored in the fridge without any real worry. Either way, it is best to store perfumes in an ideal temperature range and avoid fluctuations in temperature.

So there you have it! I hope this article has been helpful. Consider reading some of our other articles on the website to learn more!

Credit for the Featured Image

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