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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Help! My Perfume Has Sediment or is Dark

I have had the floaties in some of my old perfumes too, which is mainly due to the decomposition process of the perfume. If you collect vintage perfume you will notice some of the resins that collect in the bottom of the bottle.The sediment is actually the natural oils and essences coagulating as they start to break down. The alcohol and water inside will probably start to evaporate slowly over time and you will be left with a thick, syrupy concentrated perfume residue inside.

This is normal, particularly if your scent contains natural materials. It is caused by the continued settling over time. It is a process that happens from the disintegration and oxidation of the natural perfume ingredients and evaporation of the alcohol/water mixture. Also some (some naturals in particular) aren't completely soluble in alcohol and or water and can make their way into bottles and settle after some time of remaining still.

Natural absolutes such as jasmine absolute, which upon ageing DOES produce sediment. The book Modern Technology of Perfumes, Flavours & Essential Oils (2nd Edition) mentions that jasmine's "absolute darkens on ageing becoming deep red and deposits a greyish sediment following prolonged storage."

True cold pressed bergamot oil can contain wax sediment and a dark green brown cloudy colour. Bergamot oil may be tested as to its purity by mixing it with alcohol. It becomes pale gray-yellow, forms a sediment which adheres firmly to the vessel and, on shaking, floats about in the form of flakes. After two days the sediment is inconsiderable and difficult to divide into flakes in the clear yellow fluid by shaking.

Resins, gums and balsams will eventually ball up and float in the perfume too. Benzoin essential oil is resinous and thick and becomes more so as it ages, as does myrrh and frankincense. Essential oils produced from resins and woods tend to be thicker in viscosity. Some plant based ingredients such as patchouli, marigold, vetiver and vanilla also age into thickened resinous compounds. Some of these thicker oils can start to decompose in the perfume and coagulate, forming small dark colored balls as the water and alcohol in the perfume start evaporating. This is the beginning of the end of your perfume. If you start to notice these, you best try to finish your perfume before it completely evaporates into that syrup I mentioned before.

So to find sediment in sealed vintage perfumes is going to be a natural occurrence due to the natural ingredients used.

Now the clouding could also be natural breakdown of ingredients as well as I have had newer spray perfumes that I purchased factory sealed from authorized retailers, and somehow the clouding and or sediment process started without any tampering of the contents. Clouding in splash bottles can also mean that the perfume had water added to it to make the bottle appear more full, however, the clouding will not completely clear. If you have clouding in your spray bottles,check around the collar of the bottle to be sure it was not tampered with or removed and replaced at one time.

In the case of factices (dummy) bottles, the sediment and floaties are actually particles of bacteria from the water used in the liquid. Bacteria will not grow in bottles that contain alcohol.


With all the talk of perfumes changing color, I made a quick guide here to help explain why your scent has changed.

Essential oils tend to darken with age via a process of oxidation. if you perfume has these components, it will absolutely darken as it ages. Some of these ingredients turn dark yellow, red or brown as they age.

If an ingredient contains a a phenol as a component, and are highly subject to oxidation, thus it will darken, or redden, with age. A phenol odor is typically medicinal in character. Phenols can smell pungent and spicy such as eugenol, the characteristic odor of clove. Eugenol occurs in other natural oils such as ylang ylang, cinnamon and rose.

These natural ingredients will darken with age:

  • absinthe
  • angelica
  • anise
  • arnica
  • basilic
  • caraway
  • celery
  • chamomile
  • cinnamon bark
  • clove bud oil
  • estragole
  • eugenol
  • expressed bergamot
  • ginger
  • jasmine absolute
  • juniper
  • karo-karunde
  • labdanum
  • lavender
  • lemon
  • mint
  • myrrh
  • neroli
  • orange blossom
  • pennyroyal
  • pepper
  • peppermint
  • pimento
  • rhodium
  • rosewood
  • rue
  • sage
  • sandalwood
  • sassafras 
  • spearmint
  • spikenard
  • sweet marjoram
  • tansy
  • thyme
  • valerian
  • vanilla
  • ylang ylang




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