A Handy Guide to Perfume Bottle Sizes
Determining How Big a Bottle of Perfume Is
Many online shoppers ask about the various sizes of perfume bottles. Depending on where you shop, some perfumes are advertised in fluid ounces (fl oz or FL. OZ.), whilst others are advertised in millilitres (mL). This can be a bit confusing, so I thought I would create a handy list of the most common perfume bottle sizes and their equivalent measures. These equivalents are the same for cologne.
Actual Perfume Bottle Sizes by Ounces and Millilitres
In order to determine the size of the product if it is not posted, you will have to check the label (sometimes on the bottom of the bottle or on the packaging). Also, colour, bottle shape and design may visually obscure the true volume of the fragrance you are buying. As you'll see in the photos below, bottles of different shapes and designs will hold the same amount of fragrance.
Common Bottle Sizes
- 0.05 FL. OZ. or 1.5 mL
- 0.17 FL. OZ. or 5 mL
- 0.5 FL. OZ. or 15 mL
- 0.8 FL. OZ. or 25 mL
- 1 FL. OZ. or 30 mL
- 1.4 FL. OZ. or 40 mL
- 1.7 FL. OZ. or 50 mL
- 2 FL. OZ. or 60 mL
- 2.5 FL. OZ. or 75 mL
- 2.7 FL. OZ. or 80 mL
- 3 FL. OZ. or 90 mL
- 3.4 FL. OZ. or 100 mL
- 4.2 FL. OZ. or 125 mL
What Is the Difference Between a U.S. Fluid Ounce and U.K. Fluid Ounce?
Some perfume bottles specifically say "U.S. FL. OZ." whereas others simply say "FL. OZ." It's safe to assume that the U.S. measure is implied. There is very little difference between the U.S. FL. OZ. and U.K. FL. OZ.. Here's the difference:
- 3.4 U.S. FL. OZ. = 100.55 ml
- 3.4 U.K. FL. OZ. = 96.60 ml
U.S. vs. U.K. Fluid Ounce?
Some perfume bottles specifically say "U.S. FL. OZ." whereas others simply say "FL. OZ.," in which case, it's safe to assume that the U.S. measure is implied.
Perfume Bottle Size Chart
Number of Sprays
0.05 FL. OZ.
0.17 FL. OZ.
0.5 FL. OZ.
0.8 FL. OZ.
1 FL. OZ.
1.4 FL. OZ.
1.7 FL. OZ.
2 FL. OZ.
2.5 FL. OZ.
3 FL. OZ.
3.4 FL. OZ.
4.2 FL. OZ.
6.7 FL. OZ.
How Many Sprays Will I Get Out of My Perfume?
The general rule of thumb for fragrance atomizers is 10 sprays per mL, so your standard sample size of 1.5 mL from the perfume counter will provide you with 15 sprays. This is the same for cologne—the measurements do not change.
When Does Perfume Go Bad?
It is said that most perfumes will last 3 to 5 years, but there are things you can do to make them last even longer. If you are a regular user of fragrances, you will probably use up your perfume before the 3-year mark. Here's how to extend the life of your bottles:
- Store your bottles out of the sun in a cool, dry place. In other words, keep them out of the bathroom where humidity can be high.
- You can store your perfume in a refrigerator if you live in a warm climate. Make sure the stopper is on at all times! Sensitive foods may absorb the scent if you aren't cautious.
- Keep the stopper on at all times to control evaporation.
Tips for Determining Which Size Is Best to Buy
Whilst on the subject of perfume bottle sizes, another question I'm sometimes asked is which size is the best size to buy? There's no right or wrong answer to this question, but here's some guidance:
Keep Blind Buys Under 30 mL or 1 FL. OZ.
If you're buying a perfume for the first time, then I would recommend buying one of the smaller sizes (30 mL or 1 FL. OZ. and less). This is especially true if you are one of those people brave enough to buy a perfume online without trying it.
Even if you've actually gone into a perfume store and tried something new and liked it, I wouldn't buy the biggest size. This is also true for scents that you only wear for special occasions and don't want to wear all of the time. Consider buying something small.
Test One Fragrance for Several Hours
Chances are you tried a number of different fragrances in the same session and as they all began to mingle, your impression of an individual fragrance would have been affected.
The way a perfume smells on your skin changes the longer you wear it. So ideally, you really need to test one fragrance for several hours to know if it's going to work for your nose. Spray or spritz it on your skin to see if it's the right fit for you.
Save Money and Buy Big
Are you considering buying a favourite fragrance you wear nearly every time you go out? Then its safe to assume you already know what you're in for, so go for the biggest size you can afford. Instead of buying small quantities, purchase your favourite original or iconic scent for a decent price. Per millilitre, it works out much cheaper.
I wouldn't worry too much about the perfume going bad before you've finished it. As long as you keep the bottle cool and out of direct sunlight, it should last at least a year, especially if it is a spray bottle.
Consider a Travel Set for Your Handbag
Then, of course, there's the issue of handbag size. That's the only drawback to buying a 100 mL bottle—it's not so great for carrying around. If you really want to spoil yourself, buy a full-size bottle for your dresser and a 15 mL bottle to travel. Alternatively, look out for designers like Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent who offer some of their fragrances in handy 3 x 15 mL travel sets.
What's a Typical Sample Size?
0.05 FL. OZ. or 1.5 mL is your classic department store size—the samples you get from behind the perfume counter.
Perfume, Eau de Toilette and Cologne—What's the Difference?
What is the difference between perfume, eau de toilette and cologne? Below, I've categorized the types of fragrance by their potency:
- Perfume: The most concentrated of all scents. Perfume or parfum is oiler than other fragrances and can last up to 24 hours. It is 20–30% pure essence.
- Eau de Parfum: Lasts 5 to 8 hours and is 15–20% pure essence. It is worn by men and women.
- Eau de Toilette: 5–15% pure essence and lasts for about 3 hours.
- Eau de Cologne: 2–4% perfume oil in alcohol and water. Cologne is considered a masculine scent but is often light and floral.
What Size Perfume Bottle Can You Fly With?
According to TSA regulations, you may fly with a 3.4 FL. OZ. or a 100 mL bottle of perfume, eau de toilette or cologne. It should be bagged in a clear plastic bag in your luggage or carry-on to prevent leakage. All of your liquids need to fit into a 1-quart plastic bag if it is in a carry-on bag such as in your purse.
Why Not Get a Travel-Sized Collection?
Rather than traveling with a large bottle, it is recommended to buy a travel-sized collection (around 5 mL). These perfume sets make for perfect purse spray and offer more variety.
So, whether you want a style of perfume with floral notes, or something classic and branded like Gucci, be sure to package them in the right materials for your flight to prevent confiscation or leakage.