Fragrances are essentially a mix of alcohol, water and scented oils or in some cases, just ethanol and some precious oils. Choosing a type of fragrance can be sometimes confusing. The truth is that the higher the concentration of the oils, the longer a scent lasts on the skin and the more expensive it’s likely to be. It is also important to understand the different types of fragrance and how they interact with one’s skin, before choosing the one you want.
The main difference between types of fragrance lies in the concentration of essences. The order of highest to lowest concentration is first Perfume, second Eau de Parfum, third Eau de Toilette, and fourth Eau de Cologne.
To put it simply, Perfume, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, and Cologne are different in their concentrations of fragrance oils.
These different concentrations do not necessarily mean different levels of quality.
THE PERCENTAGE OF OILS IN THE TYPES OF FRAGRANCE
- A Cologne or sometimes called an Eau de Cologne or an Eau Fraiche is between 2-5% Perfume oil
- An Eau de Toilette is between 5-15% Perfume oil
- An Eau de Parfum is between 10-20% Perfume oil
- A Perfume or sometimes called an Extrait is between 20-40% Perfume oil
Likewise, these numbers also indicate the amount of alcohol and water used to make up the bulk of the fragrance. Now some think that this shows the longevity, meaning that a Perfume is sure to last longer than an Eau de Toilette; however, this is not always true.
Eau de Colognes are the lightest concentration, generally made up of volatile ingredients like citrus and herbs in the blend. Eau de Colognes also offer between just two to five per cent of aromatic compounds: an airy, dilute formula. Don’t expect this scent to hang around for long. You’ll be lucky to get two hours out of an eau de cologne.
Eau de toilette (a.k.a. EDT) offers somewhere between five to fifteen percent of aromatic ingredients in water/alcohol base. Two to three hours of wear is all you can reasonably expect before the last traces drift away.
Perfume or parfum – also sometimes referred to as ‘pure perfume’, ‘perfume extract’ or ‘extrait de parfum’ features somewhere between 20-40 per cent of scented perfume ingredients, along with alcohol and/or water, which explains why the ‘perfume’ version of any fragrance is always the most expensive, within a range. ‘Perfumes’/parfums are generally the longest-lasting on the skin – up to six or eight hours (and sometimes well into the next day and beyond). Parfum is really for after-dark, for special occasions – weddings, parties – rather than for everyday; accordingly, these true perfumes often available in glass-stoppered bottles for dabbing, rather than the sprays and spritzers which lower concentrations tend to come in – making for a pleasurable ritual, as you apply the pricy fragrance.