display of fragrance bottle collection outdoors

What is the Difference Between Perfume, Cologne and Eau de Toilette?

display of fragrance bottle collection outdoors

Chances are 99% that you have viewed and even smelled some fragrances while stuck at an airport duty-free shop or in the beauty section of a departmental store. You’re not the only one confused by fragrances. There are many forms of perfumes, such as cologne, perfume and eau de toilette. What’s the difference between perfume and cologne?

All fragrances are basically the same. However, they have a name that is determined by their oil content in alcohol and water. This is how you can determine which fragrance is best for you.

The difference lies in the concentration (and its lasting power).

Real Men Real Style has created this graphic explaining that fragrance is a general term that refers to any smelly substance that contains a certain amount or combination of fragrance oil and alcohol. The result can be called something different depending on its concentration. Here’s the scoop:

Eau fraiche is the most concentrated version of a fragrance. It usually contains one to three percent perfume oil in alcohol, and water. It lasts less than an hour.

Cologne (eau-de-cologne) is the oldest term for perfume. It’s used in North America to describe masculine scents. It is light, fruity and usually contains two to four percent of perfume oils in alcohol and water. These oils are often used in fragrances that appeal to younger generations. It lasts about two hours.

Toilette (eau-de- toilette) – A light spray composition containing five to fifteen percent pure perfume essence, dissolved in alcohol. It lasts about three hours.

Perfume (eau-de parfum) – This term, which is historically genderless, was used to describe both women’s and men’s perfumes. A fragrance is best described using this term. It contains 15 to 20 percent pure perfume essence. Lasts approximately five to eight hours.

Perfume is a corruption of the Latin phrase per fumum, which means “through smoke”. This is the most expensive and concentrated of all perfume options. A slightly oilier version of perfume, parfum is made up of 20-30 percent pure perfume essence. One application of perfume can last for up to 24 hours.

It’s useful information that can help you make better buying decisions if you are looking for something lighter that will last longer during hot summer days or something you like to stay on your skin for a long time.

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