Perfume, Eau De Toilette, and Cologne: What's the Difference?

A Quick Guide to the Major Types of Perfume

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Ever wonder what the difference among perfume, eau de toilette, and cologne is? Well, wonder no more. 

A Quick Note on Composition

Fragrance products are composed of animal- and plant-based aromatic compounds or esters (or their man-made equivalents), dissolved in a combination of alcohol and water. The concentration of actual fragrance is what determines whether a product is a perfume, eau de toilette, cologne, etc.

Parfum / Perfume

Parfum—also called extract or extrait perfume—is the most concentrated or purest form of a fragrance product and is the longest-lasting on the skin. As such, it is also the most expensive. A true parfum (perfume) will contain 15 percent or more (typically up to 30 percent) of the essential fragrance.

Eau de Parfum

Only slightly less potent (and expensive) than parfum, a eau de parfum typically contains anywhere from eight to 15 percent of the essential fragrance.

Eau de Toilette

With about five to eight percent of the perfume essence, this is a light scent designed for shorter wear on the skin.

Eau Fraiche

This is the feminine term used for women's eau de cologne concentrations, containing three percent or less of perfume oil.

Eau de Cologne

A masculine scent composed of two to five percent of the essential scent.