Are you curious about the differences between cologne, parfum and eau de toilette? Read on to learn everything you need to know.
Fragrances are available in different strengths and potencies – and to understand the differences between Eau Fraîche, Eau De Cologne, Eau De Toilette and Eau De Parfum you will need to understand how they are made.
The easiest way to explain the difference is that all fragrances are produced with varying intensities or concentrations of the pure perfume oil. When creating a fragrance, the parfumier or “nose” will put together many scented ingredients, such as oud, amber, citrus or patchouli, for example.
The resulting formula can be separated into three basic categories:
- Top Notes
- Heart Notes
- Basic Notes
Let’s explore these in more detail.
Types of Notes
Here are the types of notes found in fragrances.
They are the scents you detect first after spraying on a fragrance. These play a role in setting first impressions. Top notes usually evaporate quickly, lingering around for only the first five to fifteen minutes.
Their main purpose is to give off an initial scent and then transition smoothly into the next part of the fragrance.
They make up around 70 percent of the total scent, heart notes usually last longer than top notes. Heart notes appear as the top notes start to fade and remain for the full life of the fragrance.
They form the foundation of the fragrance. They help boost the lighter notes while adding more depth. They are rich, heavy and long-lasting.
The final formula will be carefully balanced to give a particular ‘texture,’ depth and ‘feeling’ which best represent the brand.
To mitigate the strength of the perfume oil, it is mixed with a solvent – usually alcohol and a little water.
The reason alcohol is used is that it carries the perfume easily, evaporates quickly, leaving the fragrance directly on the skin, and it has a cooling, refreshing effect. The amount of alcohol used in the manufacturing process determines how long the fragrance will last on your skin.
What’s the Difference Between Eau Fraîche, Eau De Cologne, Eau De Toilette and Eau De Parfum?
Let’s look at some of the most common types of fragrances.
It has a very low concentration of perfume oil, from 1 to 3 percent.
Colognes are mixed with more alcohol, but Eau Fraîche contains mostly water and serves as a quick refresher, with no long-lasting scent.
Eau De Cologne
It was developed in 1709 in Cologne, Germany and has since become a generic term for all light fragrances.
It originally contained a base of citrus oils, bergamot, lime, orange, lemon, tangerine, clementine, grapefruit and neroli. With an average of between 2 and 5 percent of pure perfume oil mixed with alcohol and water, it lasts only for a few hours.
Eau De Toilette
It is the most common form of fragrance because its formula is light, yet lasts longer than Eau De Cologne, depending upon its quality.
Most Eaux De Toilette will contain from 5 to 10 percent of pure perfume oil.
Eau De Parfum
It is more intense. It offers a fuller, more luxurious experience and its fragrance will last you all day and into the night. Most Eaux de Parfum contain between 10 and 20 percent of pure perfume oil.
Many fragrances offer both an Eau De Toilette and an Eau De Parfum version. The fragrance formula is often the same, just differing in its concentration of pure perfume oil.
However, some brands tweak the formula slightly to bring out more forceful perfume notes in their Eau De Parfum version, giving the wearer a new, amplified experience of the same scent.
So, Which One Should You Buy?
The answer to this will depend on your personal preferences, the time of day, the occasion, the season and the setting in which you will be wearing it. An Eau De cologne or Eau De Toilette will be cheaper than an Eau De Parfum, because they contain less perfume oil, so bear that in mind if price is an issue.
When you wear a scent, you are choosing not only something that smells great to you, but you are also choosing how people will remember you – so don’t knock them over from across the room!
We’ve all been trapped in a subway or bus, choking on someone’s overpowering perfume. Apart from anything else, it is an invasion of our space.
Choose an Eau De Toilette or an Eau de Cologne for a lighter, fresher fragrance, particularly if you are wearing it at work during the day. Eau De Toilette – or even an Eau Fraîche, as the name implies – will also be more refreshing in the summer when it’s just too hot for an intense parfum.
By all means, choose a heavier Eau De Parfum in the winter, when you can get away with something stronger and longer lasting, or if you are going out for a night on the town.
Remember that if you are sitting next to someone at a dinner party, you don’t want to overpower them with your chosen fragrance, as their enjoyment of food and wine can be impaired. Subtle is generally the better choice.
Above all, don’t be afraid to experiment with different fragrances. You may be surprised at what smells great on your skin, even though it may not appeal to you when you sniff the open bottle. Body chemistry differs from person to person, so be prepared to try several brands.
For a complete fragrance wardrobe, we recommend buying one or two light fragrances, and a couple of more intense Eaux de Parfum.
You’ll be covered for all occasions and seasons.
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