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A Guide to Perfume Types
Shopping for new perfume can be overwhelming with all of the scents available. Not only are there countless scents available, there are also different fragrance concentrations. Underneath the name of the perfume on a bottle will normally be the fragrance concentration. A fragrance concentration refers to the strength that a fragrance has. Perfumes with a higher fragrance concentration contain more perfume oils and less alcohol. Fragrance concentrations are broken into categories including parfum, eau de parum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and eau fraiche.
Parfum, also known as extrait de parfum or pure perfume, has the highest fragrance concentration. Parfum will contain anywhere from 15% to 40% fragrance however concentration is generally between 20% to 30% for most parfums. Of all scents, parfums last the longest; usually six to eight hours. Parfum generally also commands the highest price of all the fragrance types due to the high concentration of fragrance. People with sensitive skin may do better with parfums as they have far less alcohol than other fragrance types and therefore are not as likely to dry out the skin.
Eau de Parfum
After parfum, eau de parfum (EDP) has the next highest concentration of fragrance. Eau de parfum generally has a fragrance concentration of between 15% and 20%. On average, eau de parfum will last for four to five hours. It is also generally less expensive that parfum and while it does have a higher concentration of alcohol than parfum, it is better for sensitive skin than other fragrance types. Eau de parfum is one of the most common fragrance types and is suitable for everyday wear.
Eau de Toilette
Eau de toilette (EDT) has a fragrance concentration of between 5% and 15%. It is cheaper than eau de parfum and is one of the most popular types of fragrance available. EDT fragrance will normally last for two to three hours. Eau de toilette is considered by some to be for daywear while eau de parfum is considered nightwear. The term eau de toilette came from the French term “faire sa toilette” which means getting ready.
Eau de Cologne
Eau de cologne, or EDC, has a much lower concentration of fragrance than the above types of perfume. EDC generally has a 2% to 4% percent concentration of fragrance and a high concentration of alcohol. It is cheaper than other types of fragrance however the scent generally only lasts for up to two hours. EDC generally comes in bigger bottles and more of the fragrance needs to be used. Originally eau de cologne referred to a traditional recipe that used herb and citrus notes with little anchoring with base notes.
Eau fraiche is similar to eau de cologne in that the scent will generally last for up to two hours. Eau fraiche has an even lower concentration of fragrance than eau de cologne, normally only 1% to 3%. While eau fraiche has a low fragrance concentration, it does not contain a high amount of alcohol. Along with the fragrance, the remainder of eau fraiche is mostly water.
Along with the types of perfume listed above, there are mists, aftershaves, and other types of fragrances available. Higher end fragrances can cost a significant amount of money so doing research beforehand will ensure that you get the type of fragrance you are looking for. Along with fragrance types there are also fragrance notes which determine the final scent. With all of the types and scents available, shopping for perfume is not always easy but it is possible.
Additional Resources on Fragrance Types
- Common Sense: 6 Basic Fragrance Types – An article that discusses the different types of fragrance notes including floral, oriental, and citrus.
- Types of Perfume: Finding The Right Fragrance – Information on the different types of perfume and finding the right one to suit your needs.
- Fragrance Defined – Information on how parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, and cologne all differ from one another.
- Perfume or Eau de Toilette? What's the Difference? - Information on what makes perfume and eau de toilette differ.
- Perfume Basenotes – A website dedicated to all the different basenotes that can be used to create perfume products.
- IFRA Standards – The set of standards for safe use of fragrance ingredients from the International Fragrance Association.
- How Perfume Works – An in-depth guide to how perfume works as well as how it is created.
- Latest News – Find the latest perfume news from the American Society of Perfumers.