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It is perhaps one of the most asked question ever in the perfume world! These descriptions are used to identify the strength or concentration of oil in a fragrance. Generally, is that the higher the concentration of those oils, the longer a scent lasts on the skin. And the more expensive it’s likely to be, too.
The base of any perfume you can buy in the shops will be the 'perfume essence', this is what actually makes the smell. This is a combination of essential oils from Plants (lime, cedarwood, sandalwood), Absolutes (rose, neroli, jasmine), Animal extracts (musk, civet) and Synthetic fragrance (this could be nearly anything).
This base perfume essence would actually not be that attractive by itself and in some cases would be actually unpleasant. It is too concentrated, so it needs to be diluted and this is done with alcohol and/or water.
Fragrances come in many forms and have many different names but generally, the main four categories are as follows:
Also referred as 'Parfum', ‘pure perfume’, ‘perfume extract’ or ‘extrait de parfum’. It is the most concentrated of all the fragrance options features somewhere between 20-40% of scented perfume ingredients, along with alcohol and/or water. Perfume is the most expensive version of any fragrance and is generally the longest lasting on the skin that up to eight hours or sometimes well into the next day and beyond.
Perfume is really for after-dark, perfect for special occasions such as weddings and parties, rather than for everyday usage. It is often available in 'stopper bottles' for dabbing, not sprays and spritzers which will lower the concentrations.
Typically offers between 10-20% concentration of oils. Tend to have plenty of staying power of anywhere between five to six hours can be expected. Although less intense than the pure perfume, many find this preferable because it is much cheaper. Due to the intensity of the base notes making it quite strong, apply lightly for day and more generously, when dressing up.
It's the most popular form in which fragrance is sold, mainly due to its price point and availability. Contained somewhere between 5-15% of the aromatic compound, in that with water/alcohol base. Two to three hours of wear is all you can reasonably expect before the last traces drift away. Generally, EDT is the most advisable to use day to day as it is less intense and even if you do use too much it will lighten up fairly quickly. Ideal for work, for interviews, for when you want to wear scent for your personal pleasure, rather than to help get you ‘noticed’.
Cologne is an abbreviation of 'Eau de Cologne' is the lightest concentration version of perfume. Cologne offers between just 2-5% of aromatic compounds, are very light, fresh and fruity that usually contained essential oils, such as, lemon, bergamot, orange, lavender, and rosemary. Great for a wake-up 'splash' in the morning or a cool-down in the day. This makes it a perfect scent for hot days when you need to continually freshen up and ensure you're smelling sweet rather than sweaty. But the strength of scent is weak, you’ll be lucky to get two hours out from a cologne.
There's no right or wrong type of fragrance for the way you wear it or the price you should pay, it completely depends on individual scent preference. However, Eau de Toilettes are much nicer for warmer months, providing a lighter and fresher result, whereas Parfum and EDP can be great for nights when you really want a fragrance to linger.
In general, the higher the percentage, the higher the price but be aware that different concentrations (Parfum, Eau de Toilette, and etc.) may also have different notes in them, and not simply be weaker or stronger. If you like a fragrance, we suggest you explore its different concentrations. So, what are your fragrance choice?