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Perfumes, Colognes, and Other Fragrances: How Are They Different?

When shopping for fragrances, you'll see a variety of names including eau de cologne, perfume, and eau de toilette. How are they different from each other? Why are other fragrances more expensive compared to others?
Today, let's discuss the difference between these fragrances.

When shopping for a perfume or cologne, a lot of things need to be considered – the type, brand, and price. What's worse, we don't fully understand the terms when it comes to these scents.

Finding the ideal concentration is as essential as determining the perfect fragrance. For instance, if it's too light, the scent will quickly fade. On the other hand, if it's too strong, you'll feel as if you're suffocating.

To find out what you're looking for, you must understand first how these scents are produced. Manufacturers mix both the natural and artificial oils, which are responsible for the smells of perfumes and colognes when mixed with alcohol.

The purpose of alcohol is to stabilize the scent and to modify the oils. This process will balance the ingredients of the fragrance. Thus, creating that lovely scent.

Fragrances have different mixtures of perfume oils, alcohol, and even water. Sometimes, you can check the ingredients at the back of the perfume bottles.

Parfum, Extrait de Parfum, or Pure Perfume

The names used are quite ambiguous as they don't refer to the pure form of perfume oil. Because if they were, the perfumes won't smell nice and will likely cause skin irritation.

However, pure perfume still has the highest concentration compared to others. It is usually between 15% and 30% perfume oil. This is more than enough to make the fragrance potent and can last the whole day.

How far the scent of pure perfume you apply to your body is quite strong. People around you will surely notice. You will see that this kind of smell is thick and dense, with clouds of fragrance you can walk through, and can almost taste.

The scent is so strong that if you happen to hug someone who is wearing pure perfume, you're likely to smell like them for several hours.

Eau de Parfum

Eau de Parfum also contains a high concentration of perfum oils, between 15% to 20%. They're designed to last on the applied area the entire day, without making nearby people dizzy. This category is the most common and today, used by almost all new fragrances. If you check the perfume section in the department store, most of them are eau de parfum.

Eau de Toilette

Perfumes belonging to the eau de toilette category have low concentration, which is usually between 5% to 15%. They are made to have a lighter effect on our skin. However, they typically fade away before the day ends. They say that eau de toilette perfumes are ideal for day use only, while eau de parfums are suitable for nighttime.

But, all will still boil down to what you prefer. It's always about personal preference.

Eau de Cologne

Cologne is a term typically used to cover different masculine fragrances in North America. However, the right definition of cologne is it's a fragrance that contains very light concentrations of perfume oils, which usually ranges from 2% to 4%. As you may have noticed, it contains more alcohol than perfume oils. As a result, they fade after a few hours of wearing.

Colognes are excellent for freshening up but are not useful for a long-lasting effect. So, if you're planning a long day, then it's best that you wear a stronger perfume.

Eau Fraiche

Eau Fraiche fragrances are quite similar to colognes. They also have low perfume oil concentrations, about 1% to 3%. The difference between the two is that colognes have high alcohol concentration while the eau fraiche is mostly water-based.

Perfume sellers and counters are arranged according to their brand and not by their types. However, you can always inform the attendant what kind of scent you're looking for. You can also show them an empty cologne bottle if you're looking for the same perfume type. Although it's recommended that you try out different kinds because they have their unique features depending on how and where you're going to use them.

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