What Is the Difference Between Perfume, Eau de Toilette, and Cologne?

Fragrances come in many forms and have many different names but generally the main categories are as follows:

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It’s the most concentrated form, also known as Extract, contains 25%- 40% of pure perfume oil. It’s always the most expensive and exclusive fragrance. If you adore a particular fragrance, you should absolutely buy this concentrated version. Because it’s the “purest” and not only the scent will stay longer up to +12 hours, it also tends to be the most stylish. A little of this perfume goes a long way. 

So while the price is much higher than other types, it will last the longest so is definitely worth the cost.



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Only slightly less potent and less expensive than perfume, Eau de perfume (Eau de Parfum) typically contains anywhere from 10 to 20 percent of the essential fragrance.

The smell is a bit lighter and usually doesn’t last quite as long, but as it is a bit lighter, and many find this preferable and consider it “perfume”.

Eau de parfum is great for dates or a formal meeting but not always optimal if you work in close quarters or spend a lot of time in the heat, which makes the smell even stronger.

Here are a review of the best Eau de parfum for men and for women


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They’re usually less than 15 percent oil. They provide a lighter, slightly less complex scent than an Eau de parfum does. Of course they are considered inferior to Eau de parfum because they’re lower priced, but that’s simply not the case.

They both have a function, and lots of scents are actually preferable in their Eau de Toilette form. Don’t let a sales pitch keep you from trying both, because the less expensive Eau de Toilette could very well be a nicer fragrance.

They’re also a great “entry” to a scent; if you’re not sure you’ll adore a fragrance or it’s a big investment, just buy the Eau de Toilette.

You can read our review of the top rated Eau de toilette for men here, and for women here



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Eau de Cologne are not just for men. And they’re a great choice if you want something extremely fresh and light that you can use in more than a couple of places. Usually they have about 5 percent fragrance oil in them. This means that some overlap with Eau de Toilette and will not last very long. The lightness of it makes it more suitable to spray more liberally. This is the most advisable version to use day to day, as it is less intense. And even if you do use too much it will lighten up fairly quickly.

Usually the difference is either that the scent is gendered or that the cologne has lots of citrus notes. Since that’s historically part of the cologne recipe and the meaning is still sort of there.


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Made to be used all over and reapplied frequently. Which makes them great for sweaty days on summer or at the beach, freshening up after the gym, etc. Usually they are between 1 and 3 percent fragrance oil.

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