One of the most common questions amongst individuals not familiar with perfumes is, “What’s the difference between eau de toilette and eau de parfum?”
Simply put, in very general terms, an eau de parfum tends to contain a higher percentage of fragrance oils than an eau de toilette. These terms are just two names that perfume makers use to denote the concentration and strength of their fragrances. The scent from perfumes comes from fragrance oils which are then dissolved in alcohol or water (sometimes both). The concentrates are determined by how much fragrance oil to alcohol/water content is contained within the bottle.
Below is a chart showing you the different concentrations of perfumes:
Eau Fraiche, Mist, Splash – Contains 1 – 3% fragrance oil.
Eau de Cologne (EDC) – Contains 2 – 5% fragrance oil.
Eau de Toilete (EDT) – Contains 4 – 10% fragrance oil.
Eau de Parfum (EDP) – Contains 8 – 15% fragrance oil.
Parfum, Extrait – Contains 15 – 25% fragrance oil.
Perfume Oil – Contains 15 – 30% fragrance oil usually mixed in oil.
While these are generally agreed upon concentrations, some perfume houses will sometimes adjust the amounts of fragrance oils for certain notes in their EDT and EDP versions, causing the two concentrations to smell different instead of just stronger or weaker.
In addition to this there is sometimes confusion surrounding cologne vs. perfume. Most people think that cologne is a word used to refer to men’s fragrances but sometimes, as you can see in the above chart, cologne can be referring to the eau de cologne concentration. However, the term cologne, if used these days, will typically refer to a men’s fragrance. This does not mean a woman cannot wear cologne or a man cannot wear perfume. Many unisex fragrances are labeled as either one or the other. Besides, wear what you like.