Probably one of the most frequently recurring questions I hear from people not too familiar with perfumes is, “what the difference between Eau de Toilette (EDT), Eau de Parfum (EDP) and Parfum?” The answer itself might seem simple and people are quick to tell you that EDT is the less concentrated/watered down version of an EDP. The actual answer is much more complex.
While in some cases, the only difference with the Eau de Toilette version of a fragrance is that it is less concentrated than the Eau de Parfum version, it is often not the chief difference between the two. And one should never mistaken EDT as being a telltale indicator that it is an inferior version of an EDP.
I can name numerous examples where the concentration of the fragrance has very little to do with quality or concentration. Take, for example, Chanel No.5. People may be shocked to learn that the EDT and EDP versions are formulated differently. So when you smell No.5 EDT, you are getting a different scent than No.5 EDP because the ingredients are slightly changed in the two versions.
In some instances, the EDT and EDP versions of fragrances may smell different but contain the same ingredients because one ingredient was toned down, causing the entire scent to shift. For example, a fragrance that contains the notes of bergamot, rose, and sandalwood has an EDT and EDP version.
The company may choose to reduce the concentration of sandalwood in their EDT version for example. The result would be a less noticeable sandalwood scent so that someone smelling the EDT might notice the marked difference in their fragrance. And this toning down of ingredients isn’t just limited to one ingredient. Imagine a complex fragrance with hundreds of smelly molecules. Imagine if they adjusted the concentration of twenty of those. It could radically change the experience!
All this having been said and done, how are you supposed to know whether to buy an EDT or an EDP? The answer is simple. You need to smell and test them both to see which one you like more. Don’t assume immediately that a fragrance is the same, only less concentrated between the two formulations. And don’t feel like you’re getting a less desirable product because you opted for the EDT over the EDP. It is up to you, because in the end it is about what you like best.