Eau Duh? Parfums and Toilettes Explained

Okay; it’s time for a confession: we didn’t just wake up to be the fragrance experts we are today. Actually, each of us has our own recollection of the time in which we realized we knew nothing about fragrance! We we’re all once just inexperienced young people – using our hard-earned money to buy the first thing that smelled nice; because why not?

Our owner once recounted a moment in college, when his bragworthy, collection of fragrances was put to shame by someone he was trying to impress. Wanting to sound well-seasoned, he went on a spiel about the fragrance he was wearing and its contents – only to be loud and wrong! After an embarrassing episode (and near epiphany), it was then he realized there was more to fragrance than price, bottle design, and brand.

Fast forward to now — where it’s almost blasphemous for any person in the fragrance industry to not know how to distinguish between notes, and compositions — there are still people out there that haven’t quite yet had their own epiphanies (despite how many fragrances they own).

If only someone had taken the time to explain the simplicity behind the EAUseau de parfum (EDP) and eau de toilette (EDT) – and that choosing one over the other actually matters. Sweat not newbies – this blog post if for you!

Eau de parfum. Eau de toilette. Parfum. Pour Homme. We’ve seen it all (or not) on many a fragrance bottle. All of it can be confusing, but it all comes down to one thing: fragrance concentration.
Depending on the concentration (amount of fragrance oil in alcohol and water), the name on the bottle will be labeled accordingly. We’ve listed them below:

  • Perfume (Parfum): though this label may seem intended for female consumers, the use of the word perfume (parfum) in labeling is not gender-specific. Instead, it indicates the highest concentration of perfume essence/oil. These will typically also signify the most expensive, as these fragrances are more than 20% concentrated.
  • Eau de Parfum: Again, another genderless label. However this classification is a little less concentrated (15% to 20%) and its essence lasts for up to 8 hours.
  • Eau de Toilette: A light concentration – think light fragrances or sprays – that has a composition of 5% to 15%. This will most likely be an affordable, mainstream fragrance.
  • Eau de Cologne: Though used in the U.S. to classify masculine scents, other regions use this label to label the diluted concentration (2% to 4%).

Perfume Concentration from weakest to strongest

Concentrations will always vary based on brand and other standards, but a parfum will always be stronger than a toilette. With eau de parfums, heart (middle) notes are the most dominant, while with eau de toilettes, the top notes are most noticeable and evaporate quickly after those notes are gone. Equally important to note is that the “scent” experience between a toilette and parfum will be different – even though they may be labeled as the same fragrance (YSL’s Mon Paris is a great example!).

So what should you buy? A good rule is to consider when, where, and how you will wear a fragrance when you purchase it. (Shameless plug: Our marketplace makes it easy to shop using filters, by categories or fragrance types!) For daytime/everyday smells, an eau de toilette will be more appropriate and balanced. An eau de parfum is good for evenings and special occasions. Humid and hot climates call for lighter concentrations (again a toilette), while colder climates and seasons, mean you can layer on the warmth and depth!

 

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