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EDT, EDP, Perfume, Cologne - What is What?

January 26, 2006

You are surfing the internet or at your local big chain discount store searching for your favorite perfume.

You come across a wonderful deal on your favorite fragrance and wonder why it is so much cheaper than what you usually pay. You are so elated that as soon as you get home, you spritz it on yourself, only to find that scent fades much quicker than your last bottle of the same scent. Why?

It may be that you purchased your favorite fragrance in the form of eau de cologne or perhaps eau de toilette, when the previous purchase was in the form of eau de parfum. So what's the difference? The difference consists of the concentration of pure perfume oil to the amount of alcohol in the blend. The higher the concentration of perfume oil, the more expensive the fragrance and the longer lasting the scent. Typically a pure perfume will not be sold in a spray bottle but in a very small bottle for the buyer to "dab" onto the skin. A little pure perfume goes a long way!

The % by volume that you see on the bottles is the amount of alcohol that is in the fragrance blend. Basically perfume companies 'pad out' their fragrances with alcohol, firstly to make them go further, and also because otherwise they would be incredibly strong to wear! A perfume with strong smelling essence ingredients will have more alcohol with it than one which is more delicate.

So exactly what is the difference between eau de toilette, eau de parfum, and the other fragrance forms? Here is a generalized list of the different concentrations available:

Perfume (Parfum)

This consists of a 15-30% concentration of perfume essence and is the strongest fragrance available. This means that not only do you need to use less, but also that the fragrance lasts longer, typically for up to 6 hours, depending on skin type.

Parfum De Toilette

This is usually between a perfume and an EDP in strength but a few companies use the term to describe an EDT.

Eau De Parfum (EDP)

This is lighter than Perfume, with an 8-15% concentration, and so is less expensive but still has long lasting characteristics, from 3 to 5 hours.

Eau De Toilette (EDT)

This is a lighter more delicate fragrance, with a 4-8% concentration of the essence, and is therefore most suited to everyday use. It is normally less expensive than Eau de Parfum, and lasts for 2 to 4 hours.

Eau De Cologne (EDC)

This is often referred to just as Cologne and has the greatest dilution of fragrances with a 3-5% concentration of perfume essence, lasting up to 2 hours.

For Men Eau De Toilette (EDT)

This has the greatest concentration of essence generally available for men and hence lasts the longest, up to 5 hours. It is often available in either a splash or a spray.

Aftershave

Less strong, it is the most popular choice and lasts for 2 to 3 hours. Aftershaves are kinder to the skin than EDT's. Those with very sensitive skin should use aftershave balms.

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Denise Hayes is an internet marketer and owns several sites including Perfume-Store-Reviews.com