Perfume, eau de parfum and eau de toilette: What’s the difference? A lot there seems.

By / Life / April 22nd, 2018 / 3

Perfume bottles can definitely be intimidating! From the long list of notes to confusing labels, it’s easy to get lost and give up. That’s why we compiled this 101 about the different types so you can perfume like a pro.

The first thing to know is that fragrance oils make up all perfumes, but are highly concentrated and must be diluted with water and alcohol. Perfume, eau de parfum and eau de toilette have varying degrees of concentration, which impacts their potency, staying power, cost and more.


If you’re looking for a powerful scent, the highest concentration of fragrance oils can be found in perfume. Fragrance oils in perfume range from 15% to 40%, but most perfumes average somewhere in the middle. That means that, although it’s very expensive, perfume will give you the richest and most dynamic fragrance experience. It starts with the top notes, before gradually releasing the heart or middle notes and then finally, the base notes.

Since perfumes provide a lot of fragrance, they are more commonly sold in small bottles, to be dabbed on the skin rather than sprayed. They are perfect for a party, a special occasion or a night on the town (preferably with people who aren’t too sensitive to smells).

Eau de Parfum

On average, eau de parfum contains about 20% fragrance oil, making it a medium potency. It usually releases top and complex heart notes before evaporating, giving it a fuller fragrance without being overpowering. Many fragrance lovers find eau de parfum the perfect accessory for a date night or dinner with friends. Some might even spray it on before work thanks to its long-lasting wear, but watch out, as it may be too much scent for a small office space.

Eau de parfum can be purchased in beauty stores or fragrance shops, and is more expensive than eau de toilette.

Eau de Toilette

Similar to eau de parfum, eau de toilette has a lighter concentration of fragrance oils, ranging from 5% to 15%. Its lighter composition makes it great to wear during the daytime, to the office or while running errands. You might just opt for a spritz of it on a warm summer night for a fresh and airy scent.

Eau de toilette tends to only last a few hours, so reapplying would be important if you want to maintain your fragrance from day to night. (A travel size or rollerball eau de toilette would be perfect for on-the-go!) You can commonly find eau de toilette in beauty stores, department stores and even select pharmacies, as it’s more affordable than perfume.


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