Eau de what?: A fragrance newbie's guide to perfume concentrations

If you’ve ever shopped for fragrance, you may have come across terms like “Eau de Parfum” and “Eau de Toilette”. Let’s face it, fragrance jargon can be intimidating for the uninitiated. What do these snobby French words even mean and should we really care? If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, then yes – educating yourself about perfume lingo does matter. 

“Eau de Parfum” and “Eau de Toilette”, along with a few more terms, are actually words that describe perfume concentrations (or the amount of pure perfume oil present in your fragrance). The higher the perfume concentration, the longer it stays on your skin and the more expensive the perfume gets. 

Before shopping for your next fragrance, remember the following terms.

Parfum

/pärˈfo͞om/

Only available in specialized stores, parfum is the rarest, most concentrated, and most expensive type of fragrance. A scent is classified as Parfum if its concentration is between 20% and 40%.

When compared to other types of fragrance, Parfum is the most expensive. It lasts the longest while giving the wearer a rich spectrum of top, middle, and base notes over time. A Parfum fragrance will most likely stay on your skin for eight to twelve hours. 

Eau de Parfum (EDP)

/ō də pärˈfo͞om/

Burberry Weekend Women EDP
Burberry Weekend EDP (P2,850)

Among all fragrance concentrations, Eau de Parfum (EDP) is the one shoppers encounter the most. Eau de Parfum has a concentration of around 15% with a staying power of around six hours. Because it has a lower concentration, Eau de

Parfum is generally more affordable than Parfum, with slightly lower strength. While Parfum offers a full blend of top, middle, and base notes, Eau de Parfum sports a more fleeting top note with a greater emphasis on heart notes. 

Eau de Toilette (EDT)

/ˌō də twäˈlet/

Coach New York for men

Coach New York for men (P3,195)

Fragrance shoppers will also encounter a lot of fragrances in the Eau de Toilette (EDT) category. EDTs are often sold as less expensive versions of the same scent, so if you’re looking to scrimp on your next perfume purchase, try asking for an EDT. 

As you have expected, EDTs have fewer perfume concentrations than EDPs (around 5% to 15%). Therefore, it has a weaker staying power of around four to five hours. EDTs sport a more dominant top note, which makes them refreshing when first applied. This is exactly why EDT perfumes are more popular summer wear. 

Eau de Cologne

/əʊ də kəˈləʊn/

Acca Cappa White Moss
Acca Cappa White Moss (P3,395)

If you’re looking for lighter wear, Eau de Cologne is the best choice. This type of perfume sports the lowest concentration of around 3% to 5%, with a very high alcohol content. Eau de Cologne is the cheapest of all perfume categories and lasts for around two to three hours. It is also commonly sold in bigger, splash-style, bottles. 

Eau Fraiche, Aftershave, and Mists

Versace Man Eau Fraiche

Versace Man Eau Fraiche (P3,095)

Fragrances below 4% concentration fall into these categories. Eau Fraiche contains around 1% to 3% and lasts for up to two hours just like Eau de Cologne, but contains more water than alcohol. Aftershaves have a light fragrance, a concentration of around 3%, and high alcohol content to close and cleanse the pores. 

Mists are light and refreshing fragrances that consist of mostly water and less alcohol. As such, they can be applied to hair without drying it out! 

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