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I used to work as a Beauty Advisor in a local beauty store, and once in a while, we would take out all of the perfumes to clean and reorganize them. It was then that I realized how many different types of perfume there are on the market.
There are different perfume categories, subfamilies, sizes, etc., but I don’t want to overwhelm you right away. Let me start by sharing the 7 different types of perfume we’re going to talk about in this post:
- Eau de Parfum
- Eau de Toilette
- Eau de Cologne
- Eau Fraiche
- Perfume Oil
- Body Mists
I’m going to teach you everything you need to know about each type of perfume, including what it is, what the pros and cons are, which perfume is the longest-lasting, why perfume smells different on everyone, and so much more!
If you’re curious to learn the basics so that it’s easier to pick a perfume that matches your preferences, keep reading. Once you get to know that 7 types of perfumes, you can then learn about the different fragrance families and fragrance notes.
After you read through all three posts, I promise you will know everything there is to know about perfumes, and picking your next favorite fragrance will be a breeze!
Fragrance VS Perfume: Is It The Same?
When you’re exploring the world of scents, you’ll often come across two terms – fragrance and perfume. While these terms are frequently used interchangeably, they’re two very different things. So let’s dive in to understand what sets them apart.
What Is Fragrance?
A fragrance is a broad term used in the beauty industry to refer to any product that provides an aromatic experience.
The fragrance is what you smell. There are different types of fragrances based on their scent, such as floral, oriental, fruity, woody, and citrus. These are often called fragrance families.
This applies to everything from your favorite bottle of perfume or cologne to scented candles, body lotions, and even laundry detergents.
In crafting a fragrance, manufacturers typically start with essential oils derived from natural sources like flowers or spices. They’ll then mix these oils with alcohol and water to create what we commonly know as perfume.
What Is Perfume?
Perfume specifically refers to a highly concentrated form of scent designed for personal use. It’s typically composed of essential oils blended with alcohol and water.
One key distinguishing characteristic of perfumes is their longevity – they’re formulated so that their scent lingers on your skin for hours.
When creating perfumes, there’s an added layer of complexity. A typical perfume is made up of fragrance notes: top notes (the first scent you smell), heart notes (which develop after wearing for a while), and base notes (the long-lasting scent).
This structure creates what’s known as an olfactory pyramid – giving your favorite perfumes their depth and longevity.
7 Different Types Of Perfume
The term “parfum” is often used interchangeably with “perfume.” It is simply the French variant and a more sophisticated way of saying perfume. You can also refer to it as Extrait de Parfum or pure perfume.
Any fragrance expert would tell you that there are levels (literally) to smelling good. And parfum has the highest fragrance concentration. This means that your parfum contains more essential oils and less alcohol.
Parfum contains about 20-30% of fragrance concentration, allowing it to linger on your skin for 12+ hours. So parfum has a more pungent scent that lasts the longest.
- Parfum/ perfume can keep you smelling good all day.
- Enhance your mood and express yourself with a scent for every occasion.
- Perfumes are often rich in pheromones, which makes them an aphrodisiac.
- Perfume can have a soothing effect on the mind and body.
- Due to parfum containing less alcohol, it may be most suitable for those who are sensitive
- Perfumes often have undisclosed ingredients, which may include harmful chemicals.
- Unfortunately, many high-end perfume companies test on animals and use animal-derived ingredients.
- Most perfumes are mixed with ethyl alcohol as their base, making them highly flammable.
Eau de Parfum
Delving into the world of perfumes, you’ll soon discover that Eau de Parfum is a category that demands attention.
Boasting a higher concentration of fragrance oils compared to other types, it’s known for its long-lasting scent and rich composition.
Typically, Eau de Parfum (EdP) contains around 15% to 20% pure perfume essence. This concentrated formula results in a scent that can linger on your skin for up to eight hours – perfect if you’re after a signature smell that stays with you all day.
- A fantastic option if you prefer a stronger scent.
- You’ll have endless choices as most high-end brands choose to make Eau de Parfum.
- Having less fragrance means that EDP can be more affordable than parfum.
- This product may cause sinus, throat, or eye irritations, as well as respiratory issues like any other fragrance.
- Keep in mind that eau de parfum may not be safe because of hidden chemicals that are not always disclosed to the public.
- Fragrance fade can affect EDP. Perfume tends to have a shorter lifespan on dry skin.
Eau de Toilette
If you’re searching for a light, fresh fragrance, Eau de Toilette might be just what you need. This type of perfume is one of the most popular and versatile options available. It’s especially favored for daytime wear due to its subtlety.
Eau de Toilette (EDT) boasts a concentration of around 5% to 15% pure perfume essence. EDT tends to have a lighter scent that doesn’t linger as long because it’s less concentrated than some other types, like Eau de Parfum or Parfum itself.
The term “eau de toilette” is a derivative of the French phrase “faire sa toilette,” meaning getting ready. Get ready with the famous Marc Jacobs Daisy Love to boost your confidence.
- Eau de toilette is great for summer and allergy season since its scent isn’t as strong.
- This perfume variety is a more affordable option than Eau de parfum.
- EDT is the perfect choice for day wear that won’t smother the people around you.
- You’d have to reapply every couple of hours.
- EDT exposure can cause hives, allergic reactions, migraines, asthma exacerbation, and negative effects on sinuses.
Eau de Cologne
You’re probably familiar with the term “Eau de Cologne,” but do you really know what it entails? This type of perfume, commonly known as simply ‘Cologne’, has a rich history and unique characteristics that set it apart from other fragrance types. Let’s delve into its complexities.
Originally hailing from Cologne, Germany, in the 18th century, Eau de Cologne was first crafted by an Italian perfumer named Johann Maria Farina.
He described his creation as reminiscent of a “spring morning in Italy… after the rain,” capturing fresh citrus and herbal notes. The primary distinction between Eau de Cologne and other perfume types lies within its concentration levels.
Compared to stronger variants like Parfum or Eau de Parfum, Eau de Cologne typically contains just 2-4% perfume oils diluted in alcohol and water. This lower concentration produces a lighter scent that doesn’t linger as long on your skin.
It’s often perceived as refreshing due to its dominant citrus top notes – think lemons, oranges, and bergamot – paired with subtle hints of herbs such as rosemary or thyme.
- EDC is a light, refreshing fragrance with citrus notes that can be worn anytime. It’s a contrast to stronger French perfumes.
- Cologne can make you feel confident and well put together.
- EDC can be harsh on the skin due to its high alcohol content and may cause dryness.
- Avoid cologne with petrochemical ingredients to protect your health and the environment.
- Unlike other fragrances that are typically unisex, cologne is mainly geared toward men.
Similar to EDC, Eau Fraiche can last for about 2 hours. This perfume type contains the lowest fragrance concentration, reaching only 3%. Eau Fraiche is light and airy, suitable for those looking for a subtle scent.
Tip: Why not give this alluring burst of fresh femininity, Dior Addict Eau Fraiche, a try? You’ll see why so many reach for this type of perfume.
- Eau Fraiche is more affordable than other perfumes.
- It’s an excellent introduction if you’re new to perfumes.
- Contains little to no alcohol, which makes it a better option for people with sensitive, dry skin.
- You’ll have to top up almost every hour to stay fresh, meaning it won’t last as long.
- Eau Fraiche might not be suitable for night-time events such as dates.
Perfume oils are essential oils naturally extracted from spices, flowers, and woods, then diluted with carrier oils. These concentrated oils are rubbed into the skin, offering long-lasting exuberance of roughly eight to twelve hours.
Tip: Perfume oils are activated by the heat of your skin. Apply your Nest Indian Jasmine or any other perfume oil to your pulse points to smell excellent for longer.
- Perfume oils are ten times more concentrated than department store perfumes.
- Fragrance oils contain no alcohol, making them better for sensitive, dry skin.
- This is a more affordable option than most alcohol-based perfumes.
- Even products labeled as organic could still contain harmful fragrances.
Now this is actually a bonus category since body mists are still quite a new concept on the market, but they’re another type of perfume for sure.
Body mists are often made with natural ingredients like essential oils. These mists are a great way to naturally refresh your scent throughout the day.
Body mists, compared to traditional perfumes and colognes, offer a unique advantage. They can be generously applied to larger areas, such as the neck and chest, without overpowering those around you due to their lighter formulation.
- Body mists are often less expensive than perfumes.
- Even distribution of fragrance on larger areas, such as arms and legs.
- A perfect choice for day wear that won’t smother the people around you.
- You’ll have to top up every few hours to stay fresh, meaning it won’t last as long.
- Body mists have a weaker scent compared to perfumes
- They contain fewer natural ingredients and rely more on synthetic fragrances
How To Choose Your Ideal Scent
Navigating the world of perfumes can be daunting, but don’t worry! You’re not alone in this journey. By understanding your preferences and how different types of scents interact with your skin, you’ll find a fragrance that’s just right for you.
You might find yourself drawn to the earthy allure of woody fragrances. Knowing what category appeals to you is an essential step in finding your ideal perfume.
When testing new perfumes, it’s crucial to remember that everyone’s skin chemistry is unique. The same perfume may smell differently on two different individuals due to their body chemistry.
When choosing a fragrance, always test it on yourself rather than relying solely on how it smells from the bottle or on someone else.
Another factor to consider is longevity – how long a scent lasts on your skin before fading away. Some types of perfume, like Eau de Parfum, tend to last longer than others, like Eau de Toilette or Cologne.
If longevity matters most for you, go for variants with stronger concentrations such as Pure Perfume or Extrait De Parfum.
Also, remember that time plays a significant role in our perception of a fragrance as scents evolve throughout wear; this process is known as scent evolution.
A good tip here: don’t rush into buying a fragrance after only smelling its top notes (the first impression). Wait around for about thirty minutes so that heart (middle) and base notes reveal themselves – they are the notes that make up most of the wearing time!
Lastly, consider when and where you’ll be wearing the scent: daily work routine or special occasions? Winter season or summer heat? Some fragrances work better under certain conditions than others.
Why Do Perfumes Smell Different On Everyone
A scent smells differently on every person due to the skin’s pH balance, which differs slightly and can change the way a scent smells. This is why a scent can smell amazing on your friend and horrible on you.
But there’s even more. It looks like your diet, hormone balance, and skin type influence how a fragrance eventually smells on you.
For example, eating herbs and spices, regardless of how often, affects how a perfume smells. Your hormones can also affect the smell, like if your estrogen drops, and you start to sweat more than usual, it’ll change how the scent smells.
Last but not least, your skin type can also affect how a fragrance smells on you. If you have normal skin, you will likely find that most perfumes smell just like you expected.
But it seems like dry skin absorbs perfumes quicker, which will make them softer in scent and disappear sooner too.
If you have oily skin, it can cause the fragrances to pop, which means that it can accentuate certain fragrance elements. This can turn a pretty average fragrance into a better, longer-wearing version, while other fragrances might be too overwhelming.
I recommend that everyone always test a fragrance on their own skin before buying it. Don’t only try the perfume on a piece of paper or your friend; it can smell vastly different and give the wrong impression.
How Long Does Perfume Last Before It Expires
When a perfume expires, the scent molecules have broken down and are no longer as potent as they once were.
How long a perfume lasts before it expires depends on several factors, including the type of perfume, how it’s stored, and how often you use it.
According to the FDA, “perfumes and colognes are mixtures of hundreds of ingredients, including natural essences or extracts, fixatives, aromatizers, preservatives, solvents, and water. The average shelf life for perfume is 2 years; for cologne, it is 3 years.”
However, generally speaking, most perfumes will last for 3-5 years before they start to lose their scent.
If a perfume expires, it doesn’t necessarily become toxic or unsafe to wear, but the scent will become less appealing and less noticeable.
Tips To Make Your Perfume As Long Lasting As Possible
- Don’t store perfumes in direct daylight. Storing perfume in direct sunlight can cause the molecules to break down quicker, thus making the fragrance weaker.
- Keep your fragrances in average temperatures. If you store them in a warm, humid place (for example, in your bathroom), it will also cause the molecules to break down quicker.
- It’s optional to store your perfumes in the fridge. If you live with your family, storing your fragrances in the fridge sounds like an impossible storage idea, but you may want to check out a beauty fridge like this one from COOSEON since it’s good to store your perfumes in a cool place.
Final Thoughts On The Different Perfume Types
Exploring the world of perfumes has been quite a journey. You’ve discovered that there’s more to scents than just smelling good. They can be complex, intricate and even tell a story about the wearer.
Choosing your signature scent from these types isn’t always straightforward. It’ll depend on your personal preference and lifestyle.
Are you into lighter fragrances that can be worn daily? Or do you prefer luxurious intense aromas for special occasions?
Here’s a quick reminder of all the different types of perfume:
|Up to eight hours
|Eau De Parfum (EDP)
|Eau De Toilette (EDT)
|Eau De Cologne (Cologne)
|Mild & Short-lived
|(1 -2 Hours )
Don’t forget that scents evolve throughout the day due to their top, middle (heart), and base notes. So next time when you’re testing out different types of perfumes, remember to give them some time before making your decision.
Perfume shopping doesn’t have to be overwhelming anymore now that you’re armed with this knowledge about different perfume types. Here’s hoping your next fragrance purchase will be an informed one!
Frequently Asked Questions