Is There a Difference Between Perfume and Cologne?

The terms “perfume” and “cologne” are not just fancy names slapped on the labels of your favorite fragrances. There are differences in the scents sold at the market not just in their contents, but also how long they last.

All perfumes, however, have the same basic ingredients such as water, essential oils, and alcohol. The variety comes from the differences in the amount of each of these key ingredients, so there really is not much difference between perfumes and colognes, because the latter is a type of perfume.

The types of perfumes are listed below.

Perfume comes from the Latin phrase “per fumum,” which means “through smoke.” Perfume, also called parfum extrait or extract, is considered the most expensive type of fragrance product because it has the most concentrated amount of the key ingredients. It is made up of 20% to 30% perfume essence, that is why the scent can last for up to 24 hours. The scent could change within the day depending on your body chemistry, however.

Eau de Cologne
This is what is commonly called cologne and is the oldest name for perfume made for men. It used to be the term for light masculine scents that are fresh, musky or fruity and are made up of 2% to 4% perfume oils and can last for up to 2 hours. During its drying-down period, the fixatives in the cologne interact with your body to produce its true scent.

Eau de Parfum
Eau de parfum was the name for the scent used by both males and females in the past and is the most accurate name for describing fragrance. It is made up of 15% to 20% perfume essence and can last for about 8 hours. Some might label this as perfume, but to avoid confusion, you should read the concentration of the essential oils which should be lesser than perfume. Its dry-down period can last for 7 hours and is affected by your body chemistry.

Eau de Toilette
Sometimes called toilette, it is a perfume made up of 5% to 15% perfume essence and can last for nearly 3 hours. Like the cologne, toilette produces its true scent during its dry-down period, but it can be affected with your body’s sweat, the products you use, and the weather.

Eau Fraiche
This type of perfume is the most diluted version made up of 1% to 3% perfume oils and it can last for only an hour. This type of fragrance is usually found in men’s aftershave products and it’s a type of perfume that doesn’t interact much with your body’s oil.


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