Think that eau de cologne, eau de toilette, eau de parfum and extrait de parfum are all pretty much the same thing? If so, it may surprise you to know that they are all distinctly different.
The intensity of a fragrance simply refers to the strength or concentration of raw ingredients.
This ranges from weak to strong. Eau fraiche is actually the weakest concentration, with about 1-3% of the total contents consisting of the raw materials (the perfume blend or ‘juice’ as it's called in the industry). The rest is made up of alcohol, distilled water, fixatives and conditioning agents.
Eau de cologne is a little stronger, consisting of 3-5% of juice.(click here to find out more about essential oils). This is the reason you should never smell a cologne directly from the bottle, since you are smelling more alcohol than fragrance. Spray it on a test paper so the alcohol can evaporate, and then enjoy the scent.
Eau de toilette is 5-8% juice, eau de parfum (perfume) is even more powerful with 8-15%, and extrait de parfum is the most intense, containing 15-30% raw perfume blend.
These ranges are approximate, as perfume manufacturers sometimes use much more. Louis Vuitton perfumes have a staggering 31% strength.
Eau de toilette is one of the most popular intensities of perfumes worldwide, but have you ever wondered why it smells different from the eau de parfum with exactly the same name?
It’s due to a difference between the composition of notes.
Both strengths contain identical ingredients, but the composition sometimes varies. The perfumer will concentrate on the lighter to mid-notes for the eau de toilette, whereas the eau de parfum has more mid to base notes in the composition, giving it a heavier fragrance.
My favourite men's fragrance is Terre de Hermes created by the master Jean Claude Ellena, and I much prefer the eau de toilette to the eau de parfum. Obviously I am more in love with the lighter notes of the composition than the base notes. Try it yourself and see which you prefer...
How to use different intensities
It is important to note that the percentages mentioned for each type of fragrance determine how much of the product you should use.
For example, you don’t want to be dripping in extrait de parfum as it is so intense and will be overpowering.
To avoid this, an extrait de parfum often comes as an oil base meant to be dabbed delicately on the pulse points and other warm and sensual areas such as your cleavage - perfect for when you want to feel sexy.
Eau fraiche, eau de parfum, and eau de toilette are much lighter, and can be spritzed all over the body without being too over the top.
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