Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette are two terms that perfume makers use to denote the concentration and strength of a fragrance. The scent from perfumes comes from fragrance oils which are then dissolved in alcohol or water (sometimes both). The concentrates are determined by how much fragrance oil to alcohol/water content is contained within the bottle.
Eau de Parfums (EDP) contain between 12% and 18% perfume oil. On application, the top notes are released, but amazingly, over 20- 30% of the fragrance will remain noticeable up to 18/24 hours later. If you want a fragrance that lasts, this is the type of formulation to buy. It is best to apply Eau de Parfum where the blood beats closest to the skin – pulse points, wrists, collarbone, décolleté, throat, inner thighs, and around the ankles.
Tip: Avoid applying an Eau de Parfum behind the ears as there are glands there which can affect the settling of the scent.
Eau de Toilettes (EDT) contain the same ingredients as Eau de Parfums, but the fragrance level is lower. The perfume oil content is between 8% to 10%. Eau de Toilettes have a lighter scent that does not last as long, they were originally designed as refreshing body splashes to help people wake up, as part of their morning toilette.
Colognes are traditionally a more masculine product, although this is changing and they are now widely used by women. Colognes are similar in composition to Eau de Parfums and Eau de Toilettes and have a fragrance level between 8% and 10%.
While these are generally agreed upon concentrations, some perfume houses will sometimes adjust the amounts of fragrance oils for certain notes in their EDT and EDP versions, causing the two concentrations to smell different instead of just stronger or weaker.
In addition to this there is sometimes confusion surrounding Colognes vs. Perfumes. Most think that cologne is a word used to refer to men’s fragrances but sometimes Cologne can be used in reference to the Eau de Cologne concentration and these fragrances can be unisex. For example, Atlelier Cologne’s Cologne Absolue Collection has very highly concentrated formulas with distinctive and long-lasting sillage. Sillage is a French word meaning wake (of a ship) or trail and refers to the scent you leave behind as you move around. Fragrances which are said to have “good sillage” means that they linger around the person wearing them. The amount of sillage depends on the quality and type of fragrance as well as your own body chemistry and where you place the scent.
When purchasing your next fragrance, keep in mind that generally speaking, the more expensive the fragrance, the greater percentage of fragrance oils and the longer lasting the scent. Whether you choose to wear an EDT, EDP or Cologne is merely a matter of taste and desired concentration.