Fragrance Categories Explained

Today is National Fragrance Day so I felt there was no better time than now to hit publish on this post.

Have you ever stopped by your local fragrance counter only to be completely overwhelmed and dare I say it confused? I have. First of all there is endless brands to choose from; be it limited edition seasonal scents and don't get me started on celebrity launches. That is not what I used to find mind boggling, you select what your senses most enjoy but fragrance categories, that my friend is a mind field. Should I pay more for an eau de parfum, plump for fragrance oil and is cologne for all? Let me break it down for you.

Eau de Cologne aka EDC (often referred to as simply cologne) - Typically seen as a male fragrance option but really it is for all. Typically cologne comes in huge bottles (think Jo Malone) as it is literally intended to be splashed on as the perfumed oils (what creates the overall fragrance) concentration is so low - up to 7% of the overall composition. In my experience colognes tend to be quite weakly scented and do not linger on the skin, on the plus side they are seldom jarring and refreshing - ideal for those who loathe heavy scents and/or warmer climates.

Eau de Toilette aka EDT - A step up from Eau de Colognes, typically the perfume oil concentration is around 10% of the overall composition, again think light, gentle wearing scents. Eau de Toilettes are really common, chances are you own a good few. The Eau de Toilette option of many popular fragrances tends to be the cheaper option and in my opinion the easiest way to wear heavy scents; for instance I only wear Narciso Rodriguez for Her EDT as the original is too overpowering for my taste.

Eau de Parfum aka EDP - Think strong, long wearing and more often than not the most expensive and commonly found option within fragrance houses. Typically Eau de Parfum's contain up to 20% perfume oil hence why they cost so much. As it contains a higher concentrate you will find that you will need/use far less Eau de Parfum opposed to EDT and cologne and it tens to come in smaller volume sizes i.e 30ml and 50ml rather than up to 100ml sizes.

Perfume/Parfum - At up to 40% pure perfume oil/s this does not come cheap nor easily, many brands simply do not offer this option and it does tend to be seen as fairly niche. Typically "perfume" comes in smaller sizes (not usual to be under 30ml) as less is definitely more. If you have sensitised skin or an aversion to stronger scents then this is the category to skip. In my opinion Eau de Parfum is more the sufficient i.e lasts me the entire day without the need for re-application.

So in a nutshell:
Cologne - similar to a body splash, light, refreshing not long wearing can be the cheapest option (Jo Malone is the exception not the rule) and for all.
Eau de Toilette - a lighter, cheaper way to get a hit of your favourite scent, may need to be reapplied throughout the day.
Eau de Parfum - long wearing, not always heavy and a most frequently the most expensive option on the high street.
Perfume/Parfume - Strong, expensive, very long wearing, less is more and can irritate the skin.

I hope this helps make the fragrance counter a little less daunting!