Have you ever wondered why some fragrances are labeled Eau de Toilette while others are called Extrait de Parfum, Eau de Parfum or Eau de Cologne? It can seem confusing, but there’s a simple principle that lies behind the lingo: the difference between perfume types is the amount of perfume concentration they contain.
The perfume concentration is the percentage of aromatic materials (aka the "juice") in a fragrance. For example, an Eau de Toilette contains between five and fifteen percent perfume concentration blended in alcohol, while an Extrait de Parfum contains twenty to forty percent. This difference in percentage is what makes an Eau de Toilette lighter in character and also less costly than an Extrait de Parfum.
The amount of perfume concentration affects a scent's longevity as well. An Eau de Toilette will typically last three to four hours, while an Extrait de Parfum will linger for six to eight hours or longer.
See below for a list of perfume types, their aromatic concentrations and average longevity.
One thing a fragrance’s classification does not indicate is who can wear it. Many of us were brought up to think that colognes are for men and perfumes are for women, but those designations are essentially gender-based marketing concepts that came into use in the early twentieth century and are thankfully becoming outmoded.
Generally I'm not a fan of rules in perfumery. I don't subscribe to the notion that certain fragrances should only be worn at certain times, or only by specific genders. My philosophy? Scent is a beautiful, vital part of life, so why limit yourself? Wear what you want, when you want to, and enjoy!
Not all "juice" is created equal. It's important to note that not all "juice" is created equal. For example, commercial perfumers mainly use synthetic fragrance molecules to compose their fragrances. These are petrochemical-derived ingredients which are engineered in a lab to mimic the scents of nature. Botanical perfumers, on the other hand, create their fragrances exclusively with pure, whole plant essences.
I’m a botanical perfumer, a wellness devotee and a purist when it comes to using only healthy, renewable plant ingredients in my fragrances and products. Inspired by the desire to bring both beauty and well-being to others through scent, my perfumer’s palette consists of over three hundred sustainably sourced essential oils, absolutes and resins. Synthetic fragrance molecules, aroma chemicals, isolates and petrochemicals are all taboo in my studio.
Here's the rundown on the five basic perfume types:
Extrait de Parfum (Parfum) — Twenty to forty percent perfume concentration. Known variously as Extrait de Parfum, Parfum, Pure Perfume or simply Perfume (just to keep things confusing!), it is the most concentrated, longest-lasting and most costly type of fragrance. CUSANI Extraits de Parfum contain twenty-six to thirty-one percent perfume concentration and last six to eight hours on the skin, with base notes lingering for twelve hours or longer.
Eau de Parfum (EdP) — Fifteen to twenty percent perfume concentration; an Eau de Parfum will typically stay on the skin for four to five hours.
Eau de Toilette (EdT) — Five to fifteen percent perfume concentration. Eau de Toilette is generally the most popular fragrance type due to its good longevity and price points that are lower than Eau de Parfum and Parfum. CUSANI Eaux de Toilette contain fifteen percent perfume concentration and last for three to four hours on the skin.
Eau de Cologne (EdC) — Two to four percent perfume concentration; cologne scents are light and stay on the skin for one to two hours.
Eau Fraiche — One to three percent perfume concentration; the lightest type of fragrance, it literally means "fresh water." These deliver a spritz of refreshing scent that lasts for five to fifteen minutes, depending on fragrance composition. CUSANI's aromatherapeutic Luxury Room Sprays (also wonderful as a rejuvenating body mist) contain an eau fraiche concentration of three percent essences in distilled water.
Happy sniffing! — Claudia xox