What Is The Difference Between Perfume And Cologne?
Both men and women can easily be confused with the many presentations a fragrance can show up in: eau fraiche, cologne, toilette, perfume. What exactly are all of these options, what is the difference between them, and which one should you choose?
As with everything, in order to really grasp the distinctions between all of these presentations, it is necessary to go to the beginning: the fragrance.
What Is A Fragrance?
Fragrances are complex mixtures of what is known as raw materials, which are nothing else but extracts with particularly appealing smells that can come from nature or be created synthetically.
The most common of these raw materials are floral, fruity, wooden-based and marine extracts, although you can run into highly innovative scents that produce unique fragrances on the market.
This mixture of oils that contain the fragrances are dissolved in a solvent like alcohol or water that combines them in an organic way. The amount of oil in proportion to the amount of solvent is the main and only factor that allows determining if a fragrance is a perfume or a cologne, indeed.
What Is The Difference Between Fragrance Concentrations?
When the oil is mixed in with alcohol or water, a final product is obtained. The rule is as follows: the higher the concentration of oils, the stronger the fragrance and the more it will last on your skin, lengthening the scent effect.
The obtained results, ranged from weaker to stronger fragrance, are:
- Eau Fraiche
- Cologne (or Eau de Cologne)
- Toilette (or Eau de Toilette)
- Parfum (or Eau de Parfum)
This is all quite useful when you are about to shop for a new fragrance but find out there are at least three types of them and have no idea what they differ in. Let’s give a closer look to each so you can know what you will be dealing with, leaving cologne and perfume to the end as they are the most common versions.
This is the most diluted version of fragrances, with a usual 1%-3% essential oil in alcohol and/or water. The scent will usually last for less than an hour on your skin and is normally applied after taking a shower for a fresher aroma.
Toilette or Eau de Toilette
This is also a light spray composition of about 5% to 15% pure essence dissolved only in alcohol. They usually come in spray bottles and it does not last too much, either. The longest it will stay with you will be around 3 hours.
Cologne or Eau de Cologne
Cologne is a fragrance that originates from the city of Köln in Germany. This type of scent was invented by the monk Giovanni Maria Farina in 1790 approximately, and are nowadays used to describe a particular blend of fragrances of about 5% to 8% concentration of essential oils into alcohol and water.
You can find colognes both for men and women on the market, and its composition is usually light, fresh and fruity and is common that it contains lemon, orange, bergamot, and rosemary or lavender oils. They tend to last for about two hours and are considerably cheaper than perfumes because of its lower oil concentration.
In the past decades, it has become a trend that, as they tend to last less than heavier perfumes, colognes are used by younger people and sometimes can come in a splash version, as well.
Perfume and Eau de Perfume
The word “perfume” comes from France and is a corruption of the Latin phrase per fumum (through smoke). It became widely popular in the early 16th century amongst crusaders after coming back from Middle East, although it is suspected that perfumes already existed a couple of centuries BC.
Perfumes are a mixture of fragrant essential oils, aromatic compounds and solvents that can be water or ethanol. The main difference between perfumes and colognes are, as stated before, the level of concentration it has in proportion to its solvent. In this case, perfumes usually have essential oil concentrations of about 30%.
As the blend contains a higher amount of aromatic compounds, perfumes tend to be the heaviest version of fragrance you can find on the market, and they generally spend around 6 to 8 hours making you smell great.
The purer composition also makes it much more expensive than any other fragrance version; this is also because, as they tend to be more intense, they are expected to be used in lesser quantities.
Perfumes also differ in consistency: they are thicker and oilier than other fragrances, and sometimes you can find them being sold with stopper bottles and not sprays, as they can be very strong.
There is also a slightly lighter version of perfume, which is the Eau de Perfume, and it uses the same principles as the perfume itself but with a higher quantity of solvents.
Eau de Perfume is a good option for those who have sensitive noses and might flinch at the strong smell some pure perfumes can achieve. These fragrances have 10% to 20% of perfume essence and lasts a bit less than perfumes themselves.
Which One Should I Buy?
When you are in a conundrum of which type of fragrance to buy, it will all come down to how you plan to use it. If you are looking for something you can put on during those hot, summer days, and do not want it to last too long, then a cologne is a good choice for you.
On the other hand, perfumes are a must-have, and you should always have at least one in your closet that you can use when you have a late event to attend. In these cases, a cologne won’t do the job because they tend to be too light, which means you will be needing a stronger, oilier perfume that will release charming scents throughout the night.
Finally, remember that price does not necessarily tell you if a product is good or not. When buying a fragrance, it is always best to go out to a place where you can test perfumes and smell a couple of different scents before choosing what smells best on your skin!