Updated: May 27, 2020
Let's learn the differences between eau de cologne, eau de toilette and eau de parfum and extrait de parfum, as, contrary to popular belief, these words are not interchangeable.
The intensity of a fragrance simply means the strength or concentration.
This ranges from weak to strong, an 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 from alcohol, distilled water, fixatives and conditioning agents.
An eau de cologne consists of 3-5% of the juice. (See our blog here about essential oils) One 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 (EDT) has 5-8% juice; eau de parfum ( or perfume) (EDP) has 8-15%; and an extrait de parfum has 15-30%.
EDT is one of the most popular intensities of perfumes worldwide
This is an approximate range and perfume manufacturers sometimes use much more. Louis Vuitton perfumes have a whopping 31% strength.
Have you ever wondered why the EDT smells different from the EDP with exactly the same perfume?
That's another difference between eau de toilette and eau de parfum; the composition of notes that are used.
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.
It's a bit like making a G & T, the EDP will have more gin it in!
My favourite men's fragrance is Terre de Hermes created by the master Jean Claude Ellena, and I much prefer the EDT than the EDP, obviously I am more in love with the lighter notes of the composition than the base notes. Try it and see which you prefer....
It is important to note that these percentages (intensities) determine how much of the product you should use. Of course, you don’t want to be dripping in extrait de parfum as it is so intense. Remember, bigger isn’t always better!
Often an extrait de parfum will come in an oil base. I own the exquisite J'Adore by Dior, which is an oil base, and this strength is not meant to be splashed or sprayed all over your body like you would with an Eau fraiche, EDP or EDT.
An Extrait is meant for the pulse points and other warm areas like your cleavage. It is more of an intimate experience, that's why I save it for sexy time!