Knowing the difference between Eau de toilette and Eau de parfum is a great way to maximize a bottle of fragrance. Shoppers have the tendency to wander into the perfume store not really understanding the types of fragrances, merely relying on what smells good and what smells bad. While how a scent appeals to the nose does play a primary role, there’s more to a bottle of fragrance than just its smell. Eau de toilette and Eau de parfum are two of the most common types of fragrances. Several factors that distinguish Eau de toilette from Eau de parfum include level of concentration, intensity, and colour. With an understanding of the difference between these two, you can walk out of the parfumerie with a bottle of fragrance that suits your needs and preferences.
Eau de toilette
It was the French that came up with these fancy-sounding fragrance labels. It makes sense, too, because perfume is a symbol of love, romance, and seduction, and the French are widely embraced as one of the most romantic people on this planet. Eau de toilette, pronounced /ō də twäˈlet/ (or “oo de twalet”), in its literal translation, means “toilet water”. The term does not exactly conjure romantic images, but it pertains to the act of splashing or spraying on fragrance immediately upon stepping out of the shower.
Eau de toilette has a concentration of 4-15% fragrance oils diluted in alcohol and/or water. It is this light concentration that molds the character of a bottle of Eau de toilette: its colour, intensity, and lasting power. Eau de toilette has a crisp, translucent colour that either has a really delicate hue or takes the colour of its bottle. The focal point is its top note, or the scent that is immediately released upon application, which makes it perfect to use after a bath or in between errands. Top notes have a remarkably strong aroma, but are highly volatile; this is why Eau de toilette lasts only up to 3 hours and must be re-applied a few times throughout the day.
Eau de parfum
Eau de parfum, pronounced /ō də pär-ˈfaⁿ / (or “oo de parfarm”), in its literal translation, means “perfumed water”, referring to the fragrance imparted to the water by the essential oils. It has a higher concentration of about 10-20% which gives it a higher intensity and a deeper, darker colour. If you tried to observe a bottle of Eau de parfum, you would notice that it has a slightly oily consistency due to the greater oil content. To fully appreciate Eau de parfum, one must wait a few minutes after spraying – when the middle notes emerge and take over the experience. Middle notes are the aroma that penetrates the senses once the top notes have dissipated. Eau de parfum lasts 4-5 hours so a spray before a romantic date may be enough to last through the night.
Difference between Eau de toilette and Eau de parfum
Choosing between Eau de toilette and Eau de parfum is not a matter of which type is better than the other but rather, of which fits the occasion perfectly. Eau de toilette has a fresh, crisp smell that perfectly complements the warmth of summer or early mornings and afternoons. On the other hand, Eau de parfum has a depth that is great for cooler weather such as fall, winter, and late evenings. It might be illogical to compare the two based on their pricing because Eau de toilette may cost less, but a bottle of Eau de parfum may last longer, so each type actually gives great value to money.
Many perfume brands tend to have both Eau de toilette and Eau de parfum for any particular series or product line. For example, check out the “My Burberry” line below and notice the difference in colours:
However, it’s interesting to note that a large majority of the perfumes available for men are actually Eau de toilette, while for women it’s more of an even mix between Eau de toilette and Eau de parfum. It’s only the “high tier” brands like Burberry or Chanel, among others, that are known to have Eau de parfum targeted at a male audience.
One of our Beureka favourites is Salvatore Ferragamo Signorina, which comes in both Eau de toilette and Eau de parfum. Signorina means “young woman” in Italian that, when translated into fragrance, means gently sensual, subtly cheeky, fresh and vivacious – all parts modern woman. A spritz immediately brings you a heady mix of red currant and pink pepper, which then gradually transitions into the delicate aroma of peonies, roses, and jasmine. Musk, patchouli, and panacotta comprise the base notes and complete the whole olfactory experience.
Other Useful Resources
Here’s a collection of other useful links which might better help you understand the difference between Eau De Toilette and Eau De Parfum before you make a purchase:
- Looking Feeling Smelling Great’s Youtube video on the difference Between Eau De Cologne, Eau De Toilette & Eau De Parfum
- An answer to a similar question on Quora
- How Stuff Works – What’s the difference between cologne, eau de parfum and perfume?
Have something you want to add to this list as well? Or feel like sharing your own experiences buying Eau de toilette and Eau de parfum? Feel free to comment in the box below, or share it with a friend who might not have known!
Also published on Medium.