What is the Difference Between Cologne and Perfume?

You might assume that the difference between cologne and perfume is mainly based on gender. However, according to perfume experts, the difference between the two has more to do with the oil concentration and alcohol content.

Perfume (eau de parfum and parfum) features a higher concentration of essential oil. It ranges between 20 to 30% of fragrance oils. 

Eau de cologne features about 2 to 4% of the essential oils, while eau de toilette features 5 to 15%. Other fragrance types like eau fraiche feature a lower concentration level of about 1 to 3%.

The fragrance’s oil concentration helps you determine the scent’s tenacity (how long it can last on your skin) and when to use it.

Therefore, as you go out to shop for your favorite scent, choosing the perfect oil concentration is as important as selecting your ideal smell. 

If it’s too light, it might fade away quickly. If it’s too strong, it’ll choke you and everyone around you. 

What are Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette, and Eau de Parfum?

When trying to identify your signature scent, you need to pay attention to how long the fragrance can last. That’s where Eau de Cologne, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, and Eau Fraîche come in.

1. Eau de Parfum (EDP)

After perfumes, EDP or perfume water, features the second-highest oil concentration with about 15 to 20% perfume essence (it gives off a stronger smell than other fragrances).

It’s a particularly ideal scent for sensitive skin, although it features a high alcohol content. The fragrance type also lasts for about four to five hours, making it suitable for everyday use. 

It’s also one of the more popular types of fragrances.

Your body chemistry significantly determines the final scent of this fragrance. So, before making it your signature scent, ensure you examine how it changes during the day. 

2. Eau de Toilette (EDT)

The term eau de toilette comes from the French term “faire sa toilette,” meaning getting ready.

Unlike perfume and parfum, EDT features a fragrance concentration of about 5 to 15%. It’s also less costly than EDP, and is one of the most popular fragrance types available.

The scent typically lasts for two to about three hours and is considered the best daytime fragrance. Parfums’ scents are perfect for the evening.

Factors such as your skin type, hormone levels, and climate determine the eau de toilette’s final scent. So, before making it your signature fragrance, ensure to check with a friend and see how the final scent prevails. 

3. Eau de Cologne (EDC)

In the past, the term eau de cologne referred to a traditional recipe consisting of herbs, and citrus notes with a slight anchoring of base notes.

Today, EDC is considered a favorite fragrance among men. It features a lower fragrance concentration (about 2 to 4%) than EDT, which features a high alcohol content, making it the most affordable fragrance type.  

It also lasts for up to two hours.

EDC fragrances come in bigger bottles as you need to reapply them a few times throughout the day. Your body chemistry determines its final scent. 

Therefore, before making it your signature fragrance, be sure to notice how it changes throughout the day.

4. Eau Fraiche

Eau Fraiche, or “fresh water’” in French, features a 1 to 3% fragrance concentration. Unlike other scent types, eau fraiche also features a low oil concentration and alcohol amount, meaning it’s the perfect fragrance for people with sensitive skin.

It also lasts for up to two hours, making its aromatic top notes practically indistinguishable. 

So, if you’re looking for a perfect refreshing splash-on fragrance, this scent type should be your go-to.

What is the Difference Between Cologne and Perfume?

The best way to determine the difference between perfume, cologne, and basically most other perfume types is by considering three factors.

1. Concentration

Perfumes have the highest concentration of essence, with about 20 to 30%. They can last up to 24 hours with a single application, and have a strong smell compared to other fragrances.

EDC scents, on the other hand, feature a perfume essence of about 2 to 4%. They also tend to be on the lighter scents spectrum. 

2. Longevity

Perfumes typically last for about six to eight hours. However, the best perfume can last you about 24 hours with a one-time application.

EDC fragrances, on the other hand, last about two to three hours. During the first hour, the top notes of the fragrance prevail. 

However, during the second hour, the base notes take over. 

3. Cost

Perfume tends to be more expensive than EDC. However, a bottle of perfume lasts longer than that of EDC. 

Do Guys Wear Cologne or Perfume?

Contrary to popular belief, men can wear both. The best way to determine whether a fragrance is designed for men or women is by checking its label. 

Masculine scents tend to be labeled “for men” or “homme.” So, you can assume that the scent is feminine if you don’t see this. 

When Should I Wear Cologne?

It would be best if you rocked your EDC when you’re indoors. EDCs don’t have the same outdoor benefits as perfumes, so their services tend to suit indoor settings as opposed to those engaging in outdoor activities. 

When Should I Wear Perfume?

The best time to spritz some perfume is during the evening. 

Are Perfumes Better than Colognes?

No, they are not. Each scent type serves its purpose. 

Colognes are perfect for your early morning, whereas perfume is ideal for nighttime.

The Bottom Line

According to the above data, the distinguishing feature between EDC and perfume is the percentage of essence used. 

So, if you’re looking for something strong, perfume is your best bet. If you want a refreshing and light scent, then an EDC should be your go-to.