The 5 Types of Perfumes: What are They? Which is Best?

There are generally five different types of perfume: extrait de parfum (or parfum), eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and eau fraiche. The main difference between them is the fragrance concentration which is determined by the amount of perfume oils they contain. 

Parfum has the highest fragrance concentration, followed by eau de perfume, while eau de cologne and eau de toilette have a low fragrance concentration. Choosing between them won’t depend just on the amount of perfume oil in them, but also on the fragrance notes that suit them best.

You can find great choices for all the fragrance types on the market today. Knowing more about the different categories can help you discover many fragrance strengths and weaknesses.

What Does Fragrance Concentration Mean?

Fragrance concentration indicates perfume strength. The highest concentration shows that the ratio of fragrance oils used to create the perfume is higher than the level of alcohol.

Fragrance concentration is used to determine the different perfume types.  

The high concentration of fragrance uses less alcohol and creates pure perfume and EDP. These are perfumes that usually have the highest price on the market.

Lower concentration perfumes have high alcohol content. EDT and eau fraiche have the lowest concentration of fragrance oil and can be found in bigger bottles than their high-level counterparts.

A fragrance with more alcohol content also fades quickly on the skin, but the lower price allows for more top-ups throughout the day. You should also remember to store all your fragrances, no matter the type, in a dark place to preserve the perfume oils in them for as long as possible.

The 5 Main Types of Perfumes

Since ancient times, perfume has been an important part of society. Fragrances are now made from combining perfume oil with alcohol, which creates the different fragrance types. 

The different types of concentration create different scents that work best with different notes.

Extrait de Parfum

Out of all the types of perfume, pure perfume or parfum has the highest concentration of fragrance. Parfum generally has a fragrance concentration between 20% and 30%. 

It has a heavier scent and it even feels oilier when you apply it to the skin. 

This is an excellent fragrance type for people with sensitive skin. Parfum has the least amount of alcohol, which can be a skin irritant. 

Parfum has the longest-lasting scent. It can remain on your skin for up to eight hours, sometimes even the whole day. 

Parfum should only be applied with a few drops, as it’s heavy enough to create a full-bodied experience on your skin while giving you an olfactory tour of the best ingredients used for perfumes. 

With parfum, you’ll delight your senses with top notes like bitter almonds, saffron, and iris. You’ll also find middle notes or heart notes of Egyptian jasmine and cedarwood, and base notes like ambergris.

Parfum fragrances will allow you to rediscover even familiar scents in rich, new ways, as they will deliver all these layers with the best quality available on the market.

Eau de Parfum

EDP has the next highest concentration, usually containing between 15% and 20% perfume oils. The eau de parfum strength lasts up to six hours on the skin and highlights the middle note, as the top note fades sooner. 

After six hours, eau de parfum lingers with its base note.

Eau de parfum is one of the best types of perfume and combines the quality of its ingredients with being more on the affordable side than parfum. The most popular fragrances in this category usually include perfumes made from jasmine, orange blossom, and vanilla oils.

Eau de Toilette

Eau de toilette comes from the French term “faire sa toilette,” which translates to “getting ready” or “grooming oneself”. 

EDT usually has a concentration of 5% to 15% perfume oils and can last up to three hours. The top note is usually the star, and citrus base notes are very common in this range.

This is a more affordable choice, and a spray of it will carry the scent well, but you may have to reapply the perfume with more regularity. 

Eau de Cologne

Eau de cologne has between 2% and 4% concentration of perfume oils, and only lasts up to two hours. It’s much more affordable than the previous choices, and it allows for larger bottle sizes to be used.

Citrus notes tend to be common in this category too, especially because this tends to contain mostly unisex or male scents. Despite this generalization, you can still find female eau de cologne options on the market. 

Eau Fraiche

Eau fraiche, which translates to “fresh water,” is very similar to eau de cologne. It has between 1% and 3% perfume oils, and also lasts up to two hours. The difference between these two types with the lowest fragrance concentration is the low level of alcohol in eau fraiche. 

The fresh scents available in this range are great for summer and to freshen up after workout sessions.

Is Eau de Parfum Better than Eau de Toilette or Eau de Cologne?

Eau de parfum lasts longer than eau de toilette and eau de cologne, and its perfume has a higher quality because it contains more perfume oils. 

Despite this, many times you’ll find the other two to be better options. They’re more affordable and lighter scents to carry that fit most occasions and seasons.

How to Distinguish Between Perfume Types?

The main way to distinguish between perfume categories is to smell the fragrances. If the scent is intense and complex and lasts all day, it’s a strong indication that it’s one of the types that contain the most perfume oils. 

At the lower end of the spectrum, you’ll find that the water content difference between those types will hint at the ones you’re testing.

Which Type of Perfume Should I Buy?

The different fragrance types create a full spectrum of scents that include infinite note combinations. Choosing a type will depend on what you prefer to wear and the scent you favor. 

You’ll also have to consider your budget.

The cheaper types are more wearable and more affordable. The more expensive ones offer unmatchable quality and more intriguing fragrance profiles, but at a premium cost. 

When deciding what to get, keep in mind how you’re going to wear it. If it’s for daily use, the more affordable ones are a great choice, especially as you can switch them.

If it’s a formal event or a special occasion, you can treat yourself to the high-end options. You should consider the perfumes you already enjoy and the fragrance you prefer wearing. 

Once you’ve done all the research, you can try out the best options and go from there.

The Bottom Line 

The five main types of perfumes all offer a number of benefits to the wearer. 

When it’s time to invest in new scents, keep in mind the differences between them and opt for the one that suits you the most.