Once upon a time, everything was simple. When it came to categorizing perfume, there were only eau de cologne, eau de toilette, and perfume, in order of increasing concentration. However, in the current world of perfumery, these days feel long, long ago…
These days, you’re confronted with eau de parfum, body spray, extrait, eau de toilette, perfume, body mist, eau fraîche, eau de cologne… just to name the most common perfume categories.
For those who get lost thinking about all these fragrance types, don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone. When it comes down to it, they’re all a combination of essential oils mixed with water and alcohol that’s sprayed on your skin to make you smell amazing, right? Let’s break down what actually makes them different, so you no longer have to feel like your head is spinning when shopping for your new favorite fragrance.
It’s all about the concentration, baby.
These labels are tied to concentration, but there’s no strict rule. Each brand decides on the concentration and the category of the fragrances it markets. So, an eau de parfum from one brand may be more concentrated than a perfume from another.
Although there’s no real rules to categorizing fragrance anymore, here are some general guidelines for each perfume category, ranked by increasing order of the average percentage of oil concentration.
Body Mist and Body Spray: 1% -5%
Eau de Cologne: 4%-8%
Eau Fraîche: 5%- 12%
Eau de Toilette: 8%- 15%
Eau de Parfum: 12%- 22%
Perfume/Extrait: 15%- 30%
As you may have guessed, this also affects the price!
The price is another difference between eau de parfum, body spray, extrait, etc.– and it’s directly linked to the concentration. Essential oil is the most precious ingredient in any kind of fragrance, so it makes sense that the more essential oil there is in a formula the more expensive it will be to make. That’s why body spray ends up being cheaper than a perfume.
However, strength and formulation are different. The more concentrated a fragrance, the more long lasting and powerful it is.
When it comes to fragrance formula, most body mists, body sprays, eaux de cologne and, eaux fraîches focus on fresh top notes, while extraits and perfumes focus on heart and base notes. The first category will last about 2-5 hours on average on your skin, while the other, more concentrated formulas will follow you from morning to night.
Understandably, the lasting power of these formulas affect the usage as well!
Let’s start by focusing on the extremes: perfumes and extraits, and body sprays and body mists.
Perfumes and extraits are precious and powerful fragrances purchased in small sizes. Instead of spraying your fragrance, for these you’ll typically only need to gently apply a drop or two, perhaps behind your ears or on a pulse point.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, body sprays and body mists are fragrances you’ll want to spray generously on all over your body after a shower. They’re also used as an “on-the-go” quick solution to carry in your bag so you can refresh with a spritz a few times during the day whether you’re at work, hanging with friends, or just running around doing errands.
For those that fall between these extremes: eaux fraîches, eaux de toilette and eaux de parfum are applied more generously than a perfume, but not as much as a body spray.
If you want to know more on how to apply them, we’ve got it covered here.