The difference between Cologne vs Perfume

Ever pick up a bottle of fragrance, check the label read the word “cologne” or “perfume” and put it down because it’s not for your “gender”? 

Well.. guess what! You have been missing out. The age-old thought that perfume is for her and cologne is for him is simply WRONG! 

Is your mind blown? Yup, men can wear perfume and ladies you can wear cologne. It’s not a gender thing that makes these two types of fragrance different. And, we at Dossier want to put a stop to this age-old perception.

It’s time everyone gets it straight when it comes to cologne vs perfume.

Before we dive into the differences, let’s get a little back story on how it came to be commonly believed cologne is for men and perfume is for women.

If you take a look at modern-day marketing of perfumes and colognes, you will notice a clear difference between the two. Perfumes are generally marketed towards females, a lot of brands put flowers, women, female-centric colors on the packaging. While colognes are generally marketed towards males, you will notice darker colors, masculine patterns, and men on the packaging. And, that our friends is where the perception comes from.  

“So why does the perfume industry remain so gendered? Back in the 1700s, for example, Napoleon was known to wear an excess of perfume himself, which he’d use to cover up his natural and understandably strong body odor after months on the field.”

As you can see, it wasn’t always a gender thing. Modern marketing has really taken control when it comes to how we perceive fragrance. But, if in the 1700s men were using perfume, when did cologne even come into the picture and was it originally made for men? 

“The first recorded cologne was created by Giovanni Maria Farina in the 18th century and named after his hometown of Cologne, Germany. It was originally a mix of citrus oils with other substances like lavender and neroli.” 

It gets its name from the town it was first made it. But, it is important to note that it is still just a fragrance. And, it was first made by a man, yes… however, it was not intended to be worn just by men. Actually, its first intent was to offer a refreshing aroma. Adored by royalty of both genders for centuries —  “It’s the natural splash that will allow you to feel completely as yourself; it doesn’t distract for your personality, it rather completes it.” Which brings us to the real differences of cologne vs perfume. 

It all boils down to simply the concentration. 

“The truth is, cologne isn’t necessarily concocted to appeal to men, nor is it solely for men. The real difference between perfume and cologne is merely how the fragrances are formulated, and the concentration or amount of oils in the fragrance.”

As described in our article What Is The Difference Between EDT, EDP, and EDC — Eau de Cologne is a mixture that boasts roughly 2-5% essential oil. While perfume is considered to be of the purest content roughly 20-30% essential oil, it is generally used to cover a bodies natural aroma. 

Cologne is known for a light and refreshing aroma that does not overpower, it was actually first made and worn by its producer “as one wears a broach or a necklace. He wore his eau de cologne to enact a sort of “presence of smell” into the world. The smell he had concentrated, supposedly, sent scents of his Italian home, of his nostalgia. And so, in a way, it was completely unique to his personality, his time and lineage.”

Perfume on the other hand, is defined as, “a fragrant liquid typically made from essential oils extracted from flowers and spices, used to impart a pleasant smell to one’s body or clothes.” It is intended, like mentioned above as Napoleon wore, to cover up or mask a body odor. 

So, not gender specific, the difference actually all depends on when and how you want to wear a scent. 

On that note, it is also important to take a look at the price. Cologne due to its concentration percentage is generally much cheaper than perfume. And, if we go back to marketing and why it is gendered, let’s ask the question of who in our modern society is more likely to spend more money on a beauty product, men or women? In the past decades, we would hands-down say women! Therefore marketing has geared itself for women to spend more on perfume and men to spend less on cologne.

But times are changing!

It is now socially acceptable for men to take care of their body and spend money on grooming. And, we can thank social media for that! 

“And that, she thinks, comes from this particular generation’s obsession with self-expression, and reluctance to care about labels. “The reason I think there’s less of a gender differentiation is this idea of selfies. The selfie syndrome is not just with iPhones and pictures, it’s also happening in the aspect of self-expression. That men and women can say, I want to create something for me that reflects what I am. I don’t care about the latest celebrity fragrance. People are really literally wanting to express who they are.” And if who they are ends up being a man who wears a perfume, or a woman who wears a cologne, then so be it.”

At Dossier we are down with EVERYONE smelling fantastic! That is why we have created our entire line to be affordable for all. With bottles of our perfume starting at $29, no matter your gender you can smell amazing. 

Also offering scents that are geared towards personal preferences not gender, we truly have options for everyone. 

Shop with a satisfaction guarantee, it is time you find the scent that perfectly suits your personality, just like the original maker of cologne.

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What do you think?