A Guide to Different Perfume Categories

Perfumes aren't just simply a mixture of different scents, it's about developing sensitivity to the subtleties of these scents and how they communicate with you. It is imperative to understand the technicalities of the perfumery world to enhance your skin's chemistry with your favourite perfume. 

You approach the perfume store, walk past the display of gleaming glass vials and come across terms like Pure Parfum, Eau De parfum, Eau De toilette and many other french phrases. Unless you are well versed in the french language, you find yourself surrounded with question marks. 

Before getting into details, it is necessary to understand that these categories have been primarily developed on the premise of the level of fragrance oil and alcohol concentration. The fluctuation in these blends resulted in 5 categories of Fragrances. 

To help you with the intricate process of finding your perfect match of perfume, below we have provided detailed information on the different categories of perfumes, percentage of fragrance oil concentration, their lasting power and the right way to apply the respective scent.

  1. Pure Parfum: Pure Parfum has the highest level of fragrance oil concentration amongst all categories. The concentration ranges from 20% to almost 30%. Due to the high level of fragrance concentration, the alcohol used is comparatively less, making it a safe option for those with sensitive skin. Pure Parfum always sits at the luxury side of the perfume spectrum due to their long lasting power, stretching up to 15 hours. Such advantages of the perfume result in a higher price also. 
  2. Eau De Perfume: Eau De perfumes have the second highest concentration of fragrance oils fluctuating from 15% to 20%. Though the ingredients have a slightly higher concentration of water and alcohol, the fragrance oil concentration is still pretty high. The longevity of Eau De Perfume is up to 7 to 8 hours making it a good option for special evenings and outings. Eau de Perfume was developed in the 1970s, originating from Pure Parfum which was essentially for the wealthiest strata of the society. Eau De Parfum is the most famous in the commercial luxury category, made with the right ingredients to create a deeper base by paying more heed to the heart and base notes, resulting in a more lavish and luxurious fragrance.
  3.  Eau De Toilette: The name Eau De Toilette has been inspired from the french morning rituals of grooming. Eau De Toilette has a lower concentration of fragrance oils and more concentration of alcohol and water, the aroma ingredients having a concentration range of 8% to 12% . This category of perfume is to be used immediately after a shower. Due to the high concentration of alcohol, the initial period after the spray leaves a deep strong effect, a generous headnote that is frequently seen as being particularly forceful at first. The notes, which at first might seem overly overbearing, will quickly settle down on the skin to leave a gentle impression of freshness. It holds more volatile notes than an Eau de Parfum, which means it tends to be less long-lasting on the skin, staying for 5 to 6 hours.
  4. Eau De Cologne: This is essentially the oldest type of perfume, reaching back to the 14th century. With a typical concentration of 4% to 6%, colognes have one of the lowest concentrations of any type of perfume. Hence, their lasting power is also directly proportional, lasting for about 3 to 4 hours and are usually inexpensive. Eau De Cologne usually has a masculine connotation to them but that is a misconception. The actual definition of an Eau de Cologne (or Cologne) is a perfume with deep and tenacious headnotes and a modest range of base notes, leaving the user feeling fresh. 
  5. Eau De Fraiche: The last category is eau De Fraiche. These perfumes are made with the lowest concentration of fragrance oils, with just a meagre 1% to 3%. This results in a comparatively less lasting power of 2 hours. Due to the lower aromatic concentration, these perfumes are not highly priced and are good for those who wish to experiment with different luxury fragrances within a budget.