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  • Writer's pictureNicole Rosales

Perfume Chart, A Guide To Understanding Each Concentration

Ever wonder the difference between Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette, and countless other labels on perfume bottles? Here's a quick breakdown of what each means, how long they last, and how to choose what's best for you because perfume concentration matters.

I thought a little French translation would be helpful and interesting to include!

-Parfum, or Perfume, has the highest fragrance, or oil, concentration at around 20 to 40 percent. It's the most pure. That means the lasting power can hover around eight hours, which is roughly a working day. It's the reason for the higher price tag, too. You won't see me getting this kind anytime soon.

-Eau de Parfum, or Perfume as well, but since "eau" means water, let's call this "perfume water." It just makes it easier to remember since this concentration is "watered down" to around 15 to 20 percent. The longevity of this second-tier strength is roughly five hours. So, you may want to reapply once if you plan to be out for several hours. This type is the most common you'll find at stores.

I received this Tiffany & Co. Eau de Parfum from a good friend for my birthday, and I was taken aback. The scent is sophisticated and airy. The website lists the top note as Vert de mandarine, the middle note Noble iris, and the base notes as Patchouli and musk.

I spray this on in the morning and don't feel the need to reapply for the rest of the day, it slowly fades but it's just enough to conserve.

The lasting power is the same for my Coach Eau de Parfum, the brand lists the top note as

raspberry leaves, the middle as Turkish roses, and the base as suede musks.

There are so many labels to look out for, even my Chanel Eau de Parfum has Eau Tendre on the bottom, or "soft water." Again, it just means a less concentrated formula.

This beauty has notes of Jasmine Absolute and Rose Essence. I sometimes spray this twice a day!

Moving on to the third strongest, Eau de Toilette, or the literal translation, "Toilet Water." However, if you type this into Google, the English translation is Cologne. This kind of spray has about 5 to 15 percent of oil concentration which lasts around three hours or so. You typically see this type in a roll-on tube or mini bottles, making it more affordable. Still, you are likely going to use more of it in a shorter amount of time to keep the scent strong.

Marc Jacobs Eau So Fresh has been a favorite of mine for years, it's light with a hint of citrus. This

has a top note of pink grapefruit, a middle note of raspberries and wild rose, and ends with a soft musk base. I use this as my "on-the-go" scent or a day of errands for when I want to smell sweet but don't want to use my more expensive fragrances.

And it's not "just for men." It has nothing to do with sex or gender, it just means there's less fragrance. Guess the marketing side of things got the best of consumers.

The last with the least amount of fragrance is Eau de Fraiche or Fresh Water. Think of body sprays from Bath and Body Works, these have around 1 to 3 percent of oils. The lasting power isn't clear but I can assume not much after an hour or so.

So, there have it! Now, when you go out and look for a new scent, you have a better idea of what strength you want and how long to expect it to last. The more you invest, the longer the fragrance, simple enough!

And if you need a visual, check out this graphic.


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