Most likely we buy the fragrance that is the cheapest but smell as good as the concentrated. Generally, we think that cologne is the lesser version of the perfume. It usually means cologne equals splashing every hour, and perfume re-spraying after three to four hours or until the smell fades off. Cologne relates to freshness, while perfume represents elegance. So where are we drawing the line when we wear a fragrance? Of course, it is a matter of personal preference.
Do you want to buy a cologne or a perfume? Is a perfume the same as Eau de Parfum? Or, Is cologne short for Eau de Cologne? What about Eau de Toilette? Why is there an “eau de”? Somehow we don’t really care because it’s how it smells that matters.
Perfume comes from the Latin word “per fumum” or through smoke. Ironically, perfume is water-based so perhaps it’s all about the lasting smell like how the smoke stick on clothes. That’s why the “eau de” is added, which is a French term for “water of.” Basically, Eau de Parfum means water becoming smoke (?). It’s much clearer if the whole idea is represented by a spraying process. A spray somehow looks like a smoke.
Eau de Cologne or just Cologne. Although known to have the least composition with only 2-5% aromatic compounds or perfume oil, cologne – as popularly known – has a trademark smell, which is weak and very citrus, or at least that’s how it is originally known in Cologne, Germany. However, a lot of people will argue with that fact since there are several variety on the shelves.
Eau de Toilette. It has 5-20% aromatic compounds. It is the middle smell of between Eau de Perfum and Eau de Cologne, although there is only a slight difference with Eau de Perfum. Literally, this means that Eau de Toilette is water of toilet (?), which is not a very encouraging smell. But for the perfume makers, this mixture of scents is not too weak and not too strong. For everybody else, it’s not too expensive or too cheap.
Eau de Parfum. The most concentrated among the three types fragrance mixtures, with 15-30% of aromatic compounds. It’s highly concentrated and it lasts longer. It’s also more expensive and strong. However, it is lesser concentrated than Perfume itself, which really has that heavy nice smell.
Every house of perfumes has its own levels of concentration as well as mixtures of aromatic compounds. There are occasions that what may be Eau de Toilette in one product name could be Eau de Perfum on the other brand.
The important thing about buying perfume goes beyond choices. The fragrance has to blend in with the body chemistry. What smells good on one person may not smell that great on another, especially if it’s used for a longer period of time. That is why fragrance should be changed every six months, because eventually that glorious scent will adapt to the body and become just an ordinary smell. Worse yet, it will smell bad rather than nice.