Guide To Perfume Types

While shopping for perfumes, there's every chance that you will find some difficulty distinguishing one type from another. You see terms like "Parfum" and "Eau de Parfum" with no idea what they mean or if they are ideal for you. While you may choose a scent based on its appeal, there are other factors to consider when shopping for perfume.

Every perfume has a fragrance concentration, and this usually determines the intensity of the perfume oils and alcohol in it. The differences in these factors result in the five main types of perfume in the market today. Let's discuss each of them so you can make a more informed choice the next time you walk into a fragrance shop.

fragrance concentration guide

Eau Fraiche

This has what is perhaps the weakest scent of all the fragrance types. It is a light, delicate, and subtle type of perfume. It is also cheap. In terms of its effect, it is not as powerful as the other perfume options but it gets the job done.

Fragrance Notes

Eau Fraiche does not have strong notes.

Concentration

Eau Fraiche is notable because instead of alcohol, it is composed of mainly water and fragrance. The fragrance composition is only about 1% to 3%.

Scent-Lasting Time

Scents from Eau Fraiche perfumes may last for up to 2 hours.

Who It's for

It is perfect for you if you would rather not have a heavy scent. Its effect is mild because it does not contain any alcohol content. It is also an excellent choice for people with sensitive skin.

Eau de Cologne

Eau de Cologne (EAU) or simply Cologne is probably the most recognizable type of perfume. It's cheaper than the other types and comes in bigger bottles because you need to spray more fragrance to achieve a significant effect.

Eau de Cologne originally referred to a traditional recipe that used citrus and herb notes with little anchoring and base notes. In many countries, Cologne has become a generic name for perfumes geared for male usage. You will often find them sold in large sizes, which could be up to volumes of 200ml, and spray is usually the application method. Sometimes the citrus notes or gendered scent is the critical difference between eau de Cologne and Eau de Toilette.

Fragrance Notes

Eau de Cologne does not last long and has a strong top note which appeals to consumers.

Concentration

The fragrance concentration in Eau de Cologne ranges from 2% to 4% composition. It also has a high alcohol concentration.

Scent-Lasting Time

The scents from most eau de cologne perfumes last for a maximum of two hours.

Who It's for

It is an excellent option for hot weather because it does not last very long, and you can reapply it frequently. Its high alcohol content makes it an unsuitable choice if you have sensitive skin.

Eau de Toilette

Eau de Toilette is one of the most widely-used types of perfume. Most brands are generally cheaper than Eau de parfum, hence, manufacturers store them in bigger bottles. The name came from the French term "faire sa toilette," which means getting ready, so many people consider it the go-to choice for getting ready for a typical day. Scents from Eau de Toilette are usually lighter and less complicated than Eau de Parfum.

Fragrance Notes

The top notes released first are dominant, which gives a refreshing feeling after you apply before it evaporates and fades quickly.

Concentration

The fragrance oils in Eau de Toilette have a concentration of about 5% to 15%.

Scent-Lasting Time

Eau de Toilette perfumes can usually last from about two to three hours.

Who It's for

It is appropriate for the summertime, and due to moderately high alcohol concentrations, it will be advisable for people with sensitive skin to stay off. It is also a great choice for regular day wear.

Eau de Parfum

Eau de parfum is one of the universal fragrance types people wear for everyday events and activities. It is usually cheaper than Parfum and although it has a higher alcohol concentration, it will also work great for sensitive skin. You can spray this perfume on hair and clothing, but you have to be careful with delicate fabrics such as silk to avoid stains. You will find this type of perfume on sale in small sizes. 

Fragrance Notes

You get a full mix of the Top, Middle, and Base notes, but it focuses on the Middle notes as the Top Notes quickly flash off the skin.

Concentration

After Parfum, this has the highest fragrance concentration at about 15%-20%, giving it a strong scent. 

Scent-Lasting Time

Eau de Parfum has a long-lasting scent and can maintain its pleasant scent for up to five hours a day.

Who It's for

It is the next best one for sensitive skin after Parfum. This would be an excellent choice for you to wear on dates because the scent is easily noticeable, and spending time in the heat makes it even more potent. It's not the optimal choice if you work in close quarters, because of the strong scent.

Parfum

Parfum can also be called pure perfume and Extrait de parfum. Most times, you'll find it in tiny bottles. It's the most expensive of all the perfume types in stores. Hence, manufacturers don't store it in a spray bottle. You can apply it directly to the skin on pulse points such as behind the ears, insides of the wrists, and on the throat.

Fragrance Notes

The wearer gets a full spectrum of the Top, Middle, and Base notes that release over time.

Concentration

Of all the perfume types, this has the highest concentration of fragrance (between 12% to 40%). However, in most parfum brands, it ranges from 20% to 30%. The alcohol composition in parfum is also very low compared to other types.

Scent-Lasting Time

Because of the high concentration of fragrance, parfum scent lasts the longest. After use, the scent can last for six to eight hours.

Who It's for

Parfum is an excellent choice for you if you have sensitive skin because it has a lower alcohol content than all of the other types. It also tends to stay on the surface and not dry out. You only need to spray a small amount and it will work just fine.

Those are the five main types of perfume. Other common fragrances are:

Aftershave

The aftershave has a low fragrance concentration of about 3% and a high alcohol composition. People use it after a shave to help close the pores. Splash bottles are common containers for products in this category. The scent lasts for only one or two hours and its main users are male.

Mists

Mists are water-based and have low alcohol concentration. The fragrance concentration ranges from 1.5% to 3% and is known to be refreshing and light. You can apply it on your hair without the danger of drying out, and the scents last for two hours max.

Fragrance Families

Scent families can also be used to describe types of fragrances, and each perfume has a fragrance family.

fragrance wheel

Fresh

The fresh family consists of water, green, and citrus notes. These scents are vibrant and refreshing. Water fragrances are generally derived from aquatic notes such as sea spray. Citrus-based fragrances have lemon, bergamot, and mandarin ingredients. Fresh green fragrances have stimulating leafy and herbal scents that give an uplifting, crisp smell.

Floral

These have the broadest base and are one of the most popular ones out there. Any fragrance that has a flowery, sweet scent belongs in this family. Floral has notes like peonies, jasmine, lilies, and roses. Depending on the type you have, they could be delicate and light or complex and intense.

Oriental

Fragrances like this are sweet, warm, and have a spicy feel to them. This class of fragrances are usually more opulent and could be a mix of other families. It is not uncommon to have soft oriental, woody oriental, and floral oriental scents. Oriental perfumes tend to be sensual and vibrant because they are composed of interesting notes like vanilla, jasmine, orchid blossom, cinnamon, and cardamom.

Woody

This family has a warm collection of scents that could leave the people around you captivated. It is a prevalent scent among aftershaves and is an excellent choice for evening wear. Amber, Cedarwood, Vetiver, and Sandalwood are common wood-based scents used in this family. You can further split the fragrance family into mossy woods with their sweet, earth undertone, and dry woods with their leathery, smoky feel.

The information above should be a starting guide for making your next perfume purchase. The high-end fragrances could cost significantly more, so ensure you choose one that suits your budget and needs perfectly.

Quality is not entirely dependent on the perfume type. The ingredients and the scent's bond with your skin are also factors to consider. Patience is key if you are to make the right choice. After a while, you will find a perfume you feel comfortable wearing and may decide to start trying other types in the future.

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