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A Guide to Perfume Types

A Guide to Perfume Types


Once you step into the world of fragrances, there is no going back. Just like how the aroma coming from a perfume store drags you in, learning about the different types of perfumes is also mesmerizing and allures you to learn more.

You do not have to be an expert perfumer to learn about the basics of fragrances. People are so drawn towards perfumes these days that knowing about perfumes has become apparent. Yet, many get confused with all these French words.

Therefore, here I have explained the different types of fragrances available in the market so that the next you go shopping for perfumes, you are confident about what you want to purchase.

The Major 5 Type of Perfumes

Perfumes are classified mainly based on the concentration of pure perfume in them. Pure perfume is the raw essence that comes from different aromatic ingredients. These essences or perfume oils are blended together in different proportions to get unique and pleasant scents.

1. Parfum

Parfum is the fragrance form with the highest concentration of perfume oils in it. Usually, it contains about 20 – 30% of perfume oils. This is the strongest among all the types as it has the highest concentration of pure essences. That being said, perfumes last a long time compared to other types. Only a few dabs or sprays last from 6 – 8 hours, sometimes more.

With higher lasting power, it also the highest projection and sillage. Having the highest amount of pure perfume oils in it, Parfums costs more than other types of perfumes.

2. Eau De Parfum (EDP)

After Parfum, Eau De Parfum or EDP has the highest concentration of perfume oils in it. In general, the concentration of pure oil is 15 – 20%. This also has good lasting power and project but a little less than Parfums. An EDP lasts about 5 – 6 hours. EDPs can also be quite pricy but less than Parfums. EDP is a good choice if you are looking for a strong and long-lasting fragrance but do not want to spend a lot.

3. Eau De Toilette (EDT)

In the next category, we have Eau De Toilette or EDT. This is probably the most versatile and widely used form of fragrance. It has a perfect balance of perfume oils that are best for everyday use and on any occasion.

EDT has 5 – 15% of pure perfume oils in it that can last about 2 to 4 hours. It gives you a mild scent without being too strong. With EDT, you might have to reapply once or twice. This comes at an affordable price point compared to Parfum and EDP.

4. Eau De Cologne (EDC)

Next, we have Eau De Cologne, or simply Cologne. Colognes has 2 – 4% of pure perfume oil in it. These are mild, have less projection, and stays for a while on the skin. It lasts up to 2 to 3 hours. After that, you have to refresh. Cologne is a good choice for those who do not want to grab everyone’s attention with their fragrance but want to smell nice.

5. Eau De Fraiche (EDF)

With the least concentration of pure perfume oils, we have Eau De Fraiche in the fifth and last position. It contains 1 – 3% of perfume oil. With such low perfume oil concentration, the fragrance comes about pretty mild with less lasting power. It keeps you smelling pleasant for a couple of hours.

Some Other Variants

Some Other Variants

Apart from the major five types of fragrances based on the concentration, there are some other products too. Even though these are not categorized as perfumes, yet many consider them in the same spectrum as both have the same objective, making one smell good.

Body Sprays

Bodysprays are also like fragrances and more like aerosol deodorants. Instead of making you smell good, these are used to prevent you from smelling bad as they mask bad odors. Bodysprays are very affordable as they hardly have any pure perfume essence in them.

Compared to perfumes, these are very weak and do not last on the skin for long. Unlike perfumes, body sprays are used only under the armpit or chest.

Body Mists

Body mists are watered-down versions of perfumes. They are similar to colognes for having very little concentration of perfume oils in them. However, body mists are affordable than colognes as they are made of common ingredients. You can opt for a body spray if you are looking for an affordable version of cologne.


Antiperspirant deodorants are the least like perfumes. Its main objective is not to make you smell good but to prevent you from sweating so that you do not smell bad. It blocks the sweat glands and prevents your sweat from coming in contact with the bacteria on your skin. These are used only under your armpits.

Other Contributing Factors in Perfume Types

There are some other factors too if you want to classify different types of perfumes. Though pure perfume oil concentration percentage is considered the main classifying parameter, you should also think about these.

Factors in Perfume Types

Natural Perfume vs. Synthetic Perfume

Natural perfumes are made of natural ingredients. They are mainly extracts of flowers or plants, and in some cases, parts of animals. Usually, they are blends of essential oils. Some of them are rare and exotic. Therefore natural perfumes are more on the pricier side.

Contrarily, synthetic perfumes are made of chemicals. They are formulated with different chemicals that give a pleasant aroma. Many natural ingredients which are extracted from animals or rare plants have been declared illegal, which is why they are recreated with chemicals. Hence, the rise of synthetic perfumes.

Oil-based vs. Alcohol-based Perfume

So far, we have been talking about the concentration of pure perfume oils in a fragrance, but how about the rest of it? Well, the rest of it is either oil or alcohol. Alcohol-based fragrances are stronger and powerful. On the other hand, oil-based perfumes are mild to the skin, last a lot longer.

Like flowers, oil-based perfumes slowly bloom. Whereas for alcohol-based perfumes, you apply, and it goes Boom!

All in All

There is no right and wrong in perfumes. You can never pick a blend and say it is perfect for all. It all depends on preference. Some might like strong and bold scents like Parfums, and others might like muted fragrances like colognes. However, you can always experiment with different types of perfumes and observe which one you like most.

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