Introduction To Cologne, Eau De Toilette & Perfume: Fragrance Overview

Introduction To Cologne, Eau De Toilette & Perfume: Fragrance Overview

Smelling good plays a vital role in your personal branding. Not only does it make you feel more confident, it also affects how you are perceived by others. And, apart from good hygiene, one of the main components of smelling good is – you guessed it – fragrance.

What can wearing fragrance do for you?

  • Increase confidence
  • Make you appear more attractive to others
  • Improve people’s perception of you
  • Enhance mood
  • Reduce stress

With these being said, let’s talk more about fragrances and find out how to select the one that's right for you.

How Are Fragrances Made?

Fragrance is basically the combination of aromatic oils and a solvent carrier. Fragrances are produced by the extraction of oils from either a natural source like plants or from synthetic sources like aromatic chemical compounds.

These aromatic oils are dissolved in alcohol, which acts as the solvent along with other substances that slow down the evaporation of the fragrance and improve its stability.

Fragrances are often classified depending on the concentration of the essential oils they contain, the scent they belong to, and the notes that are perceived in the scent.

Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Cologne – What Are Their Differences?

The terms above are used to differentiate the concentration or strength of aromatic oils in a fragrance. The concentration dictates the intensity of the fragrance and its longevity on the wearer’s skin. Therefore, the higher the concentration of a fragrance, the stronger it is and the longer it lasts.

Choosing the right concentration is on the same field of importance as choosing the most suitable scent. If it is too strong, it might put you off along with everyone else around you; if it is too light, the scent may not be noticeable and may be gone in just a few hours.

  • Parfum or Extrait de Parfum – This contains about 20% to 30% aromatic oils and is known to be the longest-lasting type of fragrance. Parfums will surely stay on you all day. They also tend to be diffusive and potent, which means that you will most likely transfer the perfume scent to someone who comes in close contact with you.
  • Eau de Parfum (EDP) – The amount of oils in this fragrance ranges from 15% to 20%. EDP is one of the most popular categories of fragrance present in the market. The scent is less diffusive than a parfum but can still last from morning to night.
  • Eau de Toilette (EDT) – EDT consists of 5% to 15% aromatic compounds and may stay on the skin for a few hours. Because of its lighter concentration, some designate EDTs for daytime wear.
  • Eau de Cologne – Typically containing about 2% to 5% aromatic oils, eau de colognes are lighter and less expensive, making them a common fragrance choice. They are great fragrances to spritz on when you want to freshen up, but they typically only last for a few hours at a time.
  • Eau de Fraiche – Similar to eau de cologne, eau de fraiche has the lowest concentration of oils, about 1% to 3%. The main difference between the two is that eau de cologne uses alcohol as carrier while eau de fraiche uses water.

Understanding the Fragrance Pyramid

The fragrance pyramid is defined as the blend of ingredients that make up the fragrance – the  top notes, the mid notes, and the base notes. These notes are carefully selected to create the characteristic scent of a fragrance.

  • Top Notes – Top notes, also known as head notes, are the scents that you detect first when smelling a perfume. They are the key to creating a pleasant first impression of the fragrance. Citrus and light floral scents are the common choices for top notes. Since they are composed of light aromatic oils, top notes evaporate first, and their scent usually lasts for about 5 to 15 minutes.
  • Mid Notes – As the top notes evaporate, you will start smelling the perfume’s mid or heart notes. They introduce new scents as the top notes fade and contain the main elements of the fragrance. Mid notes include heavy floral and fruity scents. They last for about 3 to 5 hours on the wearer’s skin or clothing.
  • Base Notes– At the bottom of the fragrance pyramid are the base notes, also known as dry-down notes. They add depth to the overall characteristic of the fragrance and balance the scent. Common base notes are rich and heavy scents like vanilla, musk, and sandalwood. They develop within 30 minutes and typically last for more than 6 hours.

Extrait de parfum is mainly composed of aromatic compounds that are base notes, creating fragrances that are rich, bold, and long-lasting. The compositions of eau de parfum and eau de toilette, on the other hand, are focused on the top and mid notes with crisp and floral scents. Eau de cologne and eau de fraiche are both comprised heavily of top notes yielding light and refreshing scents.

Fragrances such as those mentioned above are called non-linear fragrances. They develop and transition from light scents to bold ones over time. There are also fragrances that smell the same from the time you spray them on until they evaporate, and they are termed linear fragrances.

Fragrance Price Points

In essence, the concentration or amount of aromatic oils in a fragrance determines its price. EDPs are typically more expensive than EDTs and EDTS are more expensive than colognes due to the differences in their aromatic oil content.

However, just like any other industry, there are additional costs attributed to research and development, production, marketing, and distribution that affects the price of a bottle of perfume. Hence, a higher price tag is not always indicative of a perfume’s quality.

How to Spot a High-Quality Perfume

For an untrained nose, choosing a high-quality perfume can be daunting. Since the price tag is not always a good determinant of quality, and quality is such a subjective matter, when dealing with perfumes, the best way to find a good one is to just smell it. Find a fragrance with a unique character that draws you in and speaks to you. Moreover, it must have good staying power and diffuse beautifully.

How to Choose the Right Fragrance

Your signature fragrance is like an extension of yourself. It reflects your style and personality. The question now is, how do you find a good perfume?

When choosing a fragrance, try the one that suits your preference, lifestyle, and environment. Spray it on your wrist where the skin is naturally warm to allow the fragrance notes to activate. But, refrain from buying it instantly. Remember that what you are smelling are just the top notes and they evaporate quickly. Allow some time for the fragrance to develop before purchasing to check whether you are comfortable with the scent of its mid and base notes.

Your body chemistry and environment play a vital role on how a certain scent will smell on you. There are even instances in which the same scent smells differently on two people. To get to know which fragrance suits you best, it is recommended to try them first in sample-sized vials and wear them in different environments.

What Is the Best Way to Apply Perfume?

When wearing fragrances, remember the follow guidelines to ensure proper application:

  • Spray the perfume on dry, clean skin.
  • Hold the bottle 3 to 6 inches away from the skin.
  • Apply the perfume on your pulse points (e.g. neck, wrist, and inner elbows) where your skin is naturally warm to allow the fragrance notes to develop.
  • Do not rub the perfume onto your skin. Doing so prematurely activates the aromatic compounds, making them evaporate faster.
  • Do not spray it directly onto your clothing. This defeats the purpose of letting the fragrance react with your natural body chemistry.



Why Is It Recommended to Wear Fragrance?

Your signature fragrance is a part of your personal style and branding. Once you wear a scent that suits you best, your mood is highly likely to become lighter and more positive. Consequently, you will exude an aura of confidence, making you more approachable and attractive.

Now that you know the fragrance basics, check out our lists of the best perfumes for women to pick a fragrance that's just right for you. And drop us a comment below to let us know your favorite!

Our editors independently research, test, and recommmend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

Article Staff

Join the conversation

Introduction To Cologne, Eau De Toilette & Perfume: Fragrance Overview

Thanks for reading my article. I value your feedback and invite you to join the conversation:

  • Share your opinion on the list
  • Suggest an item for consideration
  • Review items you've tried
— Sheena Sheena Garcia

You May Also Like

See more in Style