Most of us have come to believe that cologne is for men and perfume is for women. And if you walk into any store that sells fragrances, you’d have no trouble finding what you’re looking for based on those assumptions. But there’s actually nothing about any type of fragrance that makes it better or worse for any type of gender.
What Is The Difference Between Cologne and Perfume?
Two of the most common terms you’ll hear are cologne and perfume, but there is actually a scale that classifies fragrances based on their concentrations:
1. Eau Fraiche – Eau Fraiche, which is French for “fresh water,” is the lightest and most diluted of all fragrance types. It is typically composed of 3% or less fragrance oil and generally lasts for just a couple of hours. Eau Fraiche is perfect for those who want a subtle scent or who are sensitive to stronger fragrances. It’s also more affordable than higher concentrations of fragrances.
2. Eau de Cologne – also known as Cologne or EDC, has a 2-4% of oil concentration and high alcohol content. Cologne is only slightly stronger than Eau Fraiche and lasts just a couple of hours. It’s also generally more affordable and comes in larger bottles since more of it is needed throughout the day.
3. Eue de Toilette – Eau de Toilette, also known as EDT, originates from the phrase “faire sa toilette,” which means “to wash” or “to groom” – so basically, getting ready! This comes in concentrations of 5-15% oil and lasts longer than Eau Fraiche or Cologne, usually around 2-3 hours.
4. Eue de Parfum – Eau de Parfum, also known as EDP, contains between 15-20% of oil concentration and low alcohol. This higher oil concentration allows the fragrance to be noticeable for 4-5 hours, although the scent will remain for most of the day. This fragrance is also usually made so that it’s not overpowering to others nearby and so that it won’t rub off through touch. The lower alcohol content also makes it less harsh on the skin. This is perfect for those who want a strong and long-lasting scent.
5. Perfume (Parfum) – Perfume, also known as parfum, is the most concentrated and intense type of fragrance, with an oil concentration between 20-30%. Perfume lasts for up to 8 hours and is noticeable all day. Perfumes also have the least amount of alcohol, so are the least harsh on the skin. Because of their concentrations, perfumes are the most expensive fragrances.
How Fragrances Appeal to Your Personality
Stephen V. Dowthwaite, an English perfumer, claims that people’s choices in perfume are often influenced by our personalities and the image that we want to portray.
Fragrance Preferences Based Masculinity and Femininity
- Feminine personalities tend to choose florals
- Masculine personalities tend to choose woody scents.
Fragrance Preference Based on Age
- Young people tend to like fruity, creamy, and vanilla scents
- Young adults like citrus and metallic scents
- Mature adults like heavy white flowers and Chypres
Fragrance Preferences Based on Personality
- Elegant & sophisticated personalities like aldehydes, powdery notes, and leathers
- Earthy & practical personalities like tobacco, spice, and green notes
The Fragrance Wheel
The fragrance wheel, also known by other names such as the aroma wheel or fragrance circle, is a circular diagram designed to show the differences and similarities in odors. It’s often used by perfumers to help customers find the right scent for their preferences.
The first example of a fragrance wheel was developed by Austrian perfumer Paul Jellinek in 1949. The fragrance wheel has gone through significant evolutions since then, with the latest changes made in 2010 based on more recent studies on smell perceptions.
Here’s how the fragrance wheel breaks down:
Understanding Fragrances Helps When Shopping
As you now know, there are some key aspects of fragrances that can help you understand the differences between them, what types of scents might appeal more to your preferences, and how to buy a fragrance for you or someone you know based on these things.
You can choose different fragrance concentrations based on how long you want a scent to last, your skin sensitivity, or on what your budget allows. And based on your personality, age, and feminity/masculinity, there are groups of scents that you are likely to gravitate toward. And finally, if you have some idea of the scent families you like, the fragrance wheel can help you find subfamilies and specific scents within them that you’d like.