What Is the Difference Between Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum? Fragrance Strengths Explained

What do Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette really mean?


Buying a new fragrance should be easy, but just when you think you’ve found the right one for your friend or loved one or even just for you, you notice these French words on the bottle.


Eau de Toilette? What does that even mean?


You like how this fragrance smells, but all of a sudden, you’re feeling a little concerned about how many letters that word shares with the word “toilet” and you’re rethinking everything you’ve ever smelled.


Well, worry no more fragrance shoppers, as we’re going to find out what these phrases mean and how they can affect your perfume choices.



What do EDT and EDP stand for?


If you’ve ever bought a fragrance then you’ve probably seen the little letters written on the side of the box, EDP and EDT, but what do they actually mean?


Well, they stand for Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette and they’re there to tell you how strong the fragrance you’re buying is.


There’s a whole pyramid of fragrance strengths, and they can be confusing if you don’t know what you’re looking for.


That’s why we’re taking the time today to explain what each one is and what it means for your fragrance.



What strengths of perfume are available for women?


There are a wide range of fragrance strengths available with some of them being more commonly made for women and some for men.


We’re going to take a look at these different strengths in order, starting with the ones most commonly aimed at women.


Prepare yourself, because those confusing terms on the fragrance boxes are about to become demystified!




Parfum is the strongest kind of fragrance that money can buy, and that’s why it’s the one that’s most likely to break the bank!


Parfum can contain anywhere between 15 – 40% of concentrated fragrance, which might not look like a lot on paper but packs a real punch when you give it a smell.


This is why you only need to use small amounts of parfum (use too much and you’ll smell like you took a bath in it!) and why you’ll usually find parfum sold in smaller bottles.


It may not look like you’re getting a lot for the amount you pay for parfum, but trust me, in this case size really does not matter!



Eau de Parfum (EDP)


Eau de Parfum is the next step down on our fragrance strength list, and your EDP will have up to 15% concentrated fragrance in each bottle.


It generally lasts for around 4 – 5 hours after it’s been applied, so it’s perfect if you want a stronger scent that will last for a good long time but don’t want to spend your entire pay check on parfum.



Eau de Toilette (EDT)


The last of our common female fragrances is the Eau de Toilette, and fragrances with this label will be between 5 – 15% concentrated.


Your EDT fragrances normally last around 2 – 4 hours after they’ve been applied, and that’s reflected in the much more affordable price.


But don’t let that put you off an EDT, as they can be great for those who don’t like overpowering scents and want something a bit lighter.


For example, some people prefer to wear EDTs to work as the smell is usually light enough that won’t drive your more sensitive colleagues crazy – although your mileage may vary with that one!



What strengths of perfume are available for men?


Now we’ve looked at the fragrances that are typically made for women, we’ll take a look at the fragrances that are usually made for men.


The first fragrance on our list is a cross over, but don’t let that fool you, they’re some of the most common strengths you’ll find when you’re searching for men’s fragrances.


Eau de Toilette (EDT)


Yes, the first on our list of men’s fragrances is our EDT and although it’s found in both lists, some people believe it’s more commonly made for men than women, which is why it belongs here too.


This appearance in both lists is why you’ll find that a lot of unisex fragrances are EDTs, as they sit in a great middle ground that isn’t too overpowering but is still noticeable when you wear it.



Eau de Cologne (EDC)


Next on our list is Eau de Cologne, which you might just refer to as cologne.


They’ll be up to 5% concentrated fragrance and typically last for 1 – 2 hours at a time.


These are perfect for men or women who don’t like an overpowering scent or just want to use cologne as a refresher throughout the day.





Finally, we have our aftershaves, which have anywhere between 1 – 3% concentrated fragrance in each product.


Aftershaves are exactly what the name suggests, something to use after a man has shaved, which could explain why they’re not all that concentrated.


Aftershaves come in a couple of different types, lotions and balms, but they all fall into that category of lower concentration.



Eau de Toilette VS Eau de Parfum


So now we know the difference between an EDT and an EDP, how do you know which is right for you or for the person you want to buy a lovely birthday gift for?


Well for starters, think about how long you’d want your fragrance to last.


If you’d like it to last for a while, EDP is your friend, but if you’re the type that enjoys freshening up with a little spritz of fragrance throughout the day, go for the EDT.


Where are you going to wear your perfume? If you’re buying for someone who’s going to wear it to work or school, you can’t go wrong with a subtle EDT.


If you’re after a fragrance for a party animal who want to smell great all night long as they’re out on the town, grab an EDP.


Finally, think of the age of the person you’re buying for.


If you’re picking up a present for a young girl who hasn’t ever wore much perfume, stick to a light EDT, rather than an EDP which can be overpowering if you’re not used to it.



Eau de Toilette VS Cologne


If you’re wondering whether to pick up an Eau de Toilette or an Eau de Cologne, you’re going to want to think of how strong you’d like your fragrance to be.


If you want that scent to be strong enough to stick around for a few hours, pick up an EDT, but if you’d rather have something lighter that will be gone within an hour or two then stick to your EDC.


It’s really as simple as that!



What is the difference between aftershave lotion and aftershave balm?


As we mentioned earlier, there are different kinds of aftershaves, although they all have the same kind of light fragrance. These two types are lotions and balms.


Your aftershave lotion is what you might think of as a traditional liquid aftershave that you can spray or splash on as a part of your daily routine.


Balms, on the other hand, usually look like a white cream and are typically rubbed into the skin, rather than sprayed.



How do you feel now? Ready to face the fragrances and pick out the very best scent for you or your loved one?


Well, we’re glad we could clear all of those mystifying terms up once and for all, now all you’ve got to worry about is finding a fragrance you really love. How hard can that be?


Good luck out there, shoppers! You’ve got all the knowledge you need.



Laura Henderson - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 18 June 2024
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