The Different Types Of Perfumes

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The Different Types Of Perfumes

This series is not for the connoisseur. It's for the one who is just beginning his journey into the world of perfumery. But as with everything else, there's a lot of basics that sometimes the connoisseurs may have forgotten!

For the newbie, it's always a bit confusing when buying a fragrance, as the same fragrance in different bottles (actually concentrations!), cost different. It may look similar and for the untrained nose, even smell similar but can cost different. So what is the difference?

Well, perfumes can come in different concentrations. And these concentrations actually form different categories of perfumes. These concentrations also affect the price point for the perfume.

Given this, it is easy to get confused about what each type of perfume means, and therefore what you should choose.

There are five main categories of Perfume 

  • Perfume or Parfum
  • Eau de Perfume or Eau de Parfum
  • Eau de Toilette
  • Eau de Cologne
  • Eau Fraiche
  • And then there's actually a new category, which is Perfume Oil. That makes SIX categories!

The main difference lies in the concentration of essential oils in the fragrance base. The perfumes “base” can be water, alcohol or oil based.

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This has the highest concentration of essential oils or “perfume extract” with around 20 to 30% essential oils in the fragrance blend. It is the most expensive of all the categories due to the higher concentrations of oils. It is usually heavier and oilier. It is said to last longer, and can last up to 24 hours. It is recommended for people with sensitive skin, as there is less alcohol in the blend.


This is the perfume category with the next highest concentration of oils with around 15 to 20% essential oils or “perfume extract” in the fragrance blend. It is less expensive than perfume.

It has slightly more alcohol and water in the ingredients, however, it still has a high level of perfume oils. It can last 6 to 8 hours.

Even though it has a slightly higher alcohol content, it is still recommended for people with sensitive skin.


This perfume category is for fragrances with essential oil or “perfume extract”  concentrations of between 5 to 15%.

It is a light formula and usually in spray bottles. Surprisingly, it is the most popular type of fragrance, and you often buy “perfume” thinking it is eau de parfum and it is actually eau de toilette. And the general belief is that normally to the untrained nose, the eau de perfume and eau de toilette can be very very similar and so the price point makes the choice easier!

It is much more affordable than Eau de Parfum, and can last 2 - 4 hours. Due to the low combination of essential oils and high percentage of alcohol, it tends to dissipate quickly.


The category known as Eau de Cologne is one of the lightest fragrance concentrations with essential oils or “perfume extract” of between 2 to 4%.

It is often thought of as a masculine formula, however, there are feminine eau de colognes  as well. They often come in large bottles as you tend to need more of it and will require regular applications.  It can last up to 2 hours and is fairly inexpensive.


This category is for perfumes that are the most diluted with essential oil and “perfume extract”  concentrations of around 1 to 3%. The main ingredient is water as ‘Eau Fraiche’ means fresh water. It can last up to an hour and is often used to freshen up.


The final category that we would like to add is PERFUME OILS. These are perfumes that have a pure oil base, and no alcohol or water are used in these blends.

Within perfume oils, the concentrations of essential oils used for the “perfume” fragrance element can vary.

Most perfume oils will have concentrations of fragrance essential oils of up to 20%, and then a carrier oil will make up the remainder of the blend.  There are also Perfume Oil Attars which are more concentrated.

A natural perfume oil that is an attar is the pure undiluted version of their respective Eau de Parfum. They are made with pure essential oils and absolute and do not contain any carrier oil or alcohol. Attars are longer lasting than eau de perfumes. They are applied with the stick of the bottle instead of being sprayed.

Hopefully this has helped you to understand the different  natural perfume categories on the market today, so you know what you are getting.

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