The cosmetics industry is often filled with misconceptions surrounding product’s definition and their ingredient. One example is the different types of fragrances: Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum, often used interchangeably by many of us. Do these terms really mean the same thing? If not, what are the clear differences among them?

Before we dive into what each of these terms mean, let's debunk some of the myths, surrounding them. 

Myth #1 -Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum are the same thing - perfume! This is a serious myth or misconception. Each means a different thing as we will find out soon. 

Myth #2 - Eau de Parfum is for women. No, it is not for women only. It is not gender-based. 

Myth #3 - Eau de Cologne is for men only. No, it is not for men only. Like Eau de Parfum, Eau de Cologne is not gender-based.  


Now that we have debunked the myths, let's look at what exactly each one is in detail.  Let's start with the basics. There are three keywords to guide our discussion: ScentFragrance, and Perfume

Scent - It is simply the smell of anything. 

Fragrance - Fragrance is a pleasant sweet scent. Scent and fragrance are not the same. Thus, it will be our main identifier in this discussion since we are dealing with "pleasant sweet scents". 

Perfume - This is simply any substance with more than 20% essential oil concentration. It has the highest fragrance concentration, lasts the longest and usually the most expensive. In most cases, Perfumes are referred to as the "purest" form of fragrance and they are the base of all the other fragrances (Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, and Eau de Cologne). 


What is Eau de Parfum (EDP)? - Eau de Parfum (EDP), has an essential oil concentration of 15% - 20%, making it the second strongest of all fragrances while costing less than perfume. It is considered a "nightwear" among the cosmetic community. 

What is Eau de Toilette (EDT)? - Eau de Toilette (EDT), has an essential oil concentration of 5% - 15%. It’s usually lighter and less expensive than Eau de Perfume. EDT is one of the most popular fragrance types available. 

What is Eau de Cologne (EDC)? - Eau de Cologne (EDC) has an essential oil concentration of 2% - 4%. This light concentration makes it a top choice for those sensitive to strong scents and a perfect everyday wear. EDC is usually less expensive than EDT and EDP.  


Choosing the right concentration:
Due to the high concentration in perfume, it is usually not suitable for all skin types. Customers sensitive to strong scents may also find EDP too strong and choose to wear EDT or EDC. Essential oil concentration can also contribute to the lasting effect of a fragrance once applied; however, this is subjective as the application method, application site and each person’s natural body scent are greater factors in determining the longevity of a fragrance.

Bringing it all together, the difference among the three types of fragrances namely Eau de Cologne, Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette are based on the level of essential oil concentration in it. And, although this may affect the price of one fragrance compared to another, it is by no means to say one type is better than the other. The final choice y usually depends on the purpose, place, skin type, allergies to or preference for a specific fragrance and one's budget.

Read more tips