Most people know that one is more expensive than the other. But can you also explain how an “Eau de Toilette” differs from an “Eau de Parfum”? A detailed explanation follows for anyone who has asked this question before.

According to current statistics, 890 million euros were generated with women’s fragrances and 460 million euros with men’s fragrances in Germany last year. That’s not surprising, after all, everyone wants to smell nice. And that, although many do not even know the difference between an “Eau de Toilette” and an “Eau de Parfum” – apart from the price differences. The explanation is very simple: it depends on the mixing ratio of fragrance oils to water and alcohol. So that you know the next time you go shopping why you spent more or less money on your favorite fragrance, we explain the most important criteria in detail below.

Eau de Parfum (EdP)

On average, every perfume consists of up to 80 percent alcohol. Other ingredients include (distilled) water, essential oils and now often also synthetically produced fragrances. The difference between an “Eau de Toilette” and an “Eau de Parfum” is hidden in the details, more precisely in the concentration of fragrance oils: With “Eau de Parfum” the proportion is between ten and 14 percent, which is very high. And also the reason why you should use a real perfume sparingly. Just one or two sprays are enough for the scent to spread and stay with you for a long time. This also explains why a real “Eau de Parfum” for men and women is significantly more expensive than an “Eau de Toilette”.

Note: An even stronger version is the “Eau de Parfum” if it contains the addition “Intense”. Here the fragrance oil concentration is up to 20 percent. If, on the other hand, the term “Extrait” is found on the bottle, the proportion is even between 15 and 30 percent.

Eau de Toilette (EdT)

As already mentioned at the beginning, the mixing ratio makes the decisive difference. In eau de toilette, the fragrance oil concentration is usually between six and eight percent – and is therefore significantly lower than in “eau de parfum”. The scent is therefore less intense, so that it is not only cheaper to buy, but can also be applied more generously. This in no way diminishes its value, on the contrary: It is particularly suitable for everyday use, as it brings a certain lightness with it and is not so obtrusive. Incidentally, the name comes from the fact that scented water used to be used for daily body care as well as for cleaning – simple linen towels, called “toile” in French, were used for this. The word ‘eau’ means ‘water’, so eau de toilette compound means ‘toilet water’. Just for understanding.

Eau de Cologne (EdC)

In addition to the “Eau de Toilette” and the “Eau de Parfum”, there is a third form: The Eau de Cologne has such a low proportion of fragrances that it is referred to as the lightest variant of a perfume. With a concentration of only three to five percent, it is rather a refreshing water with a very fine fragrance – which disappears after a short time. As a result, an “Eau de Cologne” doesn’t really cost that much to buy.

And another tip: There are also men’s and women’s fragrances that bear the name Eau Fraîche. Behind this name hides the same low fragrance oil concentration as in Eau de Cologne. Many perfumeries advertise with it, especially in the summer months, since the corresponding scents are particularly light and bring a certain freshness with them.

In the following table, all designations including fragrance oil concentration are summarized again:

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