If you are at all into fragrances, you’ve probably heard or seen the words “parfum,” “cologne,” “eau,” and “toilette” thrown around in different combinations. But what exactly are the possible combinations, and what does each of them refer to? What does Essentique sell?
The difference is in the concentration of aromatic compounds in the fragrance, which affects the intensity and longevity of the scent. From most to least concentrated, the different categories are parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and eau fraiche.
Parfum (often simply called “perfume”) typically has a fragrance concentration of 20-45%, and can last up to ten hours. Because of the high aromatic and low alcohol concentration, perfumes are typically quite intimate–the scent is strong on your person, but doesn’t stay behind in a room after you’ve left. At Essentique, our perfumes are true parfums, with the aromatic oils forming 25-35% of the perfume.
Eau de Parfum is the most commonly available fragrance concentration, sitting around 15-20%. It lasts 6-8 hours, and typically fills a room. Eau de Toilette is lighter still. It’s concentration of 10-15% lasts 4-6 hours on your skin, and splashes a room with scent. Eau de Cologne is a bit tricky. Traditionally, it was a fragrance of 3-5% concentration, that lasted for approximately 3-4 hours and was often used after shaving or bathing. This application has led to the fact that today, “cologne” is used colloquially to refer to a fragrance of any concentration that has a scent “for men,” but this is not technically precise. Eau Fraiche is the least concentrated of all fragrances, with a concentration of up to 3%, so it only lasts a couple of hours. It is often cleansing and refreshing, and should be applied liberally after bathing.
In addition to the concentration of fragrance compounds, the substance they are diluted in also makes a difference for perfumes. “Eau,” as you may already know, is French for water. Eau de parfum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and eau fraiche are all fragrances in which the aromatic compounds are diluted in water and/or alcohol. At Essentique, our fragrances come in the form of perfume oils. Instead of being diluted in alcohol or water, our essential oil perfume blends are diluted in organic jojoba oil. These perfume oils sit on, sink into, and interact with your skin to create a wonderful scent that is strong and lasting, yet intimate.
The last important difference between different perfumes is the source of the aromatic compounds. Many traditional, large perfume brands use synthetic or animal compounds as the source of many of their fragrances. At Essentique, we use 100% natural, botanical fragrance compounds–essential oils and absolutes from the leaves, stems, flowers, bark, or resin of plants. This means that each batch is unique–the same plant can yield slightly different scents from one year to the next. More interestingly, the same perfume can smell different on two different people, as the botanical scent blends with the wearer’s pheromones in unique ways, revealing different notes. This makes for a truly unique experience, but means it is very important to test our perfumes on your skin, and not just smell them in the bottle.