Ask Mr. Manners

Basking in the smell of love

I recently asked a friend who works in retail if she wouldn’t mind using her discount to get me a bottle of cologne. She happily obliged, but then sent me a photo of three different “types” of the same scent. Does this sound familiar? So, here you are stuck with an eau de parfum in one hand and an eau de toilette in the other, and you haven’t the faintest clue which one to go for. What’s a person to do? Learning the lingo will help make your decision easier. And with Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I am sure that we could use a refresher!

The terms eau de toilette and eau de parfum are different types of fragrances and actually mean something very specific — they’re not just fancy French words. They offer a big hint as to the intensity, price, and longevity of the cologne. The major difference between eau de toilette and eau de parfum has to do with the perfume concentration in each scent. Basically, an eau de parfum is a stronger perfume than an eau de toilette because its concentration of oils is higher. In a nutshell, a high fragrance concentration means there is a higher percentage of essential perfume oils and less alcohol. 

As eau de toilettes contain fewer perfume oils, you’ll find that their prices are usually a lot lower than that of an eau de parfum. Just keep in mind — since eau de parfums are more potent, you can get away with applying less; whereas an eau de toilettes may take a couple of spritzes to get your desired intensity.

Not only does the concentration of fragrance affect the intensity, but it also impacts how long it will last. Perfume concentrations dictate how long the perfume lasts on your skin, although the individual skin type and fragrance family can also play into it.

Since an eau de toilette is made with a smaller dose of perfume oils, it typically lasts only for a few hours. An eau de toilette is the perfect type of fragrance to use day-to-day, as the fragrance notes are less intense; even if you do go overboard, it’ll lighten up fairly quickly. An eau de parfum, on the other hand, lasts longer. Since it’s more intense than an eau de toilette, it’s a great option for night-wear.

Personally, I don’t like ‘rules’ in fragrance; I think you should wear what you want when you want, but be aware of your surroundings and your schedule. It’s nice to know that typically lighter concentrations are best suited for day-wear, and heavier concentrations are best worn at night – but like most things in life, the rules are meant to be broken.

So, get out there and try something different this Valentine’s Day! No matter what you choose, I’m wishing both you and your loved one’s “smells” to remember.  

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