There is a surfeit of somewhat confusing fragrance terms being bandied around so you can be forgiven for getting confused. Yet while eau de parfum, parfum and eau de toilette might all seem pretty similar—they do indeed all refer to different things.

Estee Lauder Youth-Dew

Don’t let fragrance terminology put you off, learning the lingo is easy with a little helping hand. The first thing to know is that there are four main categories of perfume: parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette and cologne. The differences between the four are as follows:

PARFUM

Parfum, also known as extrait de parfum, has the highest concentration of fragrance oil (usually around 20% but can be as high as 40%). This means it lasts longer than any other form of fragrance. Think of parfum as the Big Daddy—it’s big and complex with added strength, meaning it will last longer than any of the other fragrance types, but it will also cost more.

*Chanel Chance Parfum, 7.5ml
*Caleche by Hermes, 100ml

EAU DE PARFUM (EDP)

This is a common choice of fragrance and often what people consider ‘perfume’. Eau de parfum typically includes 10-20% fragrance oil, producing a fairly strong scent. It’s not ideal for hot climates as heat intensifies the fragrance and can cause it to be overpowering. Having men fall at your feet might seem like fun, but in reality it’s a cause for concern!

*Meow EDP Spray, 100ml
*Beautiful EDP Spray, 75ml
*Youth-Dew EDP Spray, 67ml

EAU DE TOILETTE (EDT)

A popular choice, eau de toilette usually contains 5-15% perfume oil, resulting in a lighter, less complex fragrance. While some people might consider eau de toilette inferior to eau de parfum, some fragrances are actually preferable in the EDT form as they are less intense and intoxicating.

The choice between EDT and EDP really is a matter of personable preference and affordability. EDTs are a great entry point as they allow you to try a fragrance without breaking the bank. If you find a perfume you truly love, then you might want to invest in the EDP.

*CK Be EDT Spray, 100ml
*Acqua Di Gio Pour Homme EDT Spray, 100ml
*Ralph Lauren Blue EDT Spray, 75ml

EAU DE COLOGNE (EDC)

Despite the common misconception, eau de colognes are not just for fellas. EDC’s contain between 3-8% fragrance oil so they’re not too overpowering for a woman to wear. The difference is that EDCs tend to be based around citrus, ocean and spicy or woody notes—making them more appealing to men.

Fragrance knowledge is perfume power; now that you know the difference between the perfume types you might want to progress to an EDP or even mix up your fragrance wardrobe by trying a cologne.

*Fierce EDC Spray, 100ml
*Bvlgari Eau Parfumee Au The Vert EDC 75ml
*4711 EDC, 40ml