What To Know About Perfume Concentrations

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When looking for a new scent, you may be solely focused on the smell. But did you know that each perfume comes with a different type of concentration? You have likely noticed different words on the bottles such as "eau de parfum." This isn't just a fancy word for perfume — it actually has an important meaning. In fact, per Beautymone, there's even a difference between scents that are labeled as perfumes and those that are labeled as fragrances.

Finding the right scent is difficult enough, but if you're looking for the perfect perfume concentration for you, it's important to know the difference between them. According to FVITH, what makes each type of scent different comes down to the ingredients and the concentration of fragrance oil in them. All fragrances have one specific base, which can be water, oil, or alcohol. There are a ton of different families of fragrances, but the most important ones to know are eau de parfum, eau de toilette, parfum, perfume oil, and body sprays.

Eau de parfum

Although eau de parfum may sound fancy, this type of fragrance is actually less expensive than perfume, per Sensorium. This is because it has less perfume extract, or essential oils, in the base product. A bottle of eau de parfum usually contains about 15 to 20% perfume extract and the rest is made up of alcohol and water. This type of fragrance lasts up to eight hours and is a good option for those with sensitive skin who still want a bold, strong scent.

Eau de parfum is a popular formula for consumers and the majority of brands produce this perfume concentration. If you're looking for an eau de parfum to add to your fragrance collection, Grove recommends the Good Chemistry Sugar Berry eau de parfum, which is an affordable option you can pick up at your local Target. Or, if you're looking to splurge, consider the Abel Green Cedar eau de parfum.

Eau de toilette

According to Sensorium, eau de toilette is the most popular type of fragrance on the market. Often, products simply marketed as perfume are actually eau de toilette. This type of perfume has about 5 to 15% perfume extract, which is less than eau de parfum but more than some other types. It usually comes in a spray bottle and is super affordable, mostly because it only lasts a few hours and isn't incredibly strong to begin with.

Beautymore recommends eau de toilette for warmer seasons when you're searching for something light and airy. It is also a good option for people with allergies, a sensitive sense of smell, or even those that work in a small office or cubicle as the fragrance is usually light and mild. If this sounds like something you'd like, Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue is a popular option, along with Guess 1981 and Daisy by Marc Jacobs.


Don't let the word parfum fool you — it is simply the French word for perfume and is the purest form of perfume concentrate. What parfum has, a lot of the other fragrances lack. Not only does the smell last for 12 hours or more due to the inclusion of 20 to 30% perfume extract, but it can also have a positive effect on your mood. It can help you feel calmer, lift your mood, or even make you feel a bit frisky as the pheromones in certain scents can work as an aphrodisiac, per Beautymone. However, if you have allergies or sensitive skin, you may want to stay away from parfum as it often contains unknown chemicals and ingredients that can harm the skin and cause reactions. Elle recommends The Harmonist Yin Transformation Parfum, which has notes of almond milk, mandarin, and orchid. Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensee Cologne is also great for both men and women wanting a warmer scent of amber, vanilla, and oakwood.

Perfume oil

If you want something super pure, perfume oils may be the best option for you. This type of fragrance has no water or alcohol as the oil is the base, per Sensorium. According to Beautymone, perfume oil's fragrance is naturally derived from its source, whether that be flowers, leaves, bark, or herbs, just to name a few. Carrier oils are then mixed in with the essential oil to help calm the scent and create a lasting fragrance that applies effortlessly.

Perfume oils are also affordable, which is a big draw for many. However, the biggest pro of using a perfume oil is that without alcohol, this formula is much safer for your skin, especially if you plan to apply it directly to your pulse points as advised. Unlike eau de parfum, which contains many unknown ingredients and possibly harmful chemicals, perfume oil is pure. And while you should still ensure it is, in fact, natural, it is the safest option among fragrances. Allure recommends the Gypsy Water Roll-On Perfumed Oil or the Kai Perfume Oil Rollerball.

Body sprays

Body sprays are often our first entrance into the world of fragrance, as they are what we gravitate towards in the drugstore as teenagers. However, body sprays aren't just for teens. According to FVITH, body sprays have more water in their formula than parfums. The Perfume Shop recommends body sprays for both men and women who are searching for a light and airy scent that can be sprayed on easily. And while a body spray will not last nearly as long as a parfum, it is often much, much more affordable, making it easier to spritz throughout the day without worrying about wasting the product. If you want your scent to carry you through morning and night, consider spraying it directly on your clothing rather than on your skin.

Women's Wear Daily recommends a few different body sprays for different needs. If you are on a budget, consider trying the Pacifica Moon Hair and Body Mist. With notes of vanilla and almond, it's the perfect spray for that cozy winter feeling under $15. If you want something fruity, they suggest the Sol De Janeiro Brazilian Crush Cheirosa '68 Beija Flor™ Hair & Body Fragrance Mist, or the Tom Ford Private Blend Neroli Portofino All Over Body Spray if you prefer a citrus scent.

Finding the right scent for you can be challenging, but learning what you are looking for can really help you choose. And if all else fails, take a look at the perfumes that people loved this past year for some inspiration.