What is the Difference Between Perfume and Eau de Toilette

What is the Difference Between Perfume and Eau de Toilette

The beauty industry is a multi-billion-dollar business, with both men’s cologne and women’s fragrances generating billions in sales each year. However, when it comes to understanding the difference between perfume and eau de toilette, many people are still confused.

The truth is everyone has their own preferences. Whether you opt for a product that exudes sophistication and lasts longer, or something for everyday use, in essence, you can never go wrong with a classic.

In the early days, products were made with natural ingredients such as essential oils, animal secretions and even plant extracts. This gave a collection of unique scents that was quite intoxicating, but also expensive.

Eau de toilette spray and cologne fragrances came about later in history as a less expensive, more accessible option. It is made up of fragrant oils suspended in ethanol alcohol and generally contains less of the aromatic compounds. The ethanol alcohol used to suspend the oils evaporates quickly, so eau de toilette doesn’t last as long as perfume. This gives it a less intense, but still lovely scent that is more easily tolerated by those sensitive to strong smells.

Let's look at some of these factors in more detail.

Differentiating Factors


Perfume is the most concentrated form, and as a result it has the strongest scent. In contrast, eau de toilette and cologne are considerably lighter and less intense.

The concentration of oil determines its intensity. A product containing perfume oil of 20 - 60 percent is classed as strong and will therefore be more intense than eau de toilette that will usually contain 5 - 15 percent. This is because the higher percentage will produce a stronger aroma.

concentration parfume


Perfume lasts hours longer than eau de toilette because of the quantity of essential oils used. Depending on factors such as skin biology, climate and lifestyle, it can last up to 8 hours; 4 hours longer than eau de toilette.

However, if you are looking for something with less intensity, eau de toilette may be more suitable. Additionally, due to its lower cost, it can be applied liberally without the worry of over-applying or running out quickly.


Perfume, or parfum, is often categorized by the concentration of essences it contains.  Manufacturers typically use natural essential oils, such as jasmine, sandalwood, and rose. Many times, synthetic and semi-synthetic ingredients are blended in as well. The ratio of essential oils to other ingredients is typically higher than that of eau de toilette, resulting in a stronger aroma.

oil parfume

Eau de toilette spray also uses natural essential oils, but often has a lower amount of pure essential oils. Synthetic fragrances are often used in place of essential oils, meaning eau de toilette typically has a lower staying power. Eau de toilette usually contains a greater percentage of alcohol, giving it a lighter, more refreshing smell. In addition, eau de toilette often contains added moisturizers and skin conditioning agents, making it a great option for people with sensitive skin.


Price is one of the main differences, with perfume or parfum being more expensive than eau de toilette.  The strength of aroma depends on the amount of fragrant oil: in perfumes, this can range from 15 - 40%. Eau de toilette typically has around 8 - 20%.

In a Nutshell

In essence, the choice comes down to personal preference. No matter which one you choose, it is all just a matter of finding the perfect one for you! You can experiment with essential oils, parfum, eau de toilette sprays, and concentrates until you find the aroma that best suits you and lasts long enough for your purposes.  With so many options available, you can enjoy a beautiful product without breaking the bank.

What is the Difference Between Perfume and Eau de Toilette
Lilyana has been a beauty industry insider and professional online marketer from a young age. She specialized in the organic and creative side of marketing, focusing on content creation, search engine optimization, and social media marketing. She writes articles for the BeautySourcing blog and posts for our social media channels.
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