By Joanne Clark
Choosing a perfume is a unique process for everyone, from narrowing down your favourite scents, to choosing between eau de toilette or eau de parfum. The question is – what is exactly is the difference between the two?
There are a few key disparities, all of which link to one main attribute – the strength of perfume used differs in each. Specifically, the percentage of perfume oils used within both varieties. Eau de toilette usually consists of a concentration of 8-12%, whereas eau de parfum can contain upwards of 12-20%. The amount of perfume oil concentrate within both eau de toilette and eau de parfum can differ depending on the brand of perfume.
Another distinction between the two is the lasting power of each fragrance, which links to the concentration of oils. Eau de toilette fragrances usually last for approximately 2 to 3 hours, due to the lower proportion of perfume they contain, while parfum can be much more long lasting due to the higher concentration.
The name ‘eau de toilette’ and its translation indicates how it is meant to be worn. Sometimes translated to ‘toilet water’, a scent found within a toilet, used on the hair and body, the phrase can mean an assortment of things. The term ‘toilette’ can also represent dressing, washing, and cleaning – in other words, preparing for the day ahead. Therefore, eau de toilette can be equated to a perfume used within the day – the smaller concentration of perfume oils allowing for a lighter, fresher feel.
This contradicts that of eau de parfum, a stronger scent with more depth, often associated with night-time. When applying eau de toilette, you can usually spray 3 or 4 times, in contrast to once or twice with eau de parfum.
Fragrances often contain more than one perfume oil, in order to produce layers of a scent. These are otherwise known as the top, middle and base notes. The top note is usually the scent you notice first – your first impression – but it doesn’t last very long as it’s designed to be the lightest of all three.
The middle notes, also known as the ‘heart’ notes, develop after the top notes have faded and are designed to be the primary scent. Finally, once the middle notes have dissipated, the base notes begin to come through. These notes last the longest, with all three layers combining to produce a unique, developing aroma, building on one another.
In terms of choosing your perfume, there are several classifications to choose from, including aromatic; woody; fruity; floral and citrus scents. A combination of these can be used within the top, middle and base notes of a perfume, thoughtfully chosen to create an individual, specific scent.