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The Difference Between Perfume and Cologne: What Every Fragrance Lover Should Know

Are you a fragrance lover who desires to produce a statement with your scent? If so, it is important to know the difference between a perfume and a cologne.

Bottles of perfume and cologne grouped together in different positions
The difference between perfume and cologne

From the type of ingredients used, to the strength of scent, there are many unique factors that differentiate one from the other, including quality. Whether you are looking for a subtle, long-lasting aroma or an intense, short-lived scent, knowing the distinction can make all the difference. Niche perfumes have risen in popularity due to their particular attention to the quality and strength of fragrance oils.

The first factor that sets perfume and cologne apart is the type of fragrance. Perfumes are made with a high concentration of fragrance oils, whereas colognes contain a lower concentration of these oils. As a result, perfumes tend to be more expensive and last longer on the skin. Colognes, on the other hand, are less expensive and do not last as long.

Gender is not a specifying factor for these products' intended use. Instead, it relates to the concentration of perfume oil in alcohol and water. Names like toilette and cologne indicate the strength and longevity of the scent. Here is a more detailed description of each fragrance descriptor to help make your new scent shopping experience easier:

Eau de Cologne: In North America, these are often considered masculine scents. But don't let their association with men fool you: they are light, fresh, and fruity. Typically these scents contain between 2 and 4 percent perfume oils and last about two hours. Colognes can be considered unisex fragrances.

Eau de Parfum: These concentrations are historically genderless (unisex perfume) and are second only to their cousin Perfume in strength. As Reader's Digest pointed out, Princess Diana's favorite fragrance was an Eau de Parfum—Hermès 24 Faubourg, to be exact. These contain between 15 and 20 percent pure perfume essence and can last up to eight hours.

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