What is Eau de Toilette & How Does it Compare to Other Fragrances?

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Eau de toilette is a lightly scented fragrance with a lower concentration of fragrant oils than pure perfume. Derived from a French phrase that means “getting ready”, the fragrance is a great choice if you’re looking for a lighter scent to refresh the skin.

The term is a perfume category. Perfume categories are distinguished based on the amount of “perfume essence” in the formula relative to the amount of alcohol and water. Perfume essence includes natural ingredients, essential oils, perfume extracts, and any aromatic oil.

The main categories of fragrances are as follows in order of their perfume concentration:

  • Eau Fraiche: Considered the most diluted category of fragrance, eau fraiche contains only 1 to 3 percent of perfume oil. Due to the high alcohol content, the scent is much more subtle and generally lasts for less than an hour.
  • Eau de Cologne: Often created for men, cologne is designed as a light “splash” fragrance. It contains 2 to 5 percent of perfume essence and usually lasts for about two hours.
  • Eau de Toilette: One of the most popular fragrance types, eau de toilette is a light spray composition. Its scent contains 4 to 15% pure perfume and usually lasts for 3 to 4 hours. Considered by many to be a daytime fragrance.
  • Eau de Perfume / Eau de Parfum: Derived from pure perfume, eau de perfume’s formula is more concentrated with 15 to 20 pure essence. It lasts for 4 to 5 hours.
  • Perfume (Parfum): Not to be confused with eau de perfume, pure perfume is the most concentrated of all fragrance categories. Slightly oiler in texture, a single application of perfume holds 20 to 40 percent pure essence. It can last up to 24 hours.

Chart showing the different fragrance types and their perfume concentrations and duration of scent.

What is the Difference Between Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette?

The differences between eau de parfum and eau de toilette are the concentration of perfume oils, pricing, longevity of the scents and usage. A spritz contains around 5 to 15 percent of perfume essences in its top layers. The scent usually lasts for three hours.

Eau de parfum, on the other hand, will retain its scent for five to eight hours since it contains 20 percent fragrant oils. An application of pure perfume is even more potent. Because it is layered throughout with 40% aromatic oil, it releases its scent over time for up to 24 hours.

Because it is more diluted, eau de toilette is less expensive and can be sprayed liberally as a day-to-day or night scent. Eau de parfum and parfum are more expensive, but the lower amount of alcohol plays well with sensitive skin and provides a long-lasting, skin-clinging scent.

Is Eau de Toilette for Men or Women?

Eau de toilette can be used by both men and women. The perfume industry often markets cologne as men’s fragrance and perfume as women’s fragrance. However, there are options for both genders across the pe rfume categories and vary mainly by the amount of perfume oil as well as the notes and ingredients.’

Popular toilette fragrances include Nautica Voyage and Acqua Di Gio for men and Cool Water and Chanel Chance for Women, but there are unisex fragrances as well, such as CK All and Black Orchid.

A man and woman both testing the scent of an eau de toilette fragrance.

How Do You Wear Eau de Toilette?

The best practice for wearing eau de toilette is to apply it to dry skin. You’ll want to focus it on heated areas on your body, including your chest, neck, lower jaw, wrist, forearm, inner elbow and shoulders. Your body heat helps diffuse the scent and make the scent last longer. You’ll want to start light and layer it as you go – you don’t want to be that person that reeks strongly of fragrance!

Since eau de toilette is more diluted, adding petroleum jelly or an unscented lotion before the application can help lock in the scent and increase its longevity. A spray on your hair or clothes can also help add to the overall lingering effect of the fragrance.

Diagram showing the heat areas and pulse points on for where to apply your fragrance.

How to Choose the Right Fragrance for You

To choose the right fragrance, you’ll need to consider how long you want your scent to last, your budget and the environment you’ll be in. For example, if you prefer a daytime fragrance or work in a strict office setting, an eau de toilette would be the better option for you than a perfume.

You’ll also want to consider your personal preferences and skin chemistry. Since eau de toilettes and perfume react differently on everyone’s skin, it’s important to test the fragrance if possible.

An eau de toilette is a refreshing everyday option. Compared to perfume, its top-heavy composition makes it great for layering and wearing during summer seasons and more conservative environments.

Whether you decide to get an eau de toilette fragrance or a pure perfume blend, we offer a variety of perfumes for any occasion.

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