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Eau de what? Toilette? Parfum? Isn't it all the same?

OK, so what is the difference between an eau de toilette, eau de parfum, and perfume – other than the price? These distinctions are more than just a fancy way to label fragrances; they represent the actual concentration of the scent, with an “eau,” or water, generally being the lightest (and often less expensive). Watch an exclusive video on the differences here!

Eau de Toilette

An eau de toilette is a perfumed liquid containing a lower percentage of fragrant oils than is contained in ordinary perfume or eau de parfum —called also toilet water. (Mmmm, toilet water.)

An eau de toilette contains anywhere between four and 10 percent of perfume oil diluted with water and/or alcohol, and is ideal as a body or aftershave splash.

Eau de Parfum

The amount of perfume and natural oils increase in an eau de parfum, with anywhere between eight and 15 percent of perfume oil combined with water (and sometimes alcohol). This means the eau de parfum will have better staying power, but it is still not to the highly concentrated level of a parfum, or extract.

The eau de parfum is probably the most common fragrance choice; however, as it has the strength to last all day.

Parfum (Perfume)

The next, and most concentrated, is parfum, or perfume. Perfume oil makes up anywhere between 15 and 40 percent of the fragrance. This concentration is also known as extract. It will last years and is often the most expensive form of fragrance you can buy.

How to Buy

As you shop for fragrances, keep in mind that quantity and quality are key indicators. Your favorite fragrance brand may sell three different varieties -- an eau de toilette, eau de parfum and a parfum. Generally, the eau de toilette will be the less expensive of the three and packaged in a bigger bottle. If a true, lingering scent is what you’re after the eau de toilette is not for you, although it may seem like a steal.

The parfum is usually smaller in size, but packs a more powerful punch as far as fragrance strength. It is the most expensive, as well as authentic, and lasts for years. Not all brands sell a parfum, as it is traditionally rare and exquisite.

Eau de Toilettes
L'eau D'issey By Issey Miyake for Women
Bvlgari Rose Essentielle
DKNY Be Delicious
Eau de Parfums
Eternity by Calvin Klein
Jennifer Lopez Glow
Thierry Mugler Angel
Parfume (Perfume)
Chanel No. 5
Mitsouko by Guerlain
Frederic Malle Le Parfum de Therese
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