The Difference Between Perfume, Eau du parfum, and Eau du toilette

If you’ve ever shopped for fragrance before, you probably have come across these different names:


Eau du parfume

And Eau du toilette

You may have wondered why the same fragrance is sold under these different names. What’s the difference?

Well today I’m breaking it down for you and helping you decide which type is suited for you! It’s very easy to think that these differences are in sizing, but they’re actually all composed with different concentrations of perfume, water, and alcohol. Keep reading to learn more.


Think of a Pyramid.

At the bottom we have the widest and strongest part – something that is very heavily filled. As you go up, there is less and less space. The terms I am about to explain are the same.



Perfume is the highest concentration of fragrance. So when it’s marked “Perfume” it contains all the fragrance notes that will be released for the longest periods of time. There is less alcohol and water concentrations in this fragrance.

Perfume is meant to be put on pulse points and not over done since it’s the strongest amount of fragrance. the biggest mistake people make is treating Perfume like body mist or eau du toilette. Because the fragrance concentration is so strong, you’ll want to put only a dap of Perfume on your skin. It will usually last several hours and the different notes from the fragrance will appear throughout the day.

A Perfume that I personally prefer to smell throughout the day is Gucci Guilty. I wrote about it here, but Gucci Guilty is quite musky – however you do get lovely hints of vanilla that come and go, each of them very unique at times. It’s the only Perfume that doesn’t give me a massive headache.


Eau du parfum

Now eau du parfum is a little weaker than Perfume. It’s more suitable for spritzing a bit here and there on clothing (except not the much). With eau du parfum, you’ll likely get the base and top notes of a fragrance, but it won’t last as long and will need to be reapplied throughout the day. You’ll often find eau du parfum sold in a small bottle or round rollerball precisely for its easy application throughout the day.


Eau du toilette

This fragrance chemistry is comprised of mostly alcohol and water with just the top note of the fragrance. Remember, this is less strong than our friend above, eau du parfum. Eau du toilette is more acceptable to spray on you or on hair. It won’t last very long – maybe 2 hours at most before you must reapply. It’s not meant to be a long term fragrance, just something to quickly spritz before that meeting or event.

I personally prefer to try new fragrances in this form because then I’ll be able to see if I can commit to the top note of the fragrance, which is important.


So what about eau du cologne and eau fraiche?

These have even less concentrations of fragrance. Eau du cologne is a popular choice for men because it’s not overly scented and suitable for musky fragrances. Eau fraiche is the least concentrated and would need reapplication in an hour. Not many people do buy eau fraiche so it isn’t commonly known, but it does exist.




Which concentration of fragrance do you like the best? If you’re having trouble with finding the right Perfume or fragrance for you, do check out this post where I take you through the steps of finding a good balance in scents and picking the ultimate signature fragrance!


Behind The Blog

The Petite Bijou is an online destination featuring wholesome yet sophisticated living and styling tips for women. The site is run by the family and friends of survivor, lifestyle influencer, and writer Mariam, who passed away in the summer of 2020.  Mariam also hosted The Bijou Show, a self help podcast.

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