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Eau De Parfum, Eau De Toilette and Colognes: What's The Difference?

Our fondest memories, deepest instincts and boldest desires are inherently guided by the scents we’re exposed to - so it’s no wonder that selecting a personal fragrance can be so intimate. With overwhelming options available - cologne vs perfume, and eau de toilette vs eau de parfum - it’s essential our choices reflect our needs. Learn the unique uses, functions and aspects of different perfume types to curate your fragrance wardrobe with care. Our guide will help you understand the difference between eau de toilette and eau de parfum, and whether parfum vs eau de parfum could be right for you.

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What is the difference between eau de parfum, eau de toilette and cologne?

Firstly, a fast lesson in languages. The word “eau” is French for “water”, while “de” translates to “from”. The definition of the French word “toilette” is “the process attending to one’s appearance”. “Eau de toilette” therefore roughly translates into water, or fragrance, used for attending to your appearance. “Parfum” and “cologne” both mean “scent,” where the former is French, and the latter is German.

The primary factor distinguishing each fragrance type is the concentration of oils used in its formulation:

  • Cologne is infused with a light fragrance oil concentration of two to four percent.
  • Eau de toilette has a fragrance oil concentration of five to ten percent.
  • Eau de parfum is imbued with about fifteen percent fragrance oil.

This varying concentration impacts a fragrance’s sillage: the aura left behind as you move through the world. As you might expect, higher concentrations may boast a more impactful sillage. Of course, there are also other factors to consider, such as the fragrance’s intensity, its notes and how it marries to your unique skin composition.

How to choose between eau de parfum vs eau de toilette vs cologne

When deciding between eau de toilette vs eau de parfum, or cologne vs perfume, it’s essential to understand their primary functions and what purpose they have been designed for. Do you desire a fragrance fashioned to make a strident impact? Or, perhaps, you’re more seduced by seasoned subtlety and intrigue? Do you need a scent that will endure the night, or a fresh scent to awaken your surroundings over the next few hours? We’ll walk you through the differing concentrations, provide guidance in choosing your new favourite scent, and offer techniques on application with longevity and vibrancy in mind.

Eau de parfum

Of the three fragrance types we’ll explore (eau de toilette vs eau de parfum vs cologne), eau de parfum carries the highest concentration of essential oils, sitting at around fifteen percent. It’s therefore ideal for those searching for a scent known for its ability to create lasting impressions. Does eau de parfum last long, you ask? One may expect its scent to endure for ten hours on the skin, and around sixteen when sprayed directly onto clothing.

A tribute to fearless femininity, strength, sophistication and strident independence, Armani beauty’s Sì Perfume for Her collection is perfect for dinner parties, busy nights out and opulent evening events. For those enticed by blends of sweet blackcurrant nectar and musky blond wood, consider Sì Eau De Parfum - directly inspired by the soul of Giorgio Armani.

For a brighter, floral, but no less passionate scent, tour through Armani beauty’s My Way Perfume For Her collection. Capturing deep notes of Egyptian orange blossom, Indian jasmine and vanilla consciously sourced from Madagascar, My Way Eau De Parfum is an immersive perfume brimming with poise and purpose.

Eau de toilette

As previously explored, the key difference between eau de toilette and eau de parfum is the concentration of oils infused into its formulation. Eau de toilette, typically, combines up to ten percent of essential oils to deliver a unique balance between impact and subtlety. This fragrance is designed for those desiring a versatile yet sophisticated everyday scent. It’s expected for eau de toilette to linger up to six hours on the skin, and a little longer on clothing.

This balancing act between vibrancy and intrigue is celebrated in the Armani/Privé collection, with signature fragrances like Armani Privé Santal Dan Sha Eau De Toilette. Inspired by the tranquility of Chinese Imperial palaces and their gardens, this scent features notes from sandalwood, cardamom and bergamot, capturing a decadent blend of woody, spicy and sweet. Meanwhile, Armani Privé Thé Yulong Eau De Toilette, with its aromatic black and green tea extracts, brings you on an olfactory journey through the Yulong Mountains - hazy, fresh, crisp and smoky.


The key distinction of cologne vs perfume is that they sit at opposite ends of the formulation spectrum. Where eau de parfum holds high concentrations of essential oils, cologne is characterised by a much lower concentration of up to four percent. The end result is a product architected for wearers searching for a lightweight yet impactful scent.

With an intermingling of citrus, sage and floral notes, Armani Code Colonia is inspired by casual elegance - perfect for those hunting a sprightly aroma to liven up their everyday moments.

Cologne has also stubbornly become an umbrella term for masculine-coded fragrances - but don’t let its namesake prevent you from exploring a broader range of fragrance types. Armani beauty’s mens collections - Acqua Di Giò Men's Fragrances and Armani Code Men's Fragrances - hold masculine fragrances in varying concentrations (eau de toilette, eau de parfum and cologne) for men seeking their own bespoke sillage.

How to apply fragrance for a lasting effect

Now that you’ve grasped the difference between eau de toilette vs eau de parfum vs cologne, it’s important to learn key strategies for application to ensure scent’s longevity and profound vibrancy.

  1. Spritz your favourite fragrance onto clean, moisturised skin for optimal wear. This allows the scent’s oils to bond with your skin more readily.
  2. Apply fragrance to your pulse points - your wrists and neck, behind your knees and inside your elbows.
  3. A light misting to your hair will help carry your scent longer throughout the day.
  4. Don’t be tempted into rubbing your wrists together after application as it can disrupt the fragrance profile.
  5. Check your fragrance use-by-date and update your collection as required.
  6. Store your fragrances somewhere cool and dark - outside of light, humid spaces (such as bathrooms).

Now that you know the difference between eau de toilette vs eau de parfum and colognes, next uncover which men’s fragrance is best for you.


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