EDT vs EDP: The Ultimate Guide to Perfume Strengths

Updated 2023

Navigating the world of fragrances can sometimes feel like traversing a complex maze.

Have you ever found yourself torn between various scents, unsure of the difference between Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum? 

Perhaps you've wondered about the abbreviations EDP vs EDT, or pondered why Extrait De Parfum comes with a higher price tag?

These are all questions relating to a perfume's strength, or concentration. We're talking about the percentage of fragrance oil that's in each scent variant.

The potency of a perfume can shape the essence of our presence, leaving a lasting impression on those around us. From the delicate whispers of Eau Fraiche to the intoxicating allure of Parfum, each fragrance strength unveils a unique olfactory journey, even within the same line of perfume

In this article, you'll learn about: 
  • Fragrance strengths and oil concentration levels per variant
  • How long the smell for each variant typically lasts
  • Different Strength = Different Smell & Different Performance
  • Fragrance Pricing vs Strength
  • Perfume 101: Longevity vs Sillage vs Projection
  • Fragrance samples - the best way to try out new scents 

    Understanding Fragrance Strengths & Perfume Oil Concentrations

    Fragrance strengths and perfume concentrations play a vital role in the world of perfumery. These terms are closely intertwined, referring to the concentration of raw material oils within a fragrance. The varying concentrations have a direct impact on the scent's sillage, projection, and other characteristics.

    The quality and blending techniques employed by different brands can lead to interesting variations in perfume performance. It's not uncommon to discover that an eau de toilette can project more strongly than an eau de parfum. This is due to the way the perfume oil interacts with the surrounding environment when it is diluted with alcohol in the fragrance bottle. 

    It's amazing to think the performance of EDT vs EDP can sometimes be so very different indeed, more than a case of adding a little more oil into the mix.

    Moreover, it's important to note that many western-style perfumes are not composed solely of fragrance essence. They often include additional ingredients such as perfumers alcohol, purified water, perfume oils, and aromatic compounds. These elements contribute to the overall composition and character of the fragrance.

    Strength Variants

    Below is our perfume strength guide, where you will understand the differences in fragrance oil concentrations per variant, what that means for performance, but also price.

    Eau Fraiche:

    🇫🇷 Meaning - "Fresh Water"

    • Eau Fraiche has the lowest concentration on the market, around 1% to 3%.
    • Great for a very quick refresh of a short burst of fragrance, lasting 1 to 2 hours.
    • The cheapest variant on the market due to low fragrance concentration and longevity.

    Eau de Cologne (EDC):

    🇫🇷 Meaning - "Water From Cologne"

    • EDC has a lower concentration of fragrance oils, typically ranging from 2% to 4%.
    • It has a light and refreshing scent that lasts for a short duration, usually up to 2 to 3 hours.
    • EDC is very inexpensive variant due to its low fragrance concentration.

    Eau de Toilette (EDT):

    🇫🇷 Meaning - "Grooming Water/Toilette Water"

    • EDT contains a higher concentration of fragrance oils than EDC, usually between 5% and 15%.
    • It offers a moderately lasting scent, typically lasting around 3 to 4 hours.
    • EDT is a popular choice for daily wear and is more affordable compared to higher concentrations.

    Eau de Perfume (EDP):

    🇫🇷 Meaning - "Perfume Water"

    • EDP has a higher concentration of fragrance oils, ranging from 15% to 20%.
    • It provides a long-lasting scent, typically lasting up to 6 to 8 hours or even longer.
    • EDP is more expensive than EDT due to its higher concentration and longevity.

    Parfum/Extrait de Parfum:

    🇫🇷 Meaning - "Perfume/Perfume Extract"

    • Parfum has the highest concentration of fragrance oils, ranging from 20% to 30%+.
    • It offers a powerful, intense and long-lasting scent, which can linger for more than 12 hours.
    • Parfum is the most expensive variant due to its high fragrance oil concentration.

    Fragrance Strengths Visualised - Strength Chart

    To easily visualise the variations in concentration levels, refer to our useful perfume strength chart below. It provides a helpful visual guide to understand the differences in perfume concentrations, general pricing ranges and performance & more.

    perfume strength chart

    It is extremely important to understand that perfumes can vary in their performance due to the unique composition of aromatic compounds used in each individual fragrance.

    Interestingly, you may come across lower concentration perfumes that perform just as well, if not better, than those with the highest concentration, such as Extrait de Parfum.

    The reason behind this lies in the fact that the perfume industry does not have standardised intensity levels for different perfume concentrations. Therefore, the performance of a fragrance cannot be solely determined by its concentration.

    This underlines the importance of utilising fragrance samples when embarking on the journey of discovering your next signature scent, as it is relatively inexpensive vs the cost of a full-sized bottles.

    Perfume 101: Longevity vs Sillage vs Projection

    EDT vs Eau De Parfum... does strength really matter that much?

    We certainly think it does - perfume and aftershave strengths no longer follow the same composition like the good old days. There's now so many variables to pay attention to when buying a fragrance.

    Longevity

    Perfume concentrations have become increasingly diverse. Circling back to the the importance of perfume samples - it's crucial to conduct a thorough "test-drive" of a fragrance and allow it to settle for at least 30 minutes. This gives the perfume time to develop and reveal its true longevity.

    Certain fragrance notes, such as patchouli and amber, tend to have a longer-lasting effect compared to citrus and aquatic notes. Many modern popular releases lean towards a milder scent profile. If you're seeking better performance in terms of longevity, starting with an Eau de Parfum fragrance would be a wise choice.

    Projection & Sillage

    Although closely related, projection and sillage hold distinct meanings in the world of perfumery. Projection refers to how far the scent radiates from your body, while sillage pertains to the lingering trail or scent bubble you leave behind.

    Eau de Toilettes, with their higher alcohol concentration, generally have a stronger projection compared to more concentrated forms like Eau de Parfum or Pure Perfume scents.

    Unfortunately, misconceptions often arise regarding this important aspect of fragrance purchase. Higher perfume concentrations primarily enhance longevity rather than projection and sillage. It's important to consider your preferences and desired effect when choosing the right concentration for your needs.

     

    Variations Between Perfume Lines

    A great example of how different aftershave strengths play out within the same fragrance line, for example - Sauvage, by Dior.

    There are four perfumes in this line, similar in compositions, with slights variations in scents and performance:

    Dior Sauvage - Eau de Toilette:

    The original and most well-known version of Dior Sauvage.

    • It features a fresh, spicy, and woody composition.
    • Notes include bergamot, pepper, geranium, lavender, patchouli, and ambroxan.
    • It has a versatile and widely appealing aroma, suitable for everyday wear.

    Dior Sauvage - Eau de Parfum:

     

    • Another variation of Dior Sauvage with a slightly different formula.
    • It strikes a balance between the freshness of the Eau de Toilette and the intensity of the Parfum.
    • Notes include bergamot, pepper, lavender, geranium, elemi, vetiver, and patchouli.
    • It presents a sophisticated and modern composition with a prominent spicy facet.

    Click to buy: Dior Sauvage sample (EDP).

    Dior Sauvage - Parfum:

    • A more intense and concentrated version of Dior Sauvage.
    • It retains the core elements of the original scent but amplifies them.
    • Offers a richer, deeper, and longer-lasting fragrance experience.
    • It features warm and sensual notes of bergamot, vanilla, amber, and sandalwood.
    Dior Sauvage - Elixir:
    • Dior Sauvage Elixir is the latest and most powerful variant, with an even higher fragrance oil concentration vs EDP.
    • The composition features powerful notes of bergamot, vanilla, lavender, spices, and woody accords.
    • Dior Sauvage Elixir offers a deeper and more sensual interpretation of the iconic scent, with enhanced longevity and a bolder presence.

    Click to buy: Dior Sauvage Elixir sample.

    Best Ways To Sample New Fragrances

    Perfume & Aftershave can be an expensive investment, and with so many fragrances on the market, it can be difficult to know which one to choose.

    Fortunately, there are many ways to sample fragrances, allowing you to try out different scents before committing to a full-size bottle. Let's take a look at some of the best routes:

    Visit Department Stores/Perfume Shops
    Many department stores and perfume shops offer free perfume samples, so don't be afraid to ask. Simply visit the fragrance counter and ask the salesperson if they have any samples available. They may offer you a sample of a specific fragrance, or they may give you a sample of a few different scents to try.

    Buy A Fragrance Sample
    Scent samples allow you to try out new fragrances from popular designer to niche scents for a fraction of the price.
    Fragrance decanting has been around for a long time, you can purchase a decant in smaller 3ml, 5ml and 10ml sizes, meaning you won't have to commit to the cost of a full-size bottle.
    At Decanted, we specialise in fragrance samples which are  professionally decanted from 100% genuine retail-sized bottles.

    Check Online Retailer Offers
    Online perfume retailers often offer complimentary perfume testers with purchases or as part of promotional offers. Check their websites regularly for deals or sign up for their email newsletters to be notified of special offers and free samples.
     
    Follow Perfume/Aftershave Brands Social Media Accounts
    Perfume brands often use their social media platforms to promote their products and offer giveaways or freebies. Follow your favourite perfume brands on social media to stay up-to-date on their promotions and you could bag yourself a scent sample that way.

    Attend Perfume Events
    More aimed at the fragrance connoisseurs out there.  Many perfume brands and retailers host events where they offer free samples of their fragrances. Check local event calendars or perfume brand websites for upcoming events in your area.

    Conclusion

    Finding your perfect scent can be a complex journey, filled with questions about concentrations and variations. Understanding the differences between fragrance strengths and perfume oil concentrations is crucial in finding scents that suit your individual needs. The potency of a perfume can leave a lasting impression, and each strength variant offers a unique olfactory experience very different to the last.

    Understanding the nuances of fragrance strength, longevity, projection, and sillage empowers you to make informed choices. It's important to consider that the performance of a fragrance is not solely determined by its concentration but also by its unique composition. Each concentration level offers its own distinct characteristics and price points. Exploring the variations within perfume lines, such as the Dior Sauvage collection, showcases how different concentrations can result in slight variations in scent and performance.

    To sample new fragrances without the commitment of buying a full-sized bottle, take advantage of our handy fragrance samples right here at Decanted.

    We hope you can now embark on your next fragrance journey armed with a better knowledge and understanding of the world of fragrance.