Differences among Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum and Extrait
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Differences among Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum and Extrait

How many times have you bought a fragrance because you were captivated by its aroma accidently discovered in a perfume shop and noticed that it vanished shortly after wearing it? Or, on the contrary, it turns out to be a bit too strong in summer?

Regardless of what you may have taken for granted all these years, not all liquid in a “perfume” is a true perfume but only a percentage ranging from 1 to 30%.

In fact, each fragrance is represented by its scent, or authentic olfactory family, and percentage of raw materials in a flask.

As a result, Eau de Cologne, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Parfum and Extrait de Parfum depend on this percentage and differences that inevitably determine intensity or persistence of a fragrance.


You have certainly understood how important it can be, well before making a purchase, to know the difference of different perfumes you see on the shelves of your favorite boutique.

This is the reason why we have decided to explain what is the best time to prefer one concentration to another, why to choose it and what to expect. But let’s start with four main types of perfume, citing the respected Italian Perfume Academy (Accademia del Profumo):

  • Eau de Cologne (EDC) contains from 3 to 5% of raw material
  • Eau de Toilette (EDT) is composed of 12 to 15% of pure perfume
  • Eau de Parfum’s (EDP) percentage of essential oil ranges from 15 to 20%
  • Perfume Extract contains from about 25 to 30% of fragrance notes

What to choose? There is no best option on paper because the choice of a fragrance is always subjective. Nevertheless, when you are about to buy an aroma, it is better to consider the following aspects:

  • The smell of perfume on your skin can vary according to the climate and the temperature. For instance, if it is too hot outside, naturally strong fragrances (for example, based on Oud, Ember or Patchouli) can be discordant;
  • The pH of your skin can completely inhibit or, on the contrary, enhance the fragrance you wear. Oily skin is perfect for a perfume and its persistence. On the other hand, dry or acidic skin can make a perfume evaporate faster. Therefore, an Eau de Cologne, for example, being light, may last longer than usual on certain types of skin;
Types and concentrations
  • The perception of odor changes from person to person. Someone has a better-trained nose, another one is less accustomed to different aromas. Taking into account that our smell is a sense, it is influenced by temporary or permanent changes caused by various factors, such as stress, use of medicine, flu, pregnancy, smoking, etc. This is just to give you an idea that if you have an impression not to smell your perfume fully, it does not mean that a person around you feels the same way;
  • The perception of a perfume may differ due to the authentic olfactory family. For example, it is a well-known fact that woody or Eastern notes can enhance persistence of a fragrance making it seem a bit more concentrated and consequently more persistent respect to floral notes. A naturally strong Oud of 15% will always be much stronger compared to a light Rose of the same percentage;
  • What we inhale at that exact moment must affect the perfume we choose. Do you want to impress with a persistent trail all evening long? Or you need something light and fresh to spray after having a shower? Various circumstances and needs often require different choices.

Therefore, if fragrance notes and olfactory pyramids stay the same leaving unaltered the intrigue among top, middle and base notes, what really changes over time is the smell of aroma.

Once you have fully discovered multiple possibilities offered by the perfume types, you will definitely end up buying more than one fragrance. You will also discover how to purchase the same scent in different variations and types in order to wear it on different occasions.


Due to limited quantity of raw materials, there are no major differences between Eau de Cologne and Eau de Toilette. Both options represent fresh and light essences, perfect for the hottest season of the year.

Take an eau de cologne or an Eau de Toilette if you are looking for a very light fragrance to wear on summer evenings. It is ideal to spray after a shower on your still damp skin to refresh and regenerate it or to complete your own beauty routine.

If citrus, floral or marine EDC or EDT are perfect for normal or oily skin, on the contrary, they can be imperceptible on excessively dry or acidic skin.


An Eau de Parfum varies according to the percentage of essential oils which is two or three times greater compared to Eau de Cologne or Eau de Toilette. This feature makes EDP the best ally for those who wish to wear a more persistent fragrance that lasts over time.

Unlike eau de cologne with its slightly perceptible olfactory pyramid, Eau de Parfum gives more possibilities to enjoy as many nuances as there are olfactory notes in the essence. A true artistic and niche perfume lover often opts for this aspect.

Eau de Cologne Vs Eau de Toilette

So, if you are looking for a light fragrance to wear for a short time maybe because you love changing fragrances according to occasions or it is simply summer, an Eau de Toilette or an Eau de Cologne can be the most appropriate choice. On the other hand, if an idea to be followed by your favorite trail intrigues you, an Eau de Parfum will certainly be a must.

In addition, in this case, dry skin or skin with an acidic level of pH can bring to nothing a long-lasting effect of an EDP. That is why sometimes it is necessary to apply a fragrance-free moisturising cream as a base.


Unlike Eau de Parfum, an Extract is a perfume with a great percentage of raw materials and that is why it feels oily.

An Extrait de Parfum, much less used and little known compared to classical EDP, usually goes in a smaller bottle because of its valuable composition and packaging and high price.

Eau de Parfum Vs Perfume Extract

To buy a perfume extract means to wear a strong and consistent fragrance, much more marked compared to EDP. It does not necessarily have to be taken positive; on the contrary, it may have negative implications, such as excessive oiliness on your skin.

Some years ago, the extracts were offered in comfortable manual dispensers through which it was possible to apply a perfume carefully and sparingly. Today, however, extracts are often offered in classic spray atomizers and in the case of such a high quantity of raw materials can make a bottle of perfume last a very short time.


We are absolutely convinced that there is nothing better than a conscious purchase and that is the reason why we have chosen to explain in detail the difference among EDC, EDT, EDP and Extracts.

Coco Chanel used to say: “Perfume is the unforgettable, invisible and ultimate fashion accessory. It heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure”.

Seizing the endless nuances of the perfume world will help you choose the most suitable type of fragrance making your shopping experience more interesting in a perfume shop. Do you agree?

If you have any doubts, please leave a comment and we will get back to you as soon as possible.


About Officina delle Essenze

Officina delle Essenze means personal and home perfumes. It’s a family-owned company where there’s still the Italian know-how which led to success the Made in Italy all over the world, as a synonym of handcrafted luxury. It’s a journey which goes on through the blog, where the brand accompanies the niche perfumery lovers to the discovery of always new olfactory paths as well as reference articles and advice on its products.

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