Eau de Toilette vs Parfum: what’s the difference?

They may be the two primary categories of fragrance but what exactly is the difference between an Eau de Toilette and an Eau de Parfum?

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They may be the two primary categories of fragrance but what exactly is the difference between an Eau de Toilette and an Eau de Parfum? They’re often used interchangeably, mainly because not many of us know what sets them apart. Luckily, we’re here to help make sense of it all. 

Fragrances are an intimate and incredibly personal purchase. We often associate our favourite scents with a specific time, memory or person. A classic bottle could even remind us of a past version of ourselves, with one tiny spritz teleporting us back to the exact moment that springs to mind. 

Maybe you've even read T3's guides to the best women's perfumes and best men's fragrances.

However, beyond the name and brand of our go-to scents, how much do we really know about the different types of fragrances? 

When it comes to Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfums, there is a very clear distinction that separates the two. We spoke to Holly Hutchinson, founder of Memoize London, a luxury fragrance brand offering unisex scents, to help break it down. 

Eau de Toilette is a perfume with concentration of 4-15% which gives the wearer typically 3-4 hours of longevity,” explains Holly. “These perfumes tend to be lighter and sometimes the wearer may need to apply throughout the day to 'top up' their scent.” 

An example of this would be Do Son by Diptyque or Bleu de Chanel aftershave, both of which are available as either Eau de Toilette or Eau de Parfum like most other fragrances. An Eau de Parfum, however, contains more perfume oil. 

“Eau de Parfum (15-20%) and Extrait de parfum (20-40%) contain higher concentrations and therefore you can use less fragrance for a greater lasting scent experience. Some perfumes and extracts can last 24 hours plus,” Holly adds. 

This means that an Eau de Parfum is generally much longer-lasting than an Eau De Toilette, with the key difference between the two being the level of concentrated perfume oil they contain. 

“At Memoize London - all of our Perfumes are Extrait de parfum – between 20- 30% oil inclusion and this gives our customer the greatest longevity and no need to reapply throughout the day. The scent stays with you.” 

So, does that mean an Eau de Parfum is the better option when shopping for fragrances? They do tend to be a bit pricer than Eau De Toilette scents perhaps for this exact reason. According to Holly, Eau de Parfum are not only of greater quality but are better value for money too thanks to their longevity. 

“In my opinion, an Eau de Parfum or Extrait De Parfum is far more exquisite, the scent is more intense, and your bottle of perfume lasts for a long time. You don't need to keep reapplying your scent to keep enjoying it throughout the day!” 

Many fragrances, especially the big name brands, offer their scents as both Eau de Toilette or Eau de Parfum, with the latter offering attached to a hefty price tag. Despite the bottles often being labelled with the same name (and packaging), in most cases the scents are tweaked to accommodate the different levels of concentrations used. An Eau de Toilette would be a lighter, more fresh version of the fragrance while the Eau de Parfum would be richer and more distinct. 

Did you enjoy this? Then you should read T3's guide on how to choose the right perfume next.

Sagal Mohammed

Sagal is a lifestyle and pop culture writer, working across print and digital for various publications including both newspapers and magazines.