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What You Should Know About Perfumes and Fragrance

The word fragrance is greatly misunderstood. So misunderstood is it that it is going to take a really long time to correct some of its misconceptions. For example, some people believe perfume is for women while cologne is for the male counterparts. This is clearly a big misconception as perfumes and colognes are gender neutral. The difference between both lies in the percentage and concentration of oils used in its production. Women can wear cologne and vice versa.

This article is for all perfume lovers. Yes, we know you love perfumes and you love to smell nice but have you ever wondered why some perfumes are so expensive? Why some last for as long as 10 hours and some can barely last an hour?

Fragrance comes in different categories. And while this information is usually written on the perfume container, very few persons take note of it. Even fewer persons know what they mean.

When you pick up a bottle of perfume, you will see any of the following inscribed on it: parfum, eau de parfum, eau de toilette or eau de cologne.

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Parfum comprises about 20-30 % scent oils. It is the most concentrated and its scent lasts the longest. They usually last up to 8 hours. Parfum is the most expensive of all fragrances. It is not usually sold in sprays as it is too scented to spray all over and also too expensive. It comes in stopper bottles and tends to be slightly oilier because of its high concentration of scent oils.


Eau de parfum is next to parfum in the hierarchy. In a layman’s term, EDP is parfum that has been diluted with either water or alcohol. EDP contains about 15-20% scent oils. It is usually used on hair and clothing. One has to be careful when applying it to certain clothes especially white clothings as the oil in it may cause stains. Although EDP does not last as long as parfum, it is often a preferred choice as its scent is not as strong as parfum due to the dilution process. Also, Eau de parfum is more affordable than parfum.

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Eau de toilette is the most commonly used of all four. It contains between 5 – 15% perfume oil and is lighter than eau de parfum. Its water or alcohol concentration is often higher than the perfume oil and for this reason, EDT does not last for so long and can always be reapplied again. It is ideal to always have it with you. EDT is great for people who are not fans of strong scents.


Eau de cologne contains 2 – 5% perfume oil. It is the lightest in the category of fragrance and of course the least expensive of all. It is usually a mixture of citrus oils; lemon, orange, etc. Eau de cologne is often sold in larger bottles and is a great idea for hot climate conditions.

One of the misconceptions people hold about fragrance is; the expensive ones smell better and last longer. This is not always true, some fragrance are expensive because of its branding strategies and owners (celebrities and top personalities). Theer are so many nice fragrances with unknown brands that are affordable and stay for a long time without the scent wearing off.

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Another misconception is in the manner of application. Some persons believe perfumes should be applied by spraying it in the air and walking through it. However, the right way to wear perfume is to apply it to those naturally warm areas of the body like the neck and chest.


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Finally, it is worthy of note that a fragrance comprises three notes; the top note, the heart note and the base notes. The first note is the first scent that hits your nose immediately after application. After the first note, the heart note of the perfume becomes noticeable. The base note comes about 30 minutes after application. This is why one should not make a hasty decision while picking a fragrance, your judgment may be solely based on the first note.

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Achu Kije

Achu Kije is a communication student who has profound interest in fashion, travel and food. She hopes to explore the world and tastes the national dish of every place visited. Her hobbies are cooking , surfing the net and watching movies.

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