Beauty coaching: eau de parfum, eau de toilette… Which one to choose?

Faced with a perfume department, the dilemma arises: what to choose between an eau de parfum and an eau de toilette? What distinguishes these two juices? What about the names “perfume” and “eau de cologne” which are also involved in the battle? One thing is certain, we have all already asked ourselves these questions. To answer this, we turned to Patty Canac, aromachology specialist at 100BON. And this is ultimately the result of many factors.

A simple story of concentration…

Unsurprisingly, these designations come from a degree of concentration, in other words the dilution of perfume in alcohol. “As a general rule – since there are no regulations – perfumes have a concentration greater than 20%, eau de parfums are around 15% while eau de toilette is around 10%. As for colognes, no more than 5%,” explains Patty Canac.

The perfume – also called essence or extract – being more concentrated, therefore more rare and precious, represents “the pinnacle of perfumery”, according to the expert. A juice, almost an object, of a very personal nature, hence its higher cost, which is worn sparingly. There was even a time when it was said that it “deposited in touches at the level of the wrists, behind the ears and at the pulse points”.

Eau de parfum – more common these days – has an olfactory concentration slightly below perfume. However, it ensures a good hold on the skin, hair or clothes without losing too much character.

Eau de toilette, more subtle and lighter, tends to bring freshness to the wearer. Ideal for summer thanks to its low concentration, the one that was used to mask odors when it was created, has come a long way becoming a juice in its own right. Ephemeral, it requires re-perfuming several times a day. On the other hand, it is highly appreciated by people who like to change their fragrance regularly.

Eau de cologne is therefore the least full-bodied juice. It is known for its ultra-refreshing side that is applied to the body after the shower. His outfit is less.

… but not only !

But the expert tells us that these induced (and never fixed) standards have evolved over time. Today, “as perfumers, we respond to specifications when we create a perfume,” she begins by explaining. And brands tend to want perfumes that hold longer and longer, that is to say a longer sillage than before. It is quite naturally that the percentages have evolved, therefore. It is, today, a freedom that varies according to the brief and the agreement between the perfumer company and the brand”.

But it goes further. The world of perfumery no longer being what it was before, according to the expert, other factors come into play: like the country of marketing which also plays a lot on the creation of the juice. Indeed, a perfume sold on the European market will not be the same as a perfume designed for the Middle East. Thus, “a fragrance intended for customers located in Abu Dhabi can go up to 18% in terms of concentration and be called eau de toilette, for other questions”.

Another criterion can determine whether the juice will be a perfume or an eau: the budget. This influences the choice of the raw material as well as its concentration. The image expert comments: “If I have a cocktail party for 8 people, it won’t be the same reception as for 80, especially with the same budget. Well, the same goes for juice. To create an eau de parfum, we take different and yet very similar materials that will have the same interpretation as those contained in the perfume. It’s a simple variation. And vice versa. If an eau de toilette contains rose, I would put rose absolute (more concentrated) in the perfume. Depending on the budget, I put diamonds on one side and rhinestones on the other”.

Not to mention the consumption habits of each. Society has evolved and consumption patterns have evolved with it. If a few years ago it was common for a person to be faithful to their perfume throughout their life, today it is not uncommon to find people who hold several bottles. “Today, thanks in particular to fashion, we buy more perfumes for pleasure,” says the expert. We change it according to the occasions and the choice of our outfits. Gone are the days when we only had one sweater in our wardrobe, and in perfumery, it’s the same”. In any case, this is one of the new desires of perfumers: to meet the expectations of consumers who have a passion for change. “It’s the culture of zapping that we know in particular with Tiktok, Netflix… It extends to perfumery, continues Patty Canac. Hence the multitude of proposals with multiple names in our perfume departments”. The circle is complete.

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