Should You Buy Eau de Parfum Or Eau de Toilette

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When buying perfume, do you ever get confused over the difference between eau de parfum and eau de toilette? They’re both fragrances but the key difference lies in the perfume concentration. 

As a result, they do perform differently. 

The information alone does not help shoppers choose a perfume. There’s actually quite a bit more to understand about EDP vs EDT and I’m here to explain it simply for you.

Difference Between Eau De Parfum And Eau De Toilette

There are various types of perfume out there and the most common are the eau de parfum (EDP) and the eau de toilette (EDT).

When it comes to buying a fragrance, these terms can leave people scratching their heads and wondering which is best. 

For starters, I want you to understand that neither eau de parfum or eau de toilette is better than the other. They both perform differently and are suitable for different occasions. 

For example, an EDP is going to be a lot more prominent and long-lasting so for things like formal events, evenings on the town and other events where you need to stand out, an EDP is ideal. 

On the other hand, an EDT is lighter and doesn’t last as long. I find these more suited to everyday wear or moments where less is more. 

The reason for this difference is the concentration of perfume oils within the composition. All fragrances contain perfume oil in varying quantities. The perfume oil is what provides them with their scent. There are thousands of different scents of oils and they’re blended in unique ways to create the perfumes we know and enjoy. 

A typical eau de parfum contains more perfume oil than an eau de toilette. EDPs can contain up to 40% perfume oil but the norm is somewhere between 20% and 30%. An eau de toilette is generally weaker and doesn’t have a concentration of more than 20% perfume oil. However, you’ll find that most are somewhere between 5% and 15%.

What’s Eau de Parfum?

Eau de parfum contains a higher concentration of perfume oil. In some cases, this can be up to 30% but it’s unlikely to ever be less than 20%. Perfumes with a higher concentration than 40% are known as pure perfumes or simply parfum.

More fragrance oil generally results in a longer-lasting scent that is way more obvious. If you’re a fan of strong scents, then you’ll likely prefer an EDP. 

Furthermore, owing to the higher concentration of perfume oil, eau de parfum doesn’t contain as much alcohol. If you have sensitive skin, this can definitely be an advantage. 

What’s Eau De Toilette?

To clarify, eau de toilette does not refer to toilet water. Eau de toilette is another type of fragrance but its formula contains less perfume oil than an EDP.  Typically an EDT contains between 5% and 15% perfume oil which is significantly lower. However, they’re not as low in concentration as a cologne which generally only contains between 2% and 6% fragrance oil. 

Unlike eau de parfum, EDTs have more alcohol content. Alcohol evaporates more rapidly than oil so the scent won’t usually last as long on the skin. 

Eau De Parfum Vs Eau De Toilette, Which Is Better

When you spray an eau de parfum on your skin, you’ll notice that the initial scent is noticeably stronger. Moreover, the perfume tends to have a more intense sillage as you wear it. 

What I mean by this is that the fragrance will project more and be more noticeable to others around you. Be aware that it’s very possible to lose the scent of your own perfume after some hours of wear so don’t get upset when you don’t smell it after some hours. 

On the other hand, an eau de toilette, which is not as concentrated, won’t be as loud. These perfumes can be detected by those around you but you typically need to be much closer. They’re not ideal if you want a fragrance with clout but will work well for more intimate settings. 

Owing to the difference in fragrance oil concentration, there are also differences in how long a perfume lasts on your skin.

With an eau de parfum, you will usually get an entire day’s wear out of one application. This is because oil takes longer to evaporate than alcohol, which means the scent hangs around for longer. 

With eau de toilette, you typically get between six and eight hours of wear before you need to reapply the fragrance. This is a result of the alcohol evaporating more quickly and lifting the scent from your skin. 

Which To Buy, Eau De Parfum Or Eau de Toilette?

If you’re reading this guide, the chances are that you’re looking to buy a new fragrance and have come up against the classic conundrum of which is better; eau de parfum or eau de toilette.

Let me stress that neither of these fragrances are better or worse than the other. It really comes down to how you want your fragrance to perform. You might only want something light and delicate, in which case, I’d recommend buying eau de toilette. On the other hand, you might be looking for a powerful performer that envelops a room in fragrance when you enter. If that sounds like what you’re looking for, it’s going to be an EDP all the way. 

Many would argue that EDP is better than EDT but I think this is very much a personal opinion. In some cases less is more and there are some people that don’t want an overpowering scent. However, if you like something that packs a punch then your opinion will be different. 

When choosing between eau de parfum and eau de toilette, it’s also worth thinking about the time of year you plan to wear the fragrance. How perfume projects has a lot to do with your body heat. As your body temperature increases, the more your perfume will project. So, if you’re planning to wear a fragrance in summer, you might want something less intense as your body is going to do a lot of the work. 

On the flip side, winter perfumes will usually be better as an EDP since your body heat won’t project the fragrance as much. It’ll need to be stronger to start with if you want it to make an impression. 

I’d also urge you to think about the difference in cost between eau de parfum and eau de toilette. Naturally, since perfumers are using more oil in their EDPs, you’re going to have to pay more to purchase them. 

I’ll use Dior Sauvage as an example here but keep in mind that this is the case across the board. 

To buy a 3.4 fl. oz bottle of Sauvage EDP, you’ll pay around $135. If you buy the eau de toilette version then this price drops to $112 for the same size. The reason for this is that perfume oil doesn’t come cheap. There are some oils, like oud, in their purest form that can cost as much as $40,000.

Is Eau De Toilette Good?

The thing that I keep hearing from people buying perfume is that they think EDTs aren’t very good. There is something of a stigma attached to them, and it’s completely misunderstood.

As I’ve mentioned, eau de toilette should be used in a different way to eau de parfum. If you tried to use it as a winter perfume for a fancy evening event then no, it probably won’t be very good.

But if you’re using it for a day at the beach or an al fresco brunch on a summer’s day, then EDTs are going to work perfectly. 

Just like anything else, it’s about choosing the right option for the right moment. 

I’ve even seen people asking is eau de toilette even perfume? Of course it is! It contains perfume oil for starters. And if you look at the definition of perfume, you’ll see that EDT fits perfectly:

a fragrant liquid typically made from essential oils extracted from flowers and spices, used to give a pleasant smell to one’s body

Other Things To Know About EDP Vs EDT

I think it’s worth discussing the fact that a lot of perfumes come in both an eau de parfum and eau de toilette form. Some examples of this are Dior Sauvage, Blue de Chanel, Givenchy L’Interdit, and Gucci Bamboo, to name just a few.

To the perfume novice, it would be easy to believe that these compositions were exactly the same apart from their concentration. For this reason, most people think that the choice is based solely on performance. But that’s where the confusion lies. 

You see, not all EDTs and EDPs are the same, even when they are actually the same fragrance. Bear with me on this…

…let’s look at Dior Sauvage, as an example. While you might think that they’re the same fragrance, the composition is actually very different. For comparison, I have included a table showing the fragrance notes of each. 

Perfume NameTop NotesHeart NotesBase Notes
Dior Sauvage EDPBergamot, PepperSichuan pepper, Pink pepper, Lavender, Vetiver, Patchouli, Geranium, ElemiAmbroxan, Cedar, Labdanum
Dior Sauvage EDTBergamotStar anise, Pepper, Lavender, NutmegAmbroxan, Vanilla

It’s not difficult to see that these are, for all intents and purposes, different fragrances. Even though they’re offered under the same brand and name. I mean, I’ll level with you, while there are notable differences in the composition, to the untrained nose, Sauvage is Sauvage. 

But this is something worth considering when you buy a fragrance because while you might like the EDT, for example, you may not be a fan of the EDP. If you don’t like sweet scents then the nutmeg and vanilla accords in the Sauvage EDP may not be for you. However, you might adore the spicy and woody notes of the EDT.

This proves that, while concentration is important, it’s not the only difference between eau de parfum and their EDT counterparts. 

Perfumes can also be EDP or EDT only and do not have both versions. In these cases, you’ll want to focus mainly on how long-lasting and how strong you want your perfume to be. 

Ultimately, it would be wrong of me to say that EDP was better than EDT or vice versa. While they’re both types of perfume, they perform differently because of the difference in perfume oil concentration. 

You need to think about what you want from your perfume and the occasions you’re going to wear it for in order to help you decide between the two. 

But one thing is for sure, perfume concentrations make a huge difference.

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