Eau de Toilette vs Eau de Parfum: What’s the Difference?

The value of the perfume industry currently exceeds $46 billion, so there’s no shortage of people mispronouncing “Eau de” out there.

It’s also not common knowledge of the differences when comparisons are drawn of eau de toilette vs eau de parfum. Wouldn’t it be nice to know what these elusive perfume descriptors we have seen a thousand times before actually mean?

Read on to be part of the exclusive club that can tell what makes each of these two perfume styles unique.

The Literal Translations 

Eau = Water

De = Of

Parfum = Perfume

Toilette = Toilet, what!?

What Is Eau De Parfum?

The literal translation of eau de parfum works perfectly in English too. This translation works as eau de parfum actually has a smaller concentration of perfume oils than the stronger style of perfume – known as parfum.

What Is Eau De Toilette?

The translation for eau de toilette is a little less forgiving in the literal sense, as it translates to water of toilet, which is not exactly something one would want to spray on their skin. The more sensible translation is more like “grooming water,” as its original intention was to be a part of daily grooming.

Eau de Toilette vs Eau de Parfum Strength

The primary difference between these two types of perfume is the concentration of perfume oils in the mixture. 

There are five strengths of perfume, in order of weakest to strongest they are:

  • Eau de fraiche (1-3% perfume oil concentration)
  • Eau de cologne (2-4% perfume oil concentration)
  • Eau de toilette (5-15% perfume oil concentration)
  • Eau de parfum (15-20% perfume oil concentration)
  • Parfum (20-40% perfume oil concentration)

The concentration of perfume oils in eau de parfum is significantly higher than eau de toilette. 

This difference in strengths affects a few things when comparing these two perfume styles.


As the eau de toilette has more fillers, such as alcohol and water, it’s generally much more affordable than eau de parfum.

Many other things also come into play when it comes to perfume, such as ingredients and prestige. So, the price difference is most noticeable when comparing the same scent in different strengths.

For example, the Jimmy Choo perfume price will vary between the two strengths. Still, eau de toilette may require a few extra sprays to give the desired effect, so that can mitigate the savings pretty quickly.


The strength of perfume doesn’t just impact how intense the smell is but also how long it will last.

The first scent released from a perfume when sprayed onto the skin is known as the “top notes”. The top notes from an eau de toilette are the most noticeable for the fragrance. But, because of the alcohol content, the scent evaporates quite quickly.

On the other hand, eau de parfum lasts much longer. As the top notes fade after applying the fragrance, the middle notes stick around much longer. It’s for this reason, eau de parfum is perfect for a night out on the town.

Which Is Best?

Knowing the difference is only half the battle; knowing when to use each is a different story. When pitting eau de toilette vs eau de parfum, the answer is a solid “it depends.” 

Eau de parfum is more potent and lasts longer, but that may not be appropriate for all settings. 

Sometimes a short burst of the top notes from an eau de toilette is all that’s needed before a meeting. Yet, it doesn’t just take smelling good to keep up a professional vibe; check out some of our other content to learn more.

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