Brands Magazine

Perfume: technical aspects and guide to choosing the right one

Having someone complement how you smell is always a great thing, especially if you have spent time and money looking for your perfect perfume. This makes fragrance shopping a serious business, one which can be made much easier by understanding the different types and how they work over time.


What are the different types of perfume?

Eau de parfum, eau de toilette and eau de cologne: we might have understood that they involve some sort of water, but the real difference is the concentration of fragrance oil, which consequently affects how long the perfume will last for.

Extrait de parfum: Considered to be the royalty of perfumes, extrait de parfum contains a minimum of 40% oil. However with such a high concentration of oil, it is also the most expensive in a perfume range. Dior Miss Dior extrait de parfum for example comes in at £130 for 15ml, while the eau de parfum is less than half the price at £65 for 40ml.

Eau de parfum (EDP): One of the more well-known types of perfume, eau de parfum contains between 20% and 30% of fragrance oil. Because of its fairly high level of oil, some people prefer to keep an eau de parfum for evening wear because the smell is also quite strong. One of the most famous eau de parfums is Marilyn Monroe’s favourite, Chanel N°5.

Eau de toilette (EDT): This perfume type contains anywhere between 5% and 15% of fragrance oil, so it is therefore ideal for day wear. Popular brands often have their fragrances in eau de parfum and eau de toilette including the classic J’adore by Dior.

Eau de cologne (EDC): Although normally associated with men, eau de cologne is actually a term used for male and female fragrances with between 3% and 8% of oil in them. Traditionally they have a citrus smell, though eau de cologne has developed significantly since its creation in 1709.

Body mist: The weakest of all the perfumes, body mist has only 2% or 3% of oil in the bottle. Because of the low percentage of fragrance, it is one of the cheapest, but it also means that it will probably not last that long either.

Fragrance notes – what does it mean?

You may have heard of top notes, middle notes and base notes, but we are not talking about music, rather the difference stages in a perfume’s development. When reading a perfume’s description, consider the different smells at all of the stages to discover if it is for you.

1.Top notes represents the first 5 minutes after a perfume has been sprayed. These are the light molecules that evaporate quickly, which often smell like citrus or ginger.

2.Middle notes can last from 10 to 60 minutes once the top notes have disappeared. This is normally a more rounded smell and constitutes the main body of the fragrance.

3.Base notes are the main theme of the perfume. These are larger molecules that evaporate slowly. It can take approximately 30 minutes from when the fragrance was first sprayed until you can smell the base notes.

4.Dry down appears once all of the top and middle notes have evaporated, but the main fragrance remains. Some perfumeries use fixatives to make sure that the scent lasts from here on.

Perfume notes

Perfume Ingredients

Now that you understand a perfume’s notes, you can consider the types of fragrance you like whether that is musky, flowery, spicy, oriental, woody etc. Think about your personality and where you plan on wearing the perfume: daytime scents tend to be fresh, while evening scents are stronger.

You may also consider if you would prefer the perfume’s ingredients to be molecular or natural.

Molecular or synthetic odorants can be used to create smells that cannot be found in nature, or to replicate rare/expensive natural smells such as orchid. Perfumes containing synthetic odorants are generally cheaper but they give the fragrance depth.

Natural odorants can be plant and fruit based (like bark or cherries) or animal based (such as honeycomb). Although they are much more expensive, many say that natural odorants give a ‘sparkle’ to perfumes, which is harder to obtain using synthetic odorants.

What sized perfume bottle should I choose?

Perfumes come in all sorts of sizes so you should consider each one before purchasing. Remember that the smell of your perfume will change over time, so if you don’t plan on using it daily you may want to buy a smaller bottle. You can also choose to buy a miniature if you are not sure that a perfume is for you from the description – this also provides opportunity to test lots of different fragrances or rotate them depending on your mood!

perfume bottle size comparison

As a general rule, 100ml of perfume will last you approximately 1 year if you only have 2-3 sprays per day.

Five Top Tips from Twenga

1.Don’t rub a perfume once you have just sprayed it because this will break the molecules and modify how it was designed to smell.

2.Spray on contact points such as your neck or your wrists. This way everyone will see just how good you smell when they get closer.

3.Spray your perfume into the air and walk through it for lighter fragrance days. The fragrance will stick to your clothes and hair without being too strong.

4.Spray as soon as you get out of the shower because your pores will be open and the smell will last longer.

5.Moisturise your skin because perfume does not last as long on dry skin. You may choose to buy the matching body lotion to your fragrance.

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