Yes, There Is a Difference In Toilette vs. Parfum. Let Us Explain

toilette vs parfum cat

Here’s the deal: The difference between toilette and parfum has to do with the amount of fragrance concentration (which can be a combination of fragrance oils and alcohol) the formula has. The concentration plays a big role in how long the product will last, as well as when you should apply it. Toilette has a lower concentration of oils, while parfum contains more. Now, as for why and how that works, we’ve got the scoop below.

OK, so tell me more about eau de toilette (EDT).

Like we mentioned above, eau de toilette has a lower concentration than eau de parfum, which means it has a low percentage of fragrance oils, approximately five to 15 percent. It also contains more alcohol, and as a result, the scent evaporates from the skin more quickly.

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How about eau de parfum (EPT)?

Eau de parfum has a higher concentration, which means it has a high percentage of fragrance oils and less alcohol (which can be a plus for people with sensitive skin). It can consist of about 20 to 40 percent fragrance oil, meaning it’ll leave a stronger scent behind (so it’s best to use less than EDT).

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Can they actually smell the same?

Yes...kind of. Regardless of the product, most fragrances are a mixture of essential oils, absolutes, animal extracts and synthetic fragrances. The type of essential oil or chemical that’s include (as well as the amount) yields a different result. Also, the composition of the fragrance, aka the makeup of the scent (the top, for example, lemon, orange or peppermint; the middle/heart, like cinnamon, tea tree, or rose; and base/bottom, usually richer notes such as cedarwood, vanilla or sandalwood), plays a vital role in how similar an EDP or EDT are to each other.

And how long do parfum and toilette each last?

Eau de parfum actually lasts longer than eau de toilette. Toilette can last about three to five hours while parfum lingers for more like five to eight. In terms of shelf life, EDP can last up to five years longer than EDT. (A tip to maintain the shelf life is to try storing your product in a cool, dark place.)

Can I make it last longer?

For one, a little goes a long way. We recommend applying a little bit in the morning, then carrying it with you and applying more later in the day if you can’t detect the scent any more (versus putting on way too much during your initial spritz). Another tip: Dab some Vaseline or moisturizer on the areas where you’ll spray it to—it helps trap the scent onto your skin.

When should I apply EDP or EDT?

Since toilette is a lighter fragrance, it’s recommended to make it your day-to-day scent and to use it more during the warmer months. Since parfum can have an intense scent and high concentration, you should use it at night or during cooler weather.

How should I apply the fragrance?

There are many ways to apply perfume. Focus on your wrists, neck, chest, behind the knees, behind your ears and inner elbows. You can even spray some in your hair (but only on freshly washed hair and from a distance as to not dry it out.)

It’s also important to spray, dab or swipe the product. Don’t rub your wrist together as it can crush the scent and break down the oils. Try avoiding spraying it on your clothes, jewelry or attempting the “walking through” method, because you’ll waste more than you use, and we know that bottle wasn’t cheap.

So, is one better than the other?

Honestly, it’s really up to you which one you prefer. They both have unique pros and cons. If you’re looking for an affordable day to day option, toilette is your best bet. But if you want something that can last longer or you have sensitive skin, parfum is probably the right one for you. At the end of the day, it all depends on what you’re looking for when it comes to fragrance, occasion, price point and packaging.

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Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...