Fragrance Strengths

Ever wonder why one fragrance lasts longer than another? Ever bought a bottle of Fragrance and it didn’t have a sprayer? Chances are you bought Aftershave, which is a common name guys use for fragrance whether they mean Eau de Toilette or anything else – knowing what the concentration means can save you a lot of money as aftershave is literally for using after a shave and the scent will dissipate rapidly. Skin type and body chemistry aside, there are different fragrance concentrations that you should know about.

By fragrance concentration we mean the percentage of perfume oil, otherwise known as the pure fragrance concentrate, that a bottle of fragrance contains. Usually, perfume oil is mixed with water and/or alcohol to complete the physical makeup of the fragrance. But the percentage of perfume oil in the mixture really determines the strength and longevity of the overall scent. Below is a list of the different fragrance concentrations along with their characteristics:


This is the lightest of all concentrations with 1-3% perfume oil. It generally lasts less than an hour. Aftershave is usually used as refreshment after shaving, with the intention that the alcohol will kill any bacteria. Don’t expect much attention with this on. An example of this concentration is classic Aqua Velva.

Eau de Cologne

EdC contains 2-8% perfume oil. An Eau de Cologne usually lasts about 1-2 hours. The small percentage of perfume oil used also puts this group in the lower price bracket, so it’s usually easily quite affordable. If you want something discreet and not particularly loud then this is the way to go. An example of this concentration is “4711” from Maürer and Wirtz.

Eau de Toilette

EdT is probably the most popular concentration among designer fragrances for men. This group contains 5-15% of perfume oil and can last anywhere between 3-6 hours. Price is moderate, but don’t be surprised if you end up paying around £100. An example of this concentration is Le Male by Jean Paul Gautier

Eau de Parfum

EdP contains 10-20% of perfume oil and is a very popular concentration among women’s fragrances and niche fragrances. This group can last between 6-8 hours. The prices can also exceed £100, or £200 for many niche brands. An example of this concentration is ‘Bleu de Chanel Eau de Parfum’ from Chanel or ‘Aventus’ by Creed

Extrait de Parfum/Perfume Extract

This group contains 15%-40% perfume oil and can mostly be found in niche brands as well as some women’s designer fragrances. Due to the high concentration of oil, Extrait de Parfum can easily last over 8 hours. This is a concentration where the price can be off-putting for many people because we are talking about £300+, in some cases between £500-£800 for as little as 15-30ml. An example of this concentration is “Jeke” from Slumberhouse.

Attar/Pure Perfume

This is absolute, pure perfume/essential oil with no additives like water or alcohol. Most frequently found in traditional Middle Eastern perfumery, this group comes in smaller packaging sizes ranging 2ml-30ml because of their potency; usually a dab of the oil would last 12+ hours. A 30ml bottle of attar can cost between £600-£1000. So, if you’re looking to break the bank and be a bit indulgent this is the way to go. An example of this concentration is the “Tribute” attar from Amouage.

Understanding the different types of fragrance concentration can also help you decide what to wear in certain occasions. For example, you typically wouldn’t want to wear Extrait de Parfum in the summer heat or douse yourself with aftershave in -20C winter weather. But, whatever you decide to wear always make sure to use less fragrance the higher the concentration it has.

Three key measures of fragrance to look out for when wearing a new one are Projection – how far the scent reaches from you, Sillage – the trail you leave behind as you move around and how far away from you it can be smelled, and Longevity – how long it lasts.