Shopping for your signature scent can be a challenge. First, you must choose a fragrance you love. But the hunt doesn’t end there. Next, you must decide which of the 6 different types of cologne is best for you. With so many varieties on offer, figuring out where to begin can be a headache.
There are 6 different types of cologne. Here they are in order of highest to lowest concentration; Parfum, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Cologne, Eau Fraiche, and Perfume Oil. The less alcohol and the more fragrance oil a perfume contains, the more potent its aroma and longevity are on the skin.
Which type of cologne you choose depends on many things. These considerations include the season, how long you want it to last, and your budget. To choose the best type of cologne to fit your lifestyle, we need to dig deeper and explore each cologne’s credentials.
Parfum is the most potent of the options on offer. It has around 25-30% fragrance concentration, which keeps you smelling sensational for up to 12 or more hours. The second type of cologne is Eau de Parfum (EDP), which has a 15-20% perfume concentration. An EDP doesn’t hit the wallet as hard but still lasts 8-12 hours.
An Eau de Toilette (EDT) with an essential oil concentration of 5-15% won’t be overpowering to anyone around you. As The Fragrance Shop’s former Senior Brand Manager Hollie Race explains, “lighter fragrances can also be more captivating as scents for summer as the increased heat causes a heightened smell. Pair this with sweat and oily skin, magnifying the perfume, and it may not be the best time to choose a strong fragrance that becomes too much too quickly.”
If you’re a splash-and-go type of guy, Eau de Cologne is the way to go. Unlike other types of cologne, its 2-4% fragrance concentration may only last for a couple of hours, but it’s a light and invigorating option.
Newbies setting out on their quest to discover the best colognes for young men won’t go far wrong by choosing an Eau Fraiche type of cologne. These subtle, ultra-light fragrances are ideal for guys who like to wear cologne to the gym and don’t want to overpower the room. Imagine a body spray for over-21s.
Finally, we come to perfume oils. These are alcohol-free, yet 10x more concentrated than department store perfumes giving you great
Understanding different types of colognes, their strengths, and their concentrations will totally transform your buying experience. Here, you’ll learn what works best for each occasion so you can get the most from your next scent splurge.
I always choose a longer-lasting Eau de Parfum, like Gucci Guilty Pour Homme, for a night on the tiles or a special occasion. On the flip side, when I want to pack less of an olfactory punch over coffee rather than cocktails, I wear my go-to Eau de Toilette, Jimmy Choo Man.
The beast of the bunch. Parfum boasts a 25-30% fragrance concentration, the highest essential oil concentration of all types of perfume. “The concentration will affect the scent’s tenacity, which is how long the scent will last on your body,” says fragrance expert and Mileo New York founder Matthew Mileo.
Parfum is, therefore, the most tenacious when it comes to longevity. Spritz a Parfum on your skin, and you’ll be catching whiffs 10-12+ hours later. If you’re after a scent to take you from bed to boardroom to bar, this is the type of cologne for you. One of my all-time favorite Parfum is Tom Ford Ombre Leather. It’s a heavy and seductive scent for devilish nights out.
Parfum tends to sit pretty on the pricier end of the cologne scale. However, its stellar staying power evens the playing field regarding value for money. Remember, the longer lasting a cologne is, the less you’ll need to top it up. The result is a fragrance that will need replenishing less frequently.
Lasts: 10-12+ hours | Ingredients: Alcohol-based | Perfume extract concentration: 25-30%
Are you looking to balance potency and longevity with wearability and price? Then listen up; Eau de Parfum is the best type of cologne to add to your collection. Eau de Parfum has a 15-20% fragrance concentration, the second highest of the group.
This concentration packs enough punch to stick around on the skin for an average of 8-10 hours. Moreover, it won’t feel as heavy and intense as Parfum. Most, if not all, of the best modern colognes for men are available in an Eau de Parfum formulation. Like ultra-popular woody cologne, Gucci Guilty Pour Homme.
Fragrances have a tougher time projecting from the skin in cold weather, as cool temperatures slow down your scent’s evaporation rate. In plain English? If you want people to keep complimenting your cologne come Christmas, you need one with more oomph. EDPs are more long-lasting fragrances than their lighter counterparts, plus they have greater projection. That’s why Eau de Parfum is a solid choice for winter wear.
Lasts: 8-10 hours | Ingredients: Alcohol-based | Perfume extract concentration: 15-20%
Next up is Eau de Toilette (EDT), arguably one of the most popular choice. EDT contains 5-15% perfume extract, making it a more budget-friendly fragrance option for guys not wanting to splash the cash on their scent.
As a rule of thumb, the lower the perfume extract a cologne contains, the more alcohol in the formula. So this is why an EDT will evaporate way quicker from the skin than an EDP. Take, for example, my go-to favorite crisp, classic summertime musk cologne, Jimmy Choo Man, which offers around 2-4 hours of wear time.
In my experience, Eau de Toilette colognes are popular with women. Their light and fresh finish is subtle, leaving a lingering scent rather than an overpowering cloud of fragrance. This also makes EDTs a summer staple. Hot weather can intensify a cologne’s notes. That means, unless you want to choke out your friends and colleagues, you need to dial down the strength of your scent.
Lasts: 3-4+ hours | Ingredients: Alcohol-based | Perfume extract concentration: 5-15%
As we travel down the list, from the strongest to the lightest, we come to Eau de Cologne. A fragrance oil concentration of 2-4% places this joint last on the list in the scent intensity stakes.
I can hear what you’re thinking. Why would I want to spend money on a cologne that barely contains any fragrance? There’s a time and a place for every type of cologne, including EDC. When you want to smell clean and trick people into thinking you smell great naturally, reach for EDC. Dior Homme Cologne is an ultra-fresh Eau de Cologne for men with delicate citrus and musk notes that mimic the scent of just-showered skin.
This water-based fragrance is kind to sensitive or dry skin and will leave you smelling great without causing any irritation. You will have to top it up hourly, though, making it more suitable for daytime dates than all-nighters.
Lasts: 2+ hours | Ingredients: Water-based | Perfume extract concentration: 2-4%
Bright, airy, and illusive, that’s an Eau Fraiche scent in a nutshell. Eau Fraiche colognes tend to be aromatic, green, and citrusy by nature. Their fragrance oil concentration sits at around 2-3%.
Eau Fraiche is one of the rarer types you will come across. But don’t be fooled by Versace Eau Fraiche; despite the misleading name, this is, in fact, an Eau de Toilette! Luckily YSL stepped up to the plate, offering us a successful Eau Fraiche interpretation of their ever-popular Y cologne. YSL Y Eau Fraiche is the ultimate starter scent, perfect for wearing to work or casual hangouts.
When someone asks me what the best type of cologne for young guys is, I always recommend an Eau Fraiche. If you’re prone to over-spraying or are a fragrance noob, you can’t go far wrong with this ultra-lightweight formulation with its gentle projection and scent trail.
Lasts: 1-2 hours | Ingredients: Water-based | Perfume extract concentration: 2-3%
Here’s a type of cologne you may never have considered. Perfume oils take various fragrant essential oils and dilute them with carrier oils so they’re less intense and more wearable. Carrier oils are neutral-smelling oils like olive, coconut, jojoba, argan, and sweet almond oil.
You can expect an essential oil concentration of around 20% in perfume oil. For me, the main plus point of perfume oil is that it’s alcohol-free. So this makes perfume oil a sound choice for guys suffering from sensitive or dry skin. Better yet, this type of cologne comes with a more affordable price tag. If you want to switch up your scent and try something new, this risk-free option is the one for you.
There’s never been a better time to dip your toe into the water of perfume oil. Pure Instinct Original Perfume Oil, with its fruity, musky scent, is a viral sensation leading the way in the pheromone fragrance movement. This perfume oil, said to contain attraction-boosting pheromones, is Tik Tok-trending. So why not give it a try?
Lasts: up to 4-6 hours | Ingredients: Oil-based | Perfume extract concentration: 20%
Whether you’re a fiery guy looking for a bold scent to match or after something more subtly sensual, there’s a type of cologne for all occasions. I’ve broken down the best of the bunch to bring you all the must-know fragrance facts.
Of all the different types of cologne, Eau de Toilette is the most versatile, balancing cost and wearability with longevity and projection. You won’t hit any bum notes with my all-time favorite EDT, Jimmy Choo Man.
Have you ever loved the smell of a specific cologne on one of your buddies only to rush out and buy the same scent to discover it just doesn’t cut it on your skin? The reason for this comes down to your skin’s pH balance, hormone levels, and your body’s unique reaction to different types of cologne. “Perfume is going to smell differently based on your individual skin condition like how oily your skin is and its acidity,” explains Matthew Miléo, founder of oud-based skincare brand Miléo New York.
There are 6 different levels of cologne. From the strongest to the weakest, it goes from Parfum, Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, Eau de Cologne, Eau Fraiche, and Perfume Oil. Each type of cologne has a different concentration of fragrance oils. The trick is to match your level of cologne to your mood, occasion, and lifestyle.
Parfum tops the charts in the highest fragrance concentration stakes at around 25-30%. It will linger on your skin for 12 hours or more. For me, Ombre Leather, from the king of long-lasting fragrances, Tom Ford, has outstanding longevity and impressive projection. So, when you hug someone, they’ll likely smell like you for many hours afterwards.
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