There are 5 different fragrances — How to choose the perfect perfume for you

When I think about fragrance, I usually focus on scent and they are the fragrance in which that scent lives. Is it in the form of wood? Amber? Flower? New? What are the top notes? Heart? Base?

These are often the only considerations we think about when choosing aroma. However, there is one key piece of the puzzle that should also be kept in mind when choosing a perfume: which one aroma that is. There are five different types of fragrance, and they matter in terms of how strong the scent is, how long it lasts, and how complex it is. Keep reading to learn all about the different fragrances and find which one is right for you.

Parfum, also known as extrait de parfum, is the purest and strongest form of perfume. It has the highest fragrance concentration at 20 to 30% and also has a lower alcohol content than most other perfumes. Because of the high concentration of fragrance oils, parfums tend to be the most expensive forms of perfumery, but they also last the longest and can be more complex. These scents can last all day and you can smell the full layers of top, middle and base notes while wearing them. Since they have a relatively low alcohol content, they are often recommended for people with sensitive skin.

Key Notes: Freesia, plum, amber, cashmere wood, vanilla bean, cistus oil

Key Notes: Jasmine Grandiflorum from Egypt, Saffron, Bitter Almond from Morocco, Cedarwood, Musk Woody Notes, Ambergris

Key Notes: Black orchid, ylang-ylang, patchouli

Key Notes: Bergamot, Camellia, Cardamom, Cedarwood, Lemon, Musk, Pepper, Tea, Vanilla

Eau de Parfum is one of the most popular perfumes. Many of your favorite everyday scents can fit perfectly into the eau de parfum category, as they are incredibly versatile and long-lasting, though will last a bit less than parfum. These scents come in 15 to 20% fragrance concentrations, and they also offer the full range of notes, although the middle notes will stand out more, as the top notes often fade quickly.

Key Notes: Turkish rose, blackcurrant, raspberry, patchouli, benzoin, cinnamon, cloves, white musk, frankincense, ambroxan, sandalwood

Key Notes: Two kinds of extract of vanilla, flower, cocoa pods, amyris, milk are suitable

Key Notes: Tuberose, orange blossom, jasmine, ocean

Key Notes: Rhubarb, cardamom, pink pepper, rose, raspberry, papyrus, agarwood, sandalwood

Eau de toilettes are also popular, with scent concentrations ranging from 5 to 15%. These usually have a higher alcohol content and they last for 4-6 hours on the skin. Top notes are prominent in eau de toilettes, and these scents tend to be less complex than parfums or eau de parfums.

Key Notes: Bergamot, heliotrope, coconut milk

Key Notes: Bergamot, Sage, Cedar

Key Notes: Green pear, strawberry, black currant, pink pepper, honeysuckle, peony, rose, lily of the valley, musk, cedar

Key Notes: Sage, smoked vetiver, mineral salts, ginger

You’ve certainly heard of (and probably used) and eau de cologne. These fragrances don’t last long — usually just a few hours due to their low fragrance composition (2 to 5%) — but they have a strong top note and are easy to reapply as needed. People with sensitive skin should stay away from these, as they have a higher alcohol content than other scents. They tend to be a bit cheaper, which makes them an attractive option for everyday wear.

Key Notes: Lemon, bergamot, patchouli

Key Notes: Italian bergamot, green pepper, green tea, cardamom, beeswax, tonka bean

Key Notes: Daffodils, bergamot, orange blossom

Key Notes: Ambrette seeds, sea salt, sage

Eau fraiche is less common than some other fragrances, but it is unique in its own right due to the fact that it is made with water, not alcohol. These fragrances are soft and delicate, with a fragrance oil concentration of only 1 to 3%. Eau fraiche is perfect for those with sensitive skin and those who prefer to give up strong scents. They’re also affordable, which makes them ideal for a budget-friendly fragrance boost.

Key Notes: tiare flower, coconut, amber, sandalwood, vanilla

Key Notes: Citron, jasmine, teak

Key Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Orange, Freesia, Tuberose, Lotus, Pineapple, Watermelon, Pomegranate, Sandalwood, White Musk

Key Notes: Pink pepper, sparkling orange, fresh rose, iris, cedar, musk

Next: 19 perfumes that smell like new laundry (in the best possible way)


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