Perfumes are mixtures of perfumed oils (or ‘jus’) and alcohol. Depending on the proportions of oils and alcohol, the fragrance will have different strengths, which may affect the time it remains on the skin.
Parfum or Perfume (also referred to as Extract or Extrait de Parfum) has the highest concentration of scented oils, usually making up 15-30% of a fragrance and contains few volatile materials. This makes parfum the most expensive and the most long-lasting on the skin compared to the other concentrations, with around 50% remaining on the skin after 24 hours. The low proportion of volatile oils also makes parfum the softest of all fragrance concentrations.
Eau de Parfum contains a lower concentration of ‘jus’ (about 8-15%) than parfum. Its strength is between that of parfum and of eau de toilette, so it will last shorter than parfum and longer than an eau de toilette. As it contains a greater proportion of top notes than a parfum, it tends to be more refreshing.
Eau de Toilette has less strength than an eau de parfum with a concentration of perfumed ingredients of around 4-8% and generally lasts for 2-3 hours on the skin.
Eau de Cologne lacks base notes and is rich in volatile ingredients such as citrus (also known as hesperidic) oils. The perfumed oils only comprise 2-5% of the fragrance and can be expected to last for only 2 hours. Eau fraîche is similar to eau de cologne in terms of strength and its light and refreshing scent.
The Essence of Perfume by Roja Dove (2010), p. 80-81
The Perfume Bible by Josephine Fairley and Lorna McKay (2014), p. p. 20-23
Perfume: The Art & Craft of Fragrance by Karen Gilbert (2013), p. 93
Quintessentially Perfume published by Quintessentially Publishing Ltd. (2010), p. 53 & 55