Types of perfumes: Know Before you commit

The visit to the perfume counter can be quite perplexing for the uninitiated, with the hawk-eyed sales persons jumping all over you, peddling their wares. Their jargon and promises can either scare you, or disillusion you into buying something which doesn’t suit you. Here is your guide to undersatanding the various types of perfumes.

What you need to know before you buy:

  1. Types of perfumes based on concentration:

Perfumes come in various concentrations, and their price, lasting power, and sillage depends on that.

EDT or eau de toilette:

They are milder ones, with 5-7% perfume concentration, and usually requires reapplication in 3-4 hrs.

 EDP or Eau de Parfum:

This is the second best, and widely available version. The perfume concentration is 10-20%, and it lasts a fairly long time on skin.

Parfum or extrait:

This is the most concentrated and extremely long lasting. The perfume oil concentration could be anything above 40%. This will be very expensive, and comes for a very few perfumes.

Cologne and body mists:

These are the lightest of all, with about 2-3% perfume concentration. They might be gone within an hour.


The lasting power of a perfume depends on the concentration of the perfume oils, more the oil, higher the lasting power. The sillage, which is the ability of a perfume to diffuse in the surrounding area, and for others to perceive it, varies with the density of oils. The lighter versions usually have a higher sillage, and the less dense top notes usually spread much far and wide, and the heavier base notes remain close to skin.

  1. Types of Perfumes based on Perfume notes

The perfumes contain a mix of various oils, with varying densities, which evaporate to give their aroma.

Top notes:

these usually are the fleeting notes, least dense, and can be felt for anything from few minutes to an hour. Never commit to a perfume based on the top notes, as this is not what you will have for the rest of the day.

Some of the common top notes are citrus such as lemon, floral such as cherry blossom, fruity such as apple etc.

Middle notes:

These are medium density oils, and make their appearance after the top notes have faded, and will remain for a few hours. They give character to your perfume.

Some of the common middle notes are floral such as rose, fruity such as peach, nutty such as almonds etc.

Base notes:

These are the heaviest, and what provides longevity to the scent. They are not very high on sillage, and remain close.

Common base notes are woody such as cedar & sandalwood, vanilla, musk etc.


A citrus perfume, such as D&G Light blue, will not last very long, whereas a woody one like Burberry body will last the whole day.

So buy a perfume keeping the concentration and the types of notes in it in mind, to make sure it is suitable for your purpose.

Please comment if you find the information helpful.

(Picture courtesy: pixabay.com, egypt.souq.com, dailymail.co.uk, fragranceshop.com)

Also Read

Gift a perfume to your Girl: Your guide to choose

After you commit to a bottle

How to Choose Perfume for yourself

Guerlain Shalimar

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  • O p gupta

    Very informative not only to 1st time users but i think to the regular users as well in selecting

  • Shilpi

    Did not know so many technicalities exist in buying the fragrance we keep looking for. Thank you so very much!!

    • Rajni

      Thank you 🙂

  • Chhavi Gupta

    Very informative article….didnt know so much minute things should be kept in mind before buying a perfume..Thanks Rajni …Looking forward to more..

    • Rajni

      Happy to help 🙂