Cologne Vs Perfume

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Written by Chuks Wesley

Perfume or Parfum in French is a pleasing fragrance in sophisticated bottles. The use of perfume dates back to Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Perfume is one of the longest surviving priced accessories for humans.  
Perfume is also a type of fragrance. You might have seen a fragrance bottle labeled Parfum, Extrait de parfum, or Eau de Perfume, they contain a high concentration of essential oils.

Some people prefer to use the same perfume for every occasion, but most perfume lovers prefer to keep collections for several occasions like school, work, date nights, or weather conditions like summer, winter, autumn, and springtime. 

If you're like most perfume lovers, you'd be bothered about your choice of perfume for an occasion. The last thing you'd want is to put on a strong, provocative perfume for a casual lunch with friends, and have them complain about your scent.

This is where the choice of getting a cologne or a perfume comes in because the main difference between colognes and perfumes is the concentration of essential oils present in them. 

But are colognes and perfume the same? Are colognes made for men while perfume for women? Luckily, we've scribed out the use of cologne and perfumes, their differences, and a few examples to help you make a better choice for the right occasions.


Most perfumes have a higher amount of essential oils in them. That's why it stays longer on your body and has a strong projection. Meanwhile, most colognes have fewer essential oils, their fragrance contains citrus flavors, and their aroma is faint. Most colognes are marketed to guys by perfumers.


Cologne is a cheaper alternative perfume with lesser concentration marketed to men. It mostly has a concentration of about 2-5% oils—essential oils, herbal oils, or extracts—and a 70-90% carrier, mainly alcohol and water.

The origin of Cologne dates back to the 17's from Cologne, Germany. The first perfumer to create a cologne was an Italian perfumer named Giovanni Maria Farina. He named his first fragrance, Eau de Cologne(water of cologne), after the German town where it was created.

Most colognes contain citrus headnotes and a fresh fragrance. The lesser amount of essential oils added to the fragrance gives a more subtle and soft aroma.

Most brands create cologne versions of a perfume with a lighter fragrance for people who are sensitive to strong, aromatic fragrances.

Pros of Colognes

  • Most colognes have a refreshing, fruity fragrance that attracts people.
  • Colognes are suitable for people with scent sensitivity. 
  • Colognes are cheaper compared to perfumes.
  • They come in sophisticated bottles 
  • Can be sprayed lavishly.
  • The excess alcohol present increases the sillage.
  • Safe for blind buys and gifting because it has a subtle citrus note list people will prefer.

Cons of Cologne 

  • Their bottles are mostly twice the size of a perfume bottle, hence, it isn't so easy to carry around.
  • Some colognes have a weaker scent because they contain very little essential oil.
  • It needs to be applied regularly because of its low longevity.

Top Cologne Samples 

Calvin Klein, Eternity for Men 

Calvin Klein, Eternity for Men Eau de Toilette is one of the best citrusy cologne in the market, it has an aromatic, light fragrance that is warming and can hardly create an offense. Although this cologne is marketed for men, it is also suitable for women(literally any cologne is suitable for anyone, depending on your choice)

Top Notes: Begins with Bergamot, Lemon, Mandarin Orange, and Lavender.

Middle Notes: the heart of Basil, Coriander, Juniper Berries, Sage, Geranium, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, and Lily.

Base Notes: Finally emits Amber, Musk, Sandalwood, Vetiver, and Rosewood.

  • Scent Accord: Aromatic Citrus 
  • Longevity: 5-6 hours
  • Sillage: Moderate 
  • Projection: Strong

Yves Saint Laurent Y Eau de Toilette

Y for men by Yves Saint Laurent EDT is a perfectly fresh, natural aromatic fragrance for the group of people who choose a path and follow it to the end. It offers a warm refreshing blend to your skin. The significant difference from the EDT version to the EDP is the fresh musk dry-down that doesn't overpower the wearer and of course the longevity. It is suitable for both males and females.

Top Notes: Mint, Lemon, Bergamot, Ginger, and Aldehyde.

Middle notes: The heart of the fragrance are Pineapple, Apple, Sage, Geranium and Violet Leaf

Base Notes: The dry-down flavors of Cedar, Ambergris, Musk, Balsam Fir, Vetiver, and Incense.

  • Scent Accord: Aromatic Fresh
  • Longevity: 5-8 hours
  • Projection: Strong 
  • Sillage: Moderate 

Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée

Atelier Cologne's Vanille Insensee is a subtle woody vanilla fragrance, with a soft welcoming lime flavor at the top. 

Vanille Insensee( which means Insane vanilla) is not your regular sweet vanilla flavor, it gives off a real, un-tempered vanilla fragrance. The woody note gives a perfect blend of citrus notes.

Unlike most colognes, this perfume stays longer on your skin for hours without any need for reapplying.

Top Notes: Opens with Lime, Coriander, and Citron 

Middle Notes: The intermediate notes of Oakmoss, Jasmine, and Vetiver

Base Notes: Dry-down of Vanilla, Amber, Oak

  • Scent Accord: Woody Vanilla 
  • Longevity: 8-9 hours
  • Sillage: Low
  • Projection: poor


Perfume is the general name for fragrances, yet, it is a different type of fragrance. It is mostly labeled as Parfum, Parfum Extrait and Eau de Parfum.

Pure perfume has been used for thousands of years by nations like Egypt, Ancient Greece, Rome, and the Middle East. 

Pure Perfume - Parfum Extrait

Pure perfume is an intense fragrance that contains about 15-30% concentration of essential oils.

These fragrances have the highest concentrated essential oils compared to other perfumes. As a result, they last longer than most fragrances.

Extrait de parfum can last on your skin for 18-24 hours. Most females prefer pure perfume because of the attention it creates around them. The expense of getting a bottle might be ridiculous sometimes.

Eau de Parfum is the next highest in concentration level, this is the most popular perfume commercially, it contains 15-20% concentration, and lasts for about 10-15 hours.

Perfume pros 

  • They last longer because of the high concentration of essential oils 
  • There are more luxurious 
  • They make you feel confident 
  • They transfer their Arousing scent to any material or skin they come in contact with 
  • They have the longest shelf-life
  • Most perfumes come in a suitable fancy bottle 

Perfume cons 

  • Most perfumes are costly 
  • Pure perfumes can cause itch and skin reactions because of the excess essential oils present, especially if you have sensitive skin.

Top Perfume Samples 

Tom Ford Oud Wood

Tom Ford Oud Wood is one of the rarest and best oud fragrances you can find, it smells more like rosewood for a start and morphs to a more seductive amber fragrance at the end. This Eau de Parfum lasts long on your skin without any provocative odor. 

Top Notes: Rosewood, Oud, and Sandalwood.

Middle Notes: Vanilla, Sichuan pepper, Cardamom, and Vetiver.

Base Notes: Amber and Tonka bean.

  • Scent Accords: Woody, Oud
  • Longevity: 8-9 hours 
  • Sillage: Moderate 
  • Projection: Light

Baccarat Rouge 540 Maison Francis Kurkdjian Eau de Parfum

Popular perfumer, Francis Kurkdjian creates Baccarat Rouge 540 as a thick woody fragrance that gives a warm, relaxing amber flow to your skin. The Baccarat Rouge 540 is considered pretty expensive, it is a luxury fragrance.

Top Notes: Jasmine and Saffron 

Middle Notes: Ambergris and Amberwood

Base Notes: Fir Resin and Cedar 

  • Scent Accords: Woody Amber
  • Longevity: 15-16 hours
  • Sillage: Strong 
  • Projection: Moderate 

Bleu De Chanel Parfum

The pure perfume version of Bleu De Chanel introduces strong irresistible citrus notes that will make you feel relaxed, these notes gradually dissipate to give way for a more spicy and woody fragrance.

Top Notes: Bergamot, Lemon Peel, Mint, and Artemisia

Middle Notes: Pineapple, Geranium, Green Notes, and Lavender 

Base Notes: Amberwood, Cedar, Tonka Bean, Sandalwood, and Iso E. Super 

  • Scent Accords: Citrus, Woody
  • Longevity; 15-22 hours 
  • Sillage: Moderate 
  • Projection: high 


Perfume is the generic name for fragrances packaged in a bottle or metal container. But it's also a type of fragrance like colognes.

The most common type of fragrance is the Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette. The significant difference between these types of fragrances is the level of concentration and the amount of alcohol present.

Most people believe colognes are strictly for men, while perfumes are for women. But that's not true, although most brands market their colognes towards men because most guys prefer wearing colognes.

Ideally, your choice of fragrance should be based on your taste, occasions, and how long you want it to linger on your skin.


What Is a cologne?

Cologne is a fragrance with a lesser concentration of essential oils, and more carrier—alcohol, and water. Technically, colognes like Eau de Toilette contain about 5-15% concentration, while pure colognes contain 2-4% concentration. 

Cologne was named after Cologne, Germany. Which was the first place produced.

Are Colognes made for only males?

No, Colognes are mostly marketed to males by popular brands because most guys prefer the subtle fresh and citrus foundation notes of colognes. But, anybody can wear a cologne, depending on your taste of fragrance and longevity.

How long does a Cologne last?

A cologne can last for about 2-6hours depending on the amount of pure oil concentration added to it.

Can I apply perfume directly under my armpit?

It Is not advisable to apply perfumes under your armpit because of skin irritations, especially if you have sensitive skin. 

Although people are fond of applying perfumes under the arm to prevent offensive odor emitting from there, it Is better if you use deodorants. Most deodorants are safer on the skin. 

Why are perfumes so expensive?

Pure perfumes or Parfum or Parfum de Extrait and Eau de Parfums are costlier than colognes because of the amount of concentration present, and their longevity.

The essential oils used to make perfumes are costly, these essential oils are added in large quantities to blend with alcohol and other extracts to form a perfume. This is why most brands raise the price of their perfumes and lower the price of colognes.

Which Perfume Lasts the Longest?

Pure perfumes also called Perfume Extrait or Parfum, last the longest. They have the highest amount of concentrated oils in them, 15-40%. They are also the most expensive kind of perfume.

These types of fragrances are hard to find on the market, they're best going into exile from the shelves. 

Why are Perfumes so strong and thick?

Perfumes are preferably sprayed sparsely because of the strong, thick aroma it emits. This is the reason why most bottles come in small portable sizes. But they last the longest, a drop of perfume can linger on your skin for more than 18 hours.

What are the fragrance notes of a Perfume?

Perfumes have a life cycle called notes, the aroma substitutes each other after a while until the entire fragrance wears off completely.

There are three main notes of any fragrance—perfume, and cologne inclusive. These notes are the scents you'll perceive from a fragrance until it dies down. The notes are:

Top Notes: The top notes are the welcoming aroma of perfume. These notes are what you perceive as soon as you apply perfume on your skin, cloth, or tester. 

Most people make blind-buys from perceiving the top notes of a perfume. The top notes can last for up to 15-45 minutes 

Middle Notes: the middle notes or heart notes form the center of the fragrance lifecycle. These notes substitute the top welcoming notes on your skin, they can last for about 45-2 hours on your skin

Base Notes: base notes are the longest-serving aroma of perfume. It substitutes the middle notes and lingers longer on the body. Base notes last from 2hours up until the entire fragrance wears off. 

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