Shopping for new perfume can be overwhelming with all of the scents available. Not only are there countless scents available, there are also different fragrance concentrations. Underneath the name of the perfume on a bottle will normally be the fragrance concentration. A fragrance concentration refers to the strength that a fragrance has. Perfumes with a higher fragrance concentration contain more perfume oils and less alcohol. Fragrance concentrations are broken into categories including parfum, eau de parum, eau de toilette, eau de cologne, and eau fraiche.

Body Chemistry

Skin Types

There are three major skin types, and each type reacts differently to fragrances. Dry skin is characterized by nearly invisible pores, low elasticity, and rough complexion. Fragrances easily evaporate on dry skin as there is not much oil for the fragrance molecules to adhere to. For fragrances to work well on dry skin, it is ideal to moisturize with an unscented – or similarly scented – lotion before spraying on fragrance to maximize its longevity.

Normal skin is characterized by an almost flawless complexion with few or no imperfections, and barely visible pores. As normal skin has more oil content than dry skin, fragrances have a better lasting power. The best skin type for fragrances to cling to is oily skin. Oily skin on the face may not be desirable, but on the rest of the body, it means better adhesion to fragrance molecules.

The effect of skin type on fragrances is especially remarkable with cologne and eau de toilette with flowery, citrusy or fruity aromas as these have light scents and high volatility. On the other hand, oily skin perfectly complements musky perfume as the oil molecules bond together to shape depth and character to the scent.


One of the more obvious factors that springs to mind when body chemistry is mentioned is Sweat. How much a person sweats depends on several factors such as diet, race, and physical activity. Asians are known to sweat less than Europeans, Africans, and Americans. People living in cool climates also sweat less than those who live in warm climates. When sweat mixes with fragrances, there results a reaction, which may vary among ingredients and brands of perfume and personal body chemistry. Summery scents such as orange and grass are found to mix well with sweat. These scents are actually amplified when mixed with perspiration, taking on a certain depth when the sweating subsides and only the scent lingers.

Examples of fragrances that do well with perspiration are Hermes Eau D’ Orange Verte, L’ Artisan Parfumeur Timbuktu, and Chanel Allure. On the other hand, there are also ingredients that smell foul when they get mixed with sweat such as blackcurrant leaf. In general, musk and wood also do not complement sweat, so these are better reserved for cooler weather or in much relaxed activities.


The role of pheromones in one’s body chemistry has arguable impact on how fragrance smells on one person. Pheromones are predominantly secreted in the neck and other erogenous areas, which is why they are commonly called “sex scent”.

Each person has a distinct, unique smell that is attributed to pheromones. However, science research in this particular field still has much room for improvement, and many facts are debatable. Fragrances can either be compatible or incompatible with one’s pheromones – this explains why the same bottle of perfume can smell good on one person but not on the other. There are even some products which attempt to take advantage of this idea, but there’s still a huge debate as to whether it really works.

Diet and Lifestyle

Unbeknownst to many, diet can have a tremendous effect on a person’s overall scent, which also interacts with fragrance. A person with a balanced diet – composed of meat, veggies, fruits, nuts, and dairy in recommended portions – smells differently from a person with a rigid diet of just one or two of the main food groups. Vegans and vegetarians smell different from people whose diet consists mainly of meat or fish. People who frequently eat spicy food also have a distinct, strong smell that can impart a spicy undertone to fragrances. Similarly, taking medication for prolonged periods can also alter the chemical makeup of the body, significantly affecting bodily scent.

Perfume Types

Perfum, also known as extrait de parfum or pure perfume, has the highest fragrance concentration. Perfum will contain anywhere from 15% to 40% fragrance however concentration is generally between 20% to 30% for most perfums. Of all scents, perfums last the longest; usually six to eight hours. Perfum generally also commands the highest price of all the fragrance types due to the high concentration of fragrance. People with sensitive skin may do better with perfums as they have far less alcohol than other fragrance types and therefore are not as likely to dry out the skin.

Along with the types of perfume listed bellow, there are mists, aftershaves, and other types of fragrances available. Higher end fragrances can cost a significant amount of money so doing research beforehand will ensure that you get the type of fragrance you are looking for. Along with fragrance types there are also fragrance notes which determine the final scent. With all of the types and scents available, shopping for perfume is not always easy but it is possible.
Eau de Parfum
After perfum, eau de parfum (EDP) has the next highest concentration of fragrance. Eau de parfum generally has a fragrance concentration of between 15% and 20%. On average, eau de parfum will last for four to five hours. It is also generally less expensive that perfum and while it does have a higher concentration of alcohol than perfum, it is better for sensitive skin than other fragrance types. Eau de parfum is one of the most common fragrance types and is suitable for everyday wear.
Eau de Toilette
Eau de toilette (EDT) has a fragrance concentration of between 5% and 15%. It is cheaper than eau de parfum and is one of the most popular types of fragrance available. EDT fragrance will normally last for two to three hours. Eau de toilette is considered by some to be for daywear while eau de parfum is considered nightwear. The term eau de toilette came from the French term "faire sa toilette" which means getting ready.
Eau de Cologne
Eau de cologne, or EDC, has a much lower concentration of fragrance than the above types of perfume. EDC generally has a 2% to 4% percent concentration of fragrance and a high concentration of alcohol. It is cheaper than other types of fragrance however the scent generally only lasts for up to two hours. EDC generally comes in bigger bottles and more of the fragrance needs to be used. Originally eau de cologne referred to a traditional recipe that used herb and citrus notes with little anchoring with base notes.
Eau Fraiche

Eau fraiche is similar to eau de cologne in that the scent will generally last for up to two hours. Eau fraiche has an even lower concentration of fragrance than eau de cologne, normally only 1% to 3%. While eau fraiche has a low fragrance concentration, it does not contain a high amount of alcohol. Along with the fragrance, the remainder of eau fraiche is mostly water.


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