Guide to Buying Women's Designer Perfumes ~ Parfum vs. Eau De Parfum, vs. Eau de Toilette & Eau de Cologne.
There is such a wide range of designer perfumes on Ebay that at first it can be daunting and easy to confuse the three golden standards of fragrance. This is a short guide to making sure you get what you want and know what you want! Parfum, Eau de Parfum (EDP), Eau De Toilette (EDT) & Eau de Cologne (EDC), it is hard to pick.
So let's go over the cardinal rules of Parfum, Eau De Parfum, Eau De Toilette and Eau De Cologne.
You will often see "pure parfum" or "pure perfume" in a title or description. Whilst Parfum is one of the fastest growing sectors of the perfume market it is not possible to use pure parfum oils alone to bind with skin, some alcohol & water content is required. However, the higher the content of parfum oils the lower the alcohol & water content, thus we have the most expensive form of fragrance ~ Parfum. Why is it so expensive? The high oils content it is often thought to produce a cleaner, fresher version of the fragrance (indeed it is true, Parfum, EDP & EDT do smell a little different to the trained nose).. Containing anything from around 20%-40% oils, Parfum is the true star of fragrance, lasting up to 8 times longer than lower grade products. Due to this it is often sold at retail in stopper-top bottles because all you need is a couple of dabs at the pulse points and you are set for the day. Usually only high-end designer fragrance is sold in this form & the retail prices can seem immense, for example Chanel's Parfums - 7.5ml can retail for around £88.00 and 15ml can retail for around £120.00. In my experience Parfum is the most luxurious way to wear fragrance and worth every penney, it can make a great gift or a little treat to yourself.
Eau De Parfum ~
Eau De Parfum or EDP is not to be confused with Parfum. It is the effective mid-range of quality, containing around 10-20% parfum oils. It will have less staying power but if you are looking for a good quality product without the expense of Parfum, it could be the item for you. The majority of designer perfume houses produce a wide range of sizes and varying types of product in EDP form, anything from 35ml 'splash' bottles to 200ml spray top bottles. Often you will find that a particular perfume comes in both EDP and EDT form so read listings carefully, study the pictures - it will be worth the time to be sure which one you are getting. Eau De Parfum is typically more expensive than Eau De Toilette because of the higher parfum oils content of EDP. EDP makes a great day-to-day product. Perfume reacts differently with the individual's body chemistry, but generally EDP will last about half the day if it is a good quality brand.
Eau De Toilette ~
Most fragrances, designer or otherwise, will include an Eau De Toilette product in the range. This contains around 5-10% parfum oils, giving it the highest alcohol content available from most modern perfumers. Historically this used to be known as 'toilet water' and used as a 'body splash' to be applied liberally all over to achieve the same effect as EDP application, though now it generally appears at retail in the form of large spray top bottles as a large ammount needs to be dispensed. I find that Eau De Toilette can be the right product if you still want the glamour and sophistication of a designer perfume without the high price tag, however if you are looking for a perfume that will stay the day you may be better off with its more expensive counterpart Parfum. EDT will need several reapplications during the day, so be prepared to take it with you to the office!
Eau De Cologne ~
Historically, Eau De Cologne is a style of fragrance originating in Cologne in Germany, however it has become a general term for fragrance containing around 2-6% perfume oils. More popular now for men's scents, in terms of ladies perfume it has fallen behind the higher standards available in Parfum and EDP. In women's fragrance you are more likely to find it as a vintage item. Personally, I do not favour Eau De Cologne as you can find much better value for money in Eau De Toilette, even if on a budget.
My experience comes from over 12 years of collecting designer fragrances, from miniatures to gift sets, to some of the most expensive and sought after perfumes, as well as vintage items. My real-world job has also played a part, having worked in the perfume industry in the past. I have a deep love of fragrances and a large collection. Due to relocating to another part of the world soon, I am selling some of my collection and this has lead me to produce this guide. For both beginners and those familiar with the perfume world, I hope it helps clarify some things! If you have any questions please feel free to contact me :)