What’s the Difference Between Perfume and Cologne?

difference between perfume and cologne
Some people already know the difference between perfumes and colognes but there are still some who are clueless about their differences. For those who want to learn more about the differences between perfumes and colognes, this is for you.

Perfumes have the strongest scents and therefore the longest lasting fragrance available. On the other hand, colognes are weaker and usually won’t last long since it evaporates quickly. These mischaracterize cologne as a men’s product. So it’s rather wrong to say that perfumes are for women and colognes are for men. There are perfumes that are available for men and likewise colognes that are available for women.


Did you know that France has the biggest industry of perfume? But although they are the biggest the French didn’t discovered perfume, it was the Egyptians. France turned perfume into an industry and they turned perfume making into Science.

The French perfumers discovered a way to overcome how scents fades over a period of time and the fact that some scents fades faster than the others. The French answers to this by introducing layered fragrances. There are three layers to be exact and these layers are called notes.

Top notes: The scents that are perceived immediately on application of a perfume. Top notes consist of small, light molecules that evaporate quickly. They form a person's initial impression of a perfume and thus are very important in the selling of a perfume. Also called the head notes.

Middle notes: The scent of a perfume that emerges just prior to when the top notes dissipate. The middle note compounds form the "heart" or main body of a perfume and act to mask the often unpleasant initial impression of base notes, which become more pleasant with time. They are also called the "heart notes".

Base notes: The scent of a perfume that appears close to the departure of the middle notes. The base and middle notes together are the main theme of a perfume. Base notes bring depth and solidity to a perfume. Compounds of this class of scents are typically rich and "deep" and are usually not perceived until 30 minutes after application.

Perfume is likely to be more expensive than cologne since perfumes has more concentrated perfume oil than colognes. Typically a pure perfume will not be sold in a spray bottle but in a very small bottle for the buyer to "dab" onto the skin.


Colognes are single –scented fragrances as opposed to layered perfumes. This makes colognes less potent than perfumes. Most cologne comes in spray bottles and some brands of colognes are available in splash. Colognes are milder than perfume but it can be over applied when using spray colognes. One way to apply an appropriate amount of cologne without over spaying it is to spray it in front of you to create a mist then close your eyes and walk through the mist.

There are more to Fragrances than just perfumes and colognes. These are other alternatives you might want to consider.

Eau de perfume

Eau de perfume is the most popular fragrance type because it is less expensive than perfume and lasts a good long time. Eau de perfume is best applied to the warmest body areas, the pulse points on the wrists and the side of the neck, between the breasts, in the crook of the elbows, behind your knees, on your inner thighs, and around the ankles. Never put any scent behind your ears and never overdo it.

Eau de toilette

Eau de toilette contains a small percentage of fragrance oils and will only last three to four hours (depending on your skin type. Many women use eau de toilette and expect it to last throughout the day but are disappointed by mid-morning. This is really a minor problem that's easy to get around, simply carry a purse size with you and refresh your scent when you get the chance. Eau de toilette provides a wonderfully subtle scent and that's certainly a positive point -- it bears repeating that you should want your scent to suggest not to scream.

Scented body creams and lotions

Scented body creams and lotions have approximately the same fragrance content as eau de toilette but because of their thick cream or lotion base they last somewhat longer; the scent should still be detectable at the very end of your day.

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Janet Campbell said...

I started making my own perfume about 4 yrs ago because of headaches from over the counter scents. I LOVE those bottles! I'll be back to take a peek at your blog again.

Smadar's Treasure said...

I wasn't quite sure I knew the differences. Thanks for the article!


speak in doodles said...

I always thought perfumes were for females and colognes were for males...now I know the real truth!

Gem said...

I prefer others to wear perfume and colognes because I could not wear it myself. I envy others because they could wear that fragrance all over their body. When I get to wear those, I get a nasty headache in the middle of the day - even if I get to wear an expensive perfume!

Bobby said...

To Janet: Sometimes a good looking bottle could add more value to perfumes and colognes. Thanks for commenting :)

To Smadar: Nice of you to drop by and thank you for your comment.

To speak in doodles: I'm glad this post in any way helped you have a better understanding between perfumes and colognes.

To Gem: Oh I'm sorry to hear that..Some perfumes/colognes gives us headaches because they contain too much fragrance oils. As we know that fragrance oils are synthetic compared to essential oils. Natural Perfumes that contains essential oils are much better and thus or often times gives pleasurable/relaxing scents.

Gem said...

Thanks for the explanation. I didn't know the difference. I guess even expensive perfumes use too much fragrance oils.

Bobby said...

You're very much welcome Gem, any time :)

Expensive perfumes or colognes have more concentrated fragrance oils and essential oils that is why their scents last longer. I remember using "Drakkar" and even thought my clothes were already washed, I could still smell the scent of that cologne.

Daffernia said...

I just love perfumes, they are the best gift to me.

Laura said...

Outstanding post! I will email this to my girlfriends, its delightful and educational. I can't wait to start my own potions! lol

Jeff Gold said...

Being a person that just likes to read about everything and anything I must say I'm learning a lot from your blog. Thanks for all this information.

miker said...

that was some info there .i've always wanted to know the difference between these things.
now i know .thanks for the knowledge mate!

Dré said...

Thanks! This just answered a random question that popped into my head=)

Achirox said...

Just the answers i needed.thanks guys.

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