Perfume, Cologne – What’s the difference?

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The “perfume counters” are stocked with a wide selection of perfumes intended to accentuate human scent. Many of these counters are found in pharmacies, fine department stores, or online outlets. The expression “perfume counter” is a vague term to define these products, as many of these so-called perfumes are really just cheap imitations of the real thing. Many of these variations are not as sheer as the discount brand version of the designer fragrance, with a label that resembles the actual brand.

What is, after all, a perfume? Essential oils that are extracted from various plants form the basis of a perfume. Do you remember the famous gold, frankincense and myrrh that the wise men brought to the baby Jesus? Frankincense was a fragrant resin from a tree that grew in East Africa and was burned by ancient people for its aroma like we burn candles for aromatherapy. Myrrh was also a gum resin that was obtained from the bark of a different tree from East Africa. One of the uses of myrrh in ancient times was to make perfume and one of the earliest forms of toothpaste.

Since a true perfume consists of a secret recipe of essential oils and various ingredients that allow the liquid to be poured into a spray bottle or other type of container, a pure parfum or perfume will have the highest concentration of oils. Due to this greater amount of scented essential oils, the scent of the perfume will be longer lasting and stronger. A little perfume is all it takes to keep your scent enticing for hours. The high price of true perfume is a result of the high concentration of oils.

To offset the high cost, many perfume manufacturers dilute their exclusive versions of perfumes and sell them at a much lower price to a larger market of customers. However, the cheaper diluted brands are not as durable as the real thing.

There are several standard categories of perfume derivatives that are generally sold. The closest product to a perfume is called Eau de Parfum. “Eau” is the French word for water, so this product is simply true perfume mixed with additional water. Now, a perfume company executive would cringe at this crude explanation, but basically this is the translation of the name from the French. The next product on the list is an Eau de Toilette followed by an Eau de Cologne, known simply as a “cologne”. If the perfume brand is sold in all of these categories, the perfume is the most expensive and the cologne should be the least expensive.

Since everyone’s body chemistry is different, fragrances smell different on different people. The scents do not have the same scent as people’s skin types are different. For example, dry skin does not retain scents for as long. However, natural body oil will hold a fragrance longer as the perfume can mix with it more easily. Before you buy a perfume, it’s always best to try it out to determine how it mixes with your body chemistry to get the desired fragrance.

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