Cologne or Eau De Toilette? What’s the difference?

difference cologne and eau de toiletteCologne and Eau De Toilette are often confused with one another. While they are both fragrances that are highly sought after, there is a very big distinction between the two. Cologne, in its original form, was traditionally called Eau De Cologne. This is credited for the misconception between the two fragrances, but there are significant differences that are understood from fragrance experts the world over.


What makes one fragrance a cologne and another a perfume? While many are under the assumption that one indicates a scent for a man and one for a woman, this is not the scientific classification of the two. The difference in names comes from the actual concentration that is responsible for the scent the two have.

Cologne: Citrus-based, cologne is comprised of 2 – 5 percent of scented oils. A mixture of 70 – 90 percent ethanol is used as the base of the cologne, while the other portions include alcohol and water. This is what Johann Maria Farina first mixed in 1709 when he created what is commonly known as, “cologne.”

Eau De Toilette: Translated to “toilet water,” this fragrance is much lighter than its cologne counterpart and is comprised of 5 – 15 percent oils. Typically, these oils are in the scent of flowers and lends to the name “flower water” that is often seen.

Usage Differences

The two also share different usages that the wearer must know. These include:cologne concentration

  • Cologne: This fragrance is often meant to be strong and adds to the scent of a person greatly. Cologne is traditionally a fragrance that is worn by men only.
  • Eau De Toilette: This fragrance is light and is often used as a skin freshener. This is a weaker perfume and is often seen in the form of scented oils used after bathing or used after shaving. While traditionally a woman’s fragrance, many are now being geared towards men as well.

While cologne is meant to be long-lasting, Eau De Toilette is meant to last a shorter duration on the skin and will not have the same prominent smell as its counterpart.

Cologne and Eau De Toilette are similar in the fact that they are both highly sought fragrances, but different as far as the concentration and scent duration are concerned. These two fragrances can be found in virtually every beauty supply store in the world. Eau De Toilette is typically more expensive than its counterpart due to the fact that it has a much higher concentration of oils, which add to the overall cost.

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