Fragrances, Perfumes & Colognes


What's The Difference Between Perfume and Cologne?

Perfumes, colognes and other body scents trigger our strongest, fastest sense -- the sense of smell.

Perfume is the strongest and therefore the longest lasting fragrance available. Just a bit will net you hours of scent -- days actually. Cologne is just a bit weaker and is sometimes mischaracterized as a men's product.


To talk perfume it is almost a necessity to go to the source of the perfume industry, France. The French didn't discover perfumes (the Egyptians did) but the French turned perfume into an industry and they turned perfume making into a science.

The most important discovery made by the French perfumers was a way to overcome the fact that every scent will, over time, fade and the corresponding fact that some scents fade faster than others. The French answer to this was layered fragrances -- three layers, to be exact. In the perfume industry these layers are called notes: there is a top note that consists of the most volatile scent that will last for only a few hours (perhaps, to get you through your morning break), a middle note made of a less volatile scent that will last you until you're ready to punch out at the end of the work day and the base note that will follow you into your shower or tub just before bed.

A slight down side to this French solution to the all day fragrance problem is that each 'note' is a different scent, so your scent will be a bit different (but still fabulous) at each stage.

Not just a matter of taste! There are certainly many, many perfumes available that are not French and that will provide you with many hours of beautiful scent. Its a matter of taste, of course; which scent appeals to YOU and which one is preferred by those close to you. Its also, however, a matter of expense! The best French perfume will be prohibitively expensive and out of the question for those without a lot of money to spend on beauty products while many perfumes (as well as other scented products) will be well within their reach.


Cologne is a single-scented fragrance (as opposed to layered perfumes) that is somewhat less potent than perfume. Most colognes for women come in spray applicators but some brands of cologne are also available in a splash.

Cologne is milder than perfume, true, but can be easily over-applied (especially as a spray) to produce a too-bold scent. Most women prefer to suggest their presence in a room with a whisper of scent, using too much of any fragrance can turn that whisper into a deafening scream. The obvious way to avoid this is to use less than you think you need and carry a purse size with you to 'touch-up' during the day. Another way to apply an appropriately subtle fragrance is, before you dress, spray your cologne to create a mist in front of you, close your eyes, and then walk through the mist; one trip will be all you need.

Other fragrance products! Your world of fragrance choices does not end with perfume and cologne; consider the alternatives.

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. You want your scent to suggest not to scream.

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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