When you first consider buying a men’s cologne or perfume (often spelled in the original French “parfum”), you might feel overwhelmed with all the different options and distinctions. It can be even more confusing since every product uses non-English terms to distinguish between unique products. This might make it tempting to opt for a standard body spray that you buy off the shelf. But you can actually find much higher-quality products, longer-lasting scents, and natural ingredients — if you take the time to do your research.
So, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you have many questions about cologne, perfume, and other fragrance products for men. For instance, what is the difference between parfum and Eau de parfum? What about Eau de toilette? And how does cologne differ from these products? Finally, where can you find high-quality fragrances designed for men?
In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more. So let’s get started!
A Brief History of Men’s Fragrances
Perfumes and fragrances for both men and women date all the way back to ancient Egypt. With the passing years, perfume became associated with luxury and opulence, particularly in ancient Rome and Greece. While fragrances saw a general decline in use during the Middle Ages, they saw a major resurgence during the Renaissance.
In the 14th century, the first modern fragrance (later classified as a parfum, Eau de parfum, or Eau de toilette) came into existence in Hungary. At the time, there were virtually no distinctions between fragrances for men and women, and that would remain the norm for centuries. The 17th and 18th centuries saw the rise of cologne, as well as fragrances specifically designed for men, particularly those used in barber shops.
Finally, fragrance manufacturers of the 19th and 20th centuries began advertising specific formulas and products directly to men, and offering clearer distinctions between parfum, Eau de parfum, Eau de toilette, and cologne. Today, we often associate specific scents — like sandalwood, musk, cedarwood, black pepper, and pine — with men’s fragrances.
Parfum: 20% - 30% fragrance (70% - 80% water/alcohol/additives)
As previously mentioned, parfum is just the French word for perfume. Contrary to what many Americans might think, parfum is not just for women. All over the world, both men and women use parfum, though usually with distinct ingredients and aromas. Parfum is often considered the strongest of the standard fragrance types, as it typically contains between 20% and 30% fragrance and aromatic ingredients.
To better understand men’s parfum, it’s important to know what else goes into it. A variety of plants, fruits, woods, essential oils, and similar ingredients help create the “body” of a given fragrance. However, if you were to try a parfum with 100% fragrance, it would simply be too powerful. For this reason, 70% to 80% of parfum is made of water, alcohol, and bonding agents. These help keep parfum from being overpowering while also helping lift and disperse the fragrance.
Eau de Parfum
Eau de Parfum: 15% - 20% fragrance (80% - 85% water/alcohol/additives)
Eau de parfum (literally “water of perfume”) is essentially a less intense version of parfum. It contains slightly lower levels of fragrance (15% to 20%) and slightly higher levels of water and alcohol (80% to 85%). This often means that the scents are more subtle and unlikely to become overpowering or unpleasant to you or those around you.
Traditional parfum can last for anywhere between 6 and 8 hours, with some lasting as long as 24 hours. Comparatively, Eau de parfum usually does not last as long. This may sound like a drawback, but the reality is that most men don’t want to have a scent that can last for up to 24 hours. Instead, you may want a good scent to last for a few hours at a time and, if needed, you can reapply it when the aroma begins to dissipate. This way, you don’t risk having an overly strong scent that feels like it will never go away.
As you begin using fragrances, you’ll quickly find that more is not better. Many men forego standard parfum because it is simply too powerful to the point of being irritating to the sinuses. Alternatively, Eau de parfum still offers a strong scent that is more understated, creating a nice balance between efficacy and refinement.
Eau de Toilette
Eau de Toilette: 5% - 15% fragrance (85% - 95% water/alcohol/additives)
Though the name may sound a bit offputting to English speakers, Eau de Toilette (“water of the bath”) is among the most popular types of fragrances for men. It is an even lighter variation of Eau de parfum, containing between 5% to 15% fragrance, and 85% to 95% water and alcohol. This gives Eau de toilette a lightness that is highly desirable, particularly for men who want to smell great, but don’t want to feel like a walking cloud of strong smells.
Most men find that an Eau de parfum and Eau de toilette provide the right level of intensity for their needs and tastes, but it all comes down to personal preference. Since Eau de toilette is even lighter, its aroma often lasts for anywhere between 3 and 5 hours. Once again, subtlety is king when it comes to fragrances, so Eau de toilette is a great choice for men who just want to add a splash of pleasant scent for a more controlled amount of time.
Cologne: 2% - 4% fragrance (95% - 98% water/alcohol/additives)
For years, Americans used the term “cologne” to exclusively refer to fragrances for men. It was often thought that perfume was for women and cologne was for men. However, the truth is that cologne (sometimes known as “Eau de cologne”) is a more general term for one of the weakest of all fragrance types on the market. Most colognes contain somewhere between 2% and 4% fragrance, and 95% to 98% water and alcohol. As a result, cologne tends to be very mild and lasts for as little as 1 to 2 hours per application.
Though cologne can be applied at any time of day or night, it is similar in strength to aftershave. However, aftershave differs insofar as it is specifically designed to add a pleasant aroma right after shaving the face, while also reducing skin irritation and razor burn. Moreover, cologne always comes in the traditional liquid form, while aftershave could be a spray, gel, or cream. In any case, cologne is good for a quick spritz of pleasant scents, but its lack of intensity and staying power might make it more or less appealing to some.
Selecting The Best Fragrance For Men
If you want to find the best fragrance for men, you’ll need to consider your personal likes and dislikes when it comes to scents, as well as the right intensity for you. That said, Anthony offers three of the absolute best options on the market: Anthony 1 Eau de Parfum, Anthony Black Eau de Toilette, and Anthony Silver Eau de Toilette.
Anthony 1 combines the fresh scent of Calabrian lemon with spicy notes of peppercorn and cardamon. If you’re looking for something a little lighter, Anthony Black features a more subtle fragrance that has top notes like apple and ginger, middle notes of sage and juniper berries, as well as base notes of amber wood and cedar. Finally, Anthony Silver gives you another light Eau de toilette that delivers notes of bergamot, mandarin orange, sandalwood, and vanilla.
In short, you have multiple luxurious and masculine fragrances to choose from with Anthony, giving you everything you need to smell and feel amazing!
Want to learn even more about men’s parfum, Eau de parfum, Eau de toilette, and cologne? If so, be sure to check out the great products and solutions available at Anthony today!