What Lasts Longer: Eau de Toilette or Parfum?

  • By: Nathan Cherry
  • Time to read: 4 min.

If you’re at all familiar with fragrances, you’ve probably heard the words “eau de toilette” and “eau de parfum” or “parfum”.  

Almost every designer brand is putting out a “parfum” edition of their fragrances nowadays, from Dior to YSL to Paco Rabanne and everything in between. 

But what exactly do the words “eau de toilette”, “eau de parfum”, and “parfum” mean? And which one lasts the longest? 

“Eau de toilette”, “eau de parfum”, and “parfum” are all terms that refer to a perfume’s “concentration”. A “concentration” is the amount of perfume oil to alcohol or oil in a given fragrance. “Parfum” and “eau de parfum” are higher in concentration, and therefore longer lasting.

Want to know more? Let’s take a closer look at “eau de toilette”, “eau de parfum”, and “parfum”.

It All Comes Down To Concentration

“Eau de toilette”, “eau de parfum”, and “parfum” are all designations for different perfume “concentrations”. But what is a perfume concentration? I’ll give you a hint: it doesn’t have anything to do with focusing on something really hard. 

I’ve written about perfume concentrations a bit more extensively here, so if you’d like to get the full scoop, you can take a look at that article. However, I’ll give a quick recap here. 

A perfume’s “concentration” refers to the percentage of perfume oil to alcohol or oil in a given formulation. Some concentrations can be as low as 1% of perfume oil to alcohol, while others can be concentrated up to 40%. Lower concentrations are more diffusive, meaning that they have greater projection and sillage, but have lesser longevity. Higher concentrations, on the other hand, are longer lasting, but have lesser projection and sillage. 

What Concentrations Are “Eau de Toilette”, “Eau de Parfum”, and “Parfum”? 

So, what concentrations are “eau de toilette”, “eau de parfum”, and “parfum”? 

These are the three most common concentrations commercially available, although there are a few other, less common concentrations you can find from time to time as well. 

Most designer perfumes begin as an “eau de toilette” (also abbreviated as EdT). This is one of the lighter fragrance concentrations, with a concentration of 5-15% perfume oil to alcohol. 

“Eau de parfum” (also abbreviated to EdP) is one step up from “eau de toilette”, with a concentration of 15-20% perfume oil to alcohol. 

Finally, “parfum”, also known as “extrait de parfum”, is the highest commercial concentration, with a concentration of 20-40% perfume oil to alcohol, though most designer “parfums” are certainly not as highly concentrated as 40%. 

Eau de toilette5-15%
Eau de parfum15-20%
Parfum/extrait de parfum20-40%

Which One Is the Longest Lasting?

Okay, so now that we’ve established what perfume concentration is and what concentration “eau de toilette”, “eau de parfum”, and “parfum” are, let’s move on to the big question: which concentration is the longest lasting? 

Eau de Toilette (EdT)

First, let’s take a look at eau de toilette (EdT). The concentration of an eau de toilette is usually somewhere between 5-15% perfume oil to alcohol, and since we established that lower concentration equals lesser longevity, that means that eaux de toilette are the least long lasting of the bunch, usually remaining on skin for around three to six hours (more, if you’re lucky). Of course, the trade off is that eaux de toilettes usually have superior projection and sillage, meaning that the people around you will be more liable to pick up on your scent if you’re wearing an eau de toilette. 

Eau de Parfum (EdP)

Next up is eau de parfum (EdP). The concentration of an eau de parfum is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of 15-20% perfume oil to alcohol. That is certainly a step up from eau de toilette, which means that you’ll be getting a much longer lasting experience. Most of the time, your average eau de parfum will last between six to eight hours, sometimes more. Of course, the downside is that you lose a little bit of the diffusive projection and sillage of eaux de toilettes by increasing the concentration. 

Extrait de Parfum

Finally, let’s take a look at parfum/extrait de parfum. This is the highest commercially available concentration, usually ranging between 20-40% perfume oil to alcohol. Taking that into account, a parfum will give you the longest lasting experience of the three, usually remaining on skin from eight to upwards of fourteen hours, and maybe even longer.

Of course, with great longevity comes low projection and sillage; most of the time, parfums are not going to be as detectable to the people around you as an eau de toilette or eau de parfum.

So, in short: between eau de toilette, eau de parfum, and parfum, the longest lasting is without a doubt parfum.

ConcentrationLasting Power
Eau de toilette3-6 hours
Eau de parfum6-8 hours
Parfum/Extrait de parfum8-12+ hours

The Final Word

Now that you know about the different perfume concentrations and what they mean, you should be able to make a more informed purchase the next time you stop by your local perfume counter.

Whether you’re looking for a lighter, but more diffusive fragrance, or a longer lasting, but more personal experience, now you’ll know exactly what choice to make. 

So, which lasts longer: eau de toilette, eau de parfum, or parfum? 

Parfums are usually longer lasting than eaux de toilette or eaux de parfum. That’s because parfums are at a higher concentration, meaning that they contain more perfume oil to alcohol than eaux de toilette and eaux de parfum. The higher the concentration, the longer lasting the perfume.