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Fragrance Comes In Different Forms

BY: Judith Rasband • Jul 07, 2019

“Let your light so shine before men,” advised a wise father.  “But,” he added with a sly twinkle in his eye, “if they don’t follow the lead, try fragrance.”

Fun advices from a father, but which fragrance should you buy? With so many types, bottles and brands to choose from, many people are insecure about selecting fragrance for themselves or for a gift.

You will save yourself from possible embarrassment and costly mistakes if you understand something about the different strengths or forms of fragrance.  Differences are due to varying proportions of alcohol to fragrant oils – also known as essential oils or essence.  Liquid forms of fragrance traditionally include perfume, toilet water and cologne.

Perfume is the most highly concentrated form of fragrance.  It contains 15 to 20 percent essence and 80 to 85 percent alcohol.  Not surprising, perfume is the most expensive form of fragrance.  It has the most intense, most long-lasting aroma and can be expected to last from two to six hours, depending on your body chemistry and the climate.

Toilet water contains exactly the same essence as used in perfume, but in diluted form.  Made with 5 to 12 percent essence, distilled water and alcohol, it is less intense, less long lasting and less expensive.  The scent in toilet water should last from two to four hours.

Cologne is the least concentrated form of fragrance, with 1 to 8 percent essence combined with distilled water and alcohol.  It is the least intense and least long lasting, but also the least expensive.  Dab, splash or spray it on lavishly and cologne should last from one hour to four hours, depending on the concentration of essence.

The government does not standardize the amount of essence contained in any fragrance.  Nor does it regulate the use of descriptive words such as perfume, toilet water, 100 percent strength, eau de cologne, ultra cologne, and so on.  Although we may expect toilet water to be somewhat stronger than cologne, the two may be identical in concentration of essence, yet different in price.  Terms can be misleading.

It is helpful to know that a small application of concentrated perfume may last no longer than a generous application of the more dilute cologne. The diffusion rate corresponds to the area covered by the fragrance, the larger the area covered by a fragrance, the longer it will usually last.

If your purpose is to impart a subtle scent, you can do it at a more affordable price with cologne.  Buy a bottle of cologne and fill a pretty pump-type dispenser.  The spray will cover a larger area of skin than the application of ordinary liquid and result in a longer-lasting diffusion of scent.

In addition to perfume, toilet water and cologne, fragrance is available in other, often less expensive forms.  A popular scent can often be found in a while line of products.  Use them alone or in a combination with one of the three liquid fragrances.

If you want along-lasting scent, choose a solid, wax base fragrance Available in perfume sticks and compact forms, they are handy for pocket or purse.  If you have dry sensitive skin, choose a cream sachet, fragrance formulated without alcohol.

If you want an inexpensive form of fragrance for use head to toe, choose a scented soap, gel, and body shampoo or bath crystals.  Choose a scented bath oil to increase the staying power of your favorite liquid fragrance.

Choose a scented baby powder to absorb after bath moisture and, if you like, choose a scented hand or body lotion to layer with other forms of fragrance.

Whatever the fragrance, your choice of form should be determined by the price of your purpose.  It’s wise to use sample sizes, cologne and other less expensive forms until you settle on just the right scent for you.

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