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Fragrances, also known as perfumes, are generally a combination of fragrance oils and an odorless solvent. The fragrance oils, aromatic compounds typically natural essential oils and/or perfume oils, give the fragrance its scent. Fragrance oils can be either from a plants or animals (usually refered to as "essential oils" or EO) or synthetic man-made oils ("fragrance oils" or FO). The odorless solvent, typically ethanol or a mix of water and ethanol, carries the fragrance oils. The ratio of fragrance oil to solvent determines what the fragrance compound is called.

  • Perfume or Perfume Extrait: 15% to 40% fragrance oils, typically 20%
  • Eau de Parfum (EdP): 15% to 30%, typically 15%
  • Eau de Toilette (EdT): 5 to 15%, typically 10%
  • Eau de Cologne, or simply Cologne: 3% to 5%
  • Eau de Solide: about 1%

These names are not regulated, and are not always indicative of stronger or weaker scents. For example, an Eau de Toilette may not always be stronger in scent than an Eau de Cologne. The exact quantity and blend fragrance oils will determine how long the fragrance lasts (longevity), and how far it projects away from you for others to smell it (sillage).

A fragrance that comes in multiple versions, like EdP and EdP, or in a regular version and an "intense" version, may be just a difference in the strength, or it may be a completely different fragrance with different fragrance oils. While the stronger fragrances are typically made to market to ladies, there are some that a made to market to men or to both (unisex). There is nothing inherently masculine or feminine about a fragrance other than cultural and personal associations.

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