woman applying perfume Credit : NARONG KHUEANKAEW / Vecteezy

You might see cologne and perfume and wonder what the differences are. One misconception is that they are defined by gendered terms, but perfume and cologne are actually two different types of fragrances and have nothing to do with gender.

If you're curious about the differences between perfume and cologne, we're happy to help you define and understand them. Here are the big differences. 


The main difference between the two is the fragrance concentration. According to Perfume.com, the concentration in a bottle of cologne is 2% to 4% perfume oil. Since it has a light concentration, it contains more alcohol and is not as long-lasting as perfume.

If you want a refresher before a dinner or date, cologne is a great option. But this is not the best choice if you want something that will last you all day long. 

Clémence Paris says that colognes tend to use a lot of traditional recipes, which can include herbs, citrus notes, and more. They include a lot of wood, leather, citrus, and ocean notes, which might explain why they appear to cater to men more. However, colognes are unisex. 


Perfume, on the other hand, has a much higher concentration of perfume oils. The New York Times reports that pure perfume, also known as parfum and extrait de parfum, contains 15% to 30% fragrance oil. Not to confuse the two, but it is worth noting that eau de parfum has 15% to 20% fragrance oil.

So, perfume is much stronger in scent and a lot longer-lasting than cologne, making it ideal for days when you'll be out all day. 

Eau de parfum is the most common type of fragrance. Its lower alcohol content makes it great for those who worry about perfume drying them out.