It may surprise you to learn, but a perfume’s potency is often written directly on the box. Raw fragrance is diluted down to various strengths in order to create a variety of concentrations. Here’s a list of common formulations you’re likely to find in your local department store(s):

Parfum / Parfam: One of the highest concentrations you’re likely to find; although commonly found at 18-30% strength, some parfums have levels even higher than that – one application can last anywhere between five and ten hours, so be careful not to use too much!

Eau de parfum / parfam: A fairly high concentration containing between 10% and 18% oil compounds. Good strength means it’ll last, by conservative estimates, three to six hours between applications.

Eau de toilette: A moderate formulation of approximately 5-10% strength. Good for everyday use, E.D.T. will expel great aromas for five or more hours at a time.

Eau de cologne: A lighter formulation containing between 2-5% perfume oil. Again, good for everyday usage, cologne should happily last a couple of hours between applications.

The second, and final, part of “A Beginner’s guide to fragrances” should appear sometime Thursday. Don’t miss it!

Preview Image: Afonso Lima

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.