What Type Of Perfume Lasts The Longest – All Types Compared

With a handful of different types of perfumes on the market, it’s easy to wonder what type of perfume lasts the longest. 

Among the five types of perfume, the type called ‘parfum’ lasts the longest. In general, parfum lasts 6-8 hours, though longevity of 10+ hours isn’t unheard of either.

If you want to learn further why parfum lasts the longest and how it compares to other types of fragrances, then keep reading as we break it all down for you below. For every kind of fragrance, we’ll compare their ratio of alcohol to scented oils, discuss how long they last, and provide you with good-to-know info about each type’s projection and sillage. This way, you’ll be more informed during your next shopping trip. 

What Type Of Perfume Lasts The Longest

Parfum is the longest-lasting type of fragrance. It can last for the whole day, so it’s certainly a recommended fragrance for evening wear. Typically though, you can expect parfum to last for 6-8 hours and for it to still smell quite strong even hours after application. 

You may know parfum by its other popular names: ‘perfume extract’ or ‘pure perfume.’

Parfum is not the same as perfume, which is a common misconception and a confusion point for many when discussing fragrances (which can be quite embarrassing when you think you know your stuff!).

The difference between the two is that perfume is a general term used for all fragrances and scented oils, whereas parfum is a type of perfume. Not all perfumes are parfums, but all parfums are perfumes, see what we mean? 

However…some people do refer to parfum as perfume. We know it can be confusing, but luckily we’re here to help demystify all of your fragrance questions, right?

Note that there are five types of fragrance, but we’ll discuss them and their differences further in this article.

Why Does Parfum Last The Longest?

Going back to parfum – the longest-lasting type of fragrance – it contains the highest concentration of fragrance oil, typically between 15% – 40%. Some may refer to ‘fragrance oil concentration’ as ‘essential oils,’ but here, they mean the same thing. 

A high concentration of fragrance oil makes a parfum last longer and ultimately gives the scent a more potent and heavier smell. A concentrated parfum is also more oily (and more likely to stain your clothes). 

A heavy fragrance oil concentration means that it’ll be more expensive, too. That’s why eau de toilettes are cheaper (and more common and popular) than pricy pure perfumes, or parfum. Eau de toilettes usually contain between 5% – 15% scented oils, whereas parfums on average have about 20% concentrated fragrance oil.

Think luxurious (and expensive) Night Veils Sellier Extrait de Parfum by legendary Byredo – a moody, dark, and masculine scent with heavy tobacco and leather notes with a dry down of birch tree and earthy oakmoss. 

What Makes The Types Of Perfume Different?

Different factors influence how long a perfume typically lasts, such as the type of fragrance (eau de toilette, parfum, eau fraiche, etc.) and its composition, including the amount of concentrated fragrance oil, notes, and fixatives. 

 These factors affect the duration and sillage (also known as the projection) of any scent. 

Factors include:

Fragrance Type

As we briefly discussed above, there are five types of fragrance. Each differs in fragrance oil, water, and alcohol concentrations – all critical components of your favorite scents – or any scent for that matter!

The five fragrance types are:

  • Parfum (also known as extrait, pure perfume, or perfume extract) 
  • Eau de parfum (EDP)
  • Eau de toilette (EDT)
  • Eau de cologne
  • Eau fraiche

Scroll down a few sections for a detailed comparison between the types. 


The composition is what the fragrance is made up of and in what amounts. Remember that perfumes (though some just call it perfume) contain about 15% – 40% fragrance oil in their final product. That’s a wide range, though, as most perfumes (in general) have about 20% – 30% essential oil.

About 60% – 85% of fragrances use a blend of solvents, such as water and ethanol. 


There are many ingredients that go into a perfume, such as alcohol, water, fragrance notes, and fixatives. 

Fixatives make a fragrance last on the wearer and help the scent evaporate gradually and not all at once. It’s common to find perfumers using base notes as fixatives. You’ll see between 2-6 base notes on average in a perfume. 

Many long-lasting perfumes have base notes of vetiver and oakmoss, as they diffuse more slowly than other notes. Think of your perfumes and colognes that include heavy notes like these. Even after the top and middle notes have faded, you’ll likely still be able to get a good whiff of your fragrance. However, these notes particularly do not have influence over any other ingredient’s evaporation rate.

There are some notes which do impact a scent’s evaporation rate, like benzoin, frankincense, Peru balsam, myrrh, and civet oil. The unique molecular structure of these notes allows them to disintegrate slowly. Unlike vetiver and oakmoss, these notes do have an impact on other ingredient’s speed of evaporation.  

What Are The Different Strenghts Of Perfume

There are five different types of fragrance, also known as perfume. The different types of perfumes are parfum, eau de parfum, eau de cologne, eau fraiche, and eau de toilette.

Each type of perfume has different concentrations of fragrance oil and ratios of alcohol to scented oil. The sillage, a French word that means how far others can smell a scent, differs between each type. 

Let’s take a deeper look at each type of perfume, shall we? We’ll start with the most concentrated and longest-lasting fragrance type and end with the weakest kind – eau fraiche. The more concentrated the fragrance oil is, the more expensive it’ll be. 


Also known as extrait, ‘pure perfume,’ or ‘perfume extract,’ parfum is the longest-lasting type of perfume due to having the highest concentration of scented oils – usually between 20% – 40% at most. Pure perfumes can go for quite a bit of money because of this, so expect to pay more for a parfum than any other fragrance type.

Parfums aren’t typically meant for day-to-day wear; they’re best suited for special occasions like weddings, parties, or fine dining during the evenings. This type of fragrance usually lasts about 6 – 12 hours, though many parfums are strong enough to still smell well into the next day. 

Many perfumists and fragrance fanatics consider parfum to arguably be the best type of perfume because not only does it last the longest, but parfums release all the notes bottled inside – the top, heart, and the base notes – gradually over time.

Parfums usually come packaged in small bottles with no atomizer nozzles or spray caps. To apply, you must dab (and not rub in) the perfume on your skin, and just a little will do. 

Applying parfum on the warm pulse points is best. Find them on the inside of your wrists, your inner elbows, behind your knees and ear lobes, and below your belly button. These are the warm spots on your body where your veins are closest to your skin, so they help diffuse a scent naturally. Anywhere where you can feel a heartbeat works fine as well. Dab your fragrance on some of the pulse points or the whole lot to help keep your perfume lingering around all day long. 

Ratio of Alcohol to Scented Oils: 

  • 20% – 30% scented oils
  • 70% – 80% alcohol 

How Long Does It Last: 

Parfums typically last between 6-12 hours, though some parfums can be smelled after the 12-hour mark. Parfums are the longest-lasting type of fragrance. 

Projection / Sillage:

Parfums have the strongest sillage or scent trail of the five fragrance types. If a perfume has a low alcohol content, it contains more fragrance oils, meaning it has a stronger sillage. Because parfums have the highest concentration of scented oils, they usually have the lowest alcohol content. 

Eau De Parfum

This is the second strongest fragrance type. Eau de parfums have an oil concentration of around 15% – 20% and last about 6 hours. These are extremely versatile in that they can be applied lightly and give you a good amount of long-lasting scent. You can easily use them to dress up for a party or special occasion.

Eau de parfums tend to focus on the middle notes. This means that after the top notes have evaporated, the middle notes will appear strong and consistent for a few hours. Many people enjoy getting these pleasant whiffs of their favorite scent – I know I do! 

If you need a seasonal scent, especially in the winter months when warm, powerful scents complement the cold, eau de parfums are a great choice. Think woody and spicy notes that’ll last throughout the entire office holiday party!

Ratio of Alcohol to Scented Oils: 

  • 15% – 20% scented oils
  • Up to 80% alcohol 

How Long Does It Last: 

Eau de parfum can last well beyond 4 hours, though the average is up to 6 hours. 

Projection / Sillage: 

Eau de parfums have a good sillage since they have a lower alcohol content and a higher amount of concentrated fragrance oils. It’s typically not as strong as a parfum, though. 

Eau De Toilette

An eau de toilette is considered to be the third longest-lasting type of fragrance. It has a fragrance concentration of 5 – 15% and an alcohol content of up to 85%. It typically lasts about 2-4 hours. An eau de toilette is often referred to as cologne and is one of the most commonly sold types of perfume (along with eau de parfum).

With an eau de toilette, the top notes are the most prevalent, and you can expect to get a whiff as soon as you apply it. They are great perfumes for summer weather because the top notes are so quickly noticeable and evaporate on the quicker side versus an eau de parfum.

You can apply these fragrances more liberally and not worry too much if you sprayed with a heavy hand – the top notes will fade shortly after spritzing. Choose an eau de toilette when you want to smell amazing yet not overpowering, such as to school or work. 

Ratio of Alcohol to Scented Oils: 

  • 5% – 15% scented oils
  • Up to 85% alcohol 

How Long Does It Last: 

On average, eau de toilettes last about 2 – 4 hours. The top notes evaporate quickly after first applying. 

Projection / Sillage:

Eau de toilettes have the third-highest concentration of fragrance oil, making them a middle-of-the-road choice for a scent trail. They are not as powerful as an eau de parfum or perfume extract, but they do outperform eau de colognes and eau fraiche fragrances. 

Eau De Cologne

While sometimes an eau de toilette can be referred to as cologne, and eau de cologne is a fragrance type itself. It has one of the lowest amounts of concentrated fragrance oil, usually between 2 – 5%, and has an alcohol content of up to 95%. Because it has such a high alcohol to scented oil ratio, it does not have as long of a scent trail as the above types of fragrance. 

Eau de colognes last around two hours. Such a low oil concentration means that it won’t be overwhelming, so pick this if you’re going out on a steamy summer day (you may want to choose another fragrance type if you live in a climate that doesn’t get too hot). 

You will have to reapply an eau de cologne if you want your scent to continue throughout the day, though, as it’ll fade around the two-hour mark. 

Colognes have citrus-based notes like lemon, orange, bergamot, neroli, and grapefruit. 

Ratio of Alcohol to Scented Oils: 

  • 2% – 5% scented oils
  • Up to 95 % alcohol 

How Long Does It Last: 

Eau de colognes last about 2 hours. You will have to continue spritzing if you want your scent to last. 

Projection / Sillage:

Eau de colognes have a very high alcohol content, so while they’re strong at first, they don’t travel far or leave a long-lasting trail. 

Eau Fraiche

An eau fraiche or ‘fresh water’ can be sold as “mists” or “splashes” and contains 3% or less fragrance oil, making it the shortest-lasting fragrance type. An eau fraiche lasts about two hours, barely -and it’s one of the cheapest (if not the cheapest) ways to purchase a fragrance due to its low concentration of scented oil. This is a very popular way to apply fragrance, especially for those who can’t afford the pricier perfumes. 

Ratio of Alcohol to Scented Oils: 

  • 1% – 3% scented oils
  • Up to 95% alcohol/water 

How Long Does It Last: 

An eau fraiche does not last very long. After spraying, you may be able to smell the fragrance for 2 hours at best. 

Projection / Sillage:

An eau fraiche does not have a good sillage at all. The notes evaporate quickly, and the formulation contains too little fragrance oil to give it a good scent trail. 

Jasper Pieterse

Hi, my name is Jasper and I've been a long time fragrance fan. Ever since 2014, I started to get a huge interest in fragrances and I've had my nose on countless of different fragrances. I'm excited to share my experiences!

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