What Are the Differences Between Cologne and Perfume?

Reviewed by Justin Lim
Reviewed by Justin Lim

Probably reviewed every hair styling products, thankful that his hair is still intact. Loves travelling and trying to be healthy and pump some muscles at the same time!

Table of Contents

Have you ever been confused about buying a cologne or perfume in a shop because you don’t know what the difference is? Well, we can totally relate!

While there are shopkeepers who would guide you on which perfume or cologne to buy, they usually won’t tell you the difference between them to make you decide which one you actually need according to your requirements.

Therefore, having proper knowledge about what are the differences between cologne and perfume is definitely the need of time so that you don’t waste your money and come back home with the right stuff.

In this article, we have covered what actually are perfumes and colognes and the difference between cologne vs. perfume for you to know about them better and make the right choice. 

Difference Between Cologne vs. Perfume (Summary)

Perfumes are much more substantial.Colognes are usually on the mild side. 
Contain a very high concentration of essential oilsContains essential oils in smaller amounts.
Last longer without much need for maintenanceThe smell doesn’t linger for more than a few hours.
Perfumes are much more expensiveColognes are in a lower range of cost
Perfumes are sprayed on the skin from a distanceColognes are rubbed directly on the skin.
Come with floral and fresh scentsCome with musky, woody, or citrus scents
Usually available in small and portable bottlesBottles are large and bulky
Difference Between Cologne vs. Perfume (Summary)

What exactly is a Perfume?

Before moving to the difference between cologne and perfume, let’s first know what perfume is. If explained in the most straightforward words, perfume is basically a mixture of aroma compounds, essential oils, solvents, and fixatives, all of which are mixed in liquid form to manufacture perfume. 

Here are a few of the facts that you should know about perfume:

  • It is recommended to use your perfume within a span of 3-5 years.
  • Store your perfume in a dark place since extreme changes in temperature or humidity may change the smell.
  • Perfume can work as a mood booster and end up relaxing you and making you feel confident.
  • A lot of perfumes contain ingredients from animals and therefore aren’t vegan.
  • All the perfumes are unisex since there is no written rule of which scent suits a man or a woman.

What exactly is a Cologne?

Cologne is also a type of fragrance like a perfume; however, it is made from a combination of alcohol, water, and essential oils; where they have a concentration of extracts quite low, around 5%, and therefore they are considered to be the least potent of the fragrances.

Here are a few facts about cologne:

  • It is recommended to toss your cologne bottle between one to three years.
  • Cologne doesn’t expire like food, so sometimes you can use it for around four to five years.
  • You should spray the cologne directly on your skin and not on clothes.

Difference between cologne vs. perfume

Here are the differences between cologne and perfume discussed in detail:

Essential Oil Concentration

The concentration of essential oils is much higher for perfumes, around 2% to 30%, while the concentration of essential oils is relatively lower, approximately 2% to 5%, for a cologne. Additionally, cologne comes with a much higher concentration of alcohol compared to perfumes.

Strength of Smell

Due to a higher concentration of essential oils, perfumes have a much more pungent smell than cologne. Due to this exact reason, the perfumes are used in lesser quantities and give much more fragrance, while the cologne requires a higher dose of application.

Long Lasting

Since perfumes come with a much stronger fragrance, it lasts longer as compared to cologne. Even for people with oily skin or prone to sweating, perfume is a better option since cologne tends to fade more quickly on moist or oily skin.

Cost per Bottle

Perfume is considered one of the most expensive options of fragrances because it is highly concentrated. A single ounce of a well-known perfume brand may easily cost you around 100 USD, while colognes are on the cheaper side and may cost 15 USD from a simple brand or approximately 60 USD from a well-known brand.

Application Method

The colognes and perfumes have an excellent, easy and quick application since they often come in spray or splash modes. When it comes to colognes, you have to rub them directly on the skin but in more significant amounts, while for the perfumes, you have to spray it on the skin from a distance due to stronger fragrance and also apply it on hair or add it to bath depending on your requirement. 


Colognes and perfumes both come in various fragrances. The most popular scents for a cologne are musky, woody, or citrus, while the most popular fragrances for perfume are citrus, floral, oriented, and fresh scents. Due to the difference in scents, most women prefer perfumes while most men prefer to go with cologne; however, both of them are unisex and can be used by both.

Bottle Size

The bottle size for perfume is usually tiny, so perfumes are highly portable and can easily be carried through travel. When it comes to colognes, the bottle size is generally large and bulky, and therefore most of them are not suitable or convenient to be your travel partner.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What lasts longer, perfume or cologne? 

The concentration of perfume is around 20-30%, and the longevity of the fragrance that it offers last around 6 to 8 hours. The concentration of cologne is about 2-4%, while its longevity of fragrance lasts around 2 to 3 hours. This shows that a perfume lasts around three times longer than a cologne. 

Where should I spray my cologne? 

To ensure that the fragrance of cologne is utilized effectively, one must know where to apply it. Ideally, one should use cologne to warm areas and pulse points. These areas include the chest, neck, wrists, shoulders, and inner elbows because all of them project scent more efficiently thanks to their heat. You don’t need to necessarily apply cologne on all of these areas since selecting just one or two will do the job right. The combination of neck and wrists works the best. 

What’s the strongest perfume?

Here are the top 10 strongest perfumes as per reviews that may last all day: 

Do I wear deodorant with cologne? 

If spoken generally, it is actually not recommended to wear deodorant along with cologne, and the reason is there is a possibility of both the fragrances clashing with one another and not giving out the fragrance that you expect. If you decide to put cologne and deodorant together, here are some tips to properly match both so the scents don’t clash with each other: 

  • Use an antiperspirant spray or a scentless deodorant. 
  • Choose a cologne with a more powerful smell than the deodorant. 
  • Apply the deodorant lightly to your underarms and let it dry completely before you put on your cologne. 
  • Don’t use a deodorant that has an overpowering or strong scent. 
  • If you don’t have any unscented deodorant, use one with a mild odor or instead use an antiperspirant. 

Which perfume lasts the longest? 

The more the concentration of essential oils in a perfume, the longer the perfume will last. Here are a few types of perfumes with their respective concentrations: 

  1. Pure perfume with an essential oil concentration of 15% to 40%. 
  2. Eau de parfum with essential oil concentration of 15% to 20%. 
  3. Eau de toilette with an essential oil concentration of 5% to 15%. 
  4. Eau Fraiche, also called mists, with an essential oil concentration of 3% or less. 

This data shows that Pure perfume will last the longest due to the greatest concentration of essential oils. 

What cologne lasts the longest? 

Here are a few of the colognes that last the longest according to reviews: 

  1. Byredo Sundazed
  2. Creed Aventus
  3. Kiehl’s Original Musk Oil
  4. Aramis
  5. Club De Nuit Intense Men
  6. Hugo Boss Bottled Eau De Toilette
  7. Dior Sauvage


Colognes and perfumes both come with an excellent range of fragrances with a slight difference in their manufacturing and the results they provide. Getting confused about whether to buy cologne or perfume is quite normal if you don’t know the significant differences between the two. Therefore, in this article, we have covered all the differences between cologne and perfume so that your next visit to a fragrance shop is super smooth and your choice of which one to buy between the two becomes quite precise.



Get your latest men’s grooming and styling tips! Exclusive Discounts on brands and products!



Feeling confused about what grooming products that’s right for you? Want to up your grooming and styling game? Subscribe to the Urban Oak Newsletter to receive the latest recommendations from styling and grooming products, how to’s guides and exclusive offers from our partners!

By clicking subscribe, you agree to share your email address with Urban Oak co to receive marketing, updates, and other emails from the site owner. Use the unsubscribe link in those emails to opt out at any time.

Prefer to Watch Instead?
Honest Reviews, Product Demo and Exclusive GiveAways!