Perfumes vs Cologne: What is the difference and what is best for men?

Perfumes vs Cologne: What is the difference and what is best for men?

All men want to smell nice, but it's not as simple as buying whatever perfume or cologne that catches your eye at your local drug store. You need to find one that smells good, is suitable for your needs, and lasts long.

But before you do that, you should know the difference between perfumes and colognes first. Don’t know the differences? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Once you’re done reading this guide, you’ll not only know the difference between the two, but also know which products to buy based on your needs.

What is perfume?

Perfume is essentially a liquid composed of fragrant essential oils, aroma compounds, spices, and solvents used for the purpose of providing a nice-smelling and pleasant scent or odor.

There are many types of perfumes as well. Each type can have a base with water, oil or alcohol. However, they differ when it comes to the concentration of essential oils in their respective bases. There are five main ones in particular:

  • Perfume or Parfum - the most concentrated and expensive fragrance, contains 20-30 percent.
  • Eau de Perfume or Eau de Parfum - the second-most concentrated fragrance, contains 15-20 percent.
  • Eau de Toilette - comes with a light spray composition, contains 5-15 percent.
  • Eau de Cologne - otherwise known as cologne, contains 2-5 percent.
  • Eau Fraiche - the most diluted version of perfume, contains 1-3 percent.

What is cologne?

Cologne is basically a type of perfume. It's a fragrance designed for the purpose of emitting a pleasant scent or odor. However, it is now considered more of an umbrella term for any fragrance that contains a low essential oil concentration.

What are the major differences between perfume and cologne?

Difference between perfume and cologne

As you should know by now, cologne is a type of perfume, but it’s still very different from the traditional perfumes you’ve come to associate with. As you know by now, they have a lower concentration of essential oils compared to perfumes. The larger concentration in perfumes makes them heavier and oilier than colognes. This means the scent and lasting effect of a perfume will last longer than a cologne does. That is also why when applying a perfume, you only need a small amount to last you the full day while colognes are applied more frequently since the scent lasts just a couple of hours at the most.

Since perfumes have a greater concentration of essential oils and last longer, they tend to be much more expensive than colognes.

There are also specific areas to apply perfume and cologne. With cologne, since it’s not as strong, you can apply it more liberally onto pretty much anywhere on the skin, including by rubbing, splashing or spraying it on. With perfume, you only need a very small amount and usually spray it from a distance on specific areas. These areas usually include the following:

  • the inner wrists
  • the base of the throat
  • behind the ear lobes
  • the cleavage
  • behind knees

Finally, perfumes are viewed more as women’s products while colognes are more for men. But is this really the case? Keep reading.

What works best for men: perfumes or colognes?

What is best for men?

The general belief in society is that perfumes are mainly bought and worn by women while colognes are mainly bought and worn by men. It’s true that men do seemingly prefer subtle scents which are found in colognes. Women, on the other hand, prefer pronounced and long-lasting scents which is why perfumes are more suitable for them.

Not to mention, in general, colognes are mainly targeted towards men as you see in commercials. However, there’s no such rule that only women can wear perfumes and vice-versa.

In fact, there are perfumes and colognes that are specifically designed for both men and women. Some even go as far as saying all scents are technically unisex, but with marketing today, anything fruity or floral is marketed as feminine while wood, leather and spice notes are marketed as masculine. In the end, the choice is down to you and what you feel smells and works best for you.

What are some of the best perfumes for men?

Best perfumes for men

If you’ve decided that you want a stronger fragrance with a more pronounced scent, you can certainly opt for perfumes.

Loewe Earth: With violet and musk notes, get exposed to a floral and ambery aroma with Loewe’s Earth. An odd yet delightfully addictive fragrance, this perfume also comes in a suave bottle that further helps make a statement.

Pure Instinct Roll on Pheromone Infused Perfume Oil: This a roll-on perfume infused with pheromones designed to seduce the senses. That's thanks to its succulent notes of Australian mango and mandarin concocted alongside hints of cinnamon, honey and white musk. You’re guaranteed to make an impression with this perfume!

Bon Parfumeur 901 Nutmeg Almond Patchouli: If you want your senses to go on overdrive in a good way, look no further than the Bon Parfumeur 901 Eau de Parfum. With a blend of Mandarin, Grapefruit, Ginger, Black Pepper, and much more, this concoction is not only smooth, but a unique compliment magnet.

Nemat Fragrances Musk Amber Perfume Oil Roll-On: For a warm and sensual scent, opt for the Musk Amber Perfume Oil Roll-On from Nemat Fragrances. It’s formulated with a velvet scent of florals that will leave you and everyone else around you basking in its delightful aroma.

What are some of the best colognes for men?

Best colognes for men

Creed Aventus: When it comes to premium colognes, it doesn’t get better than Creed Aventus. One of Creed’s best-selling fragrances of all time, Aventus carries a legendary scent that evokes class with its woody, fresh, citrus and fruity notes. It’s so good, even your significant other will be after it for themselves.

Abercrombie and Fitch Fierce: Fierce is the signature blend of Abercrombie and Fitch. Combining notes of marine breeze, sandalwood & sensual musk wood notes, you are all but assured a fresh, clean, and masculine aroma that will entice the senses.

Duke Cannon Supply Co. Solid Cologne Special Issue: What’s better than a portable cologne that you can rub on your skin? How about Duke Cannon’s Special Issue cologne that is concocted with notes of crisp greens, neroli, citrus, sandalwood, amber and light musk? This scent will remind you of the mountainside and is a great all-day choice!

Duke Cannon Supply Co. Solid Cologne Old Glory: There’s nothing manlier than a cologne that contains the smells of freshly-rolled tobacco, amber and leather. You will definitely ooze out a manly aroma when you wear Duke Cannon’s Old Glory cologne throughout the day!


When it comes down to it, both men and women can wear perfumes and colognes. It all depends on the consumer’s preferences, desired scent and how long they want their scent to last. Of course, there are some geared towards certain genders, but the truth is, all scents are essentially unisex. The choice is yours in the end!

Oct 24th 2022

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