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Aftershaves, Cologne and Eau de Toilette Explained

When it comes to men’s fragrances and scents there are many different terms used to describe them – Aftershave, Cologne, Eau de Toilette and even Eau de Parfum, but what do they all mean?
What is the difference between an Aftershave, an Eau de Cologne, an Eau de Toilette and Eau de Parfum? Hopefully, we will answer these questions here.

Fundamentally these terms signify very different and distinct products, despite frequently being confused as being the same thing.


Snake Bite AftershaveTypically aftershaves contain a concentration of aromatic compounds of only 1%-3%, as a result, the scent of aftershave is fairly weak.
An aftershave is designed to disinfect freshly shaved skin, the alcohol kills surface bacteria. Any minor nicks and cuts will be disinfected, and the alcohol will constrict the blood vessels and speed up the healing process. An aftershave will leave your skin disinfected, toned, refreshed and lightly scented. The scent will probably dissipate after an hour or so.
Well known aftershave brands include, Old Spice, Fine, Trumper, Tabac and Brut. Many fashion designers lend their names to brands of aftershave. Also, many famous shaving and grooming names such as Taylor of Old Bond Street, D R Harris, Extro Cosmesi and others develop their own brand Aftershaves.
Popular examples of aftershaves are Proraso SandalwoodClubman Whiskey Woods and Extro Cosmesi Bay Rum and Saponificio Varesino Anniversary Edition.
If you want a real ‘wake me up’ aftershave then you will struggle to find any better than the Fine Accoutrements Snake Bite aftershave splash and Extro Cosmesi’s Freddo Aftershave, both contain menthol. Fine Snake Bite contains five times more menthol than their other aftershaves!


Eau de Cologne

Spanish Leather CologneEau de Cologne, more commonly referred to as simply Cologne first originated in the city of Köln, Germany in 1709. created by Joahnn Maria Farina he called it Kölnisch Wasser ("Water from Cologne"). Today the term Eau de Cologne has become a generic term that is applied to perfume for men.
Eau de Cologne is a higher grade of fragrance that contains a typical concentration of aromatic compounds of up to 7%. This gives an Eau de Cologne a much stronger scent than a typical aftershave.
An enduring classic, Spanish Leather is a cologne that has been loved by both men and women for many decades. It doesn’t contain any leather but it possesses an intriguing aroma that will linger for many hours. An old school classic enjoyed by thousands of men is Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Cologne.


Eau de Toilette

Extro Cosmesi Bay Rum EDTEau de Toilette is a higher grade than Eau de Cologne, with a typical concentration of aromatic compounds of around 10%. Which makes Eau de Toilette onE of the strongest men's aftershave that you can buy.
It is unclear as to when exactly the first Eau de Toilette, or toilet water, was first invented, however, records do ascribe Queen Elisabeth of Hungary (1305-1380) using a fragrant mix of oils and alcohol as a personal perfume. Today Eau de Toilette is used as a generic reference to stronger perfumes for both men and women.
Typically, you would place Eau de Toilette fragrance on your pulse points, and it should last much longer, up to 8 hours in some cases, so you don't have to continuously re-apply.
The range of Italian eau de toilette from Extro Cosmesi possesses fantastic, intriguing fragrances.


Eau de Parfum

Castle Forbes 1445 EDPEau de Parfum is the strongest form of scent with the longest-lasting fragrance.
Typically containing up to 15% essential fragrance compounds, compared to 10% in Eau de Toilette, 7% in Eau de Cologne and 1%-3% in Aftershave, you get more longevity of fragrance from an Eau de Parfum.
A good example of a classic men's Eau de Parfum (EDP) is Castle Forbes stunning 1445 eau de parfum, which many users find lingers on well into the wee small hours of the morning. A modern, fresh scent that is pungent and fierce is Bloodaxe by Pocket Scents, it's remarkably well-priced for such a high quality EDP, made in Glasgow, Scotland.


Traditional Fragrances

No Wet Shave is complete without the aromatic scent of a men’s fragrance. Many shaving creams and soaps complement each other with aftershave or cologne of the same fragrance. As mentioned before - apply a nice aftershave or cologne to the back of your neck, your chest area and your clothes for a pleasant lingering aroma, especially if the weather is hot and sticky.

Some traditional fragrances and well-known aftershaves include:
Spanish Leather
Bay Rum
Eucris - the original fragrance worn by James Bond.

Browse through our full Fragrance collection to compare individual scents with each other.

Did You Know?

Aftershave-like substances were used in ancient Egyptian times to clean and deodorise a dead body before it was soaked in natron and wrapped in linen bandages.

One final piece of advice

If you suffer from sensitive skin, you may find applying an aftershave balm on to freshly shaved skin more beneficial than using an aftershave. Apply the balm to soothe and moisturise your skin, then apply your favourite fragrance on your neck, shoulders, hair and chest instead.
For more information browse our Post Shave Lotions and Balms category.

Enjoy viewing our fragrance range and please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions about any of the fabulous fragrances in our range. Telephone us on +44 (0)141 880 3040, email us [email protected], use the We are here! Livechat function on the website, or you can join our Facebook Diamond Club for advice, recommendations, new product launches and more.