Aftershaves, Cologne and Eau de Toilette Explained

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.


Typically 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 at Executive Shaving include Saponificio Varesino, Extro Cosmesi, Proraso, Clubman Pinaud, Taylor of Old Bond Street and MÜHLE. Many fashion designers lend their names to brands of aftershave.

At Executive Shaving we created our very own range of aftershave lotions that have a little higher concentration of aromatic compounds compared to other aftershaves. 

Executive Shaving Aftershaves

Nevis Aftershave Splash 100ml
Nevis Aftershave 100ml Cedarwood & Citrus Aftershave 100ml
£17.50 £20.00

Other popular examples of aftershaves we stock are Proraso Coarse Beard, Clubman Whiskey Woods and Extro Cosmesi Bay Rum and Saponificio Varesino 70th 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. Fine Snake Bite contains five times more menthol than other aftershaves!

Eau de Cologne

Eau de Cologne, is more commonly referred to as simply Cologne, which 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.

Popular Colognes

Geo F Trumper Spanish Leather Cologne in a Glass Crown Top Bottle Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Cologne with Box
Geo F Trumper Spanish Leather Cologne 100ml Taylor of Old Bond Street Sandalwood Cologne 100ml
£64.00 £39.95

Eau de Toilette

Eau de Toilette is a higher grade of fragrance 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 scents 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.

Popular Eau de Toilettes

Scottish Fine Soaps Vetiver & Sandalwood Eau de Toilette 100ml
Arran Sense of Scotland Machrie Eau de Toilette 100ml Scottish Fine Soaps Vetiver & Sandalwood Eau de Toilette 100ml
£45.00 £31.95

The range of Italian eau de toilette from Extro Cosmesi possesses fantastic, intriguing fragrances.

Eau de Parfum

Eau 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 well-rounded and full-bodied scent that is pungent and fierce is Special Reserve Vetiver from Castle Forbes, it's a remarkable fragrance that will last all night.

With the rise in popularity of high quality Eau de Parfum, Executive Shaving has developed its own range of fragrances, to give you the best blend of quality, performance and price.

Currently you can choose from Rannoch Eau de ParfumMunro Eau de Parfum and Lomond Eau de Parfum. These are fragrances that can be worn for any occasion, formal or informal, daytime and evenings no matter the season. Their alluring scents are exclusive to Executive Shaving and their quality is so good they will match any competitor for complexity and longevity.

These unique and exclusive fragrances are also all available in 10ml pocket friendly formats so you can try them out before buying a large 100ml bottle.
To check them out click on one of these links below:
Rannoch Eau de Parfum 10ml bottle.
Lomond Eau de Parfum 10ml bottle.
Munro Eau de Parfum 10ml bottle.

Popular Eau de Parfums

Executive Shaving Rannoch Eau de Parfum Pocket Bottle Executive Shaving Lomond EDP 100ml
Executive Shaving Rannoch Eau de Parfum 10ml Executive Shaving Lomond Eau de Parfum 100ml
£20.00 £60.00

We hope to have more EDP fragrances available in the future.

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 Treatments 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, or use the We are here! Livechat function on the website.

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Castle Forbes Lavender Collection Castle Forbes Lavender Shaving Cream