Why is Perfume Called Toilet Water? [Eau de Toilette Explained!]

The world of perfume is a fun world. But, this world can also often be quite confusing! For instance – one of the questions that boggled me was why is a perfume called “Toilet Water”? I mean, that’s exactly the opposite of what you associate perfume with! Isn’t it? So, I reached out to the experts, and here’s what I found out!

Eau de Toilette (or Toilet Water) derives its name from the French word “Toilette” which means “a small piece of cloth” but has a specific reference to shaving and grooming. Thus, the aromatic water used after shaving or grooming became commonly called Eau de Toilette.

Interesting isn’t it! So, let me share with you some of the other things that I learned that you might also find interesting.

What is the Meaning of Eau de Toilette?

Eau de Toilette is a French word for a type of perfume. The words Eau de Toilette literally translate into the “Toilet Water”!

But does that mean Eau de Toilette perfume is made from urine? Gross! I can tell you right away that THAT is definitely not the case!

So, how then did Eau de Toilette get its name?

You may be surprised to know that the word “Toile” in the first part of the word “Toilette” means a cloth in French. Furthermore, the word Toilette refers to “a small piece of cloth”!

In the 16th century, English speakers borrowed the word “Toilette” but settled on a different spelling i.e. “Toilet”. The word “Toilet” was originally used for a wrapper and later for a cloth put over the shoulder while shaving or dressing the hair.

The word “Toilet” or Toilette actually also had a grooming sense to it. The aromatic water that was used while grooming or shaving was thus referred to as Toilette Water or Eau de Toilette.

It is not a surprise that Eau de Toilette is most suited to be used after a shower or after a shave and it is directly applied on the skin for best results.

Where did Eau de Toilette Come From?

Eau de Toilette was first created in the 14th century in Hungary for Queen Elisabeth of Hungary. It contained a rosemary scent mixed with a high alcohol content that lasted longer on her skin. It was called “Eau de la Reine de Hongrie” literally meaning “Water for the Queen of Hungary”.

Although a few historians have cast their doubts on these claims. However, this remains the earliest known reference to the use of Eau de Toilette.

That said, the French King Louis XIV brought Eau de Toilette to the limelight in the 17th century when he used a concoction of floral and spicy scents (such as rose water, orange water, musk, and a few other spicy scents) to perfume his shirts. This perfume was referred to as “Heavenly Water”.

What is the Difference Between Toilet Water and Perfume?

The key difference between Eau de Parfum and Eau de Toilette is in the concentration of fragrance used in the two. Eau de Parfum is stronger as it contains 15-20% perfume oil concentrate whereas Eau de Toilette contains about 5-15% perfume oil concentrate.

Furthermore, since Eau de Parfum has more perfume oil concentrate, it also tends to have a lower percentage of alcohol content as compared to Eau de Toilette.

In other words, Toilet Water or Eau de Toilette is a less concentrated form of Perfume. Thus, Toilet Water is also a type of perfume.

Additionally, since Eau de Parfum has a higher fragrance oil concentrate, it also tends to last longer than Eau de Toilette. This also usually makes Eau de Toilette a cheaper option between the two perfume variants.

Should I Buy Eau de Parfum or Eau de Toilette?

You should choose Eau de Parfum over Toilette as it is a stronger fragrance between the two. Eau de Parfum will also usually last longer through the day than Eau de Toilette. Additionally, since Eau de Parfum is stronger, you will use a lesser amount upon application.

If you are ever in doubt when purchasing a fragrance, my recommendation will be to always choose the stronger perfume amongst the other options.

That said, choosing Eau de Parfum over Toilette can also be heavier on the pocket. So, you may want to consider your budget before deciding.

Which One Lasts Longer – Eau de Parfum or Toilette?

Eau de Parfum lasts longer than Eau de Toilette as it contains higher percentage of perfume oil. On average, Eau de Parfum can last about 5-8 hours whereas Eau de Toilette will last about 4-6 hours.

That said, you may notice that Eau de Toilette from some brands may last as long (if not more) than Eau de Parfum from other brands. The durability of perfume throughout the day can depend on a lot of factors. The most important factor is the purity of the ingredients used during the manufacturing process.

It is important to understand that Eau de Parfum from a particular brand should only be compared to the Eau de Toilette of the same brand! This is because the quality of ingredients used for making either of the two perfumes would be nearly identical.

Thus, for perfumes from the same brand, Eau de Parfum will last longer than Eau de Toilette.

How to Use Eau de Toilette?

When you buy an expensive perfume, you want to make the most of it! Naturally, the best way to do that would be to use Eau de Toilette correctly.

So, here are a few tips on how to use Eau de Toilette –

1. Apply Perfume on the Skin

One of the most important things to remember is that when using the perfume, you want to make sure that you apply it to the skin rather than on the clothes.

The oils present on your skin react and bind well with the fragrance molecules present in the perfume and acts as a diffuser to project the fragrance better! This unique chemistry is what makes a perfume fragrance unique to an individual as it takes place on every single person differently!

On the contrary, perfume applied to the clothes doesn’t react much with the oils from the skin.

2. Use Eau de Toilette After a Shower

Eau de Toilette is perfectly suited for day wear. Thus, the best time to use it would be in the morning after a shower.

It is interesting to note that your skin is moist after a shower, and the fragrance molecules from Eau de Toilette bind well and project better on moist skin.

A quick thing to note here is to make sure you dry yourself completely before applying perfume. Otherwise, water dripping on your skin may wipe off the perfume from your skin; thereby drastically reducing the duration of your perfume fragrance.

3. Use Perfume on the Pulse Points

Instead of just randomly applying perfume to the different parts of your body, the fragrance will be more effective when applied on the pulse points.

The pulse points include your inner wrist, inside elbows neck, behind your ear, base of your neck, and behind your knees. So, a great way to get the most out of your perfume is to apply it on the pulse points.

4. Don’t Rub the Perfume

Another important thing that you should remember is to NOT rub the perfume when applied on your skin especially if you are using a vial.

Some people tend to rub the perfume when applied. Doing so can kill the impact of the fragrance molecules due to the heat generated from the friction of rubbing your skin or the hands.

5. Store the Perfume Correctly

Last, but not the least, remember to store the perfume correctly. Make sure that you store the perfume in an adequate temperature range of 12 to 22 C degrees.

If you stay in hot or humid conditions, then storing perfume in the fridge may not be a bad idea.

Furthermore, try to keep the perfume away from light, moisture and prevent exposure to the air. It is best recommended to store the perfume in the original packaging box for it to last longer.

Do not shake the perfume bottle before use. Even though many advertisements show the bottle being shaken by a person before using the perfume, this is grossly incorrect. This can easily ruin your perfume in the long run.

Top 5 Most Popular Eau de Toilette Perfumes

Now that you have bettered your understanding about Eau de Toilette, you may perhaps want to know some of the most popular Eau de Toilette perfumes.

If you wish to check out some of the most popular Eau de Toilette perfumes by people’s choice, then make sure you check out the Most Popular Eau de Toilette for Women on Amazon. If you want to see a list of just men’s EDT perfume, then check out the Most Popular Eau de Toilette Perfume for Men on Amazon

If you are unsure about what to buy, then here’s my recommendation of the most popular Eau de Toilette perfume. You won’t go wrong with choosing any one of the following Eau de Toilette perfumes! (Listed in no particular order)

1. Sauvage by Christian Dior (for Men)

If you are looking to buy an Eau de Toilette for men, don’t look at anything else. Just run with Sauvage!

Sauvage by Christian Dior is just an awesome awesome perfume! It is by far one of THE MOST popular perfumes used by men!

The fragrance combination in the Sauvage is definitely a winner. It has got just the perfect nice clean fragrance and you will get a lot of compliments for using this perfume!

2. Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue (for Women)

Dolce & Gabbana, the mighty great Italian brand, launched their line of perfume in 1992.

Ever since, Light Blue by D&G has been one. of the most popular perfume especially for women.

It has a distinct green apple, jasmine and a rose type of a fragrance. This floral and fruity fragrance flavor is perfectly suited Eau de Toilette for Women!

It is quite popular amongst women, and definitely a great place to start your perfume journey!

3. Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet (for Women)

Blooming Bouquet is by far one of the most popular Eau de Toilette perfume by Christian Dior!

It opens with a perfect floral fragrance that of rose and leaves a musky fragrance after some time that combines really well with the rose.

Choosing Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet will surely grab the attention of the people around you all day long!

4. Cool Water by Davidoff (for Men)

Another great Eau de Toilette perfume for men! It was introduced in 1988, and it has over the years become a great fragrance for men to use!

It opens with a great fragrance and contains flowery notes such as Jasmine and Lavender.

Fragrance can feel overwhelming a bit for some even during the hot summer months. Nevertheless, a great fragrance for use during the daytime.

5. Vera Wang Princess (for Women)

Another very good Eau de Toilette perfume for women.

Princess by Vera Wang is definitely bound to make you smell and feel like a princess. It has a great fruity and floral fragrance.

The fragrance almost feels magical as it opens with an Apple and a Lilly kind of smell – which just takes you by surprise. It then settles with a woody vanilla scent after an hour or so.

Princess by Vera Wang has been one of the most popular Eau de Toilette perfume for a lot of women. A great perfume to conquer a room the moment you enter!

More Helpful Resources

  1. Does Perfume Damage Jewelry? Here’s What We Found!
  2. Why is Perfume Expensive? [With GOLDEN Tips to Buy it Cheap!]
  3. Can I Carry Perfume on a Plane? THIS is What You Should Remember!
  4. Does Perfume Get Better with Age? You Should Know THIS!
  5. Should Perfume be Used on Skin or Clothes? A Comprehensive Guide!

Credit for the Featured Image of this article goes to Lucas Mendes

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