Differences Between Eau de Toilette and Aftershave




Differences Between Eau de Toilette and Aftershave

In the perfume market, 27% of all scents developed are for men. They are essential for the man of discerning taste. Aftershaves and Eau de toilette are some of the most commonly used scents because they are suitable for everyday use.

If you’ve ever gotten the two mixed up, you’re not alone. Many people might confuse this two produce simply because men often use both as cologne. Yes, aftershave is often used as cologne.

In this article, we will shed some light on what makes each of these products unique.

Aftershave and Eau de Toilette each have their own special uses. Aftershave is more of a skincare product and antiseptic that keeps bacteria at bay while also offering added moisture after shaving. It can also be used as a cologne and is has a mild scent that fades within 3 hours.

It is therefore used for its shaving benefits rather than aromatic benefits. Eau de Toilette is purely fragrant with a higher percentage of aromatic oils. It is not an antiseptic. If you need your scent to last throughout the day, then Eau de Toilette is the way to go.

Let’s look at aftershave vs Eau de toilette in more detail.

The Origins Of Aftershave And Eau de toilette

The Origins of Aftershave

So what is aftershave and what does aftershave do? Aftershave was first invented to prevent infection. The shaving blades used in early times were blunt leading to lengthy shaving times and lots of nicks and cuts.

the origins of aftershave

If such cuts became infected, they would sometimes lead to fatal infections. Yes, shaving cust can be dangerous.

Barbers, therefore, had to incorporate an antiseptic element into their shaving routines. Of course, over time shaving blades got better, which is why many classic men prefer vintage shaving blades, but aftershave is still used to soothe the face after shaving.

Hungarians were the first to experiment with fragrances, lotions, and scented waters. In time their ideas spread across Europe and America and quickly became the norm.

The Origins of Eau de Toilette

Eau de Toilette, on the other hand, has quite a mysterious past. Little is known of its origin. There are however records pointing to Queen Elisabeth of Hungary circa 1300 as having used a mixture of sweet-smelling oils and alcohol as a perfume.

origins of eau de toilette

Traditionally, the ‘toilet waters’ were named after the main ingredients such as lavender water, rose water, lilac water, and jasmine water.

Today the word Eau de Toilette is used to describe fairly strong perfumes used by both men and women.

Concentration And Longevity

How Long Does Aftershave Last? – Aftershave Concentration 

Typically aftershaves contain fragrance oils to a concentration of 1% to 3%. This means that the scent in aftershave is quite mild and fades away quickly. If you buy a more expensive aftershave like creed, it may take longer to fade.

They contain an astringent and an antiseptic agent responsible for the closing of pores to keep out bacterial infections. They also soothe and hydrate the skin.

How Long Does Eau de toilette last? – Eau de toilette Concentration

Eau de toilette contains fragrance oils in the range of 5 to 15% meaning that they last longer than most aftershave fragrances.

They are suitable for use as an everyday scent and provide a light, fresh fragrance that lasts through the day.

Eau de Toilette tends to be more expensive than aftershave as it is less diluted in terms of fragrance.

What Are They Used For?

What Is Aftershave Used For?

Aftershave provides many benefits apart from the fragrance. However, your aftershave should be selected according to your wearer’s specific needs.

what is aftershave used for

Is their skin prone to acne? Is it sensitive, dry, or oily? Some aftershaves are developed to prevent razor burn and ingrown hairs for example, while others are developed for older or sensitive skin.

This selection should be made carefully to get a good match. Aftershaves are not luxuries. The truth is they are an essential part of the shaving process.

What Is Eau de Toilette Used For?

Eau de Toilette is used purely for scent. It has little to no additional benefit. However, if applied directly to the skin, it may cause excessive dryness and irritation.

What Is Eau de Toilette Used For

While aftershave is crafted for men, Eau de Toilette can be classified as unisex. Nonetheless, like most unisex products, you will find that there are Eau de Toilette products developed specifically for each gender.

Types of Aftershave and Eau de Toilette

Types Of Aftershaves

  1. Splash Aftershave

As the name suggests, this one comes in liquid form. Most splashes contain alcohol, which is responsible for the stinging sensation felt on application.

Some splashes however come with witch hazel and aloe vera as base ingredients. Others use various witch hazel substitutes. Such splashes have the advantage of a sting-free application. They also help to even the skin tone.

  1. Balms

Most balms do not contain alcohol and as a result, they are suitable for sensitive skin. They are moisturizing oil-based products.

They have a soothing effect on the skin as opposed to the stinging of alcohol-based aftershaves. However, balm aftershaves tend to expire faster.

  1. Gels

As the name suggests, these are gel-based and can be used for both oily and dry skin types.

This is because they hydrate the skin without being greasy. They also have a cooling effect due to antiseptic ingredients such as aloe vera.

  1. Mists

These are the lightest aftershaves in terms of composition. They are perfect for oily skin as they do not add extra moisture.

Due to their cooling and calming effects, they work especially well for hot summer months.

Types Of Eau De Toilette

Compared to aftershaves, there are countless varieties of Eau De Toilette or ‘toilet water’. Here we mention three ancient ones that are still used to this day:

  1. Rose Water

This is composed of an extract of rose, tuberose, cassia, jasmine, and tincture of civet. It is popular in the Middle East and more so in Egypt.

  1. Eau de lavand amber

This one originated and is especially loved in Spain. It is mainly used for application on the hair and skin after bathing.

  1. Jasmine Toilet Water

This one is made with cologne spirits, jasmine, and alcohol

Apart from the above types of Eau De Toilette, we also have numerous generic and designer brands of Eau de Toilette. Each with unique fragrant formulas.

Wearing Eau de Toilette

We have already established that aftershave is applied to the face and neck after a shave.

The brand you choose should depend on your skin type. Choosing an Eau de Toilette is easy in comparison as it is a matter of personal preference.

For best results with eau de toilette:

  1. Go for one with the highest concentration (15%) so that your fragrance lasts all day long.
  2. Moisturize your skin with a scentless lotion before applying Eau de Toilette. This ensures that your fragrance clings to your skin and therefore lasts longer.
  3. Apply straight to your skin.
  4. Spray on the following parts of your body: Chest, neck, jaw, behind the ears, forearms, and elbows. This will help accentuate your scent.

Which Lasts Longer – Cologne or Eau de Toilette?

Cologne lasts longer than Eau de Toilette. This is mainly because Eau de Toilette is diluted enough to be sold in spray bottles.

Therefore, this makes it lighter than colognes. The average duration that colognes last is typically 2 hours, while Eau de Toilette can last less than those two hours.

How Much Aftershave Should You Use?

You should stick to a maximum of three sprays at any one time and reapply later in the day if needed.

This is because each spray that you apply dries down at the same speed, which means simply applying more sprays won’t make the aftershave last longer. It will just make the initial burst eye-watering.

Should I Wash Off my Aftershave?

Unless you buy an aftershave that directs you to wash it off, you’re not supposed to wash it off. An aftershave is supposed to be left on your face.

Does Aftershave Cause Acne?

No, aftershaves cannot cause acne unless you use the wrong ones. An aftershave ritual is crucial for moisturizing your skin.

That means you need to ensure you’re using the right aftershave products for the safety purposes of your skin.


Aftershave and Eau de Toilette each are used for different purposes. aftershave is used after shaving to keep the area free from bacteria and other germs. However, Eau de Toilettes are scents that are used as colognes and perfumes. People may consider them because some people use aftershave as cologne as well, but it’s really for protection after shaving.

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