What’s the Difference Between Body Spray & Perfume / Cologne?

Body spray, perfume, cologne – many people regard these smell-better products as essentially the same things. But we’d argue the best-smelling folks understand the difference between body spray and perfume. If you’re looking to elevate your scent game, it helps to know which product does what and how to maximize the effects of each. Below, we’ll unpack what you need to know to decide which product(s) might be best for you and your body.

What is Perfume/Cologne? Fragrance Concentration

The main differentiator between body spray, cologne, and perfume is the concentration of essential aromatic oils in each solution. In fact, perfume types are separated by tiers based on the percentage of essential oils. 

  • Parfum: Topping the concentration list is this solution, which usually contains between 20 and 30% perfume oils. You’ll usually pay more for this product, which doesn’t contain much alcohol.
  • Eau de Parfum: One rung down from parfum is eau de parfum, or EDP. It often contains fragrances people regard as unisex. EDP usually has a fragrant oil concentration between 15 and 20% and contains more alcohol than parfum.
  • Eau de Toilette: Less expensive than EDP is eau de toilette, which is considered typical for daytime application. EDT is typically a light spray consisting of 5 to 15% aromatic essence.
  • Eau de Cologne: This type of perfume consists of 2 to 4% aromatic oils and a significant amount of alcohol. Users generally need a liberal application of cologne for the scent to come through. 
  • Eau Fraiche: Even lower than cologne is eau fraiche, which has an aromatic oil concentration between 1 and 3%. It usually has less alcohol than cologne, as it’s mostly water and may not last longer than an hour. Some body sprays fit in this category.

So, what’s the difference between body spray and perfume? In most cases, it’s the product’s strength, which is determined by its formula.

Greater concentration, longer scent

Generally speaking, the scent of a parfum lasts longer than one of an eau fraiche due to its higher concentration of aromatic essential oils. It’s common for parfums to last up to six hours. In the middle of the concentration lists, an eau de toilette product often lasts between two and three hours. 

There are plenty of exceptions, though. Depending on the application, the scent of some body sprays can last as long as those of parfums.

Is Body Spray or Perfume a Deodorant?

Some products contain elements of both deodorants and perfumes, but they generally serve distinct purposes. 

  • Perfumes, including cologne and body spray, are specifically designed to emit pleasant smells. 
  • Deodorants use a variety of chemicals and substances to decrease bacteria that cause foul body odor. 
  • Antiperspirants, closely related to deodorant, aim to reduce the amount of sweat the user produces.

Tips for Choosing Between Body Spray and Perfume

Based on the varying aromatic oil concentrations among types of perfume, you might think that going for parfum—the pure stuff, in many people’s minds—is a no-brainer. The decision on what to wear is, ultimately, up to you. A few factors may help you choose which type to use. 


Use the difference between perfume and body spray to your advantage by considering location. Do you spend most of your day at an office, in a vehicle, or at your house? Are you a frequent flier? Does the local coffee shop know you and your order by name? How about the fine dining locales in your neighborhood?

In short, where you plan to wear the perfume or body spray is important when choosing the fragrance. Because most concentrated products emit a strong scent, even with small applications, you might want to save this perfume type for a formal event. A typical eau de parfum would also be appropriate for a romantic night out with your partner or at a restaurant, lounge, or club. But for everyday use – when you don’t plan to sweat or get wet – a body spray may be plenty strong.


The main thing body spray has that parfum doesn’t is alcohol. The alcohol contained in body spray is often ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol, which are different from the alcohol found in beer, wine, or liquor. This means body sprays may be ideal for those sensitive to fragranced oils or additives. Body sprays and cologne usually contain more water than perfume, as well.

Remember that the typical parfum – or any type of perfume, for that matter – has a greater concentration of aromatic oils than a typical body spray. Knowing your needs and sensitivities can help you make the right choice.


The more essential aromatic oils a product has, the more expensive it will generally be. This is somewhat offset by the amount of application needed to emit the scent. However, you should expect to pay much more for concentrated products, even if they come in smaller bottles.

You’ll likely use a body spray quicker than something more concentrated, but it helps to only shop for quality products. When you trust products designed with care, including those available here at OffCourt, you can make an inexpensive bottle last a long time. OffCourt makes body sprays and perfumes that work with your natural scent and allow you to sweat like your body is designed to. Shelling out a lot of money is not required for you to smell good!

Performance Body Spray - Fresh Citron + Driftwood


Applying Body Spray vs. Perfume

There are a few differences between perfume and body spray regarding the manner of application. With both products, you’ll want to:

  • Apply just after showering (fragrance oils cling best to moisturized skin).
  • Stick to your skin’s pulse points, which include the neck, wrists, chest, and insides of elbows and knees.
  • Spray about six inches from your skin.

However, some rules of thumb for perfume application do not apply to body spray. For instance, perfume is generally fine to put on clothing, while the alcohol in body spray may damage certain types of fabrics. Never apply any spray directly on clothes that must be dry cleaned.

When applying, don’t forget one of the most important differences between body spray and perfume: a little bit of perfume goes a long way, while body spray takes more to achieve the same scent intensity.

OffCourt’s body sprays and fragrances come in matching scents, making it easy for you to layer and touch up throughout the day. Our Performance Body Spray is a deodorant and body spray formulated with skin-friendly ingredients that encourage the growth of good bacteria and squash the bad. Get the best of a deodorant and fragrance in one with this aluminum-free formula, which we’ve designed to keep odors at bay and add a fresh, invigorating scent that keeps you going all day long. 

Meanwhile, our fragrance is a classic perfume or cologne option made with quality aromatics. Each scent is tailored to a unique mood and personality – experience notes of bergamot, cedar, fig leaves, citrus, white musk, and more. 

We’ve worked diligently to create a product line that keeps up with your busy lifestyle. Because you deserve to look, feel, and smell your best.

Fragrance - Fig Leaves + White Musk


Final Thoughts

Most people like to smell good, and there are plenty of options for getting that scent you’ve been looking for. Knowing what the difference is between perfume and body spray may help you land on a decision, but you should also be aware of the perfume tiers we covered earlier in this article.

Busy people deserve to smell good without compromising their active lifestyles, and OffCourt helps make that happen. Browse our full collection of products to discover new ways to bring amazing scents and quality ingredients into your routine.

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  • Discover the distinction between body spray and perfume with OffCourt’s insightful breakdown! Whether you prefer a light, everyday scent or a more concentrated aroma, we’ve got you covered. Explore our range of natural body sprays and fragrances crafted with care for your active lifestyle. Elevate your scent game with OffCourt! https://www.essentialnaturaloils.com/collections/lotions-and-body-butters.

    Josef Demangeat