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What is Toilet Water?

By Mandi R. Hall
Updated May 21, 2024
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Toilet water is a less concentrated version of perfume. It is also called eau de toilette. Often confused with eau de parfum, eau de toilette is the less intense of the two. Toilet water is made from scented essential oil, ethanol, and water. It is cheaper and lighter in fragrance than standard perfume.

Most perfume bottle labels will have both the French and English terms for toilet water written upon them. Many people are most familiar with the French phrase eau de toilette, however, due to France’s dominance of the perfume industry. Since the 16th century, France has been an epicenter of fragrance commerce.

Once it was popularized, toilet water was used to camouflage an individual’s personal stench. Because people bathed less frequently than they do in modern times, their body odor could become overwhelming. A strong herbal or citrus scent was used to mask the buildup of sweat and grime. Centuries later, eau de toilette is used as a lighter fragrance, often applied after bathing or taking a shower.

Real perfume or perfume extract has the highest concentration of essential scents. Typically, essential oils make up 20 percent of perfume, so it is far more pungent than both eau de parfum and toilet water. Essential oils make up roughly 15 percent of eau de parfum, whereas eau de toilette is made up of about 10 percent or less essential oils. Body splash is even lower, at around 1 percent.

The more concentrated a perfume style, the longer it lingers on the body. Toilet water is often reapplied a few times a day, as it is less concentrated than standard perfume. When applying it, be sure to splash it directly on the collarbone, behind the ears, on the wrists, or wherever else necessary. Let it dry and don’t rub the wrists together. Rubbing the perfume between portions of skin can alter its intended smell.

Toilet water comes in most any scent. From spicy or floral to more herbal, citrus, or berry-based, this eau de toilette product is purchased by people with varying preferences of scent. While some manufacturers use essential oils found in nature, synthetic scents may also be used in eau de toilette.

Toilet water is also often accompanied by other complementary body products such as lotion or cream. A layering affect like this allows the scent to linger on the body longer. Like other perfume products, toilet water should be applied on bare skin, as it can stain any nearby articles of clothing.

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