Few things feel more stylishly grown-up than having a signature fragrance true to your taste and personality. If you're new to fragrances and confused by all the terminology, read on.
According to Perfume.com, there are five broad fragrance types. Parfum (or pure perfume) is the strongest and most concentrated version. 15% to 40% of parfum is purely fragrance oils, so it lasts for a long time (six to eight hours) and is the most expensive of the lot. Parfum is also better for sensitive skin as it contains less alcohol. Eau de Parfum has a fragrance concentration of 15% to 20% and lasts for four to five hours. Eau de Toilette has a fragrance concentration of 5% to 15% and lasts for two to three hours. Eau de Cologne, has a high concentration of alcohol, and a fragrance concentration of 2% to 4%. Eau Fraiche has a fragrance concentration of 1% to 3%, but contains more water, and a low alcohol concentration. (Note that after shave also has about 1% to 3% fragrance concentration, though it typically contains alcohol as it's a disinfectant.)
Top, heart and base notes
Top notes make the "first impression"— the scent when you first apply the perfume; they don't last long. Heart notes are what come forth after the top notes fade; they combine with the base notes (which appear once the top notes completely disappear) to form the full fragrance that lasts on your skin the longest.
Finally, while many fragrances are traditionally classified as "men's" (pour homme) or "women's" (pour femme), please feel free to ignore this, and wear whatever makes you happy!