Is Perfume Vegan? No, not all perfume is vegan. Most perfume contains animal-derived ingredients or have been tested on animals. Many of us think of perfume as a natural and cruelty free product but sadly this is not usually the case.
Perfume rarely has information on the packaging which makes it extremely difficult to know which products are cruelty free and vegan.
Unfortunately, many perfume manufacturers test on animals or use ingredients that have been tested on animals. Fortunately, it is a lot easier to find brands that do not test on animals these days.
Animal Derived Ingredients
In addition to many perfumes being implicated by animal testing, many contain ingredients that are derived from animals. This guide will make it easier than ever to find vegan, cruelty free perfume.
Why Is My Perfume Not Vegan?
Many perfumes have been tested on animals and several non-vegan ingredients may be used.
If the perfume is not being marketed or labelled as vegan then it is best to assume it is not vegan.
The non-vegan ingredients are often substances secreted from animals when they are making their territories including:
Castoreum is a musky scent is extracted from the castor sacs of beavers. This is said to have a leather scent that is in many popular fragrances. This ingredient is used both as a fragrance and as a fixative to stabilise the perfume.
Kasturi is a secretion from a gland between a male deer’s back and rectum. The gland is completely removed so it can be used in perfumes.
Civet is a musk that is used as a fragrance and as a stabilising agent. It creates a floral, sweet scent and comes from a gland under the tail of the African Civet Cat. Many perfumes now use a synthetic version.
Musk is obtained from glands of a male Musk deer. Musk deer have been hunted for centuries to produce the scent found in many perfumes, as a result, musk deer populations are extremely low. Many perfumes now use synthetic musk or use plants as a substitute.
Ambergris originates from sperm whale digestive secretions. It used to be harvested from whales but is now collected as ocean waste rather than directly from sperm whales. Ambergris is considered to be best when it has been floating in the ocean for a long time as it has time to mature. It is still widely sought after but is rare and expensive.
Hyraces is hardened urine and faeces of the rock hyrax.
Lanolin is a secretion of glands from sheep reared for their wool.
Other non-vegan ingredients include honey, beeswax, milk and leather.
As you are reading this you are probably thinking “I would never want to put any of these substances on my skin”… Yeah, me either. That’s why we need to be aware of what is in the products we are using. While these may be listed as the above names they may also be listed just as “fragrance” which makes it impossible to know the origins.
Fortunately, it is possible to replicate many scents without using any animal products. Ultimately, these animal-derived ingredients are not necessary and there are sustainable, ethical and cruelty free alternatives we can choose.
Best Vegan Perfumes
There are many wonderful vegan perfume brands available. Below we have rounded up some of the most popular plant-based, cruelty free perfumes available.
Why Choose Vegan Perfume?
Choosing vegan options helps to positively impact the planet, it is more ethical and means you aren’t funding animal cruelty, exploitation or habitat destruction. Buying vegan also helps to create demand for more sustainable options and reduce demand for the opposite.
Pacifica is one of the most popular options that are 100% vegan and cruelty-free. They have many happy customers and lots of positive product reviews so are a safe choice if you are looking for a new fragrance at a low price.
Pacifica also has an extensive “No List” of ingredients they don’t use in their products including phthalates, paragons, polycyclic musks, propylene glycol, nitromusks and more.
They offer a range of spray perfumes, body mist and roll on perfumes. Their products contain high quality ingredients including natural and essential oils and there are lots of fragrances to choose from. Two of our favourites are:
Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange Perfume Roll On – the roll ons are perfect for carrying in your handbag or makeup bag. The Blood Orange option has a sweet, fruity but natural smell that is not too strong. Applying and reapplying this perfume is easy thanks to the roller.
Pacifica Flower Moon Perfume – this spray perfume is a blend of jasmine, peach and vanilla. This blend smells great, it is sweet and light with a lovely warmth but it doesn’t last a long time so you may want to reapply during the day.
Dolma offers a range of ethical perfumes, aftershaves and candles. All of the products are vegan, cruelty free and made in the UK. There are lots of fragrances to choose from including this Anahita perfume which has a soft and fruity fragrance.
If you’re unsure where to start, Dolma does offer a Discovery Set of 12 of their classic fragrances. The bottles are essentially perfume samples so you can try each one allowing you to find your favourite before buying a larger bottle.
Eden Perfumes is a UK brand that started in Brighton. They use 100% vegan, cruelty free and ethically sourced ingredients to create high quality fragrances. The perfumes are handmade and use vegan natural essential oils. The Eden Perfumes are also extremely well priced, starting at just £18.
Floral Street offer award winning vegan fragrances. They are cruelty free, use sustainably sourced ingredients and use recyclable packaging too. The fragrances are vibrant, powered by flowers and smell divine. One of their top perfumes is Arizona Bloom which was a winner in the Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards UK 2020. This is a dry floral amber that is warm and uplifting… Perfect for spring and summer.
Lush is one of the top go-to brands for cruelty-free cosmetics. They never test on animals and they offer a wide range of fun fragrances. Lush offers a range of vegan perfumes including “Lust”, “Rose Jam”, “What Would Love Do?”, “Cardomom Coffee”, “Grassroots” and “Two More Hearts” … Just to name a few. There’s certainly plenty to choose from.
Le Labo is vegan and cruelty free. They offer luxurious, hand blended perfumes of excellent quality. Their perfume bottles are minimalistic as the scents speak for themselves. In addition to
The downside to Le Labo is the price tag. Their popular Santal 33 perfume spray will set you back £130 for 50ml. This is a warm and inviting scent that brings together cardamom, iris, violet and ambrox. You can also personalise the label and the box.
Valeur Absolue is certified vegan and has been awarded the Butterfly Mark by Positive Luxury to show they have a company-wide commitment to sustainability. This is a great brand to go for if you are looking for an ethical, clean and luxurious brand.
Last but not least on our vegan perfume list is DefineMe, the scents are clean, natural, vegan and cruelty free. They list their ingredients on each product and product page so you know exactly what is in the perfumes, they don’t add harmful chemicals such as paragons or phosphates to their products and all the fragrances are made in the USA. In addition to all of this, DefineMe also donate $1 from every bottle to scholarships to help educate young women in developing countries.
How To Know If Perfume Is Vegan
- Look out for the vegan logo and leaping bunny logo
- Look for honesty and transparency related to the product and ingredients
- Support independent vegan companies where possible (this is the best way to avoid supporting non-vegan parent companies)
I hope this has helped you find your new favourite vegan, cruelty free fragrance. Buying vegan perfume can feel like a difficult maze to navigate so hopefully this has made the situation clearer. Always keep an eye out for brands that specifically state they are vegan and cruelty free.