If you’re just learning about veganism, it can be shocking to find out just how many things people use that aren’t vegan. It’s not just our food we need to be wary of.
Perfume is no exception. Many perfumes contain one or more of the following non-vegan ingredients:
- Ambergris – Whale poop that is mostly collected from the ocean or beach.
- Beeswax – Honeybee workers secret liquified wax from wax-secreting glands that are located on the underside of their abdomens. Bees make beeswax to construct the combs to raise their brood as well as to store pollen and surplus honey for the winter.
- Castoreum – Extracted from the anal secretions of murdered beavers.
- Civet – Glandular secretions from civets. Civets are cute, raccoon-like animals who are unfortunately caught in the wild and kept in small cages to produce this product. Many captive civets are stressed, injured, abused, and malnourished.
- Honey – Bees don’t make honey for fun. They need it to feed themselves, especially during a time of scarcity like winter. In commercial bee farming, bees are stressed, malnourished with sugar water, and killed. Queen bees have their wings clipped, and are confined or killed. This is not only extremely cruel, but it upsets the complex social structure of the hive.
- Hyraceum – Stone-like poop from a rock hyrax that is collected in rocky regions of South Africa.
- Lanolin – Wool grease that can come from any wooly mammal but is mostly taken from sheep. Check out my article, “Vegan Fashion and Cruelty-Free Clothing” to read why wool and other animal-based textiles are cruel and not vegan.
- Milk – Apparently milk has enough of a scent to be an ingredient in many perfumes.
Even though musk used to come from male deer, it’s now thankfully banned in the perfumery world. Only synthetic forms of musk are made.
Here are some common names for synthetic musk:
- Musk ambrette
- Musk ketone
- Musk xylene
You might think that using a perfume with ambergris and hyraceum aren’t a big deal since their poop is found in the environment and animals aren’t caged or killed for it. It’s still not vegan since it comes from an animal.
As vegans, we want to stop promoting this idea that animals are commodities and that things that come from animals are products that we have the right to buy and sell. Animals are not ours to eat, sell, wear, or use for entertainment. Besides, are you that desperate to spray yourself with animal shit?
Even if you find a perfume that is 100% plant-based, it could still be tested on animals. High-end perfume from brands like Gucci, Versace, Chanel, and Marc Jacobs test on animals. The only way to be sure that a perfume hasn’t been tested on animals is to look for the leaping bunny logo on the package or bottle.
You should also look for the “Certified Vegan” symbol which means that it is approved and certified by Vegan.org, the oldest and largest vegan website in the world! You can also check the perfume brand’s website to make sure they are vegan and cruelty-free.
Now that you know what ingredients and brands to avoid, here are 10 great vegan perfumes you should try!
DedCool has been gaining a lot of traction on TikTok because of its interesting name, great variety of fragrances, and cool packaging. It’s genderless, biodegradable, cruelty-free, and vegan. Awesome! “Taunt” is said to be the best vanilla scent ever. It also has notes of bergamot and amber.
Spring has a fresh, spring clean, scent with notes of incense, moss, and bergamot.
A light, fruity, and floral vegan perfume with notes of candy floss, blackcurrant, and pink pepper.
This masculine scent reminds me of having sex with a lumberjack in the middle of the forest. It has cedarwood, cedar leaf, and black pepper.
Based in Los Angeles, Heretic has genderless fragrances with quality vegan, cruelty-free ingredients. I love “Scandalwood.” It has notes of sandalwood, synthetic musk, cedar, and Bulgarian rose. Burlesque Queen, Dita Von Teese, helped design that fragrance which is why it smells so sultry. You can also check out their “Discovery Set” to find your favorite fragrance.
Kat Von D is a famous vegan tattoo artist who has an awesome a line of vegan beauty products. Her “Sinner” perfume is the coolest perfume bottle ever! It looks like a bottle of poison and smells like patchouli, wood, and cinnamon. You’ll smell like a rock n’ roll vampire!
All of Skylar’s fragrances are hypoallergenic. I have sensitive skin so I’m really happy about that. Isle Escape will have you smelling like a tropical island in Thailand. It has a mix of bergamot, cardamom, and sandalwood.
I’ve been looking for a vegan perfume that smells like the sea and I’m so glad I found Skylar Salt Air! It will make you smell like a breezy summer day at the beach. It has notes of driftwood, sea salt, and seaweed.
Vyrao is a very witchy company that has all of their perfumes supercharged by a healer. For people who aren’t witches or into New Age spirituality, that means extra energy is put into the perfume to clear away negative energy and raise your vibrations to attract more positive energy into your life. The “Free 00” fragrance has a very fresh, mysterious citrusy, floral, and magickal scent. It contains lemon, mandarin, orange flowers, jasmine, vanilla, sandalwood, and waterlily.
This New Age-y company is great for people who love yoga and crystals. Each fragrance has a recommended spiritual ritual that you can try with it and has a cool story behind it as well. I love the smell of “Earth.” It has a fresh, earthy scent with frankincense, bergamot, Himalayan cedarwood, and Siberian fir.