The Best Vegan and Cruelty-Free Perfume Brands to Buy Now

Searching for a signature scent is confusing enough, but finding a cruelty-free scent if you’re a committed vegan is even harder. Before you can start deciding if you like the smell, you have to scour the ingredient list for animal derivatives, which isn’t immediately transparent because perfume brands aren’t legally required to disclose. Ingredients. Additionally, you may want to confirm the brand’s animal testing policy, including whether or not it is sold in China.

But some of the best perfumes for women are actually vegan and cruelty-free, so as long as you know which brands to look for, you should be able to find a truly lovely signature scent. A good thing too, because statistics show that around 9.6 million Americans now follow a plant-based diet. (opens in a new tab) while in the UK the figure is around 600,000, according to the Vegan Society (opens in a new tab).

The cruelty-free fragrances are just as sophisticated as their traditional counterparts – Le Labo’s Santal 33, as the New York Times famously described as the perfume equivalent of an “under-the-radar computer bag”, testifies to this. So whether you’re looking for the fruity, fresh, woody, floral, smoky flavors or the best vanilla flavors, there should be a vegan and cruelty-free option for you.

The Best Vegan and Cruelty-Free Perfume Brands to Buy Now

1. Flower Street

Floral Street perfume bottle with a color block outline background

(Image credit: Floral Street)

As their name suggests, Floral Street offers some of the finest floral fragrances, but they have also always put sustainability and ethical sourcing at the heart of their concerns. So it’s no surprise that it’s also a vegan brand, open to using a combination of natural, nature-identical, and synthetic flavors.

Founder Michelle Feeney says, “We want to make sure we are always considered and considerate in everything we do to limit our impact on the environment.

So the latest Arizona Bloom eau de parfum turns into a synthetic ingredient of “salty musk,” which Michelle describes as: “a dry, warm note that gives a ‘second skin‘ feel and an element of surprise to the scent.”

2. The Lab

Le Labo perfume bottle with a color block outline background

(Image credit: The Lab)

Not only is this under-the-radar brand a fashion-scented secret, but PETA has also confirmed that Le Labo is 100% cruelty-free.

The cult brand does not test its finished products or ingredients on animals, nor does its suppliers or third parties. The Lab also does not sell its products where animal testing is required by law.

To clarify this point, a statement on Le Labo’s website reads, “We believe it is more humane to test cosmetics on New Yorkers than on animals.”

3. Lab Scents

Perfume lab perfume bottle with color block outline background

(Image credit: Parfums Laboratory)

Eco-friendly, gender-neutral and cruelty-free, this British perfume brand ticks all the boxes for the socially conscious consumer. Plus, all formulas are paraben-free and involve a small, transparent supply chain.

The only thing to love more are the scents themselves – Atlas, for example, evokes Morocco with its blend of tobacco, velvety rum, sweet vanilla, black pepper and a touch of cognac. Smoky, alcoholic and spicy, just the way we like our perfumes.

4. Own reserve

Clean Reserve perfume bottle with a color block outline background

(Image credit: Clean Reserve)

In addition to its credentials as a sustainable and eco-conscious brand, Clean Reserve has also always been vegan, and that includes its musky scent offering Skin.

5. Absolute value

Valeur Absolue perfume bottle with color block outline background

(Image credit: Absolute Value)

Valeur Absolue’s crystal-infused bottles transform ‘luxury’ into ‘responsible luxury’, which she considers the cornerstone of the brand.

Animal-friendly and sustainably sourced, it uses plant extracts and essential oils (bergamot, jasmine and vetiver), which have been scientifically proven to improve your mood, as well as lab-created ingredients when offer a better alternative to the planet.

6. Shay and Blue

Shay and Blue perfume bottle with a color block outline background

(Image credit: Shay and Blue)

The natural ingredients in this disruptive fragrance brand are certified by PETA to be cruelty-free. Creator Dom de Vetta says, “I am a yogi and activist deeply concerned about the future of our planet.

I believe the status quo is killing us, and it’s up to the owners of brands like Shay & Blue to change the way we do things, to be mindful and actively committed to doing no harm, that’s why we’re a vegan brand.”

Brand available in UK only

7. Lush

two bottles of Lush Karma perfume on an orange stand

(Image credit: Lush)

Lush has been fighting animal testing since before its first store opened, so it’s no surprise that its fragrances are also vegan.

Not only does it test products on humans, via human cell cultures and microbiology, Lush also reports its use of natural ingredients, like Sumatran black patchouli and black pepper in Lord of Misrule, a hot juice, earthy and spicy that announces itself when you enter a room.

What is a cruelty free perfume?

Simply put, cruelty-free fragrances contain absolutely no animal-derived ingredients. These include extracts of milk, honey, leather, ambergris and beeswax, but also secretions that animals use to mark their territory.

Civet musk is one such secretion and was traditionally used as a fixative to make a perfume last longer. Cruelty-free fragrances also must not be sold in China, where the law requires cosmetics to be tested on animals.

What makes a perfume non-vegan?

Fragrances that contain an ingredient of animal origin are not vegan. Dom de Vetta, creator of the vegan perfume brand Shay and Blue, says: “An example widely used in perfume is beeswax. You are essentially depriving the bees of one of the natural resources of their habitat.

It used to be an even uglier thing to smell good. It was common to use civet musk, which comes from the anal glands of the now endangered wildcat found in India and Africa. The civets were captured and held in cramped cages, with the musk ‘scraped’ every 10 days to create velvety, floral scents. Musk was also taken from the glands of a male musk deer, while beavers were killed in order to extract castoreum, a leather-smelling oil from their castor bags. There is also ambergris, from the intestines of sperm whales.

Fortunately, modern perfumery is a bit more ethical, with the global vegan beauty market now reaching $25.3 billion by 2029. (opens in a new tab) and more cruelty-free fragrances are emerging to meet demand.

While whales were taken in the past, this is no longer the case. Dom says: “Whales secrete waste from their stomachs, which then goes into the ocean and ends up washing up on a beach in the form of ambergris, a solid that can then be used in perfumery, without making hurt the whale. Since the early 1900s, castoreum has almost always been recreated synthetically, where it is mellowed to smell more musky, pairing well with rose and oud.

Musk secretions still exist but are rarely used because they are prohibited, perfume houses favoring synthetic versions, which smell almost the same. Dom continues: “Civet musk is less and less common and in some regions like the EU, for example, it is banned. However, there are other parts of the world where civets are still caged, and although this practice is generally illegal, it still continues. So if you want to avoid it, support vegan fragrances. Shay and Blue, for example, uses an nature-identical synthetic called Isoeugenol for its musky notes – a spicy, woody, clove scent that changes depending on the ingredients it’s mixed with.

Are synthetic fragrances a good cruelty free alternative?

Most perfume houses now rely on synthetic versions of animal flavors. Common varieties include civetone, muscone and ambroxide, while synthetic musks are estimated to be used in 99% of perfumes on the market today.

Michelle Feeney, founder of Floral Street, a sustainable company and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) (opens in a new tab) accredited perfume brand, says, “A good modern perfume should contain a combination of natural, nature-identical and synthetic ingredients. Synthetics are created in the lab and do not include animal-derived materials so no animals are harmed in the process. Not only are they a cruelty-free alternative, but they can also be kinder to the environment.

Dom agrees, adding, “Most synthetic flavors are safe and long-lasting. You just have to be careful to use aromas that biodegrade properly in the ecosystem so as not to pollute. Look for a brand with a full ‘No List’, detailing any synthetics it refuses to use.”

Are all natural fragrances also cruelty-free fragrances?

A common mistake is to assume that a natural fragrance is also, by proxy, vegan. Michelle says, “There is a misconception that synthetic ingredients are ‘bad’ and natural or organic ingredients are ‘good’. It’s not always the case. »

Indeed, natural is not always synonymous with ethics. Civet musk, for example, is technically a 100% natural fragrance ingredient, but its extraction is incredibly cruel.

Michelle continues, “Synthetic musk offers a ‘responsible’ alternative to natural musk. At Floral Street, we use a combination of sustainable natural materials, synthetics and nature-identical ingredients and we’re transparent about it. There are hundreds of natural ingredients that can be used in perfumery, but several thousand synthetic ones, which actually expands the palette with which a perfumer can create.

When in doubt, Michelle recommends looking for PETA’s leaping bunny logo on the perfume packaging. “Buying by this symbol is the shortcut to know the references of a brand. It’s a global touchpoint that crosses borders and languages, and it clearly guides consumers to make better ethical beauty choices.

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