What’s your favorite smell? Ours is anything that comes without harming a living creature.
Oh, and jasmine. We love the smell of jasmine 🙂
And why should the two be mutually exclusive?
In today’s world of eco conscious beauty, there are so many cruelty free and vegan perfume brands popping up and promoting a brave new world of sustainable beauty scents
FINDING VEGAN AND CRUELTY FREE PERFUME BRANDS
But for us, while vegan and cruelty free attributes are non-negotiable, we review brands using our sustainable personal care criteria, and that means the products on this list will be (as much as possible):
- all-natural / organic (ideally but not mandatory, as we’ll discuss soon)
- palm oil free
- have ethical supply chains and
- ideally use thoughtful packaging
Because traditional perfume is problematic in a few ways, let’s get into more detail about how these criteria pertain to sustainable and eco friendly perfume.
What is vegan perfume? Or rather, what is non-vegan perfume?
It’s just a bit gross to imagine that inside the beautiful crystal perfume bottle on your vanity is an animal byproduct.
The horrifying truth, however, is that some of the world’s favorite fragrances are crafted using animal derived ingredients, including:
- Civet: an anal gland secretion (yes, seriously) from the endangered civet wildcat. To harvest it, these cats are held in cages and kept alive so they can keep producing the secretion every 10 days. Neither vegan NOR cruelty free.
- Castoreum: a leather-like smell from the genitals of the castor beaver.
- Ambergris: a perfume fixative (used to make the smell last longer) made from the digestive tract of sperm whales, sometimes harvested from beaches whales, sometimes from hunted whales.
- Musk: another glandular secretion from the male East Asian musk deer
Can you say, “Eau de… ewww.”
But that’s not all. These brands don’t even have to disclose which ingredients are animal byproducts. They don’t even have to disclose the true ingredients at all!
They just have to disclose water, denatured ethyl alcohol, and “fragrance”, which can mean literally anything. Basically, the whole perfume industry sustains itself by protecting disgusting trade secrets.
So how do we tell a vegan friendly perfume from foe? Well that’s why we’re writing this article.
The positive note is that people are starting to demand products that don’t harm or exploit animals. In fact, most modern perfumes have replaced animal odors with synthetic replicators.
But is that an issue of its own? Let’s dive deeper…
SYNTHETIC VEGAN FRAGRANCES: THE LESSER OF TWO EVILS?
While synthetics defeat one evil and enable perfumeries to do without animal by-products, they do present an entirely different problem. Namely, these syntehtics can cause a range of health issues. They are also made typically made from non-biodegradable petrochemicals which is not exactly ideal.
For us here at Sustainable Jungle, that violates one of our core sustainable personal care criteria: natural / organic ingredients. It seems like we have to weigh the importance of animal welfare vs. our own (and the planet’s). Talk about a catch-22… but let’s look at the pros and cons.
While there is plenty more to learn about on this topic and perhaps we’ll go deeper on this at some point, for now we’re prioritizing vegan and cruelty free perfumes.
For brands that do include synthetic fragrance, we’ve only included those brands that are transparent about their inclusions and ensure only non-toxic systhetics are used.
Of course, the best vegan perfumes for us are those that are made from essential oils rather than synthetic fragrances, so we’ve made sure to include a fair few natural oil-based perfumes, too.
THE REAL ISSUE: FINDING TRULY CRUELTY FREE PERFUME
Perfume’s most prolific and pervasive issue is animal testing.
While vegan perfume brands have become quite prolific, the real challenge is finding perfume brands that are both vegan and cruelty free.
Heaps of perfume brands no longer use animal byproducts in their formulas, but they still test their products on animals. Once again, we find ourselves in that troublesome ethical gap between vegan and cruelty free. These terms are not synonymous.
Here’s the thing: many perfume companies don’t directly sanction animal testing on their products. They brand themselves as “cruelty free”. However, that doesn’t mean they’re entirely against animal testing. For example, these brands may choose to sell products into countries like China, where pre-retail animal testing is legally mandated for any and all beauty products.
In the end, these cruelty free perfume brands aren’t truly cruelty free. They’re knowingly selling products in a territory that requires animal testing. They’re complicit in the animal cruelty that is taking place. All this for the sake of profit.
And then there’s the whole mess of perfume parent companies and licensing agreements.
Essentially a cruelty free and vegan perfume brand can be owned by a larger corporation that is not cruelty free and sells into China. This is the reason most heavy hitting luxury perfume brands, like Vera Wang and Marc Jacobs, can’t be considered cruelty free.
We’re not here to call out companies, though. For that, Cruelty-Free Kitty has done a great job of using succinct infographics for listing perfume brands that either directly test on animals or sell into China.
Instead, we’re here to stay positive about the perfumes, and the remarkable strides the industry is making (even if it’s not perfect yet).
We’ve been spending a lot of time sniffing out not just the best vegan perfumes, but those that don’t support animal testing in any way, shape, or smell!
So without further eau de adieu, here are some of the best cruelty free perfumes we could find.
1. THE 7 VIRTUES
About The 7 Virtues Vegan, Cruelty Free Perfumes
Another Clean at Sephora cruelty free perfume, The 7 Virtues “Peace Perfumes” are made with an incredibly cool aim: to use intentionally targeted ingredient sourcing from recovering countries to empower its citizens and help with economic recovery.
They source certified Fair trade essential oils from Haiti, Rwanda and Madagascar. In India and Afghanistan, it is too expensive for them to get certified, and The 7 Virtues is satisfied with their testing of their natural oils with our priority of providing jobs and dignity.
You can choose from two different fragrance lines: Contemporary and Original, each with 7 scents available in 50ml spray bottles or 11ml rollerballs.
One of their top rated scents, the Vetiver Elemi, is a unisex, earthy scent bearing the slight spices of cardamom and nutmeg, making for a really unique odor (in a good way) according to a lot of reviews.
Best of all, Vetiver Elemi helps Haitian vetiver root farmers rebuild after the 2010 earthquake.
All fragrances are PETA certified vegan and cruelty free (also certified by Leaping Bunny), hypoallergenic, and organic (referring to both the natural essential oil derived fragrances and cane sugar alcohol base).
Their products also free from SLS, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, synthetic colors, UV inhibitors and sulfates.
Further, they do not use palm oil or palm oil derivatives in any of their products.
About The 7 Virtues
The 7 Virtues is a Canadian brand based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Their farmers earn 2.5x the income as others, which gives them not only economic opportunity but protection from things like forced marriages and human trafficking. They told us: “Our mission is clean, but it’s also bigger than that. It must put dignity in the supply chain for people rebuilding.”
The company’s noble goal is to “Make Perfume Not War. To make rebuilding more exciting than destruction” has earned them quite a lot of attention from beauty and business publications alike.
Their story has even been made into the award-winning documentary Perfume War.
The 7 Virtues writes, “We are on a mission to ignite a cavalry of business to come and do trade with nations rebuilding”.
Barb Stegmann, founder and CEO, has even expanded the philosophies that make up the foundation of the company into a women-in-business empowerment book, The Seven Virtues of a Philosopher Queen.
Additionally, The 7 Virtues donate solar powered lights to their farmers in Rwanda. They also donate perfume to local charities from women’s shelters to fundraisers for literacy, mental health, animal rights. Barb Stegmann also founder volunteers and teaches marketing to start up female founders in Haiti. .
2. CLEAN BEAUTY COLLECTIVE
*Note: Clean Beauty Collective use non-toxic synthetic frgrances that replace the need for animal by-products. The glycerin in their products is derived from RSPO certified palm oil
About Clean Beauty Collective Vegan, Cruelty Free Perfumes
When researching this article, we were excited to discover that Sephora’s vegan perfume brand list is actually pretty extensive; the trick though is finding brands that are also cruelty free.
To the rescue, Clean Beauty Collective is an excellent cruelty free perfume brand at Sephora. They’re also considered a “Clean at Sephora” brand.
And they really embrace that “clean” branding. Even the elegant square bottles look crisp and clean with all white labels and classy wooden caps.
Their scents come in three main categories:
- Clean Classic: linear and simple fragrances for the day
- Clean Reserve: “farm to fragrance” scents made from sustainably harvested flowers and herbs. This includes soothing scents like Citron Fig and Velvet Flora.
- Clean Reserve Avant Garden: as with the previous, but with a slightly more exotic twist
Each of the fragrances consist of a blend of natural plant essences and non-toxic phthalate-free synthetics. For the full list of ingredients they don’t use, see here.
But don’t let the use of synthetics end your curiosity, because even those have been carefully chosen:
Whether it’s sustainably sourced or tried-and-true synthetics—we’re proud to say we always put you and the environment first. And we never test on animals. That’s our promise.
CBC uses glycerin which is a common palm oil derivative. They have let us know that their glycerin is made from RSPO certified palm oil.
Lastly, CBC has a little something for every budget, from affordable roller ball options to more high end vegan perfumes that cost close to $100.
About Clean Beauty Collective
Since their start in 2003, Clean Beauty Collective’s motto is, “Simple. Trusted. Conscious.” Three things we want from every perfumery and beauty company!
Unlike other companies that dip their toes in a lot of product pies, Clean Beauty Collective focuses only on making the very best cruelty free and vegan perfume. That dedication and narrow focus really shows.
Perfume aside, every step in their supply chain shows conscious consideration for both consumers and the planet. They source ingredients responsibly, work with partners who also employ ethical business practices, and use minimum impact packaging where possible.
3. BY/ ROSIE JANE
*Note: By/Rosie Jane use non-toxic synthetic frgrances that replace the need for animal by-products. We are confirming policies directly with this brand
About By/ Rosie Jane Vegan and Cruelty Free Perfumes
By/ Rosie Jane, another Clean at Sephora vegan perfume brand.
The five scents are adorably named after her family, including herself (Rosie), her husband (James), and her three daughters (Tilly, Angie, and Leila Lou).
You can get any of them in cruelty free perfume oils (fragrance mixed with organic coconut oil), classic Eau de Parfum (fragrance mixed with organic cane sugar alcohol), travel spray, or candles.
Leila Lou, whose notes of jasmine, pear, and fresh cut grass, “feels like the perfect pair of blue jeans” is one of the most popular, with 4.9/5 stars on their website. One review raves about how just putting it on “makes you feel happy and ready for the day”.
Just note that reviews also mention its strength, a little goes a long way.
Personally, we like the sound of the Angie “wine in the afternoon” fragrance!
At around $65 for 50ml, these perfumes fall at a nice middle price point. Or get the full Discovery set of sample oils to try them all at a discounted value.
As alluded to above, they do use some synthetic fragrances but still aim for certified organic in as many other ingredients as possible. All are paraben, phthalate, and BHT-free, and they list out any potential irritants and allergens on each product page.
Get a full whiff of all their ingredient info here, complete with their EWG rating.
About By/ Rosie Jane
Company namesake Rosie Jane Johnson, a celebrity makeup artist, started this brand in 2010. They’re certified cruelty free by Leaping Bunny and go to great lengths to ensure every aspect of their business is environmentally and socially conscious.
That involves paying attention to details like packaging. Their perfumes and oils come in lovely cylindrical glass jars that can be sent back and refilled for free swag as per their Give Back Program!
These bottles are then packaged in simple 100% recycled cardboard tubes (that’s made using wind energy) which are printed with vegetable-based inks. For parts that can’t be recycled regularly (like sprayers), they partner with Terracycle to ensure proper recycling.
By/ Rosie Jane takes pride in sustainably sourcing only the best ingredients and mixing them all into the final products right at home in Los Angeles, CA:
“Clean beauty for cool humans.”
We are confirming their palm oil policy directly with them.
*Note: Phlur use non-toxic synthetic frgrances that replace the need for animal by-products. We are confirming policies directly with this brand
About Phlur Vegan, Cruelty Free Perfumes
We think this is one of the best vegan, cruelty free perfume brands around (see why below). It’s no surprise then that it’s also another “Clean at Sephora” vegan perfume.
Phlur is Leaping Bunny-certified internationally cruelty free.
The Fragrance Foundation’s Indie Fragrance nominee Hanami is their best-seller, with rave reviews for its calming, creamy sweetness derived from fig and sandalwood notes.
Aside from all products being highly rated, Phlur makes the shopping process fun. Browse their 11 different scent families through engaging product pages that helpfully convey not just the perfume notes (which, let’s be honest, can get a bit pretentious and ambiguous when it comes to perfumes) but the weight and longevity.
There’s even Spotify playlists that match the mood of each fragrance family! Creative!
We love their “conscious choice” section which describes how Phlur supports sustainability with that particular fragrance. For instance, in their Moab, they describe how the fragrance’s ingredient snowbell tree resin is sourced fair trade from a company in Honduras that helps continue the traditional of sustainable resin harvesting.
Because transparency trumps all, they publicly disclose every ingredient. No tricky trade secrets, no sketchy secret formulas. You can even check their full company ingredient list here, all of which has been confirmed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as a non-threatened plant species.
While they opt for natural whenever possible, they do openly use some synthetic fragrances and musks, though never questionable or unsafe synthethics such as nitro or polycyclic musks. They also use no parabens.
The only downside is that they are a bit spendy compared to others on this list. If you’re not convinced you’ll love it give their sample size a try – should last roughly a month with daily use.
Austin-based and founded as recently as 2016, Phlur is a young vegan perfume brand (that also makes lotion, body wash, and candles) that aims at creating “Good. Clean. Fun”. Their business is built entirely around conscious choice:
What’s a conscious choice? It’s a decision made by being mindful, by daring to ask why things are the way they are. And it’s the foundation of everything we do.
These core conscious choices that define Phlur are:
- “Make fragrance without compromise.” Not only are no animals harmed by their products, they coordinate with IUCN to ensure top quality, ethically sourced ingredients all around.
- “Make fragrance that feels as great as it smells.” No skin irritants or stabilizers, ever.
- “Package everything with integrity.” Not only are the glass bottles 20% recycled glass with vegetable based paint (making them fully recyclable), the glass is opaque. That helps filter out light and elongate the life of your perfume.
- “Design the experience around discovery.” Luxury goes beyond the celebrity sponsored name or fashion branding.
- “Give back in any way we can.” They’re a certified B-Corp, part of the American Sustainable Business Council, and a member of 1% for the Planet. $5 of every bottle sold goes to either the ICUN or the Central Park Conservancy
- “Work with like-minded people.” Run by a husband and wife duo, their carefully chosen team of world class perfumers is full of mindful, eco conscious individuals.
- “Keep an open mind.” Have suggestions? They want to hear them!
We are confirming their palm oil policy directly with them.
*Note: DefineMe use non-toxic synthetic frgrances that replace the need for animal by-products. Their products are at a minimum 75% natural
About DefineMe Vegan, Cruelty Free Perfumes
If you’re not a Sephora shopper, you’re still in luck. Find DefineMe’s cruelty free perfumes at Ulta and on Amazon.
Choose from six “It-Girl” scents themed around six very different, but equally empowered women:
Sofia Isabel, the “free spirit who embraces life with confidence”, is by far their most popular and reviewed vegan perfume. It has notably feminine elements of mandarin, jasmine, and sugar, which are said to be energizing and mood boosting but not overpowering.
All six fragrances can be bought in either a fragrance mist, travel mist, and roll-on fragrance oil. They’re also free from phthalates, parabens, and GMOs and are made using 100% plant-based ingredients.
DefineMe Fragrances do contain some non-toxic synthetic ingredients (in additiona to natural fragrance oils). All of their products are a minimum of 75% natural.
The biggest reason why [DefineMe includes some synthetic ingredients] being some essential oils are skin sensitizers and deemed toxic and also the negative environmental impact many naturals have, such as sandalwood (e.g. they kill the entire tree when they take the oil).
According to DefineMe, “Just because something’s vegan doesn’t give it an excuse to not smell divine!”.
Our thoughts exactly.
Aside from offering made-in-the USA eco conscious cruelty-free and vegan perfumes, DefineMe aims to empower women, right down to the core of their brand.
Creator Jennifer McKay Newton not only wants to make customers feel uplifted by their fragrances, but to make women in all walks of life empowered.
That’s why they’ve implemented the DefineMe Dollar Program, which gives $1 for every bottle of perfume purchased to She’s the First. This organization fights gender inequality through education” by giving scholarships to girls in low income countries in hopes that they will become the first in their families to graduate high school and start new pillars of educational excellence.
DefineMe doesn’t just define themselves as an ethical perfumeria but creating one of the best vegan perfumes, they help other women define themselves through empowerment, education, and eco friendly eau de cologne!
All DefineMe’s products exclude palm oil and palm oil ingredients. All their sourcing is ILS compliant.
For packaging, they use a combination of glass, paper, metal and plastic. They try to minimize the plastic and we’re at 90% re-fillable packaging at this time, transitioning to 100% by 2021. They use FSC certified paper with plant based inks and buy their packaging locally, so shipping is minimal.
6. RAINWATER BOTANICALS
About Rainwater Botanicals Cruelty Free and Vegan Perfumes
Whether or not you’re part of the pumpkin spice everything cult, Rainwater Botanicals’ Pumpkin Chai natural vegan perfume oil will make you want to wrap yourself up in your favorite fall sweater and immerse yourself in its warm vanilla undertones.
A sampling of their 24 delectable scent options include caffe mocha, spruce and cardamom, wild rose and bergamot, and orange blossom. If you can’t decide on one, start with their sample sizes to find your favorite fragrance.
Their perfume oils are made with organic jojoba oil and scented using essential oils and all-natural absolutes and CO2 extracts. They’re then packaged in either a glass bottle with a cork stopper or in a larger spray bottle.
About Rainwater Botanicals
Rainwater Botanicals has been making cruelty-free perfume, skin care, soaps, salves, and deodorants since 1999. Cruelty-free manufacturing was a founding pillar of the company, one that still supports it today.
As a member of the Safe Cosmetic Business Network, they also take great care to remain vegan and source only from ethical suppliers.
As an added perk, many of their products come in zero waste packaging and their products are palm oil free.
*Note: DefineMe use non-toxic synthetic frgrances that replace the need for animal by-products.
About Bloomtown Cruelty Free and Vegan Perfume Oils
Bloomtown’s roll-on infused perfume oils come in 6 signature scents, named after sensually unique places like “The Meadow” and “The Rose Garden”. Put on the perfume oil and find yourself transported.
Their most highly rated scent, “The Cafe”, was awarded Editor’s Choice in the 2018 beauty shortlist awards. It has delicious notes of hazelnut, vanilla and…coffee, of course.
The only thing we like better than the smell of coffee though are short lists of ingredients. Here you’ll find no palm oil, sulphates, phthalates, petrochemicals, PEGs, SLS, or dyes.
Since one glass bottle only costs £6 but will last months, these are super affordable cruelty free perfume oils.
Coming at you from Cornwall, the land of pasties and (apparently) perfumes, Bloomtown is one of the best UK cruelty free perfume brands we’ve come across.
They’re not only PETA-certified cruelty free and vegan, but Orangutan Alliance-certified palm oil free. They’ve been recognized for their ethical beauty practices by The Ethical Company Organisation and Good Shopping Guide.
And they donate an inspiring 10% of profits (a sizeable percentage as far as charitable giving is concerned) to environmental and social causes.
Aside from perfume, they also make tons of bath and body products, skin care, lip care and gift baskets of all the above.
Many of their products are 100% natural, and the rest are mostly natural, as they do use some synthetic aroma molecules. Part of their ethical policy is to reduce “green-washing” in the industry and to them, all manner of ills are covered by using buzzwords such as “natural.” For example, Palm oil is natural but very harmful to the environment, Arsenic is natural, but you wouldn’t want to put it on your skin.
Per Bloomtown, “Lots of synthetics are actually better for your skin and the environment. Synthetic musk, for example, prevented the extinction of the musk deer, which was hunted for its glands. And plenty of natural essential oils have just as many, if not more, allergens and irritants as their synthetic counterparts.”
8. FOR STRANGE WOMEN
*Note: The oil perfumes are vegan, however the solid perfunes as well as a few other products contain beeswax.
About For Strange Women Cruelty Free, Vegan Perfume
For Strange Women are creators of the artisanal avant-garde. For those who want to get away from traditional feminine scents in favor of something a little more understated and unique.
While you’ll still find some classic fresh floral options, you’ll also get plenty of unique scent experiences, like Tobacco + Leather and cozy fireside-inspired scents like Coffee + Cocoa.
We’re intrigued by the Decadence + Debauchery fragrance, a blend of immortelle, amber, violet, sweet tobacco, and vanilla. Made “for burlesque beauties and Victorian darlings alike”, reviews call it “deep, luscious and naughty”. Who says ethically good perfumes can’t sometimes be a little bad…in the right way, of course.
Their glass vialed cruelty free perfume oils, solid perfume tins, and perfume jewelry are all natural, free from synthetic fragrances, phthalates, parabens and alcohol. Scents are instead derived from essential oils and plant essences and blended into a coconut and jojoba oil base.
What’s really unique about these perfumes is that while floral notes fade over time on the shelf, the perfume doesn’t lose its power. Rather than expire, the scent actually evolves toward earthier notes!
For Strange Women also make some beautiful Perfume Jewelry. Natural perfumes don’t last quite as long as synthetic so these are great for re-applying on the go.
We have confirmd that For Strange Women is cruelty-free and entirely palm oil free. While their Oil Perfumes are vegan (made in a jojoba wax base), their solid perfumes are made in a beeswax base and therefore not vegan. A few of their other products lso contain beeswax.
About For Strange Women
Based in Kansas City, MO this all-female run “strange apothecary” has been making small batch cruelty-free perfumes since 2009. All their perfumes are inspired by traditional recipes and capture a classically Victorian-era attitude about beauty.
Despite the name, they make unisex perfumes because they believe “natural perfume is genderless”.
Founder Jill writes:
“I love capturing familiar scents that connect the wearer with life experiences and to the beauty of nature. I find comfort in minimally processed materials, small and sustainable production, and the alchemical magic of constructing these perfumes.”
Ethical sourcing is important to Jill, she sources from trusted harvesters, distillers and distributors and has talked to her suppliers at length about the process of collecting their materials and their fair trade, organic, and sustainable practices.
For Strange Women has contributed to a number of environmental charities including the Ocean Conservancy, Redwood Forest Foundation Inc, the Nature Conservancy, Lakewood Nature Center, the Rainforest Initiative, the Institute for Applied Ecology, and others. Jill is also an animal rights advocate.
For Strange Women product boxes and lip balm tubes are made from 100% recycled paper. They try to minimize plastic in their packaging and business as much as possible. The lip balm tubes are also compostable.
The FSW crew is Jill and three other women. There are also several other female artists that FSW collaborate with.
In the 10 years since inception, 53,000 people have favorited FSW’s Etsy shop and they’ve garnered a whopping 17,000 top notch reviews that call their products “exquisite” and “addictive” among more kind words.
If word of mouth is anything to go by, this might just be the best cruelty free perfume brand on this list.
9. WALDEN NATURAL PERFUMES
*Note: We are confirming policies directly with this brand
About Walden Natural Cruelty Free , Vegan Perfume
Here’s one for our UK readers.
Inspired by Henry David Thoreau’s iconic transcendental devotional of the same name, “Walden Natural Perfumes are proud to walk in his footsteps”.
In fact, each of the six scents are named in reference to various lines of the book. For instance, Castles in the Air recalls the line, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”
Castles in the Air’s citrus and lavender blend is a fresh, relaxing fragrance that, according to several reviews, boosts the wearer’s mood.
And since they’re packaged in 50ml elegant square glass bottles with appropriately earthy wooden caps, they’ll even boost your mood just sitting on your vanity.
These natural perfumes are made in small batches of pure essential oil, resins and natural absolutes. No synthetic fragrances.
The goal is that each wearer can use these simple and pure scents to channel the “simple living in harmony with nature” that Thoreau embodies during his two year stay at Walden Pond.
Based in the UK, Walden is proud to adhere to the 6 cornerstone values of the Real Beauty Manifesto: compassion, honesty, purity, community, transparency and sustainability.
We quite like what Walden has to say about it all:
Walden is proud to continue the traditions of high perfumery, when master perfumers blended the finest natural ingredients into fragrant masterpieces. When the price of their creations reflected the cost of the ingredients and not the overhead of the armies of sprayers positioned in every airport duty-free or the celebrities shilling the mass produced chemical cocktails that pass for perfumes there.
They are 100% vegan and do not support animal testing practices in any way.
We’d say Walden Natural Perfumes are some of the best vegan perfumes in the UK.
We are currently confirming their policies directly with them.
10. NATURAL WISDOM SPA
*Note: We are confirming policies directly with this brand
About Natural Wisdom Spa Vegan, Cruelty Free Perfume
We hope this list hasn’t turned away male readers. Natural Wisdom Spa makes not just perfumes, but vegan cologne as well, in either spray or solid form.
The Sandalwood Forest Vegan Cologne looks particularly earthy and enticing. Who needs overpowering musks when you can opt for sandalwood, juniper, cypress, and oak moss?
These natural vegan perfumes are made from German-sourced organic CO2 extracted oils that pass the strict qualifiers for being considered food grade, not just cosmetic grade. In making the perfumes, the raw oils remains uncooked, so as not to remove any antioxidants, and are never diluted with carrier oils, wax emulsifiers, synthetic fragrances, dyes, gluten or alcohol.
One of the most unique elements of the perfumes is the packaging.
The solids come in beautiful sustainably-sourced cedar wooden pots made by a female-run wood co-op in Morocco.
The spray perfumes come packaged in bio-photonic Miron violet glass, which protects it from weakening due to light and air. According to the company, this gives the fragrances a lifespan between 18-24 months. A huge amount of excellent reviews (over a 1000) seems to agree with this and that the scents lose very little to no strength over time.
They are also phasing out plastic pumps to move toward zero waste perfumes but will still provide one upon request – so make sure you specify your zero waste requirements!
About Natural Wisdom Spa
Natural Wisdom Spa was started in 2007 by Maeve Brazi, a professional artisan perfumer trained in Grasse, France. According to Maeve:
“My passion for the natural world and ecology are the inspiration for all my recipes. It’s my belief that in the making of something new, we shouldn’t hurt our planet. It’s a choice not an inevitability. Our planet has given us everything we need to thrive without resorting to earth damaging practices. We have a choice.”
Preach! We’re so glad to see these attitudes recognized by major awards, too. This year, in 2019, Natural Wisdom Spa received Sublime Magazine’s Good Brand Award.
In addition to natural, vegan perfumes, she makes an abundance of other vegan skin care products, including face creams, oils, cleansers and toners, masks, and exfoliators. They also craft natural lip balms, deodorants, and shampoo bars and can make custom products for any of the above categories.
Everything is made in small, fresh batches while adhering to the stringent standards of the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP). “No nonsense. No compromise.”
Maeve is so confident in her products that she offers a 100% guarantee that you’ll love them.
While the perfumes appear to be palm oil free, we are confirming Natural Wisdome Spa’s policies with them directly.
11. EDEN PERFUMES
*Note: We are confirming policies directly with this brand
About Eden Vegan, Cruelty Free Perfume
To be clear, we mean Eden Perfumes, not the classic, all-caps luxury version, EDEN.
For being a small family run operation, Eden Perfumes make tons of scents, sans synthetics, phthalates and parabens. Not only are they all natural, 80%-90% of the ingredients are certified organic.
Here’s the really cool part: the whole company concept is that they’re providing affordable, vegan alternatives to legendary luxury scents. For instance, their No. 533 Fierce Woman fragrance is the cruelty-free vegan version of Abercrombie & Fitch’s Fierce for Her.
Even more famously, their best selling No. 007 is the cruelty-free answer to Chanel’s No. 5.
The similarity isn’t just hype, either. Reviews on various independent websites rave about how indistinguishable it really is from Marilyn Monroe’s favorite subdued floral scent! If it’s truly anything like Chanel No. 5, it’s got to be be one of the best smelling cruelty free perfumes around.
The Independent even named it their choice for Indy Best Buy for cruelty free vegan perfumes available in the UK.
For ease of perusing pleasure, their perfumes are conveniently separated into categories: Ladies, for vegan perfume, choose between fruity, floral, and oriental scents. Gentleman, for vegan aftershave, choose between woody, aromatic, and oriental scent groupings.
They also make unisex fragrances and citrus ones.
About Eden Perfumes
Brighton-based, this small UK cruelty free vegan perfume brand was founded by an all vegan family. As such everything is certified by The Vegan Society.
In the effort toward even greater sustainability, they minimize packaging and bottling by creating more concentrated perfumes at 15% intensity. This means they are Eau de Parfum rather than Eau de Toilette.
All this leads us to believe these are some of the best vegan perfumes in the UK.
Unfortunately, major pharmacies and beauty stores like Boots do not (yet?) carry Eden. In fact, cruelty free perfume at Boots for instance seems to be a bit of a wild goose chase (let us know if we’re wrong though)!
We are confirming palm oil, sourcing and packaging policies directly with this brand.
About Lush Cruelty Free and Vegan Perfumes
Lush is easily one of the best known brands in the vegan cruelty free space. They craft all vegan perfume spray, perfume oil, solid perfume, wash cards and even cruelty free perfume body spray.
At around £39 for 100ml, it’s also a very affordable cruelty free perfume.
And they have one of the best selections out there! With wildly different offerings on the scent spectrum Lush offers something for everyone.
And while perfume companies tend to be pretty great at writing enticing descriptors, Lush wins all. Take their scent description of their Lust fragrance: “unabashedly carnal jasmine”. So good!
Seriously, they have a scent for every occasion. Wear the sweet and girlie Amelie Mae (named after Head perfumer Simon Constantine’s youngest daughter) to brunch with the girls, then switch to the “boozy and smokey” All Good Things for a night out.
We also love that they openly disclose all the ingredients for each perfume and even color code the text on their website to visually differentiate between natural ingredients and safe synthetics.
Just note that while scents are primarily derived from essential oils, these perfumes are not totally natural or alcohol free. About 25% of the ingredients are synthetic.
After having been around the beauty block for over three decades, they know a thing or two about the cosmetics industry. As with their vast perfume selection, Lush makes tons of makeup, skincare, dental care and any other beauty product you can imagine.
Even though Lush as a company is not 100% natural or entirely palm oil free, their no tolerance attitude toward animal testing is pretty darn admirable.
Not only do they not test on animals they only sell to (and purchase from) suppliers and stockists that are also cruelty free.
Read more about their cruelty-free cosmetics stance here. You can even watch it in video form, complete with cute puppies (in case you need more convincing that animal testing is just stupid and wrong).
And to literally put their money where their mouth is, the company gives out an annual Lush Award, a tradition that started in 2012. This generous £250,000 prize is awarded to an individual or group working toward replacing animal ingredients, whether it be through science, political lobbying or just plain raising awareness.
They also clearly outline where they are on their palm oil journey – read more here.
13. KAT VON D
About Kat Von D Vegan, Cruelty Free Perfume brand
For a high end cruelty free perfume, get a whiff of Kat Von D’s Sinner / Saint series. While these two perfumes “share the same floral soul” Saint is sweet and refreshing, while Sinner is edgy and spicy. Some suggest wearing them together for a more complex experience.
Between the two, the musky vanilla and jasmine notes of Saint Eau de Parfum has three times as many reviews (over 3,000) but both scents have both been highly rated. Sinner is a bit heavier, trading in the soft feminine notes for unapologetic (yet not overpowering is the consensus) sexy cinnamon elements.
They come packaged in stunning white or black glass flacons that “reminded [Kat] of a human heart when she held it in her hand”. A 100ml bottle will go for around $85 (though they often go on sale so watch this space!), or get them in travel sized spritzer vials.
About Kat Von D
The edgy and bold Kat Von D brand makes “makeup made with love, not animals”, for everyone from beginners with a brush (which they also sell a whole vegan line of) to professional makeup artists. This includes both zero waste make-up options and vegan make-up brushes.
We love how invested Kat is. In fact, she has a heavy hand in every aspect of product development, from testing them on herself to packaging design. For instance, Kat is the artist behind the lovely filigree scrollwork on the Sinner / Saint perfumes.
Kat Von D (and their parent company Kendo) is PETA certified cruelty free. They do not sell into China, unlike other luxury perfumes like Ralph Lauren, Dolce & Gabbana, Dior, and Marc Jacobs.
While all products are historically not all vegan, the entire product line was recently tweaked to ensure 100% vegan status. This meant eliminating common cosmetic ingredients like beeswax and carmine so they can practice truly “fur free artistry”.
They’re also all about ethical sourcing through supply chains that adhere to the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act of 2010.
We are confirming their packaging and palm oil policies directly with them.
A WORD FOR OUR U.K. READERS
We’ve included options from both the U.S.’s Sephora and Ulta, so you may be asking yourselves, “What about Boots? Are there any cruelty free perfumes available at Boots?”
The answer is unfortunately, no. We tried very hard to find some suitable cruelty free and vegan perfumes at Boots. We even looked at comprehensive lists of major cruelty-free beauty brands in the UK. We just couldn’t find anything we felt confident enough in their cruelty free status to recommend.
The closest we found to cruelty free perfume available at Boots was a brand called Soap & Glory, which makes their Original Pink fragrance perfume, as well as other vegan perfume body sprays.
While the company claims to be entirely cruelty free and to regularly audit their suppliers, their website has some suspicious fine print saying “no retailer or manufacturer can categorically state that ‘none’ of their raw materials have […] been tested on animals”. Ethical Elephant did some digging and reached out, but still came to inconclusive results. Their official stance on the company is to “buy or boycott at your own discretion”.
It’s also worth mentioning that Boots themselves, while “cruelty free”, still sell into China and Thailand. Which is an instant disqualifier for us.
There are still plenty of excellent cruelty free perfumes in the UK, as we hope we’ve pointed out. You might just need to shop a bit outside your usual haunts.
VEGAN PERFUME PRO-TIPS
Because natural ingredients are not designed to hold for, well, unnatural lengths of time. Especially for 100% natural perfumes free from all synthetic preservatives or stabilizers, you’ll find these options will have a shorter shelf life.
Hence some of the complaints of natural fragrances not lasting very long.
However, with proper care, you can easily extend the life of your perfume and keep it smelling strong and succulent by:
- keeping your bottle away from direct sunlight. This can kill the fragrance and deactivate natural plant essences.
- keeping the air tightly sealed out. This is literally as simple as always putting the lid back on nice and tight. Air can also deactivate and change the fragrance.
- buying only what you intend to use. Only use perfume for special occasions? Maybe go for a travel-sized vial, or a size that you’re sure you’ll go through. That avoids waste and save you money!
FINAL THOUGHTS ON CRUELTY FREE AND VEGAN PERFUME
The takeaway from all this? Animal testing is abhorrent. Perfumes that encourage animal testing are also repugnant (in more ways than one).
Fortunately there are many fur friendly fragrances out there, and we genuinely hope this list has helped s(m)ell you on to making the switch.
Cruelty free perfume (more so than vegan perfume) is still somewhat of a tricky avenue to navigate. With that in mind, we’ve probably missed some great cruelty free perfume brands.
Please let us know if we did, especially if you happen to know of any cruelty free perfumes at Boots or other major UK beauty retailers for our UK readers.
Or just let us know how you like any of the perfumes on our list. We love getting fragrant feedback! Drop a note in the comment or in our inbox!