For years people have worn perfumes. They make us feel good, we smell nice, and this boosts our confidence. As a vegan, I am always learning about the things I use on a daily basis to ensure they are vegan-friendly. So, is perfume vegan? Let’s take a look below.

Is Perfume Vegan?

The answer to this question is not a simple yes or no. The ingredients in perfume can come from different sources, some of which are animal-derived and some of which are plant-based. So, it really depends on the specific ingredients that make up a particular perfume.

What animal products are commonly used in perfume?

Some common animal-derived ingredients found in perfumes include honey, beeswax, lanolin and collagen. All of these ingredients can come from different animals – honey is taken from bees, beeswax comes from honeycombs, lanolin is extracted from sheep wool, and collagen can be derived from various animal tissues.

Lanolin is an ingredient in many creams and lotions used for skincare but also shows up in fragrances. Many people who wear perfume find that when they use shampoo, their hair goes limp or falls flat; there may be a reason for this.

People have reported that their hair becomes straw-like after using a shampoo or conditioner which contains lanolin, and they may experience an itchy scalp as well. This is because the animal-derived ingredient is a wax, not a liquid oil like most people expect from the name of the product.

Another commonly used item in perfumes is musk. Musk comes from a gland located between the navel and genitals of male deer, musk deer or otters. The secretion from this gland is used to give perfumes a long-lasting scent.

Musk scents are extremely popular in perfumes. They are also very controversial since many people argue that musks come from animals that have been heavily poached in order to obtain this substance for the perfume industry.

Veganism is a lifestyle choice of not using any animal products or by-products, so some companies decide to create vegan-friendly scents without these ingredients.

How did people discover musk?

The word musk itself is derived from the Sanskrit muṣká, which means testicle. This is because natural musk is the secretions of the apocrine glands of the male musk deer, a small, timid deer.

The history of musk dates back to ancient times. The Greeks brought back Musk from India in the 6th Century. They would extract the oil from deer glands and mix it with other ingredients to create a scent that was said to be pleasing to the gods.

Natural muscone is a glandular secretion of the musk deer. To obtain the musk, endangered animals had to lose their lives. Musk was used in fragrances until the late 19th Century when dwindling numbers of the musk deer made them protected, prompting manufacturers to look for alternatives. Today there are synthetic alternatives which are described as musky,

Unfortunately, manufacturers of fragrances are not required to list their ingredients explicitly, which makes it difficult to tell if your perfume contains natural musk or a synthetic version.

Are perfumes tested on animals?

Another reason that many perfumes cannot be considered vegan-friendly is because of animal testing. The Humane Society International explains that some animal testing is required under the law to prove product safety. Even if a perfume brand does not test on animals, it may use an ingredient that has been tested elsewhere in order for them to sell their product within certain countries or jurisdictions,

To ensure your fragrance is vegan-friendly, look for brands with cruelty-free certifications.

Which perfumes are vegan?

There are several vegan-friendly scents on the market, although far fewer than you would expect. Below are some examples.

ghost vegan perfume
CK Everyone vegan fragrance
La Librairie Neroli Divine

GHOST Orb of Night Eau De Parfum

Ghost offer a range of vegan women’s perfumes, including this one.

Calvin Klein CK Everyone

This is a timeless unisex vegan fragrance made with natural ingredients.

La Librairie Neroli Divine

This is a pocket-friendly floriental scent.

vegan perfume samples
Chloe vegan perfume
Bodyshop mens vegan aftershave

Abbey Perfumery Samples

This set of 4 vegan-friendly perfume samples is great to try out scents. 

Chloé Eau de Parfum Naturelle

This wome’s fragrance is natural as the name suggests making it a great vegan scent.

Arber Eau de Toilette

This men’s vegan aftershave is budget-friendly and smells great.

The Fragrance World vegan fragrance

Some perfumeries are going even further, developing entire ranges of vegan-friendly perfume ranges such as The Fragrance World. They offer a range of vegan-friendly scents inspired by high-end perfumes such as Chanel, Sauvage, Tom Ford, Hermes and more. They are also dedicated to sustainability having recently launched Scentcycle where they recycle their used bottles in-house. 

We LOVE the fact they have taken popular scents and made them available to vegans with their range of inspired scents. 

How can you be sure a perfume is vegan-friendly?

Of course, the best way to avoid any doubt is to choose a fragrance from those brands that have been certified as vegan.

In addition, it’s worth checking whether or not your chosen scent has been tested on animals through The Leaping Bunny Program, which certifies cruelty-free products and companies worldwide.

We hope this has helped answer the question; is perfume vegan?

The deeper you delve, the more you find animal products in unexpected everyday items. People need to understand what is on the products they use on a daily basis. While natural musk may be uncommon today, for Centuries, people were walking around wearing animal secretions. The thought literally turns my stomach.

Companies should be seeking alternatives to lanolin and beeswax in their products. Animal testing is another issue that needs to be looked at here. As more people transition to a plant-based diet and begin to educate themselves about the atrocities that are going on around us, perhaps companies will stand up and listen.

Until then, there are some products on the market that are suitable for vegans. Do you have a favourite vegan fragrance? Let us know in the comments.