Vegan Perfume That Makes The Planet Smell Better

Fragrance is one of the most notorious ingredients that do not have a defined set of components. A product can list fragrance without disclosing what it is made of and hide behind trade secrets reasons. It’s one of these mysterious ingredients that you should try to understand before considering any purchase.

You might not realize it, but perfume is full of ingredients that are not vegan-friendly. Not to mention the issue of rampant animal testing in the industry. These essential topics close to our heart at Puratium will be covered at the end of this article.

Whether you are a convinced vegan or getting started, the below shortlist of trustworthy vegan perfume brands will help you¬†decipher the reality behind the bottle. After all, smelling great doesn’t have to come at a high ethical cost.

Vegan & Cruelty-free Perfume Brands

A few notes to reflect on before we begin:

  • Since perfume brands are not required to disclose the exact ingredients of their fragrances, they all fall under the umbrella term ‘fragrance/perfume.’ However, all of the brands we will feature are¬†vegan and cruelty-free.
  • Perfume is highly personal and depends entirely on your personal taste, but we’ll do our best to describe the scent and features!
  • There are¬†three notes¬†to a perfume. Top notes/head notes, middle notes/heart notes, and base notes. Top notes are the first impression and usually fade away within the first 15-20 minutes of application. Middle notes last longer (about an hour) and influence the effect of the base notes. Finally, the base notes last the longest and retain their fragrance for hours. The base notes are widely regarded as a perfume’s final impressions.

DeFine Fragrance

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image by definemefragrance.com

Founded in 2015, DefineMe is all about making you feel empowered and worthy of love, respect, and success. 

Their entire operation is grounded on creating transformative experiences for their customer base, not only with the scents themselves but also with everything that goes on on the inside‚ÄĒtrue metamorphosis indeed.¬†

About The Scent

DefineMe has a lovely selection of floral and fresh fragrances that really boost your mood to a different level. 

You can see various collections and partnerships on their website, and you can even browse their selection by mood! If you want some help looking for the right scent, this is definitely one of the more helpful features any perfume brand can provide. 

Although there are plenty of scents to choose from, our pick from the bunch is Kahana, an aquamarine crystal-infused natural perfume mist. 

The scent intends to invoke a feeling of beauty and stillness‚ÄĒreminiscent of a day out on the shote or relaxing with a book and a cup of tea. The Kahana scent is the perfect perfume to release you from the overwhelming hustle and bustle of everyday life.¬†

This perfume comes in a 28mL fine mist bottle with a spray applicator. 

Notes & Ingredients

Kahana is an excellent, fresh scent that transports you right to your favorite beach in a second. More specifically, this perfume contains the following notes:

  • Swell (Top Notes): Hibiscus + Delicate Pink Pepper.
  • Crest (Middle Notes): Coconut Water + White Orchid.
  • Break (Base Notes): Santal + Soft Blonde Woods.

The brand uses slightly different terminology than the industry standard, but the meanings behind the terms still stand. 

All ingredients used in DefineMe fragrances are entirely vegan and cruelty-free, so you don’t have to worry about any unknown ingredients in your perfume. 

All their products do not contain any phthalates, parabens, petroleum, formaldehyde, or BHT; plus, all formulas are completely gluten-free! DefineMe uses clean synthetics in place of essential oils in cases where the former is the safer and more sustainable choice. 

Sustainability & Values

All DefineMe products are made in Southern California, and they have always strived to use the most sustainable resources during production. 

The brand utilizes minimal packaging, and their boxes are made of FSC-certified paper. All bottles used are either refillable or recyclable, so feel free to repurpose them once you’re done with each DefineMe perfume!

DefineMe gives back to the community by donating $1 from every purchase to ‚ÄúShe‚Äôs the First,‚ÄĚ a charity supporting young women in low-income countries and helping them become the first in their families to finish high school.¬†

Clean Beauty Collective - U.S. and Canada

Clean beauty vegan perfume
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image by cleanbeauty.com

Clean Beauty Collective has created clean scents for close to 2 decades. They prioritize a healthy consumer and planet above all else.

Firmly believing that perfume doesn’t have to come at the price of the environment and animals, the brand is cruelty-free, vegan, gluten-free, and eco-conscious.

About the Scent

This brand offers scents ranging from clean and fresh, neutral and sensual, to floral and citrusy. With their wide perfume range, you’re sure to find the right fit for your or your loved ones.

Our personal pick from the brand is¬†Lush Fleur. It is a fresh and floral scent that’s perfect for those who like a bit of zest in their fragrance. Note that it smells dominantly feminine, so it may not be for everyone.

Moreover, Lush Fleur was specifically formulated for their partnership with EarthDay in their quest to protect butterflies. With each spritz of this perfume, you not only smell like fresh flowers in summertime, but you are also helping preserve species!

If you are looking for a particular perfume family but don’t want to browse through their whole selection, they provide a handy¬†gift guide that you can go through. Finding the most adequate, original vegan gift is no easy task, especially if taking into account the earth-friendly features as criteria.

Notes & Ingredients

Lush fleur is a predominantly floral and fruity scent, but it still has some musky base notes. Here are the specifics:

  • Top Notes: Bergamot, Mandarin, Raspberry
  • Middle Notes: Gardenia, Jasmine, Damask Roses
  • Base Notes: Vanilla, Moss, Amber, Musk

Aloe Leaf Extract, Limonene, Citronellol, and Benzyl Salicylate are among the notable ingredients behind Lush Fleur. We appreciate the brand’s effort to list most of the components available next to each bottle’s picture.

However, be aware that these may be subject to change as safety requirements shift. Once the brand determines an ingredient unsafe, they will work quickly to replace it with something substantially similar.

Sustainability and Values

The name itself speaks volumes. Clean Beauty Collective is sustainable, eco-conscious, with recyclable glass packaging, and uses a clean formula that’s good for you and the planet.

The brand sources its ingredients sustainably. For example, the heart of Lush fleur, the Damask Rose, is carefully sourced in Turkey, where the flowers are produced traditionally and paid for at a fair trade price.

The cap is made of sustainable wood from Spain, and their fragrance manufacturer uses 80% solar energy. Their box supplier is also carbon-neutral, and they use waste paper in their packaging.

Looking at those details, it’s pretty clear that Clean Beauty¬†takes sustainability seriously. We see many brands claiming to be earth-friendly with not much to show for it, but this fragrance brand is¬†one unique find.¬†

Overall, we highly recommend this one. You get vegan, cruelty-free, and sustainable perfume all in one. Their items are also available in Sephora, making them highly accessible.

The 7 Virtues - Canada

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Image by The7virtues.com

The 7 Virtues is a vegan and natural perfume brand that sources all its raw materials fair trade and opts for organic components whenever possible. Built as a social enterprise and continuing to operate as such, they help farmers in war-torn countries one perfume bottle at a time.

Though they are based in Canada, they have a US-based option on their website.

About the Fragrance

Currently, the brand has several scents in its peace perfume collection. You can get vegan perfumes that range from earthy to fresh tones. Our personal favorite from their selection is¬†Vetiver Elemi. It is an earthy and fresh scent that’s the perfect fit for both masculine and feminine tastes.

This fragrance helps support farmers in Haiti whose farmlands were destroyed by an earthquake in 2010. The vetiver root helps reduce soil erosion and helps sustain the land they farm on.

The farmers working in these lands receive fair trade wages and produce what’s considered the¬†best vetiver root in the world.

Notes and Ingredients

Vetiver Elemi is a fresh yet sensual perfume that produces a complex and adventurous scent profile. Here are more details on the three notes:

  • Top Notes: Bergamot, Grapefruit, Elemi
  • Middle Notes:¬†Cardamom, Cumin, Nutmeg, Jasmine, Geranium, Rose
  • Base Notes:¬†Vetiver, Cedarwood, Patchouli, Amber, Moss

This blend does not have any Phthalates, Parabens, or Sulfates. It is also hypoallergenic made with organic sugar cane alcohol and a combination of essential oils.

Some ingredients you might want to know about are Cinnamon, Vetiver, Geraniol, and Citronellol.

Sustainability and Values

“Make perfume not war”¬†is the memorable motto of the company’s founder, Barb Stegemann.

The 7 Virtues has a particular reason behind its operations. The perfume brand actually started when the founder’s best friend got wounded while liberating women and young girls in Afghanistan.

She began by sourcing orange blossom and rose essential oil from Afghan farmers to help cut the exploitative nature of farming the poppy crop, which is illegal.

Now, the peace perfume collection acts as a way to help rebuild nations that have been struck by war and other forms of conflict. Their values are the core of what they do, and every perfume has a role in their mission.

If you are looking for a perfume company that extends its hands out to those who need it the most, The 7 Virtues is one of the best places to start.

Eden Perfumes - U.K.

Eden Vegan Perfumes
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Image by Edenperfumes.co.uk

Based in Brighton and started in 2013, Eden Perfumes is a family-run business with a heart for spreading the importance of cruelty-free perfume.

This brand is perfect not only for vegans but conscious consumers who detest the idea of animal testing. They guarantee a wholly vegan and cruelty-free process in all aspects of production.

About the Fragrance

This brand has plenty of vegan and cruelty-free perfumes under its belt. They have a selection for feminine and masculine tastes, plus a selection suitable for both.

While there are plenty of perfumes that smell luxurious, our pick is¬†No.246 Amalfi Mandarino. It has an aromatic citrus aroma that’s great for anyone. It’s intended to be a unisex perfume.

It is an Eau de Parfum and contains¬†between 20-30% perfume oil. It belongs in their niche collection, where you’ll find their most¬†luxurious perfume¬†intended to last you upward of 6 hours. Amalfi Mandarino can be a good vegan and cruelty-free alternative to Tom Ford’s Mandarino di Amalfi.

As a citrus blend, this cruelty-free perfume is great for the sweltering summer heat. Giving off a smell that’s both refreshing and reminiscent of Italy’s Amalfi Coast.

Note: Eden Perfumes provides vegan and cruelty-free fragrance options to perfumes you may already be familiar with. While they try to interpret these perfumes as best as possible, they are not exactly the same as the original products. The brand does not have any affiliation with the authentic brands, and they make their perfumes as interpretations of already existing products.

Notes and Ingredients

Amalfi Mandarino provides an intense citrus scent blended with some floral notes. Here are more details on the scents in this perfume.

  • Top Notes: Tarragon, Mint, Blackcurrant, Grapefruit, Lemon, Basil
  • Middle Notes:¬†Black Pepper, Corriander, Orange Blossom, Clary Sage, Shiso, Jasmine
  • Base Notes:¬†Vetiver, Amber, Labdanum, Musk

At first, this perfume smells fresh and soothing, slowly giving way to more zesty scents after a few minutes.

Raw materials used in all of¬†Eden’s vegan perfumes are sourced within Europe. Absolutely none of their raw materials is purchased outside of Europe. Animal testing has been banned in Europe for 5 years, and they believe sourcing within Europe gives a better assurance that their fragrances are completely cruelty-free, vegan, and ethical.

All of their perfumes also have zero synthetic preservatives and are IFRA certified, safe, and non-toxic.

Sustainability and Values

We could not find more information on where the brand sources its ingredients apart from being all sourced in Europe. Though there’s no info on their packaging, Eden Perfumes offers¬†refills¬†for their perfumes to¬†help reduce waste.

The primary value behind the products is to promote cruelty-free fragrances and to provide alternatives to non-cruelty-free perfumes. As a vegan brand, they want to give vegans the option to use high-quality fragrances that don’t come with questionable practices hurting living creatures.

Kat Von D Beauty - U.S.

It can be challenging to find beauty companies that are cruelty-free, vegan, and stand for something. But Kat Von D Beauty ticks all those marks.

Known for their award-winning eyeliner, they also have other beauty products, including a beautiful and contrasting perfume duo.

About the Fragrance

Originally, Kat Von D had two fragrances: Saint + Sinner. Both of which share similar floral undertones but veer off in different, contrasting directions. Where Saint is dreamy and light, Sinner is sultry and spicy.

As of the moment, only Sinner is still available on their website (in 10 and 30mL containers). To veer away from our regular theme of light, floral, and citrus scents, we chose to feature the darker of the two: Kat Von D Sinner Eau De Parfum.

Sinner, despite the name and the dark undertones, is still a floral tone. While it may not be as light as your regular floral scent, this vegan fragrance smells sweet and spicy at the same time.

The brand does not offer international shipping. As often pointed out at Puratium, we encourage you to order online as close to your location as possible to reduce the carbon footprint related to shipping.

Notes and Ingredients

At its heart, Sinner Eau de Parfum is a floral scent. It has hints of sweetness in it as well. There was no information on its top notes, but here’s what we could find:

  • Middle Notes: Cinnamon, Vanilla, and white florals
  • Base Notes: Vetiver, Patchouli, and Wood

At its core, this perfume has dark notes of vetiver and wood. If you love fragrances that have floral tones yet at their base, then this vegan, cruelty-free perfume will suit you just fine.

Sustainability and Values

Kat Von D Beauty believes in the power of¬†individual expression without bounds. This may apply more to their make-up products, but we think it’s still relevant for their perfume products as well.

They want to make the world a better place and are conscious of how they source and produce their products. KVD is cruelty-free, 100% vegan, and they have a core mission of caring for the planet and everything in it.

Lastly, they use recyclable packaging from post-consumer materials as often as possible, and they also offer refills for some of their products.

Skylar - U.S.

Skylar started with a mother discovering her infant daughter was allergic to her perfume. Today, Skylar is one of the best brands out there where you can get clean, vegan perfume.

If you are looking for vegan fragrances that¬†entice the senses¬†and transport you through other locations, you can’t go wrong with this one.

About the Fragrance

Skylar has plenty of dreamy fragrances. But our absolute favorite has to be Moonlight Petal. This vegan and 6-free, limited edition fragrance is a dream to behold. It is a soft feminine scent that will take you away from the mundane and bring you to an ethereal world.

Well, not really. But it gets pretty close!

It is a dreamy yet captivating scent that’s perfect for someone who likes their perfumes on the more feminine side of things.

Notes and Ingredients

This perfume smells distinctly of lotus flower, moss, and orris. Here’s a more detailed account of its notes:

  • Top notes:¬†Bergamot, Crisp Apple, Lotus Flower
  • Middle notes:¬†Jasmine Petal, Firabs, Vanilla Orchid, Orris
  • Base notes:¬†Sandalwood, Amber Woods, Moss

Thus, flowery and light at the top, slowly sinking into a more dreamlike state with its amber and moss base notes.

Sustainability and values

The American vegan perfume company’s primary focus is to create¬†a clean, cruelty-free, and hypoallergenic perfume¬†that’s great even for those with allergies. Plus, it does not contain any harmful chemicals such as phthalates and parabens.

Skylar also wants to do its part for the environment. Their perfume packaging is fully recyclable, and their packaging peanuts are even dissolvable in water.

Maison Louise Marie

Hailing from a family with a rich botanical history, Maison Louise Marie operates on a family tradition to make fragrances vegan, clean, and non-toxic.

With its focus on clean beauty, this company is entirely vegan and cruelty-free, certified by PETA. They create spray perfumes, perfume oils, candles, and much more.

About the Fragrance

Maison Louise Marie has plenty of products that come from their collection of scents. From perfume oils, candles to hand lotion, their range is quite diverse.

Our favorite Eau de Parfum from their selection is No.12 Bousval. Named after a particular town, this vegan fragrance takes you to a warm summer evening with its earthy tones and a hint of citrus. This is one of those fragrances that has the power to unearth nostalgic memories and make you long for a different time and place.

Notes and Ingredients

Fragrances that are reminiscent of treasured memories are always the best kind. With this vegan perfume, you get the following notes:

  • Top Notes:¬†Bergamot, Cardamom, Valencia Orange
  • Middle Notes:¬†Heliotrope Flower, White Ginger, Petitgrain
  • Base Notes:¬†Gilded Amber, Cedar Noir, Myrrh

Starting off a little zesty during the first few minutes of application, this perfume quickly takes a sweeter turn with heliotrope. Then steadily deepens with the amber and cedar base notes.

Sustainability and Values

The focus of Maison Louise is on clean beauty. They pride themselves in making fragrances that are vegan and cruelty-free but are made free of toxic ingredients.

The synthetic fragrances they use are specifically chosen to protect some plants from unsustainable harvesting in addition to protecting you against natural allergens.

Their fragrances are packaged in recyclable boxes and paper. Plus, they make use of soy-based ink in printing. They are also part of 1% for the Planet, pledging that 1% of their revenues go towards environmental causes.

Floral Street - U.K.

This vegan perfume brand is all about making changes in the way a perfume is made. The founder has a long-standing career in the beauty world. In 2017, she was inspired to create a beauty line rooted in slow beauty.

Floral Street is also certified vegan and cruelty-free by PETA. They have never tested on animals, and their products do not contain any animal/animal-derived products.

The brand is based in the U.K., but the website provides the option to buy from the USA.

About the Fragrance

From the name of the brand, you’ve probably inferred that they deal a lot with flowers. And by a lot, we mean all of their fragrances are¬†inspired by flowers.¬†Still, they have a unique range of vegan, cruelty-free perfumes to choose from.

Our pick from their bunch is¬†Wonderland Peony. The name itself already sounds so wonderful! This vegan perfume is classified as an Eau de Parfum and is crafted with 20% perfume oil. Meaning, it’ll last quite some time on your skin.

Wonderland Peony is exactly as dreamlike and weightless as it sounds. With its light and floral formula, this product is perfect for those who love to smell like youthful exuberance. This is one of those perfumes that just transports you to the clouds and leaves you to daydream.

You can get it in 10, 50, or 100 mL bottles. If you want to try out their other scents before committing to one, they also have some discover products that contain small samples.

Notes and Ingredients

Unlike the other brands we’ve featured so far, Floral Street does not believe in using top notes, middle notes, and base notes. They want perfume to be fun and easy for everyone.

Instead, what they offer is a ‘fragrance curve’¬†with different layers all coming out at once. It might sound discordant, but they’ve managed to make it work for all perfumes they created.

To give you a better idea of the fragrance notes in wonderland peony, here are its key components:

Blackcurrant, Pink Pepper, Sicilian Lemon, Pink Berries, Pink Guava, Violet, Peony Accord, Raspberry Flower, Vanilla Bean, Pink Candy Floss, Cedarwood, Vetiver.

Sustainability and Values

From the very beginning, the brand had the ambition of being¬†sustainable, ethical, vegan, and cruelty-free. All of their ingredients are sourced sustainably and ethically. In a world where production creates so many ethical and environmental issues, we’re glad that brands like Floral Street exist.

Their box packaging is entirely compostable and takes about a minute to make, thus resulting in less waste. Even the excess pulp at the production site is composted. They use soy-based ink on boxes, cards, and glass bottles.

If you are looking for an innovative brand, Floral Street is worth having a look at.

Why Animal Ingredients In Perfume?

For us to grasp why we shouldn’t use animal ingredients in perfumes, we have to gain an understanding of why they’re being used in the first place.

Aren’t these animal-derived scents too pungent to use as a fragrance? The answer might come as a surprise, unfortunately.

Ingredients with an¬†animal origin can be used as fixatives, base notes in the perfume, and scent enhancers. They aren’t just there purely for their smell alone.

Fixatives are used to stabilize a formula and make a perfume last longer. For perfume, longevity is invaluable, and it’s no wonder fixatives are highly important in creating a scent. On the other hand, some animal scents, like musk, also serve as a base note for some perfumes.

Common Nonvegan Ingredients In Perfumes

Musk

Let’s begin with an ingredient that so many of us are familiar with. Musk has become so pervasive that it’s become an umbrella term for strong, earthy, woodsy smells.

Today, there are many kinds of musk used in production, most of which are synthetic. But traditionally, musk is taken from the glands of the male Musk Deer. The Musk Deer faces the prospect of completely disappearing if we continue to poach the animal as much as we currently do.

The extract can be used as a fixative or as a base note. Incorporating musk results in an incredibly complex aroma profile that has left perfumers stumped.

Even if there are synthetic versions of musk, nothing comes close to the real thing. But is the real thing really worth the ethical costs of killing animals? Vegan fashion is a complex but inspiring topic worth having a look at.

Castoreum

Castoreum comes from the¬†castor sacs of the male and female castor beaver. This scent gives off a clean leather smell, and it is often used in perfumes that evoke sharp and clean tones. Some would even describe castoreum as a ‘musky’ scent.

To harvest castoreum from beavers, they have to be killed. In some places, they are bred for their castor sacs. This ingredient can also serve as a fixative in perfumes.

Ambergris

Ambergris is a bit of a mystery to everyone, perfume enthusiasts and scientists alike. It is used as a fixative and a scent enhancer in fragrances.

This nonvegan ingredient comes from sperm whales. Specifically, it comes from their digestive system, and though its exact source is still uncertain, the dominating idea is that it comes from food that the whale cannot digest.

The ambergris itself can prove fatal to a whale. In rare cases where it isn’t remedied and expelled as a fecal mass, it can clog up a whale’s intestines and eventually cause them to burst.

However, in most cases, ambergris just floats up to the surface or washes ashore. Today, it is illegal to hunt whales, so hunting whales for ambergris is out of the equation.

Ambergris that has been freshly excreted smells terrible. The ones used in perfume have been aged years and years and exposed to different external environments, floating in the ocean until discovered.

In any case, using this ingredient in fragrances is still not vegan-friendly. Plus, ambergris’s high demand and price¬†might still endanger whales¬†through illegal practices and the black market.

As long as there is a demand for it, and as long as it comes with a hefty price, whales will continue to be in danger.

Lanolin

Here might be a surprising fact: Lanolin oil comes from sheep wool. Even if you might wonder how it could contribute to the fabrication of fragrance, well, it does.

It is ubiquitous in other cosmetics such as lipsticks and balms. But it’s also used occasionally in perfume. It produces a musky scent that can elevate existing aromas. Plus, it can also act as a fixative.

While pure lanolin oil is arguably less harmful than other sources, it does not necessarily come with a cruelty-free label. The wool industry still has harmful practices even if they don’t kill sheep outright.

Hyraceum

Hyraceum is the rock-like result of hardened rock hyrax feces and urine. The rock hyrax, which is found in Africa and the Middle East, leaves their droppings in areas they occupy.

Technically, no animal has to die for this ingredient to be produced. But, if demand for hyraceum continues to go up, these animals’ habitats may be compromised. The story here is similar to ambergris.

Civet

Civet paste is secreted from the perineal glands of the civet cat. These animals are found in many areas of Asia and Africa. It takes roughly 4 years for a single civet to produce 500g of paste, and the animals are kept in farms for the civet paste they produce.

Any animal farm has the tendency to abuse its animals. Even those that claim to be humane probably aren’t. In its pure form, civet paste releases quite a stinky smell, much like the other scents on this list. However, once it is diluted properly, it releases a floral scent that can soften sharp edges in a perfume.

While there are now attempts to create synthetic versions of this scent, there isn’t anything that can accurately encompass all the complexities of the civet scent.

Final Thoughts

There’s a lot more to consider when buying vegan perfume and deciding on your favorite signature scent.

For one, perfume companies need to take further responsibility and ensure sustainable, ethical production and durable sourcing. Like animals, plants also face extinction risks due to the loss of natural habitat and unsustainable harvesting methods.

Moreover, as repeated several times on our eco-platform, vegan-friendly does not necessarily mean free of animal testing and cruelty; thus, opt for brands that abide by transparent ethics and opt for sustainably sourced vegan fabrics or ingredients.

All in all, choosing vegan perfumes, shoes, wallets and other slow, clean fashion accessories is a great way to promote more thoughtful and sustainable consumption.

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