Are Perfumes Vegan? Is It Okay For Me To Use A Vegan Perfume?

By now, you have heard of vegan products flooding the market, but did you know that there are vegan perfumes? So what exactly are they?

In the simplest terms, vegan perfumes are made of ingredients coming exclusively from plants or synthetically formulated in the lab.

If a fragrance contains even a small pint of animal products, it is not vegan. For instance, some may have beeswax or honey, which are bees products. These perfumes are called vegetarian and not vegan.

Are Perfumes Vegan?

can perfumes be vegan

The answer to this question is both a yes and a no since some perfumes are vegan, while others perfumes are not. Fragrances that have the ingredients below are not vegan perfumes.


Ambergris is acquired from a sperm whale’s digestive juices. The ambergris is known to give a fragrance a distinct sweet earthy aroma. Scents with ambergris are light, subtle, and pleasant.

African stone

This is derived from an aged excretion of the small African mammal known as the African hyrax. The Hieracium gives scents a rare and unique animalistic smell that is hard to fabricate. The African stone gives out a spicy, loud, and oriental note to the perfumes they make.


This is gotten from a beaver’s castor sac. The musky scent is the desired redolence that is obtained from Castoreum. Castoreum also oozes out a leathery scent that is animalistic with a rare blend of sweetness and warmness. 


Yet another African animal called the Civet gives out an animal product used in making perfumes. Its fecal matter is the gold mine of the redolence ingredient. The feces are processed to create a product with aromatic properties that make certain scents unique, radiating velvety and floral smells.


The musk is obtained from the glands of a male musk deer. The musky scent is popular, with a lot of male perfumes gotten from this animal. The signature musk smell is sweet and has tints of freshness, and animalistic.

Difference in Cruelty Free vs. Vegan

rabbit in a perfume lab

Cruelty-free vegan perfumery is made when the ingredients of a fragrance do not harm an animal in any form or way.

For instance, if achieving a product entailed killing, limiting locomotion, or forceful production is labeled as an insensitive process of getting the perfume ingredients.

Testing on animals is also not cruelty-free since the actual experiments’ methods are harmful and cause suffering to the subject animal.

Cruelty-free testing entails the use of human tissue, computerized models, and human volunteer subjects only. Therefore, cruelty-free vegan perfume is tested this way.


As we shift the focus to vegan lab testing, you need to know that not all laboratory perfumes are entirely vegan. Some may have some synthetical ingredient made from animal chemicals.

Laboratory vegan fragrance testing does not derive their elements from any animal, dead or alive but instead formulate it synthetically. All ingredients are botanical or human-made, and they aim to make a replica of the original product.

Synthetic animal products

Although this has been deemed challenging, there has been some success with a few products. One of the synthetically made animal scents is the musk. This scent presents the same clean and smooth delivery of the fragrance but lacks the fecal aspect.

There is also a synthetic made Castoreum, which has the same animalistic sensual smell, just like the original product. This synthetic version is also not as authentic as the original, but it admittedly still hits the right notes.

Civet also has an artificial model that is earthy and intense and which is currently in use for the making of perfumes.

Why do Companies Use Animal Products?

To make the fragrance better with distinctive smells and give it unique characteristics

rabbit in cosmetic lab

The first notable reason companies use animal products is because of their smell. The distinctive animalistic scent is a smell that is hard to replicate in any lab. And the original source is always better.

Among the examples of animal products mentioned above, a great example is the musk scent. The glands of the musk glands possess a vibrant and unparalleled scent that complements a fragrance. After processing, it gives a sweet aromatic intense smell that goes to make long-lasting perfumes.

Perfumes made of ambergris tend to have an ocean-like scent that gives you the sea’s nostalgia once inhaled. Civet in small amounts is very pleasant as it smoothes and adds shimmer, dispersion, and emotion to a perfume.

Castoreum brings a leathery texture and earthy smell to scents, making the fragrance radiate a passionate and amber note. Hyraceum brings an earthy note into a perfume.

To lengthen the fragrance scent cycle

Animal products are used as fixatives, which elongate the lifespan of a fragrance. These natural elements blend to stabilize the volatile parts of the perfume, making them last longer.

Animal products are an excellent fit in the perfumery business

Animal products are also an excellent ingredient for perfumes since most are used as bases for most fragrances. And as you know, the base notes are what carry a fragrance through its last stage of resonance, thus its importance.

In making the scent memorable yet nostalgic, companies employ the science of familiarity and incorporate it into the perfumes’ composition.

To make the fragrance more valuable

Getting these animal products is very challenging due to the rarity of some of them. Take, for instance, getting only 500 grams of civets paste would take about four years. And ambergris is considered floating gold that costs thousands of dollars in the black market.

When a perfume company attains these ingredients, they, without a doubt, raise the prices to break even and make a profit in the process.

Where Can I Get Vegan Perfumes?

Independent vegan perfume companies

If you are wondering if they do exist, the answer is yes. Over the years, as the campaign of going vegan and the production of cruelty-free products spread widely, more and more companies are setting up their foundation on vegan products.

In the dire fight to save the animal population that is diminishing day by day due to cruel treatments, independent vegan companies are the first to look into.

However, you may get a vegan perfume from other places, and below some tips on how to know if it is genuinely vegan or not.

How to Distinguish a Vegan Perfume

bunny logo

The bunny logo is one way you can use to distinguish a vegan perfume to one that is not. Notably, some cruelty-free and vegan perfume products might lack this sign, and that is why you should be keen to look for the ingredients, policies, and certification.

A transparency policy

A transparency policy means that the perfume company is completely honest about every process, ingredient, and testing information. Most vegan perfumes will have this policy on request.

And to confirm this, you simply head to the brand’s website and look at the procedure. If their practices used in making the fragrance do not include any animal testing or animal product, then it is a real vegan perfume.

Cruelty-free certification

This certificate can also be seen on the brand’s website, and it goes to show that none of the perfumes made by the brand harmed an animal in any way or form. Now, here is the catch. It does not mean that they do not use animal products. However, it just means that they do not harm the animal in getting the ingredients.

Take, for instance, the feces of the Civet, which are corrected without any harm. However, not all cruelty-free perfumes are vegan perfumes—it all boils down to the ingredients.

The ingredient list is all-natural

Lastly, it would be best to go through the list of ingredients used to make the supposed vegan perfume. Since you are full-on vegan, there should be no animal product or by-product, be it beeswax, cholesterol, honey, or even a strand of animal DNA in the formulation. If you are not sure of the product, simply contact the company and confirm the source.

Benefits of Using Vegan Perfumes

The primary purpose of a vegan diet, let alone a vegan perfume, is to lead a healthier life and, of course, to save animals. Natural and botanical ingredients tend to elongate human life. Secondly, using vegan perfume is eco-friendly, meaning you are saving both the planet and everything in it.

The animal population that dwindles every passing day is particularly the most safeguarded by vegan perfumes and other vegan products. Going and living green helps to save animals and the planet at large.

Take Away

The answer to the question of whether you should use vegan perfume or not will depend on you. Are you a supporter of vegan culture, or are you a firm believer it has nothing to do with you?

It is undeniable that torturing animals in any form or way is non-justifiable and accepting such behavior is even out of the question. Everyone should be against animal-cruelty and gravitate on using cruelty-free products. But going for vegan perfumes is entirely your decision to make.

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