Cologne is a perfume specifically designed for men. An important part of most men’s grooming routines, colognes are usually a blend of woody and musky fragrance notes to achieve a traditionally masculine scent.
Because of the dominance of musk in men’s colognes, it’s not always easy to find a cologne that is vegan. Even though musk can be also synthetically made, many colognes on the market still use musk derived from animals.
To help you find a fragrance that is vegan and cruelty-free, we have made a list of the best vegan colognes in 2023. All men’s vegan fragrances below are free of animal-derived ingredients and have not been tested on animals.
Best Vegan Colognes For Men
These are the best men’s vegan colognes on the market right now.
- DedCool Fragrance 02
- Jack Black Blue Mark
- Aesop Hwyl
- Le Labo Santal 33
- Blu Atlas Atlantis
- Kierin NYC Pier NY
- Herban Cowboy Dusk
- InStyle Polo Red
DedCool Fragrance 02 is the best vegan cologne for men. With notes of juniper, sandalwood, and patchouli, this fragrance is woody balancing green earthy accords. It’s such a well-balanced blend that is great for everyday use. It’s not intense yet lasts all day long.
All DedCool fragrances are vegan, unisex, and sustainably made in Los Angeles. DedCool only uses organic and non-toxic ingredients. The perfumes are also water-free and enriched with healthy botanical extracts. You can also pick out a cologne via a quiz on their website.
- What we like: it’s balanced and long-lasting
- What we don’t like: it doesn’t have a lot of edge
Top notes: juniper | Middle notes: green florals, sheer woods, patchouli | Base notes: sandalwood | Family: woody, earthy, green | Type: Eau de Parfum
If you are looking for something fresh, go for Jack Black’s Blue Mark. This men’s vegan perfume is a refreshing blend of watermint, cilantro, bergamot, and juniper. The fragrance is also dermatologist-tested, paraben-free, sulfate-free, and made in the USA.
All Jack Black products are PETA-certified cruelty-free but not entirely vegan. Currently, all Jack Black fragrances are vegan, including both colognes (JB and Blue Mark) and its popular Cardamom & Cedarwood Body Spray.
- What we like: most refreshing scent
- What we don’t like: doesn’t last very well
Top notes: bergamot, watermint, cilantro | Middle notes: Japanese juniper, ginger, vetiver | Base notes: patchouli, white woods| Family: woody, aromatic, fresh | Type: Eau de Parfum
3. Aesop Hwyl
Aesop Hwyl is a men’s luxury vegan perfume with alluring notes of frankincense, cypress, and vetiver. Inspired by the Japanese Hinoki forest, the fragrance balances smoky notes with subtle spicy and earthy notes. It’s a beautiful, sophisticated vegan fragrance.
Aesop is a 100% vegan and cruelty-free skincare brand with a great range of genderless vegan perfumes. For men, we also recommend their spicy and woody Marrakesh and fresh Tacit Eau De Parfum. Their vegan fragrances are all crafted in Australia.
- What we like: it’s smoky and sophisticated
- What we don’t like: it’s expensive
Top notes: thyme, elemi, pink pepper | Middle notes: cypress, suede, geranium | Base notes: vetiver, frankincense, cedar| Family: woody, smoky | Type: Eau de Parfum
Le Labo Santal 33 is also one of the best classic vegan colognes. It’s comprised of notes of violet, cardamom, leather, cedar, and most noticeably, sandalwood. The vegan sandalwood cologne is just timeless. It’s woody and spicy, yet also sweet, deep, and leathery.
Le Labo (or ‘The Lab’) is a 100% vegan and cruelty-free fragrance brand from New York. We love that Le Labo has always testers, refills, and fragrance oils available for their fragrances. The blends are always unisex. For men, we also recommend their Another 13 perfume.
- What we like: best sandalwood scent ever made
- What we don’t like: leathery sweetness is a hit or a miss
Top notes: violet accord, cardamom | Middle notes: iris, ambrox| Base notes: cedarwood, leather, sandalwood| Family: woody, aromatic | Type: Eau de Parfum
Atlantis by Blu Atlas is another vegan cologne that deserves a spot on our list. Voted as the best men’s vegan cologne of 2022 by Forbes, this Bali jungle-inspired scent is seductive and masculine but not overwhelming. It stays on well and smells intoxicating on a hot day.
Blu Atlas is a 100% vegan skincare brand from New York. All their products are paraben-free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free, and made in the USA. The musk used in Atlantis is of synthetic origin.
- What we like: best summer fragrance, seductive
- What we don’t like: it’s sold only through their website
Top notes: bergamot, lemon, blackcurrant | Middle notes: lavender, clary sage, peach apricot | Base notes: orris, oakmoss, violet, ambrette seed, musk| Family: aromatic, citrusy | Type: Eau de parfum
Shop on: Official site
Pier NY is an amazing salty-aquatic vegan cologne reminiscent of the New York City piers where the sea meets the city. It opens with salted figs and eucalyptus and has a beautiful woody base with tonka beans and seaweed. It’s a vibrant scent for the modern man.
Kierin NYC is an eco-friendly fragrance brand that is PETA-certified vegan and cruelty-free. Their scents are made in the USA from sustainably sourced ingredients using recyclable packaging. As a contemporary brand, their scents are suitable for both men and women.
- What we like: modern and sexy blend, easy to wear
- What we don’t like: it’s not a classic masculine scent
Top notes: eucalyptus, salt, fig | Middle notes: violet, mimosa | Base notes: woods, sage, seaweed, tonka bean| Family: salty aquatic | Type: Eau de Parfum
Shop on: Official site
Herban Cowboy Dusk is a men’s vegan cologne with an old-school masculine pine scent. It’s crisp and earthy but not at all offensive. Dusk is also the best affordable vegan cologne on the market. It has excellent longevity with a lingering warm and powdery aroma.
Herban Cowboy is a PETA-certified vegan and cruelty-free men’s care brand with great-smelling colognes, soaps, and deodorants. Their fragrances are ethically made in the USA from essential oils and without the use of phthalates or parabens.
- What we like: classic masculine scent, affordable
- What we don’t like: pine is not for everyone
Top notes: bergamot, lemon, lime | Middle notes: clary sage, lavender, cedar leaf, ylang-ylang | Base notes: sandalwood| Family: aromatic fougere | Type: Eau de Cologne
This men’s vegan cologne dupe is made with Ralph Lauren’s world-famous Polo Red perfume in mind. It has a contemporary feel and notes of citrus, saffron, lavender, sage, cedarwood, and amber. The cologne is promised to last about 3-5 hours.
All InStyle fragrances are vegan and cruelty-free. They have a wide selection of men’s vegan colognes and perfume dupes to explore. InStyle fragrances are also paraben-free and phthalate-free and made in the USA and UK.
- What we like: best-quality vegan cologne dupe
- What we don’t like: doesn’t stay on well
Top notes: ruby red grapefruit, Italian lemon, saffron | Middle notes: lavender, sage | Base notes: cedar atlas, amber| Family: woody spicy | Type: Eau de Toilette
Best Men’s Vegan Cologne Brands
Looking for more options? These cologne brands are 100% vegan and cruelty-free:
- Scotch Porter: black-owned men’s vegan cologne and grooming brand
- Le Labo: vegan niche perfumes and colognes from NY
- DedCool: Los Angeles-based unisex vegan fragrance company
- Kieran NYC: gender-inclusive vegan fragrances from New York
- Herban Cowboy: natural vegan colognes that are American-made
- Aromi: eco-friendly solid vegan colognes for men
- Yardley London: men’s vegan fragrances, deodorants, and soaps
- Clean Reserve: unisex vegan fragrances with simple and clean scents
- Aesop: gender-neutral luxury vegan colognes from Australia
- Instyle: vegan cologne dupes made in the USA and UK
What Is Vegan Cologne?
Vegan cologne is a fragrance that does not include any animal-derived components such as musk, milk, beeswax, honey, ambergris, and hyraceum. Vegan colognes have also not been tested on animals or use ingredients that have been tested on animals.
These are the most common ingredients that make a cologne not vegan:
- Ambergris – waxy and musky material formed in the gastrointestinal tract of sperm whales. It is isolated from the intestines of sperm whales or harvested from the sea
- Hyraceum – musky and rock-like beaver feces consisting of both urine and feces
- Animal musk – strong-scented glandular secretions of beavers, civet cats, and musk deer
Most fragrance brands today use synthetic musk instead of animal musk as the latter is widely considered cruel and unnecessary. The more frequent animal components are ambergris and hyraceum.
If men’s vegan colognes include notes of leather and suede, you can rest assured those notes are synthetically created. The same goes for fragrance notes of milk or honey.
In addition to animal-derived components, men’s colognes are often not vegan because the leading luxury perfume brands still test on animals.
For instance, colognes from these brands are NOT VEGAN since the company still uses animal testing: Tom Ford, YSL, Guess, Dior, Bond, Valentino, Emporio Armani, Aramis, Viktor & Rolf, Diesel, Burberry, Chanel, Paco Rabanne, and Versace.
To make sure the cologne you are buying is vegan, first make sure the company is cruelty-free (or better yet, certified cruelty-free) and that the perfume has a clear vegan marking.
What To Look For In Vegan Cologne
When shopping for vegan cologne, first start by assessing the blend. Do you rather like fresh and citrusy vegan colognes? Or are you looking for something deep, spicy, and aromatic? Vegan colognes these days are available in all possible scents and fragrance families.
Another important thing to consider in vegan colognes is the fragrance concentration or the oil concentration. Here are the terms you should know to be able to assess how strong you want your vegan cologne to be:
- Parfum – oil concentration over 20% (strongest)
- Eau de Parfum – oil concentration between 15 to 20%
- Eau de Toilette – oil concentration of between 5% to 15%
- Eau de Cologne – oil concentration of about 2% to 4%
- Eau Fraiche – oil concentration of about 1% to 3%
Many colognes on the market are in fact water-free and oil-based in order to have a stronger scent with more longevity. The less oil, the more the vegan cologne has alcohol, so with sensitive skin, opt for oil-based vegan cologne.
W also recommend choosing a more expensive and carefully crafted vegan cologne. This means that the product is more likely produced with natural or organic ingredients, it’s professionally assembled, lasts longer, and does not irritate your skin.
How We Review Vegan Colognes
We review vegan colognes by first trying them out for ourselves. Our main criteria for reviewing vegan colognes is by deciding how well we like the blend, how it interacts with the skin, how it smells in different climates, and how well it stays on.
We also combine our own experience with beauty experts and online reviewers to list colognes that are liked by the majority of people. None of our reviews at Vegan Avenue are incentivized by the brand or any retailer.
FAQ About Vegan Colognes
Cologne is not always vegan. Cologne can contain different animal-derived ingredients such as animal musk or ambergris. In addition, cologne can be also tested on animals which makes it not vegan.
The best vegan cologne selection is available online, especially on Amazon and Sephora.
The best vegan cologne is DedCool Fragrance 02.
No. Tommy Hilfiger colognes are not vegan. Tommy Hilfiger uses animal-derived ingredients and tests products on animals.
No. Burberry colognes are not vegan. Burberry colognes are tested on animals and may also include animal byproducts.
No. Diesel colognes are not vegan. Diesel uses animal-derived ingredients and tests on animals.
No. Aramis colognes are not vegan because Aramis tests on animals.
No. Dior Sauvage is not vegan because Dior is a company that tests on animals. If you are looking for a vegan dupe of Dior Sauvage, we recommend Dossier Aromatic Star Anise.
No. Emporio Armani Stronger With You is not vegan because Emporio Armani tests on animals.
In 2023, you can find a variety of good-quality vegan colognes for men. Vegan cologne brands have managed to create excellent blends and musky scents without any use of animal musk. Many vegan colognes are also genderless and suitable for both men and women.
Cologne is a person’s trademark and we hope you found your new favorite men’s vegan fragrance from our list. As we find new vegan cologne brands, we will make sure to test them out and add our top picks to this list.
See also: Best Vegan Perfumes
Main image: courtesy of DedCool and Blu Atlas