The perfume industry has come a long way from the dark days of animal musk. But animal essences are still widely used in the perfume industry.
To help you avoid all kinds of icky animal ingredients, we are happy to pre-scent you with the best vegan perfumes in the world.
From freshly picked herbs of Belgium to organic figs of California, treat yourself with the true embodiment of modern luxury – a beautiful vegan fragrance.
What Is Vegan Perfume Made Of?
Vegan perfume is free from animal ingredients such as milk, honey, beeswax, ambergris, hyraceum, and animal musk. Vegan perfume is not tested on animals nor are any of its ingredients tested on animals.
Like regular perfume, vegan perfume is made from a variety of botanicals like flowers, spices, fruits, leaves, grasses, balsams, and wood. In base notes, vegan perfumes use synthetic musk aka ‘white musk’ or musky plants such as ambrette.
Vegan perfumes are distilled in a mixture of oils and alcohol. Vegan perfume oils, on the other hand, are usually alcohol-free. Common oils used in vegan perfume are coconut oil, sweet almond oil, and jojoba oil.
When shopping for vegan perfume, it is best you look for a vegan label. Perfumes that include no animal ingredients can still be animal tested. And vice versa, perfumes dubbed cruelty-free (not tested on animals) might still contain animal ingredients.
Animal Essences In Perfumes
Perfumers typically use animal essences as a fixative. Included in base notes, fixatives give the fragrance a more powerful and long-lasting effect. Common animal fixatives include:
- Animal Musk: glandular secretions of beavers (Castoreum), civet cats (Civet), and endangered musk deer (Deer Musk)
- Ambergris: fossilized sperm whale vomit with waxy and musky qualities
- Hyraceum: fossilized beaver urine with similar qualities to animal musk
Thanks to the invention of synthetic musk, perfumers have virtually stopped using animal musk by now. Even Chanel No.5 quit using civet musk back in 1998 after longstanding pressure from animal rights groups. However, vintage versions of the perfume might still include it.
And as for ambergris and hyraceum, both are still widely used in luxury perfumes along with other animal ingredients such as honey and beeswax. So if you want to make sure your perfume is animal-free, go with ones that are clearly labeled vegan.
What To Look For In Vegan Perfume?
There are a few things to consider when buying vegan perfume. Firstly, the perfume has to be clearly marked vegan or certified vegan to be sure there are no animal ingredients or animal testing involved. And secondly, the perfume should be made well.
Creating quality perfume is a true art and bad perfumes can be unbearably bad. You should always go for vegan brands that use high-quality ingredients and layer them properly. That ensures a more “expensive” scent that also lasts longer on your skin.
If you are looking for sustainable vegan perfume, make sure the perfumer uses mostly natural and organic ingredients. For instance, organic non-GMO alcohol is a good indicator for eco-friendly perfume. If you have sensitive skin, go for alcohol-free vegan perfume oil instead.
Best Vegan Perfume Brands
Here are the best brands for vegan and cruelty-free perfumes made from nature’s best botanicals. Most of these brands also offer testers and sampler sets, so you can try out many different scents.
The 7 Virtues
The 7 Virtues is an ethical vegan perfumery from Nova Scotia. Discover gorgeous perfumes and perfume oils that are natural, palm-oil-free, and PETA-certified vegan.
Best scent: Vanilla Woods Eau de Parfum
Kamila Aubre is like poetry bottled. Featured on Vogue, they handmake ecological and luxurious vegan perfumes from organic and wild harvests in Belgium.
Best scent: Villanelle Eau de Parfum
Clean Reserve perfumes use only vegan, natural, and organic ingredients. The scents are artfully layered for the perfect fresh, fruity, floral, and aquatic experience.
Best scent: Radiant Nectar Eau de Parfum
Kierin NYC creates genderless vegan fragrances inspired by the stories and places of New York. The scents are bold, clean, cruelty-free, and sustainably made.
Best scent: Sunday Brunch Eau de Parfum
Though owned by Estée Lauder, Le Labo is still a vegan and cruelty-free brand. Born in Grasse and raised in New York, they blend alluring perfumes in iconic apothecary packaging.
Best scent: Santal 33 Eau de Parfum
Heretic from Los Angeles creates unisex vegan perfumes from naturally derived ingredients. The scents are blended in non-GMO organic sugarcane alcohol.
Best scent: Florgasm Eau de Parfum
Pacifica is an amazing vegan beauty brand from California. Their vegan fragrances and body mists are heavenly warm and tropical using natural and essential oils.
Best scent: Indian Coconut Nectar Eau de Parfum
Skylar vegan perfumes are made in the USA from sustainably sourced natural ingredients. Non-toxic and hypoallergenic, the scents are invigoratingly clean, crisp, and fresh.
Best scent: Sun Shower Eau de Toilette
By Rosie Jane
Rosie Jane fragrances are hand-mixed in Los Angeles using beautiful essential oils and absolutes. The brand is vegan, toxin-free, and uses 100% recyclable packaging.
Best scent: Leila Lou Eau de Parfum
Based in Austin, Texas, Phlur boasts stunning minimalist perfumes that are certified vegan and cruelty-free. The fragrances are free from parabens, phthalates, and preservatives.
Best scent: Hanami Eau de Parfum
From DedCool, you will find chic vegan perfumes that are unisex, nontoxic, and layerable. The hypnotic natural blends are ethically made in Los Angeles.
Best scent: Milk Eau de Parfum
Instyle has your favorite perfumes veganized right here in the USA. Shop vegan dupes of Chanel No5, Marc Jacobs Daisy, and other bestselling designer perfumers.
Best scent: Angel Eau de Toilette
Explore unforgettable floral, fruity, and fresh bouquets with this London brand. The vibrant fragrances are 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and designed to make you feel great.
Best scent: Electric Rhubarb Eau de Parfum
Rooted in aromatherapy, Lovorika is an ethical vegan fragrance brand from London. The fragrances are gender-neutral and use only the finest essential oils and absolutes.
Best scent: Jerusalem Dry Oil Perfume
Walden Natural Perfumes
Walden Natural Perfumes uses only the highest-grade natural absolutes, resins, and essential oils. The UK brand is natural, vegan, and cruelty-free.
Best scent: A Little Star-Dust Eau de Parfum
Chantecaille vegan perfumes are combating environmental toxicity with premium botanicals. The New York brand is free from palm oil, chemicals, and GMOs.
Best scent: Darby Rose Eau de Parfum
Olivine Atelier vegan perfumes and perfume oils are handcrafted in Seattle, Washington. Each scent is like a love letter – tender, romantic, and finely crafted.
Best scent: Amongst the Waves Eau de Parfum
DefineMe empowers women through a bold collection of vegan perfumes, mists, and perfume oils. The scents are sustainably made in the USA.
Best scent: Sofia Isabel Natural Perfume Oil
Best Vegan Perfumes 2021
The votes are in, these are the best vegan perfumes for women. Most are these modern blends are also unisex and suitable for men. Shop vegan-friendly Eau de Parfum, Eau de Toilette, and alcohol-free perfume oils.
Best Vegan Perfume 2021: Kierin NYC Sunday Brunch
Sunday Brunch is the most luminous blend of citruses and florals, including Italian bergamot, Earl Grey tea & jasmine.
Best Vegan Layering Perfume: Dedcool MILK
Milk is a warm and long-lasting vegan layering scent with amber, musk, and bergamot.
Best Vegan Travel Spray: Phlur Hanami
This beautiful vegan spray contains a fruity floral perfume with fig, white florals & sandalwood.
Best Vegan Perfume Oil: Rainwater Botanicals Pumpkin Chai
Enjoy a natural perfume oil with spiced pumpkin and creamy vanilla (free from coconut oil).
Best Vegan Body Mist: Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange
In this body mist, spicy blood orange mingles with juicy strawberries, raspberries & mandarin.
Best Vegan Pheromone Perfume: RawChemistry Pheromones For Her
This vegan pheromone scent for women is made in the USA and chemical-free.
Best Affordable Vegan Perfume: Target Good Chemistry
Target’s new line of perfumes is vegan, cruelty-free & budget-friendly.
Best Vegan Dupe: Eden No.007 Floral Aldehyde
This vegan 007 is exactly like the original with a rich bouquet of ylang-ylang, iris & jasmine.
Best Fresh Vegan Perfumes
Fresh: Clean Reserve Rain
Rain is a refreshing blend of dewy water petals, including violet leaves, water lily & watermint.
Aquatic: Skylar Salt Air
Salt Air takes you to a summer by the seaside with main notes of driftwood, sea salt & seaweed.
Fruity: Floral Street Electric Rhubarb
Explore a fruity fresh cocktail with key notes of rhubarb, sandalwood & gardenia.
Citrusy: The 7 Virtues Grapefruit Lime
This rejuvenating citrusy fragrance opens with notes of grapefruit, lime & basil.
Best Floral Vegan Perfumes
Best Floral: Skylar Meadow
Meadow is a classic floral scent starring orange blossoms, ethereal tuberose & white rose
Fresh Floral: Heretic Florgasm
This gorgeous floral perfume boasts a fresh bouquet of jasmine, tuberose & ylang ylang.
Chypre Floral: Kierin NYC Nitro Noir
Nitro Noir is an irresistible chypre featuring Italian bergamot, pink berries, orris & patchouli.
Fruity Floral: By Rosie Jane Leila Lou
Leila Lou is a delicate and smooth blend of juicy pear, jasmine & freshly cut grass.
Warm Floral: The Body Shop Indian Night
This opulent vegan floral fragrance features jasmine blossoms handpicked before sunrise.
Powdery Floral: Floral Street Iris Goddess
A fan favorite, this mystical floral gently blends violets with ripe red fruits & vegan leather.
Best Warm Vegan Perfumes
Warm: Lavanila Pure Vanilla
This seductive scent marries Madagascar vanilla with creamy tonka bean & soft heliotrope.
Spicy: Lush Lord Of Misrule
Enjoy the spicy sweetness of black pepper, musky patchouli & creamy vanilla in this vegan scent.
Gourmand: Ellis Brooklyn Bee
Bee is a delicious fragrance dripping with vegan honey that is warmed by dark rum & vanilla.
Best Earthy Vegan Perfumes
Earthy: Kamila Aubre Villanelle
Step into a magical spring forest with fresh bergamot, spicy marjoram, lavender & sage.
Herbal: The 7 Virtues Vetiver Elemi
This vegan scent blends precious elemi with an aphrodisiac – organic vetiver essential oil.
FAQ About Vegan Perfume
Perfume is considered vegan if it does not include any animal ingredients (such as honey, milk, animal musk) and if it not tested on animals.
Today most famous perfumes are not vegan because of animal testing. Until 2021, cosmetics imported to China were required to be animal tested.
Yes, vegans wear perfume like everyone else. They just choose a fragrance from a vegan-friendly perfumer (see our list)
Most traditional designer perfumes are not vegan. But many newer ones are. The best ones are Kierin NYC, Kamila Aubra, Maison Louis Marie, Rosie Jane, and Ellis Brooklyn.
No, Chanel no5 is not vegan since it includes ambergris, fossilized whale vomit. The perfume is also tested on animals. But Instyle offers a vegan dupe of Chanel no5.
No, Gucci perfume is not vegan since the brand uses animal ingredients and animal testing. But Eden Perfumes offers a vegan version of Gucci Guilty perfume.
The world of vegan perfumes is lush and beautiful. No more soapy fragrances, vegans today can enjoy the highest grade designer blends from Kamila Aubre, Kieren NYC, and Olivine Atelier.
While we are sad that some of our favorite vegan perfumes from Kat Von D and Stella McCartney are discontinued, there are so many new brands to explore. In addition to alcohol-based perfumes, you can also shop for alcohol-free perfume oils and dry oils.
For those still looking for their perfect fragrance, there are rollerballs and testers available of most vegan perfumes we have listed. You can order some samples online first, try them out on your skin, and find the right match.