Making Scents: The Cruelty-Free Perfume Guide



Like a tailor-made suit, a little black dress or a piece of fine jewellery, a signature scent can stick with you for life. Once you find The Scent, it’s hard to let it go: it becomes part of your essence and spritzing it on in the morning (or evening…) becomes a welcome part of your daily routine.

Evocative and powerful, scents hold an emotional power: reminding you of moments you cherish, memories you’ve made, and people you’ve had the pleasure to know, perfumes transform into treasured keepsakes. Research from the Institute of Applied Aesthetics suggests there is a link between mood and scent (source) which is hardly a surprise.

Many mainstream perfumes are either tested on animals or contain ingredients that aren’t vegan – how would you like to wear secretion from the anal gland of civet cats? Doesn’t sound that appealing, we know! So we’ve put together a list of vegan, cruelty free perfumes without any cringe-worthy ingredients for you to choose from!



Lavanila – Vanilla Summer

Lavanila makes vanilla based perfumes. The Vanilla Summer one is the ultimate summer perfume with scent of tropical mango, pineapple, coconut milk and cane sugar mixed with warm Madagascar vanilla. It sounds like a dessert, and I want it now!

Florame – Radiant Rose

Made with natural and organic ingredients with head notes of rose and chamomile, it will give you the scent of a lovely summer bouquet.

The Body Shop – White Musk Smoky Rose

Another one for those who like the seductive musk scent! A cruelty-free musk with notes of black smoky rose and tobacco flower – the upside is you can get it at your local Body Shop store.

Dolma – Vegamusk

Musk is actually glandular secretions from musk deer but Vegamusk from Dolma is an animal free musk. It’s a perfect blend of vegetable and synthetic musks with sandalwood.

Forager – Bloom Eau de Parfum

This line of all natural (and organic when possible) perfumes was created by graphic designer Casey Cole who became sensitive to the overpowering scents in mainstream perfumes. So she decided to mix her own fragrances and she is doing it well! All perfumes are vegan and the Bloom one shown in here has notes of spring blossoms and green twig.

Pour Le Monde – Empower

Wendi, the creator behind Pour le Monde perfumes, was concerned by all the chemicals in her perfume bottles but thought that the natural perfumes on the market smelled, as she describes it: “a little ‘hippie’ or ‘too earthy’”, so she decided to make natural perfumes that were as beautiful and elegant as the synthetic ones she had used. Empower is a fresh and citrusy scent with top notes of lime, Italian Bergamot, orange, grapefruit and lemon.

Lush – Sikkim Girls

Sikkim Girls is part of Lush’s line of Gorilla perfumes and has notes of tuberose, frangipani and jasmine. It is an exotic and seductive floral perfume, according to Lush.

A Perfume Organic – Urban Organic (roll-on bottle)

Urban Organic is described as “A daytime perfume, fresh and citrusy, lavender and grapefruit make the most delicious combination” and it takes me back to lovely summer days in southern European countries where lavender blossoms fill the air with their delicious scent. Bliss!

Stella McCartney – Stella

Stella is a feminine fragrance with a fresh scent of rose contrasting the warmer and darker amber scent. It’s a little sweet and very classic – perfect for the sophisticated, feminine woman.



Ingredients to look out for:

Beeswax – many vegans avoid beeswax and it can be found in some perfumes

Civet – glandular secretion from the African civet cat.

Castoreum – derived from the genitals of beavers and muskrats.

Ambergris/amber – derived from the intestines of the sperm whale

Honey – many vegans avoid honey and it can be found in some perfumes

Musk – glandular secretion from musk deer


Top photo by: Kevin Jaako.

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Anja Elle

Beauty & Marketing Coordinator

Anja has a background as hairstylist and makeupartist and works with marketing. She is a Swede living in Copenhagen with her two cats. Anja lives to travel, is a vegetarian, a bit of a crazy cat lady, and would go far for a good truffle pasta and Italian wine. She blogs at

    1. Hi Andy, thanks for your comment. A product does not necessarily need to be on the Leaping Bunny list to be cruelty-free. Although the Leaping Bunny is a wonderful initiative that we fully support, there can be many reasons why a specific company is not on the list, such as the company not being aware of the list or its importance or financial matters (getting a Leaping Bunny certification doesn’t come for free). When chosing the products for this list we went with the companies’ own policies on animal testing as well as making sure the ingredients list is vegan. I hope this clears it up for you.

  1. Great post, I remember loving my mum’s perfume as a child until my older brothers told me what it was actually made from! We are so lucky that we have the internet to keep us informed, I really cannot understand why more of us are no choosing cruelty-free cosmetics.

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