Why Is Perfume Not Vegan?

Perfume is one of the most popular cosmetic items in the world. However, many people are unaware that there are animal byproducts and other ingredients used to make it. This makes a lot of consumers question whether or not perfume really is vegan.

Perfume is a product that many people use for their personal scent. However, some perfumes are not vegan or cruelty-free. “What perfumes are vegan and cruelty-free” will answer this question.

It’s not always simple to find an appropriate scent if you don’t consume or use animal products. You’d be excused for thinking that most perfume is just a harmless mixture of alcohol and scent taken from plants and flowers. Regrettably, this is not always the case. It often includes an animal product or has been tested on animals in some way.

Why isn’t perfume a vegan option? This is a simple question with a simple response. Many fragrances aren’t vegan because they involve animal-derived components, and altering them would change the aroma characteristics that make them so popular.

Some perfume, on the other hand, is plainly labeled as vegan. It’s safest to assume that if you can’t discover a vegan label, perfume is off-limits.

Which Ingredients in Perfume Aren’t Vegan?

Perfumes have a variety of chemicals that make them non-vegan. Some are taken directly from captive animals, while others are animal by-products.


Ambergris is one of the most talked-about perfume components, and there are numerous misunderstandings about its origins. It’s a waxy material that occurs in a sperm whale’s big intestine and is often referred to as whale vomit.

A sperm whale’s diet consists mostly of squid, and indigestible, oily squid leftovers clump up un its intestines on a regular basis. Some of it is vomited, while the rest is excreted.

The bigger fragments recovered and utilized in perfume, on the other hand, are more likely to have come from a sperm whale that met a sticky finish.


Unfortunately, due to the massive quantity of squid they consume, some sperm whales produce so much ambergris that it clogs their big intestines. This prevents any waste materials from being excreted, resulting in a burst gut and, unfortunately, the whale’s death.

Natural marine scavengers eat the deceased whale’s ambergris till it floats free in the water. Before it is found and marketed for use in perfume, the finest ambergris has been floating about in various climes for years.

Fresh ambergris has a strong fecal stench, while ambergris that has spent years ripening in the water has a lovely, earthy aroma. It’s utilized as a fixative in perfume, which means it helps it linger longer on your skin while also enhancing the other smell elements.

Because Ambergris is so precious, sperm whales were sometimes hunted in the hopes of finding it inside them. They are currently a protected species, therefore hunting them is prohibited.

Many scents now employ ambergris substitutes, some of which are plant-based and others which are synthetically manufactured. If you’re seeking for a vegan perfume with all-natural components, check into which kind is utilized.



The generic word musk is used to a variety of perfume compounds, but pure musk comes from a single source: the male Musk deer. This is a little deer with projecting fangs, huge ears, a short tail, and no antlers that lives in hilly areas.

The musk pod is a musk-producing organ found inside the abdomen of a Musk deer. Deer are often slaughtered in order to collect this musk pod and utilize its contents in perfume. Farmers in several countries, notably as China, have devised methods for extracting the pod from living animals.

Despite the fact that the Musk deer is now a protected species, musk is still one of the most costly animal products used in perfume. Hunting of this little deer, whether legal or illegal, is a major problem. This deer will be ruthlessly killed – probably to extinction – unless perfumers stop using its musk.

Numerous individuals like the animalistic aroma of musk, and there are now many non-animal substitutes, such as ambrette seeds and angelica root, albeit they are not as intense. Perhaps we should learn to avoid musk as a scent note?


Civet is a perfume component derived from the male and female civets’ perineal glands. These tiny nocturnal creatures, sometimes known as civet cats, are endemic to Africa and Asia.

Secretions from the perineal gland, which is found under the base of a civet’s tail, are scraped from trapped animals kept in tiny cages. What is the explanation behind this? Perfumers have employed civet as a fixative for hundreds of years to give scents an animalistic, brilliant sweet aroma.

Though synthetic civets have been produced, they can’t quite match the genuine thing, therefore there is still a need for natural civet.



Castoreum is used by perfumers to give some scents a leather aroma. It’s made from the castor sacs, a gland behind the base of the beaver’s tails that’s found in both male and female beavers. To extract this popular perfume component, beavers are captured and slaughtered.

Beavers scent-mark their area with the intense secretions produced by these glands. Many popular perfumes employ it as a fixative and to create a pleasant, clean leather tone.



A rabbit-like creature endemic to Africa and the Middle East is the rock hyrax. Hyraceum, which is made up of solidified pee and feces, is collected for use in perfume. At the very least, since it is gathered from locations where these animals live, utilizing this product does not damage them.

Nobody knows how ancient hyraceum, which is utilized in scent, is. It has been fossilized or mineralized for thousands of years, according to some.

What is definite is that it is ancient and dry enough to have a stone-like look, and that it is used to give scents a somewhat unclean smell.

Even if there is no animal cruelty involved in the collecting of hyraceum, it is still of animal origin, which makes any perfume containing it unsuitable for vegans.



Despite the fact that some vegans use honey, the vegan community does not consider honey to be a vegan product. Honey is formed from nectar collected by bees from flowers. Bees gather it and store it in their stomachs, despite the fact that it is plant-based.

Honey is a food source for bees. The vegan culture considers it to be animal exploitation when people use it for their personal purpose.

Honey is used by perfumers to impart a sweet note to some perfumes, preventing them from being labeled as vegan.



Perfumes often include beeswax. It’s made using melted honeycomb from hives that have been in operation for at least 5 years and has a distinct honey aroma, as well as the smell of the bees.

Beeswax has a strong pheromone essence, which gives fragrances a sweet animalistic note, thanks to its entrenched honey and bee aroma. Because of the exploitation of a bee’s surroundings, fragrances containing beeswax are not considered vegan, much like honey.


Lanolin, commonly known as wool wax or wool fat, is derived from sheep raised solely for their wool. Because of its propensity to seal in moisture, it works effectively as a skin moisturizer.

Lanolin’s waxy moisturizing characteristics are used as a fixative by perfumers. Naturally, any fragrances that include it are not vegan.

Vegan Perfume Alternatives

Several firms now specialize in perfumes that are completely natural, vegan, and cruelty-free. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

The Healthy Fragrance by Lavanila


The Healthy Fragrance line is created by Lavanila. It’s created by hand using all-natural, organic ingredients. This lovely vanilla and coconut fragrance is vegan, cruelty-free, skin-friendly, and eco-friendly.

Amazon has reviews and pricing (link opens in a new tab)

Persian Rose Pacifica


Pacifica offers a wide range of vegan and cruelty-free natural fragrances that are devoid of parabens and phthalates. The link below will take you to a list of 11 products that have received rave ratings from customers.

On Amazon, you may read reviews and browse alternative options (link opens in a new tab)

Why Is It So Hard To Tell When Perfumes Aren’t Vegan?

Perfumers are free from this, despite the fact that many goods declare all of their contents on the package. You’ll notice the word ‘fragrance’ on the list, although this might refer to a mixture of essential oils and other components.

The rationale for the secrecy is to safeguard valuable secret formulations and prevent the creation of knockoff fragrances. For those who prefer to know precisely what’s in the bottle, this is an issue.

Being vegan-friendly and cruelty-free is becoming more popular, and vegan perfumes are typically prominently labeled. If a perfume doesn’t say it’s vegan, presume it isn’t and don’t purchase it.

Why isn’t perfume a vegan option? – Final thoughts

The majority of perfume is not vegan simply because it is fashionable and sells well. Vegans, on the other hand, may see the light at the end of the tunnel, since new firms are now developing exquisite vegan scents. Two are suggested below, but with a little study, you may discover several more.

Perfume is not vegan because it is made with animal and synthetic musk. The best vegan perfume is made from natural ingredients like essential oils and plant extracts.

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