Is Perfume Vegan?

Is Perfume Vegan?

We all know that animal testing is a big issue. Sadly, a lot of the major fragrance companies out there are not cruelty free. In fact, if you were to try and buy perfume from a major department store you would have a hard time finding a line that was cruelty free.

What many people do not think about is the use of animal ingredients in perfume. Many fragrances contain lanolin, castoreum, deer musk, cat musk, ambergris, and hyraceum. These may be listed on the labels, but they may also just be listed as “fragrance” instead of being called out individually.

What exactly are these ingredients? You may be surprised out when you find out where they come from.

  • Ambergris is produced in the digestive system of sperm wales.
  • Castoreum is a secretion produced by beavers. In the wild, is secreted mixed with urine to mark their territory. Castoreum is sourced from an anal gland.
  • Civet is a secretion produced by type of cat that lives in Asia and Africa. The African Civet is most commonly used to source this musky ingredient. In the wild, is secreted mixed with urine to mark their territory.
  • Hyraceum is a solidified mixture of urine and feces produced by the Cape Hyrax. This ingredient is also called Africa Stone because of it’s consistency.
  • Kasturi is a secretion produced by male Moschidae deer. These deer live in Nepal, India, China, Mongolia, Pakistan, and Siberia. Kasturi is sourced from a gland located between it’s back and rectum. After removing the gland, it is dried and a paste extracted to be used as a fixative for perfumes.
  • Musk is a commonly listed ingredient that can come from a variety of animals. Aside from beavers, civets, and Moschidea deer, musk can also be sourced from muscrat, ducks, turtles, alligators, crocodiles, and snakes. In these animals, the musk is extracted from an anal gland or glands located in the mouth.
  • Lanolin is oil derived from sheep wool. While it is often presented as a harmless ingredient, sadly it often is not. You can find out more about lanolin by reading What is Lanolin?.

None of these ingredients are items that most people, vegan or not, would knowingly apply to their skin. My guess is that you are now looking at your favorite perfume in a whole new light. It is completely unnecessary that they be common ingredients in perfumes.

There are cruelty free and vegan perfume companies out there who make a variety of scents. None of which require any of the ingredients above. Logical Harmony will soon be providing you with a list of these brands.


  1. Can I recommend L’erbolario? It’s an italian company and their fragrances are the richest, most luxurious I’ve ever smelled and they are cruelty-free!

    1. Hi Emma,

      Thanks for suggesting L’erbolario! We have reached out to them and they will be added to the Pending Brands list. Please check back for updates to see where they move to on the list. This will depend on how fast I hear back from them, but they will be included in future weekly update posts about the brands list. Have a great day!

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