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. Great post and good timing! I was recently talking to someone about expanding my product line to include perfume and when I said it had to be natural, cruelty free and vegan there was silence and then “Well that’s going to make it incredibly expensive.” I felt like this person was basically telling me “not gonna happen.” 🙁

  2. It is also my understanding that an enzyme is used from the scent gland of skunks, apparently this is used to help with the staying power of a scent. We have all smelled skunks long after they have sprayed so this enzyme is strong and is also worth lots of money to perfume manufacturers.

  3. also to add, here are some companies that I have researched that are more popular cruelty free that also may vegan products, some companies such as badger is not vegan. here it is!
    THESE COMPANIES HAVE HIGH AMOUNT OR ALL PRODUCT NOT ARTIFICIAL (may not be vegan) products and are leaping bunny certified:
    KISS MY FACE, EO, AVALON ORGANICS, JASON (though have to double check that), BADGER (not vegan), SUGARPILL COSMETICS, ANDALOU NATURALS , PHYSICIANS FORMULA (not sure if still cruelty free, I have never bought anything from them), WHOLE FOODS 365 EVERYDAY VALUE

    hope this helps! 🙂

  4. Fantastic article! Just a reminder to peopel that isn’t just in PERFUME but SHAMPOO,BODY LOTIONS, MAKEUP ETC many people don’t realize this and can even be in “cruelty free” products? don’t belive me? Ask companies what is intheir “fragrance ingredients contains” they don’t have to be honest or share with you the up to at least 100 ingredients it contains including the ingredients listed above. thanks for sharing, keep spreading the word! 🙂

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