25 Apr Vegan Fragrance
What we spray on our skin counts every bit as much as what we put in our body.
Which is why when it comes to scent, we believe that vegan fragrance is the best path to take.
Isn’t a vegan fragrance one that is simply not tested on animals, you ask? Well, yes … and no. The difference runs quite a bit deeper.
Not only does a vegan fragrance contain no animal-derived ingredients, it is made using cruelty-free methods, in a vegan-friendly environment, whereby to the best of its creator’s knowledge and efforts, at no touch point has an animal suffered.
“Perfumery has a long and often gruesome history of using animal-derived ingredients,” laments Simon Constantine, Head Perfumer at vegetarian and vegan Cosmetics Company, LUSH. “This varies from the glands of Musk deer to the vomit of Sperm whales.”
Thankfully, things have evolved, and we can now make kinder, more informed and ethical choices.
“These days things like musk have been successfully recreated through plant-based fragrances, which not only smell stunning, they can have therapeutic benefits when properly formulated with pure essential oils,” says Constantine.
Staunch vegan, yoga teacher, Reiki healer and creator of YOKA Heart Fragrance Balms, Karen Grant opted to follow a purely plant-based path when creating her scented balms and was pleased to find the ingredients easy to access.
She says: “The barbaric practices of extracting ingredients from animals for use in fragrances has more or less ceased, with synthetic manufacturing now reproducing similar smelling ingredients.”
“Moving away from centuries old fragrances to synthetically produced ones and then to plant-based fragrances is really like moving from cow’s milk in your tea or coffee to nut-based milk. At first, it’s just down-right weird, something we’re not used to. But eventually, over time, the plant-based fragrance and nut milk becomes the new norm with the bonus of being cruelty-free.”
Vegan fragrances are plant-based in composition, they have a better synergy with our skin, actually working with our bodies to promote a better sense of wellbeing. They can either enhance or alter our mood, depending on the fragrance ingredients used.
“Our skin is the largest organ in the body, so we want to minimise the amount of synthetic materials that we use on it,” says Grant. “By choosing plant-based ingredients and pure essential oils to fragrance the skin, we are taking that all-important step towards reducing the amount of toxicity into the body and we are infusing the beauty and healing of pure essential oils.”
“For instance, the floral scent of rose geranium has a calming and uplifting effect on the mind and body, whereas earthy, grounding patchouli is wonderful for those experiencing times of sadness or uncomfortable transition. Peppermint essential oil can bring focus and clarity to our minds, but at the same time motivate us to propel forward in a direction we wish to travel. Rosemary brings with it mental clarity and sharpness and is useful in business dealings and financial transactions.”
You might think because the fragrance is vegan and natural, it may not have as much staying power on the skin, but nothing could be further from the truth, says Grant.
“The composition of the fragrance, that is the notes – top, middle and base, impact the lingering effect of the fragrance, with the base being the longer lasting note. Other influencing factors are the ingredients; their quality, extraction method and also the concentration of the fragrance ingredients.”
Constantine adds: “The base notes will often be the note you smell for the longest. This comes from the natural volatility of the materials, as in which materials evaporate quicker and reach your nose sooner.”
“Therefore, something like lemon or orange oil will reach your nose very fast (if you imagine someone peeling an orange on a train, for example). But other materials that take a long time to evaporate will last longer. These materials are known in perfumery as fixatives because they actually often help to seal the perfume to your skin that bit longer. They tend to be naturals like sandalwood or resins like benzoin or olibanum.”
When searching for vegan fragrances – always read the ingredients list thoroughly. There are some ingredients that occasionally can fall just that little bit short of being vegan, as ethical as a brand may be. This includes beeswax, which is used in some formulas.
“All of our ingredients conform to our strict non-animal testing policy,” says Constantine, “but as a vegetarian company we do use some perfume ingredients which are derived from non-vegan sources. For example, some of our fragrances use beeswax absolute which would not be considered vegan.”
Grant, on the other hand, decided to follow the 100% vegan path when creating her product, side-stepping beeswax as an ingredient and opting for Candellila wax instead.
How to wear your vegan fragrance
Vegan fragrances should be worn exactly as you would your regular fragrance, however to get the most out of them, Grant suggests making application an indulgent ritual.
“You might wish to repeat an affirmation while you are applying it to pulse points each day. Look in the mirror, or have your eyes closed, and repeat your positive affirmation as you apply your fragrance balm or liquid to pulse points or chakra points in a love heart shape, a circular motion (the circle is symbolic of continuous and infinite sense of self, wholeness and timelessness), or a figure eight, which symbolises infinity and all that is good in the universe.”
Alternatively, you may not wish to apply a concentrated fragrance to your skin at all. Gently Vegan publisher, Catherine, prefers the subtler approach of fragrance layering, using a beautifully scented body wash followed by a body lotion or oil of the same fragrance. The scent still lingers all day, but in a very understated, enigmatic way. Here are some of our top picks for vegan fragrances.
YOKA HEART BALMS
These take-anywhere salves help to calm your mood, clear your mind, uplift your emotions and soothe your soul. Available in six stunning versions – Love, Joy, Clarity, Calm, Sleep, Mood, each is created with all vegan-ingredients and the purest essential oils and ritually infused with Reiki and the healing power of carefully selected crystals. Priced at $22 from yokaheart.com.au
LUSH GORILLA PERFUME
Aside from the vegan aspect, what we love most about these is the story behind each one. There are over 27 in the range, so we can’t go into all of them here, but here are three of our faves:
– What Would Love Do, $29.95, a calming blend of lavender and tangerine that reminds us of the question we all should ask when faced with a difficult decision – “what would love do?”
– Breath of God, $44.95, which is a smoky cedarwood-citrus-floral inspired by a Lush perfumer’s trip to Tibet.
– Rentless, $44.95, a patchouli-based fragrance created to represent the upcycled treasures and cosy feel inside a Los Angeles water tank a gentleman named Tachowa Covingon had converted into his home.
BAE VEGAN PERFUME AND OILS
Bae is an acronym for Beautiful Animals Everywhere. This new player in the vegan perfume arena is the brainchild and passion of aromatherapist and perfumer, Nat Carey. A devoted vegan, she practices what she preaches . The brand boasts over 25 products across three ranges (the Designer Collection, The Artisan Collection and The Natural Collection), each blend is palm-oil free and sits in a base of coconut oil, which is light weight, non-greasy and nourishing on the skin. You can buy trial sizes so it’s a breeze to try a number of different options before you decide on your signature scent. At GV we love Olive Blossom, which is floral and slightly musky, and Ahimsa, a beautiful blend of grapefruit, lavandin, lime, lotus and rose.
Priced from $7 for a mini fragrance at baeveganperfume.indiemade.com
OCINIUM RAPTURE PERFUME OIL
This is one of GV’s beauty and lifestyle director Shonagh’s top picks. It’s an exquisite blend of exotic, earthy and woody notes including vetiver and sandalwood, rose maroc, patchouli and ylang ylang, infused into jojoba oil.
Priced at $86 from ocinium.com
KORA ORGANICS HEART CHAKRA AROMATHERAPY OIL
Created by supermodel and mum-of-two, Miranda Kerr, this precious oil is designed to heal the heart and lift the mood. It contains certified organic rose otto, sandalwood, ylang ylang and cedarwood to nurture the soul and evokes self-love. The supermodel says: “When I apply this oil it completely transforms and uplifts my mood – the closest thing I could describe it to is the feeling of a big warm hug. I carry it in my handbag at all times. Not only is it a wonderful scent it’s also an incredibly nurturing experience.”
Priced at $59.95 at koraorganics.com
MILLER ET BERTAUX PARFUMS STUDY #23/NEWSLETTER
A woody-floral with top notes of mystical incense, garland, patchouli leaf, a heart of yellow flowers necklace and base notes of smoked cedar and sandalwood, this scent was created to evoke the fragrance of a newsletter sent from India. And that is exactly what it does.
Priced at $199 from libertineparfumerie.com.au
ARBONNE RESCUE AND RENEW BODY COLLECTION
For those who like to be a bit more stealth with their scent, this collection is ideal. It allows you to subtly layer fragrance, as well as treat your skin to a decent amount of Ayurvedic-based pampering. Begin by bathing with Detox Soak, massage Detox Scrub from top to toe to remove dead skin cells and complete the routine by applying either Detox Oil or Lotion to soften and lightly fragrance your skin with an uplifting citrus scent. And if you wish to add a little extra, the six pure essential oils in the range, including lavender and lemon, can be applied directly to the skin on the inner wrist.
Priced from $35 from Arbonne.com
Beauty and Lifestyle Director Shonagh Walker