17 best perfumes and fragrances for women: from Jo Malone to Atelier Cologne and Huda Beauty
There are several different types of perfume families, and you’ll often find that you’re drawn to a specific smell over and over again
Friday, 27th September 2019, 8:30 am
We were ranked amongst some big brands like Jo Malone and Atelier Cologne.
"Beauty aficionados are all too aware of the importance of sustainability in their products, which is why our tester is such a big fan of new English perfume house Prosody London. The brand uses non-GMO, synthetic-free natural ingredients from ethical producers to prepare luxurious, organic perfumes that last all day and smell divine. Our tester adored the Neroli Nuance, which transported her right back to summery days (sadly only metaphorically). The perfume is made with 25 natural ingredients including blood orange, neroli and rosemary, with floral and woody notes creating a fresh, summery and long-lasting fragrance."
11 best vegan perfumes
Ensure your scent is animal- and cruelty-free. Here are IndyBest's favourites
Life as a committed vegan can sometimes feel like an endless maze of complicated ingredients lists compiled by companies that all seem to have something to hide.
Despite this, there are more vegans than ever before – 540,000 in the UK, up from 150,000 in 2006, according to the Vegan Society – and brands are scrambling to meet consumers’ increasingly eco-friendly demands. Nevertheless, there remain some key ingredients to look out for.
What makes perfume non-vegan?
Perfume lovers must not only avoid fragrances made with extracts of milk, honey, leather and beeswax, but also secretions from animals used to mark their territories, which are often used as fixatives to make a scent last longer.
Civet comes from the anal glands of the endangered wildcat found in India and Africa. The civets are captured and held in cramped cages for years, with the musk being “scraped” out every 10 days. Brutal and icky as this sounds, civet musk is still present in many of the world’s favourite perfumes. The problem is, you wouldn’t know it, because companies are not legally obliged to disclose the ingredients used in their scents. They count as “trade secret formulas” and are exempt. Instead, you’ll simply see “fragrance”, “perfume” or “parfum” on the ingredients list.
Other animals to suffer in the name of humans smelling good are East Asian musk deer and North American and European beavers, killed for their musk and castoreum respectively. There’s also ambergris, from sperm whale intestines. This is sometimes found washed up on beaches or floating as a rank-smelling fecal mass, but whales have been killed for it, too.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.
What about synthetic perfumes?
These secretions can be unreliable and expensive to obtain, and with more people caring about animal welfare, many perfumiers now use synthetics with a similar sensual, animalistic aroma. Common varieties include civetone, muscone and ambroxide, with synthetic musks estimated to be used in 99 per cent of modern perfumes. Though vegan, the drawback is that the frequently used polycyclic musks (PCMs) are non-biodegradable petrochemicals, with increased use leading to an accumulation in the body and the environment. Possible health concerns upon skin absorption include hormone disruption linked to breast and prostate cancer, thyroid problems and reproductive problems. They can also trigger allergic reactions. It is worth mentioning, though, that many natural ingredients can irritate skin and would be poisonous to eat, too.
Are all vegan perfumes natural and organic?
How important it is to have a “clean” perfume is up to you. Not all the below perfumes are fully natural and free from synthetics, which are widely considered safe in small amounts, but to give you the choice, several of them are, and one is even 100 per cent organic. The biggest complaint about natural perfumes is that the scent does not linger, but as well as smelling glorious, the “clean” fragrances on this list surprised us with their longevity, which we tested by applying first thing in the morning and asking friends whether they could still sniff them on us hours later.
Several of these 100 per cent vegan fragrances will appeal to men as well as women and, even if you aren’t vegan, by default they’re also cruelty-free – not tested on animals or on sale in China where animal testing is required by law – so you can enjoy them guilt-free.
Top tips for longer lasting perfume
Check the concentration. Eau de parfum has a higher concentration of oils (up to 20 per cent), so will last longer than the cheaper but weaker eau de toilette (usually around 10 per cent). Of course, if you’d prefer a more subtle scent, using EDT can be the perfect way to dilute an overpowering fragrance.
Spray perfume at close range onto areas of skin that give off heat, as this helps diffuse the scent. Skip the wrists and target the back of your neck, decolletage and ankles.
Hair and clothing fibres trap perfume, so mist yourself before heading out of the door.
Remember that the base notes stick around the longest, so make sure you’re happy with those dominating the lighter top notes after the first half hour or so.
Keep your bottle away from direct sunlight, which can kill the fragrance.
It’s time you introduced yourself to the newest luxury perfume brand on the block: Prosody London. Much of its range is 100 per cent organic, so totally free from the headache-inducing synthetic fragrances that dominate the fragrance industry. Instead, the finest essential oils take the credit for the 12 lush scents, which vary from rich, dewy rose to delicate, honeyed neroli and are all handmade in England. Our favourite is the botanical Jacinth Jonquil for its gorgeous aroma of blooming hyacinths that transports us straight to the Mediterranean, backed up by exotic ylang ylang and juniper berries (the ones used to make gin). Rest assured that quality has not been compromised for ethics; a couple of sprays lasted all day, before another spritz saw us through a night on the tiles. The cute 10ml spray bottles are handy for carrying around, but if you’re buying a gift for someone special or simply want more of the lovely stuff, the bigger 50ml bottles cost £135. The former come packaged in square cream boxes decorated with a colourful, floral-printed roundel, while the latter ooze contemporary elegance in mossy green boxes wrapped in burgundy ribbon.