Here at The Sniff over the last couple of years we have seen an increasing number of enquiries about the ethical nature of brands, from ‘Does brand X test on animals?’ to ‘How sustainable is brand Y’s packaging?’ We can’t promise to be experts on either of these topics, but what we can do is ask the brands for you.
A recurring trend in perfumery is the ‘naturals vs synthetics’ debate which rages ceaselessly with misinformation perpetuated and ‘chemphobia‘ being rife amongst those who wrongly believe that something ‘natural’ is less likely to cause allergies than something ‘synthetic’. The real argument is far more complex than this. Similar issues are found in the ‘green’ and ‘ethical’ sectors of perfumery but the beauty of the indie and niche sector is that many companies will engage with you if you have a specific question you want to ask of them.
On the subject of animal testing: whilst the EU prohibits animal testing for cosmetics, in China cosmetics have to be tested on animals to be sold there which means that many of the larger perfume brands will do so. It is also worth bearing in mind that just because the final product is not tested on animals, this does not mean that the raw materials that go into these products aren’t as well, but some of those products were isolated tens of years ago – if not longer. Again, it’s complicated.
We’ve concentrated specifically on the niche sector of perfumery and all the information comes from brands’ own websites, or correspondence with them. If you own or represent a brand not featured, and you have a specific policy on any of these issues please get in touch to let us know. We will update this list as and when we receive information from other companies.
Aaron Terence Hughes
Angela Ciampagna don’t test on animals nor do they sell in countries which require this. Their packaging is made of recyclable materials apart from a small foam insert which can be easily removed. The Angela Ciampagna brand works to stringent national and international laws and good manufacturing practices to ensure that they have as little negative impact on the environment as possible. This information was taken from correspondence with the brand.
4160 Tuesdays’ perfumes are all vegetarian, a small number contain honey or butter extracts and much thought has gone into making their company sustainable, recyclable and fair trade. They even offer money off if you want to return your bottle to be refilled. Their website lists almost every facet of their practice should you wish to dive into this further.
1000 Flowers does not use any animal or animal derived products in their fragrances, nor do they test on animals or sell in countries that require this. They approach packaging as something both beautiful and useful that you might want to keep, but they’re also recyclable should you chose to dispose of it. Bottles can be returned to their store in Grasse for refilling or recycling. They also have a zero plastic policy with regards to their packaging and demand that their suppliers don’t supply materials in plastic. The ethanol used in their fragrances is 100% certified organic French grain alcohol and they don’t use non-biodegradable materials (such as polycyclic musks) in their scents. This information was taken from correspondence with Jessica Buchanan, founder of the brand.
January Scent Project
The January Scent Project fragrances are not tested on animals. They do not use any products that come directly from animals (such as animal musks, or goat hair tinctures, etc). Two of their fragrances contain animal bi-products: beeswax C02 extraction, and a seashell distillation.
As recycling uses energy, January Scent Project have given significant thought to the design of their packaging – in the hope that you might keep and reuse it instead of recycle. Firstly, they aim to reduce waste in the first place by limiting additional packaging such as inserts, and secondly, they present the product in a sturdy box which is designed to be kept and repurposed. Both these elements should hopefully limit the need for waste or even recycling. This information was taken from correspondence with John Biebel, the founder of the brand.
La Maison Hedonique
Maison Sybarite use a novel delivery system of oil and water rather than alcohol, making them good for people with alcohol skin sensitivities. Their fragrances are all cruelty free and vegan. They include information on their sustainability practices and ethos on their website.
Zoologist state on their about us page that they do not use animal derived musks, instead replacing them with synthetic musks. On their FAQ page they state that all perfumes apart from Hyrax are animal product free and that they do not test on animals. With the exception of Hyrax, their scents are considered vegan. On the webpage for Bee, they do also state that Bee includes beeswax.
If you want to find out more about cruelty free cosmetics of all types, check out Cruelty Free Kitty.
The cosmetics company Lush is a great example of a brand trying to limit negative environmental and ethical impact. Check out their policies page for more information. Lush also include information about where they source their products from, which is fascinating. Particularly informative is their book, “On the Trail of the Sandalwood Smugglers” which discusses the illegal sandalwood trade. Lush also have an extensive range of perfumery now which significant thought has gone into making as sustainable and ethical as possible.
You also might find it interesting to read the Ellen Macarthur Foundation’s information on circular economy principles.