I started this blog last year with the intent of it not only being about vegan food, but also about vegan lifestyle. I haven’t covered a lot of ground in that arena yet and that’s where this post and future posts come in, and hopefully you all enjoy the change of pace/content!
As a woman who’s worn perfume all of her life, finding a “signature scent” is something I’ve struggled with for years. Becoming vegan didn’t exactly make this effort more challenging, but it’s a tad harder to find animal-friendly scents in mainstream stores than it is the traditional, alcohol-based scents found in most department stores.
I recently switched to using pure essential oils as my “perfume,” but I quickly became bored with just using one very specific single scent everyday, (most notably, lavender). After running out of my most recent supply, I took to Etsy to research vegan, handmade perfumes to see if I could find a new, cruelty-free scent to call my own. Thankfully, I found three companies that seemed to offer a great deal of options and two of the companies are local, (Seattle-based) as well.
Sweet Petula’s company mantra is “simple luxuries for bath & body” and that is exactly what I’ve found them to be, cheesy as it sounds. The Seattle company started selling at local farmers markets and craft fairs and has seen great success since. After perusing Cordelia’s page filled with lotions, balms, and many perfume scents, I picked No. 4 Vintage Peony in a solid, as it was described as a modern, classic scent that is “laced with violet and honeysuckle and warmed with seductive amber and soft musk.” These sounded like an intriguing combo, and I wasn’t disappointed. The light fragrance notes really worked together and it seemed to last a while, though I’d been warned through other perfume reviews that natural/handmade scents fade quickly and need to reapplied. Feminine is probably the one word I’d use to describe this scent, and I’m not sure exactly what peonies in their physical form smell like. If it’s even remotely close to this, they’re hands down my new favorite flower.
Note: I purchased this perfume over a month ago, and since I’ve checked back it looks like they aren’t selling perfumes on the page anymore, which is a bummer. They do however still sell bath bombs, lotions, candles and soaps. Be sure to check the ingredients or message before purchasing, as not all their products are vegan. Visit the Sweet Petula Etsy page for current product information.
Herbal Alchemy Apothecary – Tourmaline
Brooklyn-based Herbal Alchemy appealed to me for a few reasons, one being the cool names the store’s owner Julianne gave to her products: cocktails, waters and medicinals, to name a few. The company seems to have earned its Apothecary title, and the proprietor grew up drying flowers from her grandmother’s garden before she went on to become an herbalist/aromatherapist/perfumist.
I had trouble choosing just one sample to purchase as many sounded alluring, but I went with Tourmaline, which was inspired by a song of the same name and is composed of notes of tobacco, bitter orange, honey and fern. Classified as a musky floral, it’s quite different than anything I’ve ever purchased or worn as a perfume. It also was intriguing in the sense that it smelled different in the bottle than it did on my skin, which wasn’t a bad thing at all – both smelled earthy and sweet. I really enjoy Tourmaline and am now definitely considering trying out a few more scents from Herbal Alchemy when my current stash is depleted.
Sweet Anthem – Annabelle, Emily, and Tara
Sweet Anthem was the only shop of the three that I purchased samples from that I’d heard about before starting my research. Friend/fellow Washington vegan blogger Anika of Vegan Score had tweeted about it the week before I purchased, so timely! Based in West Seattle, Sweet Anthem is a micro-perfumery owned by Meredith Smith, who left her graphic design job to make perfume full-time, (pretty rad, right?). Selling vegan-friendly scents in solid, oil and eau de parfum forms, she creates 100% of the fragrance combos in her shop, making them completely unique and one of a kind.
I purchased a sample set that allowed you to choose three fragrances in different forms, so I chose: Annabelle in oil, Emily in solid and Tara in oil. Annabelle was the scent I was most excited about, as it contained white amber, jasmine, osmanthus, and sea salt. Jasmine’s been a favorite scent for years and it was classified as “marine,” which brings back memories of warm beaches back home. It did not disappoint, and actually was my favorite of the three that I’ve been wearing almost everyday. It’s light, airy, romantic and clean. Emily was in the “gourmand” category, and sounded delicious as it’s composed of: almond, coconut, oatmeal, sandalwood, vanilla, yuzu and more. Every time I put it on, I feel like I’m in a bakery or like I just baked something, as a warm, inviting and richly edible scent emanates from it. I don’t think I could wear this everyday (it makes me hungry!), but I would recommend it to anyone who loves smelling of delicious treats.
Lastly, Tara was a traditional floral in the “citrus” subcategory with hints of black tea, damascus rose, red currant, rosewood, saffron, and thyme, which sounded as though it’d give a spicy/sweet result. The black tea and currant seem really prominent to me as I put this on, and it feels exotic without smelling too strong or off-putting. I enjoyed it and seems perfect for warm spring evenings – whenever those decide to show here in the PNW!
All three scents are available in either oil, solid or eau de parfum forms on the Sweet Anthem Etsy page or SweetAnthem.com. If you’re local, you can also come in to Sweet Anthem for a Perfume Making 101 class or just pick out your favorite notes to have Meredith create a custom perfume for you.
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I highly recommend checking out all three of these great, vegan-friendly perfume/bath and body products stores, especially if you’re trying to veganize/green your personal care routine, or if you know of a friend who’d love a handmade, personalized gift. While I’m reveling in the samples I’ve purchased, I’m still eager for them to run out so I can buy a few more samples and eventually land on my signature scent.
PS: This was my first time ever reviewing perfumes, and it honestly felt a little like reviewing wines.