Making kind choices in your everyday life.

Smelling gorgeous

Posted by on Dec 14, 2014 in Animal Testing, Perfume etc | 14 comments

“Dear intelligent people of the world, don’t get shampoo in your eyes. It really stings. There. Done. Now fucking stop torturing animals” – Ricky Gervais (love this man !)


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Let’s be honest, we all enjoy smelling good. A heady, evocative smell can whisk you straight back to a time in your life or remind you of a person quicker than any of our other senses.

However, as with all things beauty related, there is something particularly offensive about having an animal suffer in order for us to smell or look pretty.

My treading kindly quest is a continual learning curve, including the discovery that sourcing cruelty free perfume is not the simplest of tasks.

I have worn Issey Miyake perfume for about the last 20 years. It reminds me of my friend Meg who has worn it for even longer. My fella wears Issey Miyake aftershave. Suffice to say, I love its very particular aroma and all the memories it evokes with just one little spray.

In response to my query to Issey Miyake (owned by Shishedo) about their stance on animal testing, animal ingredients and why they don’t appear on any of the third party certification sites, I received a rather vague and wofty reply which didn’t adequately address my concerns. (“We strictly implement the regulations in favour of the development and the insertion of our cosmetic products in the market. In accordance with the European Directive, we follow the progress of testing methodologies in order to avoid animal testings as we go along with alternatives methods. Therefore, we no longer experiment animal testings for the products introduced in the market.”) What on earth does that even mean ?

I don’t want give money to a company which thinks squirting painful chemicals into an animal’s eyes or onto their skin causing it to blister is an OK thing to do to make money. I want to give my money to a company who has the integrity not to sell to the massive Chinese market (where animal testing is still compulsory for beauty products sold there) and who places the suffering of animals and the environment above making a quid. I think we probably all want this but the seductive world of the perfume industry does not make this an easy feat. Virtually every big name brand (think Clinique, Calvin Klein, Avon, Estee Lauder, Michael Kors) which you see in the David Jones perfume hall either contains animal ingredients and/ or  it (or the ingredients contained within it) is tested on animals or the big company who owns it endorses animal testing. This Choice article is critical of the sales assistants of some brands who will tell you otherwise so don’t always trust what you are told !

The Shop Ethical perfume site is a grim collection of crosses and calls for boycotts due to a whole manner of dirty little secrets which the perfume world gets up to (including animal testing, use of microbeads, use of palm oil).

As for some of the animal ingredients which many perfumes contain…….Musk, Civet and Castoreum are three of the bizarre animal derived ingredients (fancy some anal gland secretions from the civet cat anybody ?) which are often found in perfumes to create longevity but are often produced in a cruel manner – with the animals either having to be killed (beavers in the case of castoreum) or kept in tiny cages for their lives (civet). This article explains a bit more.

To get around the whole dilemma of ambiguous advertising (such as the common line “we do not test on animals apart from if required by law”) or, as in the case of Issey Miyake, they may not test on animals but the “parent” company does (so the profit filters through to the “bad” company anyway…) use one of these independent guides. There are stringent requirements to get on their lists and companies are struck off if they don’t comply. So, the hard work is done for you and you can sit back and smell nice with a clear conscience.

* Choose Cruelty Free

Leaping Bunny Guide

PETA’s guide

A quick inventory of my dressing table reveals, aside from my Issey Miyake, remnants of Pure DKNY  and  Michael KORS (also owned by evil animal testing giant Estee Lauder) and Davidoff Cool Water owned by Coty Australia – also known for animal testing. Sigh. What sort of kind treader am I ? A woeful one !

Cruelty free perfumes I have either tried or yearn after are these ones (and feature in the above guides):

Pacific Perfumes – gorgeous New Zealand company selling a summery array of affordable solid, oil and spray perfumes. I have my eye on the solid perfumed, cute vintage tinned “The Lady’s Moustache”. Who could resist a name like that ? whoreSHOP_1_large

Pacifica Perfumes – USA ethical company (donates to women’s shelters, only uses recycled boxes etc) which are easily found in Australia. They have tantalising “flavours” such as Indian Coconut Nectar and Mediterranean Fig. I have a couple of these perfumes and they are lovely and I usually get a compliment when I wear them. Not so long lasting but affordable enough to have a wee spray every couple of hours.

Lush – I am a huge fan of this kind and ethical company and they have a great perfume selection. I have their solid “Gorilla” Perfume which is a long lasting Jasmine scent.

Natio  – another Aussie kind company that I love. Limited women’s perfume  but a few men’s aftershaves which are deliciously manly and “fworgh” smelling (will try out on my fuss pot other half soon !). Easy to find in Myer, David Jones etc.

Lavanila – this US based company receives consistently glowing reviews and has environmentally friendly (they plant a tree when you order a product from them), chemical free, cruelty free credentials. I want some. They can be purchased in Australia with free delivery from Beautiful Because (which sells an array of cruelty free products). The “Vanilla Summer” promises wofts of “Madagascar Vanilla, mango, pineapple, coconut”. Get out of the house !

Arbonne – love their cute bottles and cruelty free philosophy. Would be a perfect perfume introduction to a teenager who would go nuts over a bottle like this……5243.lg



Olo – unusual scents aplenty (tobacco, whiskey, wood combo ?!). Sweet little Portland company.

Givescent – small, philantropophic company inspired by the smells of Italy and is chemical free. Gives a portion of it’s profits to worthy women’s charities including “every mother counts”.

So, Issey Miyake, for the next half of my life, I am going to replace you with a kinder, better, more transparent you and find a new signature smell which ticks my kind living lifestyle boxes too. After a couple of decades (nostalgic old stick in the mud, who me ?!) , it is time.






Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. One Small Life

    Oh Ing, what a wonderful post. Again thank-you for all the hard work you do to make things easy for us readers who want to tread more kindly but may be a little bit *cough* lazy *averts eyes* who me??

    It is becoming daily more apparent to me that it is just not okay to punish either animals or the planet for such frivolous things as smelling a certain way, looking a certain way or eating a certain thing. It’s finally dawned on me that it is just so not okay for orang-utans to suffer because I like to eat dark chocolate and drink red wine on a Friday night. Ya know?

    I really love how you help me with making these small steps towards living more ethically. Especially because you never make me feel judged while you do it.

    Thanks Ing.

    BTW I have recently started purchasing Sukin products and there deodorant has a lovely fragrance that has become my new “perfume” Are you familiar with them?

    Also I have a guy from an Organi counter accost me at Chadstone while I was there the other day. He was pretty pushy and the products we out of my price range, but if all that he was saying about them was true they sounded amazing. Certainly a company that is worth further investigating. x

    • Tread Kindly

      Aww thanks once again Kate – your comments are always so encouraging. Yes, I have tried Sukin (found them good – affordable and accessible) but am always on the hunt for a good, cruelty free deoderant (I currently use Innoxa) so I will check it out. Organi I don’t know but I will add it to the list of ones to look into – thanks for the tips xx

  2. Tanya

    I have done away with commercial perfumes since detoxing my bathroom products. Nowadays I just use essential oils and they have the added benefit of being therapeutic too.

    • Tread Kindly

      Thanks Tanya – I was almost going to add in some of the links to home made perfumes using essential oils but I was worried that I had waffled on too long ! I would love to learn more about essential oils as I have heard that they can do wonders for moods, insomnia etc and some of them smell great. It would be a great way of custom making your own unique scent too.

  3. Irene

    What a great post! Thank you for sharing this important information. For years I’ve used make-up that isn’t tested on animals, but it’s really great to know which perfumes to avoid so that the same thought can be applied to that area as well!

    • Tread Kindly

      Thanks so much for commenting Irene – by doing so, it led me to discover your lovely blog too. It is great to connect with like minded souls and share our information about living ethically and kindly in this world. I look forward to hearing more from you (have just started following you on Bloglovin).

  4. pia

    Ing, what a top post. I’ve changed to ethically produced oils for face, body and hair instead of cosmetic stuff, but like you, have perfumes lurking in my drawer that I’ve had for ages. You’ve totally inspired me to check out your rad recommendations – not just because they are cruelty free but because they sound so scrumptious. Thank you!

  5. Evey

    Hey! Did you ever find a CF alternative for Issey Miyake? That was always my favorite scent too.

    • admin

      Hey Evie, not as yet – the hunt is still on. It’s a pretty extraordinary scent to try and replace isn’t it ?

      • uela

        google : eden perfumes! 😉 They are from briighton uk. vegan and cruelty free. they do eau de parfume very similar to big brands like channelle, armani, k clain, mijake, and much more! But they are vegan and not tested on animals. theyt sell online all around the wolrld or vegan festivals in all Uk.

    • uela

      try number 50 of eden perfumes. they are vegan.

  6. uela

    Try eden perfume. they are vegan version of the big brands. You used to wear mijake? look at eden perfume number 50. 😉 They are 100% vegan not tested on animals.

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