*This post contains gifted products.*
Vegan, cruelty-free perfumes can be a tricky thing to find.
It can be even trickier finding perfumes that are also low-waste, made with recyclable/sustainable packaging and use natural, honest ingredients – just as nature intended.
Sometime last year, I discovered Elementary – a bright new brand that’s strided confidently into the vegan beauty arena. Boasting a serious penchant for nature and whimsically illustrated branding, they take the idea of the common everyday perfume and turn it completely on its head.
Elementary’s scents are as bold as their mission – which is to make perfume with just the essentials – and they’re not the kind you’ll find at your usual department store counter. These are highly concentrated, potent, natural, small-batch brews that are guaranteed to turn heads, embed memories and have people asking that coveted question: “What are you wearing?”
Elementary, My Friend
Elementary currently has three scents – ‘brews’ as they’re called. Unscheduled Wander, Lowbrow Jazz and Lazy Sage…the names are as evocative and mysterious as their fragrances. Each one tells a story, both in scent and design…so much so that you wouldn’t be blamed for not knowing which one to choose.
That’s why co-founders Becky and Steve recommend that customers try one of their sample packs first, which contains a small bottle of each of the scents. The sample packs also come with small card swabs so you can smell the fragrances independently, as well as on your own skin, as every individual’s pheromones mean the fragrances smell differently on different people. This I love, because it reminds me that scent is one of those personal things unique to every person – something many large commercial brands would have us forget.
Elementary were kind enough to send me my own sample pack sometime last Autumn so I could delve into their magical world myself. It’s funny, because when reading the scent notes I thought Lowbrow Jazz would be my choice, but after trying them out for real, it was Unscheduled Wander that stole my heart, and my whiff-sensors.
I’ve always had a thing for darker, musky fragrances that hit you with intensity at first, but gradually mellow out to reveal their sweeter, lighter notes. I guess one way I could describe it is those scents that smell one way when you put them on, but then smell a whole other way the following day – the ‘morning after’ scent I like to call it. It’s not better or worse, just different, and it’s just as powerful as the initial scent, with its own story to tell.
Unscheduled Wander ticks many of these boxes for me, with notes of oakmoss, patchouli, bergamot and cedarwood. Elementary describe it themselves as a “full-bodied, aggressively agreeable, deeply woody brew with a warm, smouldering, burnt undertone, softened by a hint of fresh flowers”. I think this is a pretty accurate description and, considering scents are certainly not easy to define, pretty much nails it on the head better than I ever could.
Meanwhile, Lowbrow Jazz is a “sharp and unsubtle burst of spice”, with a musty earthiness giving way to a “light, sweet, fruity hit”. Its bottle design is as sassy as its name, with beautiful pops of vibrant pink, and its notes include spices like cardamom, clove and caraway, as well as savoury basil and coriander and sweet cinnamon leaf and bergamot.
Last but certainly not least, Lazy Sage is a breath of fresh aromatic air – “a herbaceous sensation”. Described as “fresh green foliage with smooth floral spice and a slight tinge of citrus”, it boasts notes of clary sage, cannabis, rose, geranium, camomile and lavender.
Once I’d decided on my chosen scent, the lovely folks at Elementary gifted me a full size bottle of Unscheduled Wander to spritz to my heart’s content. It’s currently my go-to everyday perfume, and I love how a little goes a long way. Just a couple of sprays and it clings to my clothes, and even changes slightly throughout the day as the natural elements react with my skin. It’s already sparked a few questions in company, and I love directing people to the world of Elementary so they can learn about their magic for themselves.
Natural, Zero Waste Perfume
Elementary are helping to trail-blaze the path towards lower-waste, sustainable perfume by supplying all of their scents in recyclable/reusable bottles, including the beautifully illustrated labels. Each new bottle comes with an atomiser, but when you want to repurchase you can choose to not include the atomiser and re-use the old one.
All of Elementary’s scents are certified vegan and cruelty-free by PETA and The Vegan Society, and contain concentrations of 26% – meaning you’re guaranteed a lot for your buck.
If you’re looking for a new favourite perfume brand that’s easier on animals, the planet and aligns with your eco-friendly values, Elementary is it.
All of Elementary’s scents can be purchased directly from their website.