Companies and Brands

Avoid All Cologne Brands Except These 12

Masculine bearded young man holding a generic bottle of perfume. Male fragrance and perfumery, cosmetics. Masculine perfume. Bearded man holding a bottle of perfume.
Lordn /

Traditional perfume and cologne can often be made with harmful synthetics, petrochemicals, fragrance oils, dyes, parabens, phthalates, and chemical fragrances. Some perfumes can be made up of hundreds of chemicals that legally don’t have to be disclosed to consumers due to trade secret laws. There are about 3,000 chemicals that can be used in perfumes and colognes and a lot of that list are toxic, known hormone disruptors, endocrine disruptors, and others that have never been studied at all.

Avoiding synthetic fragrances, perfumes, and colognes is your best bet at avoiding harmful fragrance chemicals. The best way to do that is to choose non-toxic and 100% natural brands.

Please keep in mind that some 100% natural brands still use synthetic fragrances but classify them as “safe synthetics.” This means the synthetics are hypoallergenic and safe for sensitive skin. Here is a list of cologne brands that you can feel easy about.

Why Are We Talking About This?

Source: IKvyatkovskaya / iStock via Getty Images
The only difference between perfume and cologne is the smell percentage and the scent.

Finding the right smell for your big night can come with a lot of pressure. Which colognes are the best? Which ones are too strong? Which ones actually use quality ingredients? It’s hard to find all this information for yourself, so we looked into some of the more popular brands and put together our favorites.

#1 Inkling Scents

Source: PeopleImages / iStock via Getty Images
Cologne is a part of any bathroom routine.
  • For: Men, Women
  • Ethics: Family-Run, Woman-Owned, IFRA Standards, Cruelty-Free
  • Product: Ravenous- manly, nuanced, pepper, lavender
  • Price: $17
  • Size: 10 ml Roller Bottle

Ravenous has fresh top notes of mandarin, coriander, pepper, rosewood, ginger, and lavender. Heart notes are rose, jasmine, carnation, sandalwood, and cedarwood. “The formula is unique, spicy, has an attitude, and is totally irreplaceable.”

Inkling Scents

Source: doctorow / Flickr
A view of Bluffdale, Utah.

Inkling Scents’ workshop is located on a small family farm in Bluffdale, Utah that utilizes organic ingredients straight from its garden. All scents are made of 100% essential and fragrance oils. It is free of petrochemicals, fillers, water, alcohol, or any petroleum-based ingredient. Scents have a jojoba oil carrier.

Inkling Scents follow International Fragrance Association (IFRA) standards and are safer than most alcohol-based fragrances.

#2 Wit & West

Source: Thomas Northcut / DigitalVision via Getty Images
Applying cologne after a shave.
  • For: Gender Neutral
  • Ethics: 100% Natural, Cruelty-Free, Vegan, Small-Batch
  • Product: Streetcar Magnolia
  • Price: $90
  • Size: 50 ml

Streetcar Magnolia features top notes of Tulsi (holy basil) and yuzu, heart notes of magnolia, jasmine, and araucaria, and base notes of frankincense and patchouli. Streetcar Magnolia is inspired by the historic St. Charles Streetcar of New Orleans and Louisiana’s state flower. This scent is meant to evoke a sense of adventure exploring the French Quarter.

Wit & West

Source: Photographer / iStock via Getty Images
A jasmine flower.

Wit & West Perfumes is a 100% natural botanical perfumery, is free of phthalate and parabens, and is handcrafted in Colorado. All fragrances are formulated, bottled, and designed in-house by founder Wit. Wit & West uses ingredients straight from its very own garden among other raw ingredients that are ethically selected and sourced. The alcohol base is USDA organic grape alcohol made from certified organic wines and grape varietals.

#3 Barrel and Oak

Calm handsome young well built man using deodorant, applying antiperspirant on underarm armpit skin after shower in bathroom at mirror, caring for hygiene, preventing sweating. Bath routine concept
Source: fizkes /
Cologne is NOT a replacement for deodorant.
  • For: Men
  • Ethics: Certified Organic, Natural Essential Oil Based, Cruelty-Free, Vegetarian
  • Product: Natural Fragrance Cologne- Bourbon Cedar
  • Price: $40
  • Size: 2.7 fl oz

The Bourbon Cedar Cologne is an essential oil-based fragrance that is sophisticated with top notes of red cedar and smoky vanilla. It also has scents of lemon, bergamot, sage, bourbon accord, and patchouli. It has no parabens, no phthalates, no SLS, no silicones, and lasts the whole day.

Barrel and Oak

Glass of whisky cognac or bourbon in ornamental glass next to a vinatge wooden barrel on a rustic wood and dark background.
Source: Marian Weyo /
Who wouldn’t want some bourbon in their cologne?

Barrel and Oak, formally known as Oliviana Men, is now a part of the Gentlemen’s Hardware Trademark family. Its goal is to blend earthy outdoor aromas with notes of essential oils. It uses clean ingredients, natural fragrances, and recycled materials.

#4 Henry Rose

Source: opolja / iStock via Getty Images
Cologne is just one part of a dapper appearance.
  • For: Gender Neutral
  • Ethics: EWG Verified, Cradle to Cradle Certified, Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Biodegradable
  • Product: Dark Is Night
  • Price: $120
  • Size: 50 ml

Dark Is Night is a fragrance with top notes of green grass, middle notes of vetiver and freesia, and bottom notes of patchouli and vanilla bean. It is meant to evoke velvet soft moonlight and a distant headlight flash.

Founded by Actress Michelle Pfeifer, Henry Rose is a Genderless Perfume/Cologne brand and was the first fine fragrance collection that is EWG Verified and Cradle to Cradle Certified. Its fragrances are hypoallergenic, contain no parabens, no phthalates, no known carcinogens, no known endocrine disruptors, no formaldehyde, and are dermatologist tested.

Henry Rose

patchouli with flowers in summer
Source: Echo B /
Photo of patchouli flowers.

Henry Rose also has a really handy “Fragrance Finder,” tool that walks you through what fragrance profiles you are drawn to, what mood you want to evoke, your favorite flavor palette, and even your favorite color to match you with your ideal scent. 

Henry Rose has a 100% transparent ingredient list on all of its products, so you can know exactly what you are putting on your body. Out of the 3,000 ingredients that are typically used in perfumes, Henry Rose only uses 300 that pass its high standards.

#5 Moodeaux

Source: Evening Standard / Hulton Archive via Getty Images
Cologne has existed for many, many years.
  • For: Gender Neutral
  • Ethics: Vegan, Cruelty-Free, No Dyes, IFRA Certified
  • Product: Worthy Eau De Parfum
  • Price: $98
  • Size: 50 ml

Worthy is part of MOODEAUX’s Intenscenual Collection with top notes of white tea and orange blossom, middle notes of red rose, lavender, and leafy greens, and bottom notes of dry musk, vanilla woods, and amber. It is meant to evoke the moment between waking up and getting dressed and to remind you that you are worthy just for being you.


Source: Sundry Photography / iStock via Getty Images
A photo of red roses.

MOODEAUX formulates its scents with safe synthetics that exclude parabens, phthalates, artificial dyes, commonly known or suspected toxins, and commonly known or suspected endocrine disruptors. MOODEAUX formulations are vegan, cruelty-free, and adhere to the International Fragrance Association (IFRA), and Credo’s Clean Beauty Standard.

#6 Herban Cowboy

Source: Yuriy Kovtun / iStock via Getty Images
Different colognes work for different events.
  • For: Men
  • Ethics: 100% Vegan, Cruelty-Free, Small Business
  • Product: Dusk Cologne
  • Price: $29
  • Size: 50 ml

Dusk Cologne has plant-based essential oil ingredients including cedar leaf, sage, and sandalwood. It is a classic cologne that’s perfect for day or evening. It is free of phthalates, dyes, parabens, sulfates, and triclosan. It also uses recyclable packaging when possible. The ingredients include denatured alcohol, fragrance, water, and a proprietary essential oil blend.

Herban Cowboy

Source: Noahidsmith, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
A photo of sage.

Herban Cowboy is made in the U.S. and invests all its profit into educating consumers and eco-innovations including eco-friendly packaging options for the industry, bringing a renewable deodorant base to market, and studying natural ingredients as alternatives to synthetics.

#7 DedCool

Source: dusanpetkovic / iStock via Getty Images
Cologne should be applied lightly.
  • For: Gender Neutral
  • Ethics: Vegan, Certified Organic Extracts, Nontoxic, Biodegradable
  • Product: Xtra Milk Fragrance
  • Price: $90
  • Size: 50 ml

Xtra Milk Fragrance has top notes of bergamot, middle notes of white musk, and bottom notes of amber. It is meant to be a universal musk amplifier and feel like pure comfort. DedCool uses no water, no parabens, no phthalates, no carcinogens, no EDTA, no fillers, and no animal byproducts.

DedCool is a genderless fragrance brand that uses a blend of 21 raw organic extracts that are mood-boosting, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory. It also includes no water in its fragrances. DedCool is on a mission to help everyone find a signature scent that empowers you to feel and smell good. It also sells other fragrance mediums such as laundry detergent, car fresheners, and room spray so your scent is applied throughout your entire day. DedCool scents are customizable and allow customers to build their own scent wardrobe.


Source: EdoTealdi / iStock via Getty Images
The natural wilderness in Hawaii.

DedCool is a 1% For the Planet partner, which means that 1% of sales are donated to help fund environmental nonprofits. It is also a carbon-neutral brand through Terrapass carbon offsets. “Terrapass offsets environmental and ecological impact by funding projects like reforestation, wind-powered farms, and landfill gas capture to remove carbon from the environment.” Beyond that, all manufacturing occurs in-house which drastically reduces its carbon footprint and ensures high-quality, small-batch standards.

#8 Abbott

Source: Express / Getty Images
Smell the way you feel like you look.
  • For: Gender Neutral
  • Ethics: PETA Certified Vegan, Cruelty-Free,
  • Product: Sequoia Perfume
  • Price: $88
  • Size: 50 ml

Sequoia is a deep, woodsy, and smokey scent inspired by Sequoia National Park. It carries notes of sandalwood and incense. The top note is smokey incense, a mid note of cedarwood, and a base note of sandalwood. 5% of all proceeds of Sequoia are donated to Sequoia Parks Conservancy.


Source: Ershov_Maks / iStock via Getty Images
A photo of Sequoia National Park.

Abbott is hypoallergenic and uses no parabens, no phthalates, no sulfates, and no known carcinogens. Abbot uses sustainably sourced ingredients, recyclable packaging, no single-use packaging, is cruelty-free and certified vegan. It also donates a portion of all proceeds to environmental conservation groups that are benefiting the locations that the scents inspire.

Abbott is using fragrance as a tool for connecting with nature. Each fragrance is inspired by a real ecological destination. It strives to be a truly eco-friendly and eco-driven brand that is fully committed to using only clean and sustainable ingredients.

#9 Living Libations

Source: m-imagephotography / Getty Images
Don’t overwhelm others with too much cologne.
  • For: Men and Women
  • Ethics: Cruelty-Free, Some Vegan products, Woman-Owned
  • Product: Eaglewood Ether Forest Cologne
  • Price: $82
  • Size: 30 ml

Eaglewood Ether Forest Cologne has notes of eaglewood oil, bergamot, tobacco, frankincense, amber, balsamy benzoin, vanilla, white cypress leaf, marjoram, chypre accord, and root beer.

Living Libations

Source: JulieanneBirch / iStock via Getty Images
A photo of tobacco leaves.

Living Libations is an organic and wildcrafted clean beauty botanical skincare line that is high-end quality. Living Libations is a woman-founded brand by Nadine Artemis who is described as an aromacologist and botanical muse.

#10 Heretic Parfum

middle aged Americans | Businessman With Cup Of Coffee Leaving Suburban House For Work
Source: monkeybusinessimages / iStock via Getty Images
Good cologne should last long enough for a workday.
  • For: Genderless
  • Ethics: Non-GMO, Small-Batch, 100% Vegan, Cruelty-Free
  • Product: Dirty Hinoki
  • Price: $123.75
  • Size: 50 ml

Dirty Hinoki combines ground hinoki wood with crushed herbs. It has top notes of lemon, cedar, nutmeg, thyme, and pine. Heart notes are Hinoki and cypress. The base notes are elemi, wormwood, fir absolute, ambrettolide, balsam, and frankincense. It has no phthalates, parabens, synthetic dyes, or formaldehyde, and is vegan-friendly, and cruelty-free.

Heretic Parfum

Source: abu / E+ via Getty Images
A photo of a lemon.

Heretic Parfum prides itself in surpassing all industry standards of clean by using plant-based ingredients and organic non-GMO sugarcane alcohol. Heretic Parfum uses 97% naturally derived ingredients. Heretic Parfum can be layered with two to three fragrances to increase intensity and create a customized signature scent.

#11 Boy Smells

Grand+Island+Nebraska+people | German Heritage
Source: greatergrandisland / Flickr
Smell like the man you want to be.
  • For: Unisex
  • Ethics: Cruelty-free, Queer-Owned,
  • Product: Woodphoria
  • Price: $98
  • Size: 65 ml

The Woodphoria scent has top notes of coconut water, cardamom, and black pepper. Middle notes of jasmine petals, lily of the valley, and suede. And base notes of sandalwood, cedarwood, salted musks, ambroxan, and fig leaves. It is meant to invoke a “state of mind where the surf sun meets the forest canopy, a new world of olfactive optimism, bursting with solar power. Expect auras of deep relaxation and happiness.”

Boy Smells has scents that go beyond the gender binary and make loving your identity a daily ritual. Los Angeles-based Boy Smells started as a candle company in 2015 by co-founders and partners Matthew Herman and David Kien. The pair started expanding into fine fragrance in 2022.

Boy Smells

Source: Vladislav Nosick / Getty Images
A photo of fresh figs.

According to them, “We wanted to have products that were embracing masculine and feminine simultaneously in a simple and straight-forward way that wasn’t overtly targeted to one gender. It’s a permission to harness your power from wherever you want it.”

Boy Smells is mostly vegan and 100% cruelty-free (although not certified) and is a true small business not owned by a parent company. Boy Smells does not test its products or ingredients on animals, and neither do its suppliers.

#12 Arcadia Natural

Source: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons
A little cologne will go a long way.
  • For: Genderless
  • Ethics: Hand Made, Paraben Free, Cruelty-Free,
  • Product: Bergamot, Sea Salt, & Amber Solid Cologne
  • Price: $17.99
  • Size: 30 ml

Bergamot, Sea Salt, & Amber is a clean, exotic, and fresh scent meant to invoke a sense of adventure. This is a unique and unforgettable scent. It is paraben-free, hand-made, and not tested on animals.

Arcadia Natural

Source: fcafotodigital / E+ via Getty Images
A view of raw sea salt.

Solid Cologne is a great way to be sustainable and eco-friendly. Each cologne comes in a lightweight, super portable tin. To use solid cologne, simply apply it to pulse points like wrists, behind the knees, and behind the ears.

Arcadia Natural cares about you and the environment. All of its products are petrochemical-free, phthalate-free, and paraben-free. It also uses eco-friendly packaging that is biodegradable or recyclable. It only works with suppliers that adhere to strict fair labor practices.

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