Since 1978, Michelle Pfeiffer has become one of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses. Performances in The Fabulous Baker Boys, Batman Returns, and Dangerous Liaisons made her into a household name. Now, the California native has taken a new career path with her perfume line Henry Rose.
It wasn’t an overnight success
The road leading up to this new venture was a long one for Pfeiffer. While she loved wearing perfume, its harmful effects caused her to avoid them for a decade. In 2008, she tried her hand in creating her own perfume line, but she found no one to take her seriously. Pfeiffer’s didn’t let her hunt for eco-friendly perfume come to an end. In 2011, she continued her journey with help from a veteran in the business.
“I realized if I’m going to do this, I’m gonna somehow do it on my own. Find my own chemist, my own perfumer, maybe independently finance it. At that point, I met with Ken Cook, the president of the Environmental Working Group. And that’s when the real learning curve started. I started out thinking that I was going to make something that was purely essential oils. Then, I realized that if I was going to get the EWG’s highest level of safety verification, I couldn’t do that — a vast amount of the population has allergies to essential oils,” she told Allure.
The harm in modern-day perfumes
Essential oils such as tocopherol and tea tree oil have caused outbreaks for many perfume fanatics. Much like secondhand smoke, fragrances can also affect those in the vicinity. “Some people feel like they can’t enter public restrooms or walk inside shops because they don’t want to risk an asthma attack. This loss of functionality makes a fragrance sensitivity not just a health issue, but a societal and economic one too,” professor Anne Steinemann told Health Magazine.
Due to a majority of oils being harmful, Pfeiffer almost found herself in a severe predicament. “What didn’t fully occur to me at the time, though, was just how restricted I was making the task for the perfumers. They can typically choose from around 3,000 ingredients. When we were done, their palette was limited to about just under 300. There were many moments along the way when I was afraid I was going to lose them because it was so difficult. But they really rose to the challenge,” she told Allure.
Protecting the environment one bottle at a time
When it came to naming her perfume line, she looked towards her kids for inspiration. “It started with my kids. I’ve always loved, loved, loved their middle names, and so I thought, well: Henry Rose. A number of people had suggested it along the way, and I just dismissed it out of hand. But it kept coming back, and it kept coming back. So it felt like that’s what the name was meant to be,” she told Allure. The name also refers to its genderless availability.
Henry Rose is the first perfume that’s both Cradle to Cradle gold-certified and EWG verified. Right now, the line features five available fragrances, including Dark Is Night and Jake’s House. More fragrances are set to be unveiled down the line. Some ingredients found are honeyed neroli and patchouli, which is unlike what’s in perfume today. Each 1.7 oz bottle sells for $120, but they offer a sample pack of all scents for $20. Luckily for the actress, people have been buying her material in bulk since its release. While Pfeiffer might seem like another celebrity getting into fragrances, she’s simply looking to make the environment cleaner.