Michelle Pfeiffer may be better known as a star of the big screen, but when she set out to create her own fragrance line Henry Rose in 2019, she also challenged long held beliefs in the industry.
Have you ever read the list of ingredients on a perfume bottle? The number of obscure words is destabilizing, and while the familiar word “fragrance” might easily be glossed over, it’s also frequently used as a catch-all for thousands of under-regulated ingredients.
Decades ago, when Hollywood legend Michelle Pfeiffer became a mother, she started scrutinizing ingredient lists, wanting to protect her children from toxic chemicals. And so began a deep dive into the world of product regulations and industry practices. Pfeiffer spent years working with perfumers, labs, and regulators to create an industry first: perfume with 100% ingredient transparency.
Henry Rose (named after her children Claudia Rose and John Henry) has had Pfeiffer’s involvement at every stage, and her diligence paid off: Henry Rose is the first fragrance line endorsed by the highly respected consumer watchdog Environmental Working Group (EWG), and is also certified by Cradle to Cradle, an institution innovating products positively impacting people and planet.
However, there were enormous challenges in creating a fine fragrance when working with a limited ingredient selection. Perfumers typically formulate from more than 3,000 ingredients, yet the list of safe and sustainable materials left them with fewer than 300. The efforts were rewarded, every single Henry Rose ingredient is free of substances that have been banned or restricted by international government agencies.
However, in interviews Pfeiffer has been quick to dispel any notions that Henry Rose is a “natural” perfume. When formulating the range, Pfeiffer soon learned that synthetics can in some cases be less allergenic than certain natural ingredients. Communicating the value of being safe, sustainable, and transparent took pride of place over labels such as “clean” or “organic’.
Creating a hypoallergenic, paraben, phthalates and formaldehyde-free personal product that is also cruelty free and environmentally friendly has raised the bar in the industry. And it doesn’t stop there, the bottles are made from 90% recycled glass and the caps from sustainably-sourced and commercially compostable soy, all packaged in biodegradable boxes.
With eight fragrances in the collection, Pfeiffer has recently branched out into home fragrance with a candle and oil diffuser in the brand’s Torn scent. Notes of sandalwood, freesia, rose, violet, and vanilla bean will fill your living space, and there is also a rich body cream in one of their best-selling scents, Jake's House, and Queen & Monsters scents, respectively.
Whether it’s on your body or circulating the air around you, the age of full transparency in personal products has arrived.