Michelle Pfeiffer has been known for decades for portraying confident leading ladies. Whether in her breakthrough role in Scarfacean iconic Catwoman, and much more, Pfeiffer has always had the kind of lasting look you wish you bottled.
So… she did!
In 2019 Pfeiffer launched Henry Rose, a line of fine fragrances featuring not only deeply personal and sentimental scents, but an emphasis on transparency and strict standards for the healthiest ingredients. Pfeiffer spoke to the healthy @Reader’s Digest on the criteria Henry Rose used to become the first fine fragrance line verified by the Environment Working Group (EWG), and her passion for powerful fragrances.
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Thanks to Henry Rose
Pfeiffer’s interest in safe, high-quality ingredients dates back well before 2019.
“I discovered EWG’s Skin Deep database over 25 years ago when I was researching safer products for myself and my family,” she says, “and soon after learned that ‘fragrance’ can be listed as a single ingredient on an ingredient label. , despite containing up to 3,000 different and potentially harmful ingredients. Because brands are not required to disclose what is in their fragrances, there is no way to determine the safety of products that contain fragrance.”
Pfeiffer tells the healthy one that this discovery actually led her to stop wearing fragrances altogether, even though she really missed it. So instead of waiting for the perfect, safe perfume to hit the shelves, Pfeiffer took matters into her own hands: she wanted to see if it was possible to create a fine fragrance that could compete with others on the market, and met the strict standards of the EWG. “But,” she says, “I soon found out why this had never been done before – because it was really hard! I couldn’t find anyone willing to commit to creating a fragrance that revealed 100% of the ingredients. All I kept hearing from everyone was that I was just doing this backwards, and no one trusts celebrity scents.”
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But in the end Pfeiffer says she has found an open door with… International flavors and fragrances (IFF). Due to the strict standards of the EWG and the standards of: Cradle to Cradle (C2C), of which Pfeiffer also wanted to receive certification, she had her work ahead of her. Most fragrances are made from a list of about 3,000 ingredients, but these standards reduce that list to just 300.
Working with those limited possibilities, Pfeiffer says she was amazed at what the perfumers at IFF could create. “I started thinking we would make one fragrance,” she says, “but we were able to launch five and have since expanded the brand by 10!”
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Selecting each scent for those 10 scents isn’t just about finding what smells good. For Pfeiffer there is also a well-being component. “For me, scents have the ability to evoke memories, boost your mood, and just make you feel better,” she says. “While they make us feel better, many of them can potentially harm us with their ingredients. It’s these conflicting aspects of fragrance that ultimately led me to create Henry Rose, proving that you don’t have to take up the experience of fragrance. sacrifice for safety.”
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And Henry Rose’s fragrances are all about experiences (our editors got to taste). Pfeiffer says Mist reminds her of San Francisco summers; Jake’s House takes her back to her grandparents’ home in North Dakota; and Flora Carnivora is inspired by an early memory of sneaking into her neighbor’s flower garden. Her favorite, Torn, is a “warm and familiar” scent that reminds her of how her father smelled when she was growing up.
“All the amazing smells bring me back to something,” she says, “which is a testament to how strongly smell and memory are linked.”
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