If you want a lesson in work/life balance, take a glance at Michelle Pfeiffer’s Instagram. One minute the legendary actor is walking a red carpet and the next she’s lounging on the couch, watching the Oscars with her cat. As it happens, the Maleficent: Mistress of Evil star’s schedule isn’t the only thing she likes to keep well-rounded. In addition to her established acting career, Pfeiffer also recently launched genderless fragrance brand Henry Rose, adding the title of beauty entrepreneur to her already impressive resume.
Yes, while it seems everyone is venturing into the skincare and makeup space (here's looking at you, Kardashian/Jenner brood) Pfeiffer is choosing the path (somewhat) less traveled with a clean and 100 percent transparent fragrance line. You heard that right, clean — as in no parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, known carcinogens, or any other scary ingredient you can't pronounce. And, considering the mystery residing in fragrance composition, if creating a completely transparent product seems like a complicated undertaking, that's because it is. Just ask Cat Woman herself.
Originally, Pfeiffer had the grand idea of creating one scent that was verified by the Environmental Working Group (she claims she "selfishly" went without perfume for 10 years because she couldn't find one free of toxins and chemicals). This seemingly simple passion project quickly snowballed into a fragrant beast of Pfeiffer's own making. "I kept going after this particular scent in the oriental category, which was challenging because we were so limited with the ingredients," she recalls in a phone interview with The Zoe Report. "We went from 3,000 options that consumers are allowed to pull from to, in the beginning, 250."
The "laborious and frustrating" task of finding the right formula that both met her vision and the criteria of the EWG was a long one, but eventually Pfeiffer got there. "We ended up developing Torn, which was as close as I could get to [my original idea]," she recounts. "With any kind of creation, you start out with an idea and it leads you down a path of discovery. So even though Torn wasn't exactly what I was going for, we discovered it. And it's my favorite."
And said discovery created a domino effect of sorts. In addition to the aforementioned vanilla-infused Torn, Henry Rose's inaugural lineup included four other genderless fragrances — Fog, Last Light, Dark Is Night, and Jake's House — all of which debuted in April 2019, and all of which are EWG verified. In February 2020, the brand welcomed its newest fragrance, the fresh and woody Queens & Monsters. Not a bad roster for a brand that struggled to create just one formula, no?
Now, with whimsy and quirky product names like these, they beg the question: Are any of these inspired by Pfeiffer's iconic movie roles? According to the Batman Returns star, the correct is answer is no... kind of. "I would say Dark Is Night is probably Selina Kyle [Cat Woman]," says Pfeiffer, who adds that Queens & Monsters could also be tied back to the 2019 Maleficent sequel (the fragrance was originally supposed to launch around the time of the film's release, but was then pushed back), although the name of the scent was ideated long before her involvement with the project.
At $120 for a 50ML bottle and $50 for a 5ML rollerball, Henry Rose products aren't exactly on the bargain side of the fragrance spectrum. But, considering the blood, sweat, and tears (not to mention integrity and heavy vetting) behind the each scent, the price tag seems justified. And, according to Pfeiffer, the brand's momentum isn't slowing down anytime soon. "We're in the process of launching three more fragrances, and maybe more," says the actor. "We just had a smelling session that was really exciting and it's sort of opening up a whole new area for us. We'll also be launching a body lotion and body soak in the fall and perhaps a few other things."
Oh, and her next feature film French Exit is currently in post-production on top of all that. While this laundry list of projects might overwhelm some, apparently, it's all in a day's work for Michelle Pfeiffer. Just check her Instagram.