EXCLUSIVE: Pacifica’s Brook Harvey-Taylor, ‘Clean’ Beauty Pioneer, Releases New Line of Fragrance

Brook Harvey-Taylor is arguably the godmother of “clean” beauty, the movement to produce products made without ingredients shown or suspected to be harmful to human health and the planet.

Launching Pacifica as vegan and cruelty-free 27 years ago in 1996, she was ahead of the industry. Before expanding across categories as we know the brand today — in skin care, makeup, hair care and body — her first-ever launch was in fragrance. Now, the beauty founder is introducing a new line of scents.

“Fragrance is in our DNA,” she said of the perfumes, which are plant-based and functional — the term used for the sensorial experience associated with smell.

“Functional fragrance for me is that we’re using a material that’s designed to elicit mood or an experience or positive impact,” said Harvey-Taylor. “It’s specific material that has a similar impact on many people.”

For instance, one might smell orange and imagine, “It’s bright,” she went on, “while another thinks, ‘It wakes me up.’ But [it’s] having a similar experience with orange. That’s the commonality in aromatherapy, but it’s also something that we know in scent works.”

She was inspired to dive back into fragrance after losing her sense of smell for a year due to COVID-19, she explained. She’s been retraining her brain around scents. “It’s waking up your mind and that’s from the aromatherapy perspective. But it’s also digging into the science and data.”  

She’s bringing back “cult favorites,” with each perfume priced at $27 and created with new blends (with the help of a perfumer based in Florida). Including hair and body mists at $13 each, there are seven perfumes in total including “Montana Sky,” using cedarwood, elderflower and sage; “Beach Day,” with sandalwood, orange flower, and smoke notes, and “Passion Fruit,” with passion fruit, pineapple and vanilla. All use natural grain alcohol, pure alcohol made from fermented grains. They launch at all retailers on Sunday, with a TikTok Shop exclusive on Friday.


The launch includes hair and body mists, at $13 each.

Each one is now offered in 2 oz. bottles instead of the previous 1 oz. containers (which were sold for $22). “You’re getting a huge value increase…I’m always about accessibility in creating and putting the best product for the least amount out into the world. And making sure we’re meeting more people with our product.”

She also updated the packaging: “We molded our own bottles, because I want to make sure that we can screw the cap off so that the bottle is recyclable. So, that was really important to me is not to have a crimp cap. And then for the first time we actually are using a cap on our perfumes just for a little bit more of a prestige feel.”

Pacifica’s fragrance business is expected to grow roughly 40 percent in the next two years, according to industry sources, reaching roughly $30 million in sales in coming years. Representing a steady 5 to 10 percent of overall brand sales for years, last year it grew 50 percent, year-over-year.

Some may not know that Harvey-Taylor’s roots are in aromatherapy. Now based in Santa Barbara County in Southern California, she was living in Portland, Ore., when she created Pacifica. It was reading “Jitterbug Perfume” by Tom Robbins that led her down her path, initially inspired to start an apprenticeship with an aromatherapist.

“I became really obsessed with essential oils and blending,” she said. “I would start blending perfumes, and when she left the country — she was English — she gifted me her entire library, and so I had this instant lab, and I started to create perfumes.”

Harvey-Taylor’s first fragrance was sold at a Grateful Dead show in Eugene, Ore.

Brook Harvey Taylor bike

Brook Harvey-Taylor

“My childhood experience, my formative years were really a part of this brand,” she said of growing up in Montana, where she lived on a cattle ranch.

“Once I put together what I called ‘eating our pets,’ is when I became vegan and really militant about animal rights,” she went on. “It wasn’t a trend, so for me, it was always important that Pacifica was 100 percent vegan and cruelty-free, and we definitely set out to disrupt something.”

In the beauty industry, she wasn’t seeing “a brand that was living its values the way that I wanted a brand to live its values,” she added. (Pacifica has a partnership with Plastic Collective, supporting the Asase Foundation in Ghana to collect and recycle plastics equivalent to the total amount of plastic used in Pacifica products.)

“For me, it’s always been really important as a changemaker in beauty that beauty isn’t defined by what white, hetero, patriarchal masculinity defines as beautiful. It should be more that unstructured freedom, joy and celebration that is transformative and what it means to each individual,” she continued.

Looking ahead, Harvey-Taylor is working on “skin care innovations,” she revealed, which will launch at Ulta Beauty in the fall. “A lot of what we’re doing right now is going back to our roots, whether it’s in aromatherapy or how we originally launched our skin care around these very experiential ingredients and textures and thinking about skin care in a unique way.”

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