Putting Brad Pitt’s Le Domaine Skincare Line to the Test
YOU PROBABLY already heard that Brad Pitt has come out with a skincare line. A few weeks ago, the Academy Award-winning actor debuted Le Domaine: a tightly edited, genderless luxury skincare brand created in partnership with the French winemaking Perrin family, who are also his partners in the winery Pitt bought a decade ago. Le Domaine has been making headlines, largely because of the Pitt connection, ever since.
In the Age of the Celebrity Brand™, Brad Pitt’s entry into the skincare game is at the same time expected and head-scratching. Why wouldn’t one of the most famous, and handsome, men in the world sling skincare? But Pitt also seems reluctant, cautious even, to become known as a beauty mogul. In interviews, he’s expressed plausible deniability that he has more than the most basic skincare routine and has voiced contempt at the term “anti-aging” despite the fact that Le Domaine’s claims are around slowing the aging process. At first, the hesitancy of Pitt to truly discuss skincare when being interviewed about his own skincare collection seems a bit performative, but there could be some truth to it.
I asked Le Domaine co-founder Marc Perrin if the line would exist without Pitt. “We would have done it, but we would have looked for another partner because we are too small to launch in an industry that is so saturated,” he tells me. Perrin bristles at calling Le Domaine a “celebrity skincare line,” mainly because while Pitt is a founding partner, it wasn’t exactly his idea.
The story goes like this: 15 years ago, Perrin’s neurologist brother decided to deep dive into the prized antioxidant properties of the grapes the family has used over five generations of winemaking. He was curious which variety contained the most antioxidant power, which led him to Pierre-Louis Teissedre, a professor of oenology—that is, the study of wine and winemaking—at the University of Bordeaux. Through their research, they developed GSM10, a powerful antioxidant molecule made from several grape varieties and now exclusively found in the Le Domaine products. Then they met Dr. Nicholas Levy, a leading voice in the study of progeria, an extremely rare condition that causes children to age rapidly. This led to the development of ProGR3, a cocktail of grapevine tendril-derived resveratrol, apigenin from chamomile, and catechin from green tea that helps skin cells stay healthy. It’s also exclusive to Le Domaine products.
“We were not thinking about cosmetics at the time,” insists Perrin, but after extensive study and trials, the team knew they had something special, especially when they found the two molecules work synergistically (both professors were so enthusiastic they are now partners in the brand). Only then did they take their idea to Pitt, who apparently signed on immediately because of the science. Another selling point for Pitt was that the Perrin family’s legacy of eco-consciousness would be represented in the products. The final versions—a serum, cream, cleansing emulsion, and forthcoming fluid cream—not only contain the two proprietary molecules but also are at least 96 percent natural, with ingredients like olive oil harvested at Miraval. Even the wood caps to the glass bottles are made from old wine casks.
It’s all very interesting, but frankly, when it comes to skincare, none of it really matters unless the products work. So, we got our hands on them and put them to the test.
The design of the bottles, which apparently PItt was very involved in, is exactly what you’d expect from luxury products. They’re hefty, sleek, with striking wooden caps that can be changed out when the product is finished. (While not technically refillable, repeat customers can buy the bottles without the wood pieces and reuse them). But they’re also small. We’re talking 50ml of cream (slightly larger than your average eye cream jar) that will run you $320. “We are a luxury brand with a lot of science and a lot of research into it, so we have a high price point,” Perrin says, defending the price tag. The serum, for reference, is only 30ml and runs an even higher $385.
I’ve used all three products almost exclusively for a little over a week. And they’re all…lovely. The Cleansing Emulsion ($80) is a gentle, minimally foaming cleanser that leaves my skin feeling clean but not overly tight and actually still hydrated. The Serum ($385) is fragrance-free with a milky, jelly-like texture that smooths over my skin effortlessly and sinks in quickly. From what I can tell, the immediate effects are mostly hydration—my skin feels smooth and moist right after I put it on. And Pitt’s favorite, The Cream ($320)? It’s heavy and rich and subtly fragranced, the kind I usually reserve for night or in very cold months when my skin needs extra moisture. But I’ve been using it during the day, too, and it doesn’t feel heavy or greasy. It could be the formula or it could be that I’ve only been using the smallest amount, as a larger dollop would empty the tiny bottle within days.
Overall, the experience of using the products is good. They’re simple, easy to understand, and just as easy to use. But the million dollar question: Are signs of aging reversing themselves before my very eyes like movie magic? No. But then again, to see results from skincare you typically have to go six to eight weeks of consistent use. So, while the science is promising and the positive effects of antioxidants on your skin have been well documented, for me the jury is still out on whether Le Domaine is going to Benjamin Button me. That said, if it’s good enough for Brad Pitt and his secret testing pool of famous friends (Le Domaine’s publicist winks but won’t name names), then maybe it’s worth a shot. If only I had an A-list income to support the habit.
Garrett Munce writes about men’s style and grooming. He’s written for Esquire, New York Magazine, Spotlyte, and Very Good Light and held staff positions at GQ and W. Follow his skincare obsession on Instagram at @garrettmunce.
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