In case you’ve been dozing for the past 48 hours, here’s what you missed: Brad Pitt is making skin-care products.
I know! “Breaking news,” as they say on CNN. I start my investigation by following in the footsteps of Robert Caro and Bob Woodward. “Hey, Google, what does Brad Pitt use on his skin?,” I ask, probingly. “Mr. Pitt has been known to slather his face each night in the luxurious La Mer Crème de la Mer moisturizing cream, which he shares with his wifey,” the voice answers, apparently unaware of the meaning of “breaking news.” Google, you are out of date. I dig deeper.
“Alexa, what’s Brad Pitt doing now?” “Despite ongoing legal disputes with his ex-wife Angelina Jolie, it seems Brad Pitt is living his best life.” Correct! By “living his best life,” Alexa clearly means that Mr. Pitt is joining Ariana Grande, Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, Hailey Bieber, Harry Styles, Machine Gun Kelly, Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Drew Barrymore, Venus Williams, Lisa Rinna, Scarlett Johansson, Selena Gomez, and Rihanna in starting a beauty brand. Have I left out anyone? La La Anthony, Madonna, DJ Khaled, Carmen Electra. Also, his ex-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow, whose Goop he admires. There are more, so many more, but, really, isn’t that enough?
Close your eyes and picture Brad Pitt digging deep into the fertile French earth of the Rhône Valley, his fingers strong and supple. He caresses the dusky organic grapes, their plump skin blooming under his touch. As he bursts a grape in his bare and pliant hands, he extracts a precious seed. He picks the grapes—must, leaves, stems, seeds, and all—his muscles rippling under an organic T-shirt, and enters a laboratory. He busies about, extracting and analyzing ingredients, mixing and purifying. As he pushes a lock of sun-streaked hair out of his eyes to peer into a microscope, suddenly, astonishingly, he discovers a complex that protects skin cells from the damage caused by ultraviolet light, pollution, and the cruel and inevitable passage of time. It is GSM10®. It is his gift to us: $385 for one ounce of serum.
Too bad it didn’t happen that way. While Pitt was busy making Bullet Train and Deadpool 2, scientists spent 10 years working behind the scenes, isolating the polyphenols in the grape pomace from the Château de Beaucastel vineyard, in the Rhône Valley. From there, Le Domaine Skincare was born: a serum, a cream, a lotion, and a cleanser. “It’s really not a celebrity brand,” says Marc Perrin, the C.E.O. of the Perrin-family vineyards, which includes Château de Beaucastel as well as Pitt’s Château Miraval. “It’s not just Brad Pitt’s name on it. It’s really not that.”
With all due respect, Monsieur Perrin, tell it to the judge. Can you blame the skin-care-buying public for losing their marbles over the idea that Brad Pitt has a skin-care line? Journalists and directors have been losing said marbles ever since he hitchhiked into Thelma & Louise, in 1991. After all, “his gaze is fierce, his eyes blazing blue as an acetylene torch. His jawline is so chiseled it could slice roast beef. His flowing blond locks glitter as if throwing off sparks,” wrote Leslie Bennetts in Vanity Fair, in June 2004. “The face that launched a thousand tabloids is pale despite its golden tan.”
That’s Brad Pitt for you. He is dangerous, they say. He is irresistible. Brad Pitt is even, remarkably, “a different breed of man,” according to Quentin Tarantino in last June’s GQ. “I don’t think you can describe exactly what that is because it’s like describing starshine.” In other words, we can’t have him. Maybe he’s offering his skin-care products as a consolation prize. Or—and I apologize for asking this—is he a sellout?
Twitter and TikTok are not amused by Mr. Pitt’s pricey line. No matter that the bottles are refillable. No matter that they’re topped with caps made by local craftsmen of scrap wood from wine barrels, each a miniature sculpture. No matter that real scientists who are not named Brad Pitt worked in obscurity for a decade.
“All the beauty is in nature,” says Mr. Perrin of the power of his grapes. Brad Pitt, two-time Sexiest Man Alive (according to People magazine), and one of nature’s wonders, is just trying to help the rest of us. And what’s so wrong with that?
Linda Wells spent 25 years as Allure magazine’s founding editor, served as Revlon’s chief creative officer, and currently consults and sits on the boards of several beauty and apparel companies