It’s the end of August and New York Fashion Week is fast approaching. But I just got a call that will change my plan.
“Brad Pitt is launching a new skincare line. The technology is extraordinary and we’re sending some journalists to Provence to find out more about it,” a trusted Ibiza publicist tells me. “Of course Brad will be there.”
Without hesitation, I apologetically scrapped my pre-existing plans, respectfully declined any invitations that arose afterward, and a few weeks later boarded a La Compagnie flight to Nice.
The details of Pitt’s newest venture, Le Domaine Skincare, were kept under wraps until we moved into Château Miraval in Provence — a 4,000-acre organic winery he co-owned with Angelina Jolie for $60 million in 2012 bought. As we approached the guest residences on the property, where the superstar would soon be arriving, I had no idea what the skincare line would consist of or why he was even making it.
I mean, let’s face it: celebrity skincare lines are a dime a dozen these days. Almost everyone in Hollywood has some type of cream or serum on the market. And each founder claims to have the most sustainable brand, to fill a niche in an already saturated market, to now be a dermatology expert — you know, but Brad had his work cut out for him.
However, Pitt, who has just joined us, is wearing a custom purple Haans suit by Nicholas Mott (the designer behind the famous skirt he wears on the fast train Premiere) and white t-shirt, makes it clear that his approach is different. First off, he’s not the face of the brand or anything, he’s just a co-founder, and he knows where he fits into the equation.
“I’m not going to pretend to know anything about science,” he begins, to which I quietly reply in my head, “Okay, thank God.” (We’ll get to science in a moment, explained by scientists).
“Since I’m just a movie guy, I get mailed stuff. I’ve had every new brand sent to me for decades, and to be honest I haven’t noticed any difference,” he continues. “I used [Le Domaine] for the last year and honestly I wouldn’t have launched this if I hadn’t seen a difference – something that has worked.”
The “something” Pitt is talking about are Le Domaine’s secret sauces: GSM10® and ProGR3®, the two patented anti-aging active compounds found in the line. The former was done by Dr. Pierre-Louis Teissedre, a professor at the Institute of Wine and Wine Sciences at the University of Bordeaux. The latter arose from Dr. Nicolas Lévy’s 20-year research on genetic diseases, namely progeria – a rare disease that causes children to age quickly.
For this reason, it made sense for Pitt, owner of Château Miraval, to work with Marc Perrin, a fifth-generation winemaker and CEO of Miraval-Provence, and together with Drs. Teissedre and Lévy: the two connections are made from the otherwise discarded vines and skins of the grapes used to make Miraval wines.
“My colleagues and I tested several grape cultivars to assess their potential beneficial effects, including their ability to reduce high blood pressure,” said Dr. Teissedre in a statement. “We have seen up to a 24% reduction in hypertension, which is an oxidative condition, just like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Our work has shown that the addition of certain extracts could have an effect on chronic conditions associated with oxidative stress.” In other words, just like you would use vitamin C or E as an antioxidant in your skin care routine to reduce fine lines, an uneven appearance To combat skin tone and other signs of aging, GSM10®, developed from vineyard grapes, is used in Le Domaine.
As for the ProGR3® compound, “We developed a combination of three molecules – one from resveratrol from grapevine tendrils, a second from apigenin from chamomile extract, and a third from catechin from green tea,” explained Dr. Levy in a statement. “By examining the cell models in skin fibroblasts, we were able to show not only the synergistic effect of the three molecules in ProGR3® on the mechanisms responsible for progerin toxicity, but also an effect on other biomakers of aging.”
Containing over 96% naturally derived formulas, the lightweight, mostly refillable jars and bottles are made on demand primarily from recycled glass and plastic. The closures are made of oak cut from the remains of the Perrin family’s wine casks.
“We know the state we’re in in relation to the environment,” says Pitt. “It was this idea that there is no waste in nature – that’s a concept that has always stuck in my mind and we’re really trying to apply it here.”
Luckily, Le Domaine’s signature products are (mostly) available now. The Cleansing Emulsion ($80; no refills available), The Serum ($385; $350 for refill), The Fluid Cream ($310; $260 for refill, available January 2023), and The Cream ($320; $350 for refill). $270 for the refill) can be purchased on le-domaine.com.
After spending a few hours learning everything there is to know about the line, a surprisingly relaxed Pitt tells us, “Please feel free to walk across the grounds, the swimming pond, walk into the music studio. Make yourself as comfortable as possible and do whatever you want.”
And so we did – well, after a glorious lunch of Salade Niçoise, followed by fresh fruit and lemon sorbet for dessert. Oh, and plenty of glasses of Miraval’s signature rosé.
Gazing out at the picturesque and pristine gardens, ponds and rustic stone walls, I immediately felt a sense of peace and an overall appreciation for Mother Earth. The idea of ’terroir’, defined as ‘a French approach to winemaking that involves deep respect for soil, climate, terrain and tradition’, was taken very literally at that moment. Then I started thinking, “Okay, what the heck do I need to do to get rich asap so I can also live and chill on a huge vineyard in the south of France?”
I didn’t quite get it at the moment, but in the meantime we headed into the redesigned music studios, where Pitt says many of the greats have recorded some of their most legendary works.
“Roger Waters [of Pink Floyd] recorded ‘The Wall’ and Sade made their first two albums [here], who just visited us again,” he mentions casually. “Let’s see, The Cure. I mean, Sting did his first two solo albums.”
Much like the landscape, the studio itself is indescribably stunning. A mix of digital and analog gear from the 50’s and 60’s creates a sound so pure it’s hard to describe.
“[There’s] “It’s a really exciting burst of energy,” Pitt says. “And we have some really exciting people, artists that I really respect, who are going to come through in the future.”
With so many creative interests on his plate, I always wanted to learn a little more about the actor’s fascination with beauty – so I asked him about it on the side.
As for Le Domaine itself, aside from potency, his main concern with the line is that he didn’t want it to be “too smelly”.
“I go into hotel rooms and switch rooms when I can smell the person’s cologne on the floor,” he laughs. “We just wanted to be subtle. Just keep it subtle.”
Aside from his newly launched brand, Pitt admits that throughout his career he’s been more of a go-with-the-world guy when it comes to beauty. For example, when asked about his signature scent, he hilariously replied, “Yes, it’s called BO.” And even now, when it comes to testing what’s new or trending on the market, he keeps it Prefer things to be simple – hence Le Domaine’s three- to four-step cure.
“I’ve had a makeup artist friend of mine for 30 years. We kind of started together and she’s always bringing new things like a mask with red lights and stuff; Plastic masks – and I just can’t do it. I’ll try, but I can’t commit,” he says. “It’s too much work.”
However, he does give his famous exes – with whom he apparently has a last name – props for their achievements on the beauty landscape.
“Aniston was there, right? she is it [sent] Me stuff,” Pitt shares, though he admits he hasn’t really tried LolaVie yet. “She’s totally into it. I trust her with that. And Paltrow – everywhere. I’ll call her if I need advice.”
Once we have completed our tour of the sprawling estate, it is time to return to Nice for the evening. Pitt takes off his sunglasses, turns to the group and thanks them for visiting. He says to come back when we are in Provence. Maybe I should ask him about it.
After testing the products for a week and changing since I got home, I can’t say I’ve seen any Main Only changes to my skin. But what I’m saying is that the products are actually quite nice.
The cleansing emulsion offers a light foam and removes make-up very efficiently. It’s also quite nourishing and doesn’t dry out my skin like many cleansers do. My skin feels renewed and refreshed after use, without the tight, squeaky clean feeling I despise.
The cream gives my skin a boost of moisture as it contains organic Miraval olive oil and shea butter. However, the whipped formula isn’t heavy, so my skin is sufficiently smoothed without feeling suffocated. The Fluid Cream mimics the same formula with a touch of niacinamide but offers a lighter finish.
Containing a 50% higher concentration of GSM10® and ProGR3® than The Cream, the serum is lightweight, absorbs easily and does not pill when layered with other products.
In a world awash with gimmicky, superfluous beauty products, a celebrity like Brad Pitt could easily smash his face on a bottle and sell it. But after spending some time with the star on his property, it’s apparent he’s someone who both intentionally pursues his creative pursuits and understands when it’s best for him to be behind the scenes. Le Domaine, an exquisitely designed line from formula to packaging, is a direct result of just that.