As the warm Provence sun hits Brad Pitt‘s face, I wonder what kind of age-defying sorcery is at play. Genetics? Injectables? A combination of the two? Like a real-life Benjamin Button, the Hollywood heavyweight appears to be aging in reverse. It turns out that his new high-end skincare line Le Domaine could be the reason.
The 58-year-old star, who has amassed roughly 60 producing and 47 acting credits to date, has never been afraid of taking on an unexpected project. Beyond a three-decade film career in which he has garnered multiple Oscars, Golden Globes and BAFTAs, Pitt has become an eco-warrior, a rosé producer and, now, a purveyor of anti-aging grooming products.
“I’ve been using this for the past year,” Pitt said during a recent lunch at Château Miraval, his rosé winery in Provence, “and I wouldn’t have brought it to market if I didn’t see a difference.”
The idea for Le Domaine sprouted from an existing partnership between Pitt and the Perrin family. The Perrins have been producing wine at the famed Château de Beaucastel since 1909. Located near the village of Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Rhône Valley, the storied estate pioneered biodynamic viticulture. It is also one of the only wineries in the appellation to use 13 grape varieties, three of which can be found in the Le Domaine range.
After Pitt bought Château Miraval in 2008, he asked the Perrins to help improve the quality of the rosé. That kickstarted a fruitful relationship rooted in a shared respect for the Earth. Their mutual approach to winemaking is all about working harmoniously with the land to ensure you maximize every juicy part of it. As Pitt puts it, “There’s no waste in nature.”
Indeed, Marc Perrin, the fifth-generation wine grower who cofounded Le Domaine with Pitt, said his family spent 10 years working with two internationally renowned scientists trying to determine the best way to upcycle the grape pomace—the pulp left over after making wine. They ended up with a formula that maximizes the antioxidant effects of three different grapes. Pitt, who had “tossed around the idea of creating a skincare line” for a “long time,” was intrigued by this research and started working with the Perrins on all-natural products at the intersection of sustainability and science.
This is not exactly a new concept, of course. There are a number of green skincare brands using biotechnology to create potent ingredients with little environmental impact. What sets Le Domaine apart, though, is the way that it targets aging.
Fit for all skin types, the formula is based on two new patented ingredients. GSM10 is a powerful antioxidant derived from the seeds and skins of Beaucastel’s Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre grapes. Professor Pierre-Louis Teissedre at the University of Bordeaux Institute of Vine and Wine Science found the combination of these specific grape polyphenols delays oxidation at the cellular level and fights collagenases (a group of enzymes that break down collagen) to protect your skin.
ProGR3, meanwhile, is a combination of natural molecules derived from grapevine tendrils, chamomile extract and green tea that slows the signs of aging. This ingredient is the brainchild of Dr. Nicolas Lévy, who for the past 20 years has been researching an extremely rare disorder known as progeria that causes premature, accelerated aging among children. Lévy found that a mechanism of this disease, which sees the accumulation of a toxic protein called progerin, actually affects us all—just at a far slower pace. ProGR3, therefore, reduces the toxicity of progerin and corrects skin abnormalities caused by natural aging.
Le Domaine offers four products that are refillable and almost entirely recyclable. Each item in the genderless line is vegan and contains only natural ingredients (with no silicones, parabens or other nasties). The flagship is the Serum (US$385 for a 1 oz pump bottle or US$350 for a refill). The silky formula pairs an ultra-high concentration of the two hero ingredients with plant stem cells from two varieties of grapevine flowers, soothing grape water and hyaluronic acids to moisturize and reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles. The team says it has an intense plumping effect and claims it will produce an anti-aging effect within 28 days.
The Cream (US$320 for a 1.7 oz jar or US$270 for a refill) has a good whack of GSM10 and ProGR3, along with a little organic olive oil from Miraval, some shea butter, grape water and an ayurvedic plant extract that combats the appearance of tiredness. (It’s also Pitt’s favorite product.) It has the consistency of whipped cream and leaves your complexion smoother, firmer and more radiant. The actor says it makes his “skin much more comfortable under the California sun.” There is also a Fluid Cream alternative (US$310 for a 1.7 oz bottle or US$260 for a refill) if you prefer a lighter texture. Last but not least, the Cleansing Emulsion (US$80 for a 3.4 oz bottle) is a blend of GSM10 and calming grape water that detoxifies the skin and removes all impurities.
All four products (except the Serum) have a light, elegant scent by expert perfumer Grasse that combines orris root and orange blossom with subtle musks and woody notes. (Think Aesop but less intense.) The jars and bottles are made of high-quality recycled glass, while the handsome oak stoppers are crafted using scraps of Beaucastel’s wine barrels. Pitt describes the overall design as “minimalist and sensory.” The packaging is mostly responsibly sourced paper, and any plastic used is recycled. You’ll also get a few travel lids that make carrying the products through airport security a little easier.
Although Pitt was involved in every step of the creative process, he says Le Domaine is not meant to be a “celebrity brand” and will not have a “face” representing it. Instead, he labels it “an anti-aging cosmetics range for every man and woman.” To that end, all four products have been assessed through rigorous clinical trials on a large group of 150 volunteers (both men and women). The results, according to the two aforementioned scientists, were the highest possible for any cosmetics on the market.
Pitt also says he is a “big fan” of every single product. I’ve been trialing the lineup for the last week or so. Although it’s a little too early to notice any major difference, my skin seems softer, firmer and brighter. It’s also worth noting that these products are also a real pleasure to use thanks to the subtle fragrances and refined textures.
Who knows, I could be Benjamin Buttoning myself before too long.
Le Domaine’s Serum, Cream and Cleansing Emulsion will be available from September at select high-end retailers, while the Fluid Cream will launch in January 2023.