I met Brad Pitt for lunch to discuss his new skincare line, rosé wine and advice from his exes
“Aniston’s all over it. I trust her.”
BY Camilla Kay
22 SEPTEMBER 2022
The email dropped into my inbox from an unknown source, ‘Would I be interested to meet Brad Pitt to discuss his latest project, a new skincare range called Le Domaine?’ Precise time, date and location to be disclosed, but I had to call a mobile number to get more detail.
As GLAMOUR’s European beauty director, I have met and worked with a fair few celebrities and had some amazing invites, but I’m also a believer that when things sound too good to be true, it’s because they are exactly that. At the risk of the invite being a prank, I had no intention of calling the number, but sent a probing email reply. A week later I hadn’t heard back and kicked myself that maybe, I had just passed up my chance to meet Brad. So I emailed back again, to receive yet another request to call, so this time I thought, ‘Why not? What’s there to lose in a conversation?’
After a pleasant discussion and the understanding nothing would be sent on email to ensure total confidentiality, the offer had gone up a notch. I would travel to Chateau Miraval in Provence, Brad’s sometimes home and wine estate. Yep, the one where he and Angelina got married surrounded by their brood of children; the one that’s currently at the centre of a court case over ownership after Angelina sold her share; and the one that also produces the delicious rosé, Miraval. I mean Brad and rosé – what more could you ask for?
First, I had to sign a non disclosure agreement or three, a usual celeb practice to ensure nothing would leak ahead of time. However, due to the very secretive nature of the entire negotiation that took place over several months, there were still a few niggling doubts in my mind on whether this was all genuine. So I messaged a fellow journalist I thought might also get the call up, to see if she had any more intel. Cue a conversation about the percentage likelihood of us actually meeting Brad and laughs about being kidnapped by him, and how that wouldn’t be so bad after all! Well a girl can dream!
After some more due diligence, I decided I’d take my chances and as it turned out one afternoon last week I did in fact meet Brad Pitt and what transpired over the next few hours was a fascinating insight into Brad’s creative world, oh and plenty of rosé.
We arrived at Chateau Miraval in the hills of Provence, and after passing security we made the bumpy 5k ride up through the idyllic picture-perfect vineyards, past the Chateau, the family football pitch and oval shaped pool, a mini stone amphitheatre, the Miraval recording studios [where bands including The Who, Wham, Sade have recorded albums and which have recently been upgraded to a state of the art and uber chic, Brad-designed recording space for artists].
We were warmly greeted by the Perrin family, legendary French wine producers who partnered in the creation of Miraval wine and are also co-founders of the new skincare range. Brad joined us dressed in a linen purple suit, with a sky blue T and slip on sneakers, all very low-key and relaxed. “Please treat it as your home and make it as homey as you can while you are here,” he encouraged.
Sitting on the sunny veranda of his rustic Provencal hideaway, nestled between olive groves, almond trees and vines, the chat turned to skincare. Le Domaine is a 3-step, vegan, gender neutral skincare range, with a cleanser, serum and cream, based on a blend of science and nature. With the name, Le Domaine, inspired by the natural beauty and potency of the land we were sitting in; and its scientific roots and commitment to sustainability inspired by the organic wine production on the estate.
The story started several years ago, Brad explained “We know what state we are in environmentally and the idea that there’s no waste in nature is a concept that’s always stuck with me and we really try to apply it here [with the organic wine production]. So when this idea [of skincare came up] and we’d been reading about the health properties of antioxidants of the wineskins and knowing that’s something we throw away, this started our investigation some years ago.”
Skincare is seemingly new territory for Pitt, both personally and professionally, as he refreshingly admits he’s been pretty basic when it came to skincare in the past. “Truthfully I’ve been a tourist [in skincare ] at best. It’s been pretty lax.” His philosophy he describes as “when in Rome,”’ so if that’s body wash doubling as face wash when it’s the only option, he’s happy to go there. Asked what he previously used for skincare he reveals, “Usually whatever my female partner had and they were pretty good about it. Usually it’s offered, ‘You should try this,” or ‘You really need some of this’.”
So did he learn any beauty or wellness secrets from partners past or present? “Aniston keeps sending me stuff. I haven’t tried [her haircare], but she sent it. She’s all over it, I trust her. Paltrow is all over it too. I’ll call her up, ‘I need a tip’, [then it’s] approved or not approved.” Yes, that is of course wife number one Jennifer and 90’s girlfriend, Gwyneth with their respective LolaVie hair range and, of course, Goop empire.
He describes his own wellness routine as simple, “Trying to stay physical, try to eat healthy a little bit, try to stay creative.” And what about a glass of his own wine? ” I stopped for a while, I’m taking a hiatus, self-induced,” he reveals. And as for the most radical thing he’s done in the name of wellness? “It would be a spiritual retreat, you know in LA, we’re the pioneers of the spirituality industry,” he says with a knowing grin.
However, when it comes to work and filming, he credits his makeup artist for keeping his skin in shape. “I have a makeup artist friend of 30 years [Jean Black] who’ll always bring new stuff for healthy skin, with more of a skin care rather than a beauty focus, like [LED] masks with red lights. I’ll try but I can’t commit, it’s too much work. During films she’ll keep me relatively healthy, she’ll do a regiment. I want it simple, I think it’s true of most guys.” With regards to ageing he goes on to say, “I don’t know about running from ageing, but this idea of being more health minded is something I’m interested in.”
As such a famous face, you might have expected he’d have fronted an established brand during his career but he says, “One I didn’t see the point of being a face for something else and it wasn’t my forte. Being a film guy I’ve been sent every new brand for decades and quite frankly I couldn’t tell the difference. I need something glaring to see the difference. We were doing the [clinical] testing while I was using the products this last year, and to my surprise I really saw a difference. We truthfully wouldn’t have bought this to the market unless we saw something.”
The results that impressed Brad, are in part thanks to the 10+ years of scientific research by Professor of Oenology, Pierre-Louis Teissedre, a specialist in wine and human health who researched the most potent antioxidant properties of the wine varieties on the Perrin family’s own wine estate. This work led to the creation of GSM10, an exclusive molecule made from Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre grape extracts, which works to combat oxidative stress that in turn speeds skin’s ageing processes and effects. The potency is upgraded further with ProGr3, a compound derived from chamomile, green tea and grapevine extracts and developed by scientist Dr Nicolas Levy, an ageing specialist. Together these exclusive compounds sit at the heart of the range, blended with a host of other natural and reliable skincare ingredients. The Serum features two weights of hyaluronic acid and The Cream is blended with Miraval Olive Oil and Shea Butter. With all three products netting out being 96 to 99% naturally derived.
And while Brad may not be putting his face to the brand, it’s clear he has been involved from philosophy to design and the scent. “ I didn’t want it to be too smelly, as you know sometimes you get punched in the face [by a scent]. I’ll get into hotel rooms and I will change rooms if I can smell the cologne or the perfume before. I wanted it subtle, anyone can add whatever they want to add after.” The final scent is a soft bend of Iris root, orange blossom and woods, maybe bordering slightly more on the masculine, than genderless. As for his own signature scent, when probed, he has us laughing, as he replied, “Yeah it’s called B.O!”
On the design front, he says, “The packaging is the fun bit. I loved the idea of upcycling oak wood from the wine barrels of the Perrin wine estates,” which are used to make the artisan crafted, curved wooden lids that sit atop the glass bottles. They seem fitting with his love of architecture and the idea is when turned upside down they serve as a stand for the glass jars; refill bottles are also available. The only plastic element of the products is the pump.
So after a delicious lunch (a rustic take on a salad nicoise, and berries with a lemon sorbet if you want to know), and a tour of the newly upgraded Miraval studios, decked out in paired back neutral chic (no photos allowed), it was time to say goodbye. But as one of the first to get my hands on Le Domaine (and for full transparency they was gifted with the trip), I set to work on my own testing of the products. I’m a week in, so it’s too early for a full verdict, which ideally needs at least 28 days, but here’s my thoughts so far…
I’m generally a serum fan, so I expected to follow Brad as he admits it’s his favourite in the line up. However, I found it peeled a little around the edge of my face after application, so I’d suggest this is best used in the evening rather than under a face full of makeup. The Cream feels lightweight but nourishing and it doubles for lips and eye cream too, but I think my pick would be The Fluide Cream, that’s set to launch in January 2023. Admittedly the range is pricey, starting at £60 for The Cleansing Emulsion and up to a whopping £290 for The Serum, so it’s above many beauty budgets mine included. I’d argue that there are better textures in the market at this top end spend, and there are other brands that are well known for the use of wine-derived antioxidants, but the commitment to sustainable practice is something many luxury brands could do to take note of. Overall, I’ve enjoyed applying Brad’s subtle scent and I’m into the idea this potent double whammy of antioxidants are busy at work reducing the effects of my own sometimes lax attitude to skincare. And I’ll raise a glass of Miraval to that!
Le Domaine is available at ledomaine.com