Rob Lowe would like to make one point very clear: he takes his skin care seriously. So seriously, in fact, that he’s spent the past six years working on his own line, Profile, which is launching online this week and in Nordstrom in the fall.
“My goal, number one above all, was no bullsh–t,” said Lowe, whose Web site, Profile4men.com, begins e-commerce this week. “Provable results, ingredients that actually work as opposed to sexy-sounding sales gimmicks — it needed to be easy and hassle-free. That was the mission statement. I then built the products which best fit that.”
And by saying build, he means quite literally — from finding the financiers, choosing and vetting the labs, deciding on an initial product assortment and designing the packaging, a process he started on the set of “Brothers and Sisters” and continued through his days on “Parks and Recreation,” where he would take product-related meetings in his trailer before and after filming.
“The thing I really want people to understand is that I built this line from the ground up,” the charismatic 51-year-old actor said, perched in a corner table at Hudson Bar and Books in Manhattan’s West Village. “I’m not the celebrity endorser, I’m not the face of the product. I’m the developer of it. I have an entrepreneurial spirit. It’s a little like writing my two books [“Stories I Only Tell My Friends” and “Love Life”]. People asked me if I considered using a ghostwriter or a coauthor. For a lot of people, that works very well. For me, it doesn’t. I’m just very proprietary about my communications and my aesthetic. I think what made both books find the success that they did is that it’s clear they belong to me, and I have a point of view. This is the same thing.”
When there’s time, Lowe plans to write a third book. “I wanted to do the second one in close proximity to the first one — there’s nothing worse than being a one-hit wonder. I’ve spent my entire career trying to avoid that.”
Lowe noted that as an actor working with top makeup artists on set — including his wife of 24 years, Sheryl Berkoff — someone was always paid to make sure his skin looked good. “But 99.9 percent of men don’t have that luxury,” he added.
He also wanted to help his sons — one a junior at Duke University and the other a freshman at Stanford University — define their aesthetics. “I’ve fathered them through the ‘it’s time to wear deodorant’ phase, through the ‘maybe a little less Axe body spray,’ and now into, legitimately, the ‘what does it mean to groom yourself’ conversation.”
The five products — a cleanser, a shave gel, an aftershave serum, a moisturizer and an eye serum with a rollerball — in the initial line range in price from $24.50 to $59.50. All have an antiaging component, since as Lowe notes, men start losing collagen in their faces beginning at 20. “This is not a repackaged women’s line with macho print,” Lowe said. “This is formulated specifically for men’s skin, which is up to 30 percent thicker than women’s skin.”
The line will enter 60 Nordstrom doors early this fall.
On his to-do list for the future: a moisturizer with really strong sun protection. “I surf and I live on the West Coast, so I get tons of sun,” he said. “But it’s really hard to find that balance [in the product]. It’s hard and it’s expensive. But we are cracking that code.” He’s also anxious to add hair care to the line and is working on a “one and done” styling product.
At Christmas, two fragrances that Lowe developed with Drom will be launched. Also coming this fall are two starring roles — on different networks. On NBC’s “You, Me and the End of the World,” where he’ll play a rebellious priest, and Fox’s “The Grinder,” where Lowe plays an actor whose legal series was canceled — and then tries to actually practice law, without a degree.
The priest role might be surprising for viewers, given that Lowe has been a heartthrob for several decades, but he relishes the challenge.
“What ‘House’ is to doctors, [my character] is to priests,” he said. “I think there’s a part of you as an actor that wants to tick the boxes. Cowboy? Check. Cop? Check. Transvestite? Not checked yet, but going to be, hopefully. Priest? Check. Astronaut? Check. I think you have to play every member of the Village People at some point.”
The priest, Lowe said, “drinks, smokes and swears, and is a black sheep in the Vatican. At first blush, you might actually question his faith, but what I like about [the character] is that [he’s] real and [there’s] no place for dogma.”