“It’s not a feminizing product; it’s designed to make your skin look better.” – Tom Ford
Men as meticulously manicured as fashion designer Tom Ford are few and far between. His attention to the minutest of details is perhaps the most noticeable thing about him. So, in June, when I was told the products from Tom Ford’s forthcoming skincare and grooming line were modeled after his own routine, I braced myself for what I suspected would be an excessive and convoluted range. The Tom Ford Skincare and Grooming collection, launching in November in both the U.K. and U.S., is surprisingly concise, though — but still lacking in some basics.
Of the eight products (click here to see them all), there are some glaring omissions. There is no shaving cream, nor is there a dedicated after-shave balm. By his own admission, the line doesn’t even feature his one grooming essential: eye drops. “People forget about the whites of their eyes. Eye drops are the No. 1 grooming product.” (Being the sucker that I am, I would be the first to fall for Ford’s eye drops.)
Three specialized potions in the line stand out: a purifying mud mask, aconcealer for men and a shimmer-free, water-based bronzing gel to help you fake Ford’s own jet-set glow. The mud mask is perhaps the most accessible and innovative of the lot, as it changes color when it has finished sucking your pores dry. The bronzer, meanwhile, is a far cry from the radioactive George Hamilton-like self-tanners out there. If anything, it’s a quick fix for those days when you feel like death and still need to be presentable or camera-ready. “I use it at night and go over the eye area and the lids — it makes your eyes pop,” he says, momentarily oblivious to the fact that he’s still wearing his impenetrable sunglasses.
The concealer, however, is treading into treacherous territory. Other brands have attempted to launch concealers for men and discontinued them within a year as a result of underwhelming sales. Rather than attempt to rebrand what is essentially makeup for men, Ford calls a spade a spade: “The bottom line is it is a concealer. It’s not a feminizing product; it’s designed to make your skin look better,” he says candidly.
Indeed, the whole collection is about cosmetic appearance rather than treating or improving the condition of the skin, as you would with a pharma-grade product (though it is not quite as out there as Marc Jacobs’ line of makeup for men). To the dismay of marketing execs and PRs nestled around him at his London headquarters, Ford is refreshingly honest about what a guy can achieve with the perfectly packaged products lined up at his side. “The moisturizer improves the look of your skin — it does not make you look younger. To get real anti-aging products, go to your dermatologist or get a laser treatment,” he says. His unconventionally honest pitch is a far cry from the overzealous claims made by every single one of his competitors — and yet it seems to work.
The Tom Ford For Men: SkinCare and Grooming Collection launches this November, featuring: Hydrating Lip Balm ($25), Concealer ($40), Purifying Face Cleanser ($48), Bronzing Gel ($48), Intensive Purifying Mud Mask ($60), Anti-Fatigue Eye Treatment ($75), Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer ($105), and Skin Revitalizing Concentrate ($150). Visit TomFord.com for more.
P.S. Launching alongside the collection are a trio of Oud-based fragrances for men, along with scented body products.