Have you seen Tom Ford lately? At 52, he's still handsome enough to appear in his own ad campaigns, thanks in large part to skin that's preternaturally fresh (if the man has pores or wrinkles, we've yet to see them). Sure, he advocates the occasional Botox treatment, but a needle alone won't get you a mug that immaculate, and he knows it. When asked if he has a grooming role model, Mr. Ford answered: "Myself, because I do a good job of it. I look younger than I am. It's not that complicated; it's looking in the mirror and fixing things."
Luckily for us, the former creative director of Gucci and YSL and current head of his eponymous line, is launching a skincare line to help you mend what needs fixing with basics like cleansers and moisturizers as well as heavy-hitting serums and bronzers.
I spent the night trying them all (grooming is a grueling beat, folks) so you'll know the best bets when the bottles hit shelves at Bergdorf's and Neiman's on November 1, 2013.
The Staples: Cleanser, Moisturizer, Eye Cream, and Lip Balm
The Purifying Face Cleanser is a light gel that foams quickly on application, breaking down dirt without stripping the skin (it's recommended as a pre-shave tool as well, but I'd use something with a bit more lather if you're taking a blade to your face). Following up with the Oil-Free Daily Moisturizer, I was impressed by the handy twist top (no one likes a Dopp kit lotion explosion) and the consistency of the product, a mix of patented complexes and butters that absorb instantly.
The metal-tipped applicator of Anti-Fatigue Eye Treatment helps to cool and de-puff the sensitive tissue under your eyes (though you can also do this with any eye cream if you keep it in your fridge). And if you're in the market for efficacy and luxury, brace yourself: Tom Ford's Hydrating Lip Balm will run you $60. That said, it's the best I've ever tried: a mix of almond oil, shea butter, avocado extract and Vitamins A and E make for a thick, low-shine product with serious longevity.
The Upgrades: Mask and Serum
These aren't everyday treatments, but they're great tools to have in your arsenal. If you pick up one product from the line, make it the Purifying Mud Mask, which is equal parts decadent and disgusting. You rub a quarter-sized amount on your damp face, wait until it dries, and behold the veritable slick of oil that's just been sucked from your pores. Shudder, wash it off, and marvel at how conditioned your face suddenly looks. The Skin Revitalizing Concentrate is the line's entry into the world of serums. Billed as a multi-purpose cure-all for post-shaves, and irritation, it's packed with vitamins and a fragrant combo of vanilla and patchouli.
The Correctors: Concealer and Bronzer
Mr. Ford has never been one to shy away from a little cosmetic enhancement. The twist tube Concealer comes in three tones and can be used to camouflage dark circles, acne, or razor nicks. It worked perfectly on an offending pimple of mine. Some guys enter a crisis of masculinity at the thought of concealer; others just cover their zits. Your call. If you're looking for a hit of color, the Bronzing Gel is a quick solution. Rub it on your face as you would a moisturizer, but be thorough about it or risk telltale streaks. Still don't feel tan enough? You probably are, but this is a gel that works fine with multiple applications.
With a total of eight products, Tom Ford's first foray into men's skincare may seem overwhelming, but you can pick and choose the items that work best for you. Go ahead and ask for samples at the counter—words can only do so much to describes the textures and results at play here—and prepare to amp up your routine, courtesy of one of menswear's best-groomed gents.
—Jon Roth. Follow him @jonmroth.
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