The Rock's New Skincare Line, Papatui, Is Really Good

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The Rock's New Skincare Line, Papatui, Is HereMark Seliger

I have been an editor for over a decade, which means I have brought home thousands of world-class beauty products to test and try. My husband—bless his heart—could not care less. He asks for a swipe of lip balm or dollop of face cream about once or twice a year, and other than some standard grooming, he does not participate in any kind of routine. But last week, I brought home Papatui, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's new skincare line (out today). I have never seen my husband so jazzed to add more products to our bathroom. We had a whole conversation about toner and eye gel.

This was just one of the things I thanked Johnson for when I chatted with him over Zoom ahead of the brand's launch (another was for bringing so much joy and happiness to my two-year-old son's life through his portrayal of Maui in Disney's Moana). Papatui launches on today and will be in Target stores by the end of the week. The line includes 12 essentials for grooming—body wash, body lotion, toner, cleanser, moisturizer—plus an innovative tattoo-care balm and stick to help moisturize and brighten body ink. My husband loves the cooling Awakening Eye Gel and Hydrating Facial Cleanser, but I would be lying if I said I didn't steal the 48 Hour Aluminum Free Deodorant in the scent Sandalwood Suede for myself (it smells just like my go-to Santal deodorant, which is double the price). The entire line is under $10, but the scents of the body cleansers, deodorants, and bar soaps are incredibly sophisticated.

Ahead, Johnson shares some of his grooming wisdom, the importance of skincare as a form of exercise recovery, and how Emily Blunt is responsible for his toner habit.

On his skincare journey: I got into skincare very early. I remember being 12 or 13, and the acne fairy started coming around and blessing me with a whole bunch of craters on my face. It made me realize that I should start taking care of my face. But I really started concentrating on grooming in my later years in high school, and then when I got into college, it continued there. I think a lot of dudes have a great curiosity about better grooming but don't have the confidence or the will to talk about it.

On the importance of making the brand accessible: I'm lucky these days, but I wasn't always. I wasn't able to go buy stuff at free will. So there was a time where I was paycheck to paycheck—those seven-bucks days. I love this idea of having a product line that everything is under 10 bucks, and the quality is there too.

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On the best-smelling person he ever met: My grandfather. You know how when you grow up, these men or women in your life just leave these indelible marks. He was always well groomed. He was a Samoan professional wrestler and a very big man—tough love. He had beautiful skin and always smelled good. Even at five and six years old, he made an indelible mark on me to always want to smell good. Even if I never leave the house, I'm smelling good, baby.

On his fragrance obsession: Back when I was able to go to drugstores, before I became famous for wearing a fanny pack, I would spend so much time in the grooming section. And I would open up every bar of soap just to smell it. I love fragrances—I love beautiful colognes and beautiful perfumes. And I am constantly searching for my next scent. In creating Papatui, that scent, fragrance side of everything was ultra important. I'm constantly refreshing [my cologne collection]. It's also a mood thing, it's a vibe thing. I'll have colognes that I haven't worn in, say, a couple of years, I'll put it on, and my body and chemicals just react differently. I'll try it again, and I'm like, "Man, it doesn't have the same reaction." So I'm always on the hunt.

a group of bottles on a shelf

On his gym-bag essentials: The antiperspirant, the face moisturizer, the cleanser, and the toner. Toner is my secret weapon.

On why the toner is his "secret weapon": I was working with Emily Blunt, and we were on set talking about our skincare routines. And she finally asked me, "What toner do you use?" This was years ago. I said I don't use a toner. She's like, "What? You don't use toner?" She said, "It's gonna change your life." So she sent me a couple of brands that I used, and truly, for me, it felt like, "Ah, now I get it. I understand." The tightening of the pores and the pH and all the stuff that I didn't know as a dude but then quickly found out. So when we were putting together the Papatui lineup, I told the guys in the room, "Let's do a toner." At first, they kind of thought, "I don't know if that's a good idea, because men generally aren't into toners." And I said, "That's exactly why we should do it."

On why having a skin routine is important if you exercise: I feel like a proper skincare routine becomes part of the recovery. We've only got one body, we should do our best to take care of it. We only get one skin, we need to do our best to take care of it. I started to realize that skincare needs to be part of my recovery too, because a lot of times, as dudes, we think, "I'll get to it. Sure, I'll clean my face, but I'll use just the bar soap to clean my face." And it's so harsh—your skin feels like it's a Brillo pad afterwards. So for me, when I started to look at skincare like it's part of recovery and really became accountable for it, and made sure that it's a critical part of it, it really started to make a difference. And then the conversations that I started having with my guy friends out there, even guys who I don't know, they're comfortable asking me all sorts of things: "What's your workout? Cheat meals? And what about this business thing?" We talked all about cars, trucks, the U [University of Miami]. But the idea of "Hey, what do you do for your skin?" was always like this quiet thing. Man, that's one of the anchoring reasons why, let's create this product, and let's encourage these conversation that we can have as dudes.

a person with the hand on the head
Mark Seliger

On masculinity and embracing self-care: Whatever your ideology of masculinity, it's cool, I get it. This ideology of masculinity—you got to be a man and say manly things and do manly things—that's fine. But really, it's the whole scope and scale. In my opinion, what it truly means to be manly is to talk about everything, including—and especially—skincare. Like, for example, I feel like men have done a pretty good job, over the years, we've started to raise more and more the importance of talking about mental health and how important that was. For years, when I was at Miami, playing football, there was no mention of, "Hey, let's talk about mental health." We've evolved. So I think this idea of, you know, what masculinity means, to me, it means you talk about everything, openly, confidently. To me, that becomes your anchor.

On what would surprise people about his routine: That it's simple and easy and it's not complicated. There's so much noise out there: "Try this and do it like this, and you're doing it wrong, and this is the right way to do it, and you have to do it like this." And then you get on social media, and social media in many ways can be a little deceiving. What I have found is that the best skincare routine is the simplest of routines. Find a great cleanser—in the morning, if you're not showering, cleanse your face. And then at night or after workouts, cleanse your face. Moisturize, hydrate, with a toner or not. There are some muckety-mucks in Hollywood who have extravagant care routines. But for me, it's always been easy because it's just the basic building blocks of skincare that can never steer you wrong. I found that the best skincare routines have just been the ones that are really simple, and then it becomes there's no excuse, right?

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