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Rob Lowe on Profile Fragrance, Regrettable Colognes from the 1970s and the Ultimate Barometer of Success in Life

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Rob Lowe with his therapist on The Grinder, Maya Rudolph

We remain inspired by Rob Lowe, the film and TV icon who has somehow found time to become a serious player in men’s skincare and fragrance while working on four TV shows: Moonbeam City, the Lion Guard, You, Me & the Apocalypse and The Grinder (so apropos).

With Rob’s self-care brand Profile now offering its debut scent, “Amber Wood 18,” exclusively at Nordstrom, we got on the phone and chatted about the details of the fragrance, regrettable colognes from the 1970s and what it means to be truly successful in life.

Because Rob is the man of the people, you can conduct your own Q&A as well: in person March 18 at 5 pm in our Seattle flagship, or pose your question right now on Twitter by tweeting to @Nordstrom with #nordstromxroblowe, where you might get a video response.

Shop: Profile fragrance

Nordstrom blogs: I’m reaching you on set right now, correct?

Yes, and later tonight I’m going on Conan.

You lead a whirlwind life.

It’s a whirlwind life! I’m going to talk about the fragrance if I can. You never know until you get there.

Shout us out!

Oh yeah, I’ve been banging the drum. For sure.

What can you tell us about the scent and why Profile is getting into that area?

The whole ethos of Profile is about being comfortable in your own skin. Whether you’re a TV star, a movie star, a doctor, a dentist, a guy looking for a job: the ultimate barometer of success is being happy and comfortable with who you are. In raising my two sons who are now off to college, and mentoring men in my life which I do in various areas, this specific part of who I am–helping people look and be the best they can be–the company is an extension of that.

When I wear a fragrance I want to make an impact. I want people to notice it but also to be subtle and sophisticated. It took me literally years to develop this with Drom Fragrances in New York. They’re sort of the chicest boutique fragrance group in the country. There was a lot of trial and error to come up with what I was looking for. It’s bold, it’s male, and yet it’s understated in a way. Its main notes are Sicilian bergamot and sandalwood, and indeed it’s called “18 Amber Wood.” We’ll be launching with two fragrances in the upcoming year.

The first one is a bold, sophisticated and subtle statement. The second one being an every day, understated, day-to-night fragrance. I look at it like this first one, “Amber Wood 18,” is for the red carpet events in any man’s life. A big date, important meeting. When you’re putting your game face on. The numbers we chose were significant to my life. Eighteen is how old I was when I got my first big movie role in The Outsiders.

What about the other scent?

The other scent is top secret. When I’m ready to give you more info, I will. It’s done, it’s finished, it’s named, we’re working on the packaging and it’s going to be beautiful.

Do you have any pet peeves about fragrance? Was there anything you wanted to be sure to avoid?

Oh yeah. Absolutely. I don’t like any fragrance that announces when you enter the room. I would rather have no fragrance than too strong of a fragrance. I would recommend that to men, that if you don’t have one you like, one that feels balanced to you along that line of subtlety and noticeability, then it’s better to have nothing at all. But I love a fragrance. There’s nothing more satisfying than having a woman you care about or are interested in say, ‘Oh, you smell good! What is that?’ That’s something every man can pull off.

You only need someone willing to get close enough to notice.

And the right fragrance.

When I was growing up, Snoop Dogg was rapping about Cool Water cologne and we started dumping it on ourselves. Do you have early cologne memories?

Are you kidding me? First of all, when I was a little boy someone got me Hai Karate [ed. note: everything about Hai Karate was awful except that the ads featured Valerie Leon]. I think it’s H-a-i Karate. Look that up. It’s clearly a bad 1970s cologne. I think that’s been replaced today with kids pouring Axe all over themselves. And then of course, you want to talk about a game-changer, I will never forget being a freshman in high school when Polo came out. Dude, when that came out, that was a big deal. What’s great about Polo and still great, is it’s a timeless scent I felt comfortable using in high school, but men of all ages were also using it and still do. That’s what you aspire to. Today of course I’m a fan of what Tom Ford does. But I’m looking to do something that’s maybe a tad more accessible to the regular guy.

–Andrew Matson