EXCLUSIVE: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson Launching Men’s Skin Care Brand, Papatui

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is getting in the beauty game. 

The leading actor, entrepreneur and professional wrestler is unveiling Papatui, a personal care brand for men launching in 1,900 Target stores, at target.com and papatui.com on Sunday. 

Johnson has the name. He’s got the consumer trust and certainly the following — with nearly 400 million on Instagram alone. But what white space does he see in the crowded celebrity skin care market?

“One was the permission to really have open discussions about men’s care and men’s grooming,” he explained in an exclusive interview with WWD. “What I have found over the years is I get a lot of questions from men constantly. ‘Tell me about your workout. Tell me about your daily routine. What are your cheat meals? What is your diet? Tell me about business? What do you think about this entrepreneurial idea,’ etc., etc.”

More discreetly, shyly, he also gets asked about mental health and skin care, he said.

“Men are getting more and more comfortable talking about mental health, and how important that is and critical it is,” Johnson went on. “But on the skin side, I realized over the years that dudes are still pulling me aside and having this sidebar conversation about skin care and grooming. I thought, well I’m passionate about taking care of myself, or trying to take care of myself as best I can inside and out, and I try to get better and evolve every day. And so maybe there’s a product that we can create that would tap into men’s needs, men’s care, grooming, trust and some equity, but also, hey, let’s have this conversation. It’s important. Let’s talk about skin care.”

It’s about teaching men about routine and ingredients, he said, and there’s a lot to learn. Four years in the making, Papatui introduces 12 stock keeping units for face, body and hair. First-year sales are estimated between $40 million to $50 million, according to industry sources.

“I would get in trouble when I used to be able to go to drugstores because I would spend so much time in the grooming area,” Johnson said, as he explained his love of scents. 

One of the goods, the bar of soap, has an opening on the packaging for consumers to test its smell — created with notes of sandalwood, coconut and cedar. He tapped supplier Firmenich for the fragrances, working with perfumers Frank Voelkl and Clement Gavarry.

“I would just open bars of soap all the time, just to smell them,” he continued. “Scents were a big thing for me — and I got in trouble a whole bunch of times when I was younger. They would say, ‘Hey, you gotta leave because you spent 20 minutes here, and you’re opening up everything just to smell them.’ So, in the spirit of always looking to smell things…in every bar of Papatui soap, I created this little hole where you can smell what the soap smells like and you don’t have to open the product and get in trouble like I did,” he laughed.

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s line includes an Enhancing Tattoo Stick, made with mango butter and coconut oil “to add shine, pop and hydrate the skin,” he said.

Courtesy of Papatui/Mark Seliger

Accessible, everything is priced at $7.99 or $9.99. The line is cruelty-free, formulated without sulfates, parabens and phthalates — chemicals thought to impact human health. Along with the bar soap, made with vitamin B3, mango butter and avocado oil, there’s a Hydrating Facial Cleanser, unscented and made with hyaluronic acid, glycerine, niacinamide, salicylic acid and ceramides; a Rejuvenating Toner, with AHAs, witch hazel and glycolic acid; a Restoring Daily Facial Moisturizer, promising an oil-free matte finish and to sooth razor burns; an Eye Gel targeting puffiness and dark circles with caffeine and one percent of ectoin; two deodorants with antioxidants and vitamin E; a Refreshing Body Wash with a sandalwood scent and coconut oil; a two-in-one Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner, and an unscented body lotion. Adding a personal touch — with Johnson known for his ink, which pays homage to his roots — there’s also an Enhancing Tattoo Stick and Enhancing Tattoo Balm, both made with mango butter and coconut oil.

“Originally, the thought was, ‘Well, do we come out with one sku? Two? Maybe three? And then we decided, ‘You know what, let’s kind of go for it and take a big swing,” Johnson said. “So, the tattoo care was something that I long looked for and tried to discover great tattoo care. And I kept going back to the basic elements — being Polynesian, I’m half-Black and half-Samoan — I spent a lot of my time in the island where I raised my girls. And, you know, the basic mango butter and coconut butter were elements that I continued to apply.”

The term Papatui is a personal one. It honors his Samoan grandfather, the High Chief Peter Maivia. “Tui” was his nickname for Johnson and “papa” translates to “rock” in Samoan.

“He was the first man in my life who taught me about men’s caring and grooming. And even though I was a little kid, he was one of my heroes. He was also a professional wrestler. He was this mix of toughness and beautiful, [with] flawless skin and long hair. And as a matter of fact, the character of Maui from ‘Moana’ was based on the spirit of my grandfather,” Johnson said of his role in the hit Disney-animated film.

Of the retail strategy, Johnson said Target has been a “tremendous” partner: “Very early on, there was a real cohesiveness in terms of the vision. Ultimately, the North Star is, ‘Hey, let’s take care of people.’ They built a brand over at Target and a name for themselves to take care of their consumers…And it’s the same thing with us on our end.”

He envisions the Papatui shopper base will be broad, he said. “I think it’s going to be a very wide reaching for men, younger men, older men, teens, all the way through,” he said.

Rick Gomez, executive vice president and chief food, essentials and beauty officer at Target, told WWD in an exclusive statement: “Wellness continues to be important to consumers, which is why I’m so proud of our partnership with Papatui and the combination of quality and affordability it’s adding to our assortment. Dwayne and the entire Papatui team have been amazing partners — spending time with us at Target, understanding our needs, and developing products that I can’t wait to see on our shelves because I know shoppers are going to love this.”

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

Courtesy of Papatui/Mark Seliger

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