Industry Veteran Chris Salgardo Introduces Atwater Skin Care

Beauty industry veteran and author Chris Salgardo has a new skin care proposition for men.

Introducing Atwater, Salgardo’s high-performance skin care line comprised of 10 products meant to solve everyday grooming concerns, launching exclusively at Nordstrom and on the Atwater website.

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Atwater offers their products, including a facial moisturizer, eye moisturizer, face scrub, lip moisturizer, facial cleansing bar, shaving cream and body cleansing scrub bar, as a series of collections under names including Skin Armor, Heavy Armor, Oil Regulator, Smooth Target and Clean Impact. They were developed for different skin types and skin needs, like cleansing oily to combination skin, cleansing combination to dry skin or all-purpose cleansers that exfoliate, moisturize and deodorize the skin. Prices range from $12 for a lip balm launching in September to $35 for the facial moisturizer.

Salgardo, the former president of Kiehl’s, spent two and a half years developing the brand. He wanted to get back to beauty, but focus on men specifically. He said many brands cater to women already, and the “transference of knowledge between mother and daughter” isn’t there for men.

“I’ve lived this journey personally and professionally. I love being consumer facing. There is a big white space for men still,” he said.

Salgardo was a makeup artist for Chanel, Bobbi Brown and L’Oréal, and had executive roles at Giorgio Armani Beauty and Kiehl’s.

“Because I jumped into beauty early, I got to see various products before Kiehl’s,” Salgardo explained. “What I found fascinating was what really did work.”

He first started dabbling in skin care at 18 when he had cystic acne and was receiving advice like, “get a tan,” to cure the condition, he said. “All the stuff lead to nothing but ruining my skin,” Salgardo said.

His introduction to beauty was as a consumer, addressing his own skin condition. Later at Kiehl’s, he made sure to remain close to the consumer, placing a high value on education. He wrote a book, “Manmade: The Essential Skincare & Grooming Reference for Every Man,” published in 2015, to also serve as an educational tool.

One day while at the gym, he met a fellow patron who asked Salgardo for advice on how to upgrade his look after losing his job. He served as inspiration for Salgardo’s book, an example that underscores the value Salgardo places on proper education.

Salgardo said he thought with decades of industry experiences, the process of developing Atwater would be faster — but “COVID-19 slowed me down, because no one was going anywhere, so I could spend more time getting [Atwater] right, so that was a benefit if there was any at all that I took advantage of, even if it would delay the launch,” he said.

Though the products are Salgardo’s proposition to clearer, healthier skin, the name Atwater is a homage to Salgardo’s father’s hometown, Atwater, Calif.

The brand will be available at 22 Nordstrom locations beginning this August. “We are going to see this explosion in men’s skin care,” Salgardo said. “There’s an adoption. Countries in Asia are more on it, even masking, a variety of steps and makeup. When I was using skin care, it was confusing to many, including women who weren’t using as much. Men want to use good skin care because they want a better job. Looking better is becoming more and more important. The formulas are changing and no longer after shave balms and smelling like forests. I think we’re finally there.”

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