One Memorable Look: The Hunt For Apollo Creed’s Grooming Routine

Link Copied


One Memorable Look: The Hunt For Apollo Creed’s Grooming Routine

Words by Ms Danai Dana

3 March 2023

Mr Carl Weathers in Rocky II (1979). Photograph by MGM/Alamy

As the showboating heavyweight champion, Apollo Creed was something of an end-of-level baddie in Rocky. As for Mr Sylvester Stallone’s titular underdog, the focus was to go the distance against this mighty adversary. But put aside Creed’s skills in the ring; what is perhaps overlooked is how great Mr Carl Weathers’ skin and hair are in the movies. Who knew that a series of films that smell of sweat and blood would also produce grooming goals? It gives Mr Michael B Jordan, who this week returns as Apollo Creed’s son Donnie in Creed III, a lot to live up to.

I remember watching Rocky for the first time with my dad when I was 13. I was immediately hooked by Rocky Balboa’s funny but sweet demeanour, the build-up to the fight and the funky soundtrack. But, most of all, I was captivated by Apollo Creed’s majestic presence. He is a powerful character, but he is also insanely elegant and well-groomed, the polar opposite of Stallone’s rising club fighter. Out of the ring, Apollo looks expensive. He has that boxing-money swag.

It could be the airbrushed, oiled camera lenses of the 1970s and 1980s. Actors looked perfectly powdered on film back then. But it’s not just that. Weathers has a glow from within. Has a man ever looked so fresh and moisturised with a bruised eye and blood smeared on his face?

The Oscar-winning make-up artist Mr Michael Westmore, who also worked on Blade Runner and the Star Trek series, tends to only talk about how he made the bruised eyes and the gushing blood. But, in one interview, he described how he rubbed Vaseline on the actors’ bodies and then sprayed them with water to create the effect of sweat. Dancing around the boxing ring, these men were like glossy Ken dolls. But even out of it, Weathers still glows.

“Weathers’ skincare routine is a mystery, and one you’d probably have to fight him for”

Even now, in his seventies, Weathers’ skin has a velvety sheen (see The Mandalorian), as if he has just had a facial. In a recent image taken during a visit to his old college football team, his skin looked better than the teenagers surrounding him. He definitely has good genes, but there must be more to it. He is one of those men who just gets better with age, like Messrs Paul Rudd and Keanu Reeves. One theory is that being covered with Vaseline in so many movies sustained his youthful radiance.

Or is it because he eats a lot of stew? “There’s still plenty of meat on that bone,” says Weathers in the first season of Arrested Development, in which he plays himself. “Throw it in a pot, add some broth and potato. Baby, you got a stew going.” Bone broth is great for boosting collagen production. Maybe that’s his secret. He has mentioned in interviews that he still works out and eats well. That probably helps.

I scoured the internet to see if he has ever shared his grooming tips, but unlike female celebrities who get asked about their favourite products and routines all the time, Carl Weathers remains an enigma. Among dozens of articles on how he bulked up for the role of Creed, a humble grooming question about how he kept his moustache so perfectly coiffed is nowhere to be found. And there are no beauty products on show in Rocky.

Balboa himself seems like a rope-a-dope, soap-on-a-rope kind of guy, but Apollo looks like a man who has a grooming routine – possibly 12 rounds. He undoubtedly wears a fancy old-school cologne. My money is on Acqua Di Parma or Czech & Speake. Maybe he’s a TOM FORD man. Or perhaps he’s too on the nose and wears Creed. “Be a thinker, not a stinker,” he said in the first Rocky film.

He seems like he applies body cream, or oil, straight out of the shower to lock in moisture. You won’t find an ashy elbow on Weathers. But is he a drugstore cocoa butter kind of man, or does he use Aesop? Or La Mer?

His hair is in amazing condition, too. He would never over-wash his hair, he definitely uses masks and leave-in conditioner. And a beard oil. He exfoliates twice a week, surely, and wears SPF religiously. Do you think he also uses retinol? There’s no hint of hyperpigmentation or fine lines on his face. And he must wear eye cream. He looks like he’s been sleeping for three days.

To this day, Weathers’ skincare routine is a mystery, and one you’d probably have to fight him for. Whether it’s all the Vaseline, a good workout routine or a specific facial that he has, we’ll never know. We just hope we look as good at 75.