"I HAD A MASSAGE RECENTLY," SAYS ROB LOWE, "AND THE masseur asks, 'Natural nose?' I said, 'Yes.' He says, 'Natural ears?' I said, 'Yes.' Then I realized he was asking because this was Hollywood. It made me laugh. I was like, 'Nah, not so far.' " Well, you can't blame the guy for wondering. At 36, Lowe is still boyishly good-looking. In fact, as Sam Seaborn, the earnest White House deputy communications director on NBC's The West Wing
, Lowe has his naturally brown temples grayed to make him look older. "He's the least vain costar I've ever had," says Kristin Davis, 35, who was Lowe's leading lady in last year's TV movie Atomic Train
. "But it's hard to be onscreen with a man who's more beautiful than you are." Mindy Sterling, 46, who played Frau Farbissina to Lowe's evil Young Number Two in 1999's Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me
, says that in addition to being "put together quite impressively, he has a good sense of humor, and he's not afraid to make fun of himself." The self-effacement didn't come easily. After being caught on a 1988 home video in a sexual encounter with a 16-year-old girl, Lowe survived the bad publicity that followed. In 1991 he married Sheryl Berkoff, 38, and the couple settled in Santa Barbara. Although his wife is a makeup artist, Lowe remains a "nerd," he says, about grooming. "The stuff they give you free at the hotel is absolutely as valid as the fancy-pants stuff my wife brings home," says the actor, who plays intense pickup basketball for exercise. And when he drives their sons, ages 6 and 4, to school, he says, "my hair is sticking straight up." To control it, the 5'11" Lowe uses MOP's hair cream, which is made with orange rind. "You almost want to spread it on toast instead of your hair," he says. But his enthusiasm stops there. "I want to focus on my work," says Lowe. "I don't want to get into 'Ah geez, I could really use some more orange-rind pomade in my hair.' "