When I told my friends that I'd gone to a press event on Friday at which the spindly actress and lifestyle entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow held court while a room full of beauty editors mixed up batches of her favorite morning smoothie, their near-universal response was: "Of course." Of course that would be the Goop founder's activity of choice. Of course she would start her day with a strawberry-banana blend laced with almond butter, coconut oil, mushroom protein powder and a variety of dirt-looking nutritional "dusts" from Moon Juice in Venice, California. (It was delicious.)
In her defense, Paltrow remained pretty downtempo during the smoothie thing. It was just a way to spice up the real reason we were there, which was to celebrate the launch of Goop's first in-house products, an organic skin-care line developed in collaboration with Juice Beauty. That's another "of course," partly because at the center of Goop's wellness messaging is the irrefutable fact of Paltrow's bodily radiance. Even though you know she has access to the best of Hollywood dermatology, the (occasionally misguided) earnestness with which she's attacked her lifestyle venture sort of makes you believe that her product recommendations will give you a glowing countenance, too. Regardless of my feelings about Paltrow's even skin tone, though, Goop CEO Lisa Gersh told me that introducing Goop brand products through skin care just made sense from a competitive standpoint.
"Goop is a brand that has a lot of permission to be in a lot of different spaces, because we're a lifestyle brand. Right now we're in the beauty space, we have the clean beauty shop, we sell fashion, handbags, jewelry, we are a source for health and wellness, and we're a source for food and recipes," Gersh said. "Organic beauty felt like the right place for us because I think there's a white space in premium organic product, so that's why we wanted to go there first, but we're exploring [other areas]."
The company's initial skin care lineup includes a Luminous Melting Cleanser ($90), Exfoliating Instant Facial ($125), Replenishing Night Cream ($140), Revitalizing Day Moisturizer ($100), Enriching Face Oil ($110) and Perfecting Eye Cream ($90). They're bigger investments than products from Goop's partner on the project, Juice Beauty, which sells its own eye treatments for $45 and night creams for $68. (The two companies are intertwined in more ways than one: Paltrow is an investor in Juice Beauty and the creative director of its color cosmetics range, and Juice Beauty has a stake in Goop.)
So is Gwynnie's latest high-end release worth the money? Read on for Cheryl's review.
I was out of town for the aforementioned press event, and therefore did not have Gwyneth's glowing presence or influence to bias me at all. Not that it would have made a difference, because I am here to tell you that this line is good. I used the products only for a weekend, so I cannot attest to the long-term benefits, but I have some immediate thoughts. Superficially, the branding and packaging are very attractive, with minimalist black and white graphics and hefty non-plastic containers.
The Luminous Melting Cleanser was a winner. I've tried pretty much every cleansing balm out there, and this is one of the better ones. It's firm and not mushy (a pet peeve of mine), smells very subtly floral, and is made with several different oils, including olive and the now-ubiquitous coconut. It also rinses off pretty well — which not all balms do — and removed some hardcore eye makeup and dark matte liquid lipstick easily.
The Exfoliating Instant Facial mask could be controversial for some, depending on how much you like to feel your products, um, working. This mask contains multiple types of acids in addition to "plant-based cellulose beads" and so it provides both physical and chemical exfoliation. I should note that I do not have sensitive skin, use Retin-A every other day without issues, and pretty much abuse peel pads regularly. As soon as I applied this, I felt a burning sensation. I kept it on for the recommended 3 minutes, and very gently removed it without scrubbing. My face was bright red afterwards — something that also happened to me the last time I used an organic peel, from Eminence. I was not fussed, however: I applied a few drops of Skinceuticals’ Phyto Corrective Gel, which is made just for this type of situation, and glopped on a mixture of Goop’s face oil and night cream (both lovely). The redness went away within 30 minutes and my face was baby-soft the next day. Just be warned if you have sensitive skin or use retinoids that this peel is potent.
Finally, the eye cream is nicely thick and absorbs pretty well. Ditto the day moisturizer, which has a luxe texture but suffers a bit of "natural product smell" syndrome, meaning it's a bit earthy smelling. Whether this line is "worth it" obviously depends on how important organic plus luxe is to you. Overall, kudos to Juice Beauty and Gwyneth for creating a lovely skin-care range.
Homepage photo: Theo Wargo