Oh, Gwyneth Paltrow. I don’t think any of us anticipated her debut in Hook leading to the situation we have on our hands now. Goop as a brand is a bit inescapable in the “clean” beauty space. I’ve glanced over their store and blog on a few instances, and I can’t say I love what I’ve found. That’s okay, I don’t need to love everything. It’s easy to not read anything by Goop if I don’t go on the website. However, when I saw Gwyneth Paltrow’s skincare routine featured on Vogue’s YouTube channel, I couldn’t resist taking a look. And oh boy. To say I was appalled would be an understatement.
I want to make it abundantly clear that I will not be speaking on Gwyneth Paltrow’s appearance or attacking her character. I don’t know her personally, and I feel doing so would also just be rude and in poor taste. The practices she’s demonstrating and the information she’s giving as a highly prominent owner of a beauty and wellness company, however, I have feelings on. Strong ones. If she’s putting it out there, then I feel Gwyneth Paltrow’s skincare routine is fair game for critique.
The information Gwyneth Paltrow is giving as a highly prominent owner of a beauty and wellness company, however, I have feelings on. Strong ones.
Exhibit A: The Exfoliant
Gwyneth Paltrow talks about dry brushing and meditating in the morning, which is all fine and dandy. She then goes on to demonstrate a Goop exfoliating product as “the next part of [her] morning routine.” Obviously she’s here to advertise her brand, but this phrasing makes it sound like it’s a daily thing. She also had what appeared to be eyeliner, mascara, and some eyeshadow right from the start of the video. Apparently, Gwyneth Paltrow’s skincare routine starts with getting glam before exfoliating every morning. I wouldn’t advise you to do either of those things.
The vast majority of us will be perfectly fine exfoliating between one and three times a week. Sure, your skin might be able to get away with more, but it may not be necessary. I’m definitely in the less-is-more category when it comes to skincare. If you can reap the same benefits with less frequent usage or less potent concentration of actives like acid exfoliants, do less. It saves you time, product, and potential skin irritation.
Exhibit B: The Facial Massage
Speaking of skin irritation, I can’t say I love how she went about using her facial massaging tool. It’s not so much the portion where she was rolling it over the undereye patches, but the rest of the massage that concerns me. She applied a few drops of facial oil prior, but I’d bet it had absorbed by the time she went in with the tool she was using. All that means is she was dragging the massaging tool around her face with no slip. That is not gua sha. That is just tugging at your skin.
I love facial massage and have been doing it for years at this point. I’ve probably spent more time massaging my face than necessary, but I digress. The benefits for me are completely worth the time spent, and I’d love to talk about my face massage routine sometime. It’s a highly personal thing and everyone develops their own personal technique over time. I just don’t think any of those personal techniques should involve pulling a massaging tool across dry skin.
Exhibit C: The Sunscreen
This is where I crossed over from disagreeing to being extremely irritated bordering on angry. A lot of people get info from public figures on big platforms like Vogue. Trust me, I heard a ton of “I want X product because Y celebrity/influencer loves it” during my time as a brand representative and educator. The people that appear on these platforms hold a lot of power and should do it responsibly. What they shouldn’t do is incorrectly demonstrate things like improper sunscreen use.
The consequences for improper sunscreen usage aren’t just cosmetic—skin cancer is equally as real as it is serious. It seems Gwyneth Paltrow’s skincare routine only includes a tiny amount of sunscreen swiped across her nose and cheekbones, with the excess dabbed in her lip area and under her chin for some reason. She meant it when she said she wasn’t a “head to toe” sunscreen person and only puts sunscreen where “the sun really hits.”
This is not how sunscreen is meant to be used at all. Sun hits literally everywhere that isn’t covered or shaded. You need approximately a quarter teaspoon, not a dot, for just your face and extra for your neck along with other exposed skin. I am literally begging y’all, please do not use sunscreen like she’s demonstrating. Using them sparingly or selectively to avoid “harsh chemicals” doesn’t make any sense when the alternative is increasing your risk of skin cancer. Sunburns and skin cancer are not comfortable. That’s why you should use sunscreen properly.
Exhibit D: “Clean” EWG Products
This was the final nail in Gwyneth’s goop-y coffin for me. The general fearmongering buzzwords like “clean,” “nontoxic,” and “harsh chemicals” were said multiple times throughout to describe conventional products that aren’t “clean.” That alone is already eye-roll inducing enough for me. Telling people there is antifreeze in moisturizers is not reasonable or accurate. That’s like saying to not eat poppy seeds because they could harm you due to the fact that they share a chemical compound with heroin. It’s honestly ridiculous.
She then goes on to sing the praises of the EWG. To her, they’re a “great website” to “understand how clean” a product is. To me, they are a terrible resource to rely on. You can go on their website and see a list of approved “clean” brands, click on a product and see ingredients that they deem as a red flag. They’re also a privately owned company that has no oversight or regulation. There are no official standards as to how to formulate the guidelines they use to rate products. They provide no studies or papers to back up their claims of the danger or toxicity of ingredients. I’m struggling to see how they’re “great,” Ms. Paltrow.
This really is just the tip of the iceberg for me in terms of Gwyneth Paltrow’s brand and “green beauty” as a whole. At the end of the day, I believe that she and other influencers think they’re doing more good than harm. I don’t think anyone out here has nefarious goals to put people’s skin at risk on purpose. That doesn’t mean the accidental harm has less impact. My point is do your research, vet your sources of info, and be smart about the choices you make y’all. And despite her offer, I hope I don’t see a Gwyneth Paltrow Skincare Routine: Evening Edition pop up any time soon.