Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for a week (lucky you), you cannot have missed the ever present-consciously-around Gwyneth Paltrow showcasing her ‘morning routine’ for US Vogue. If you are unaware of this phenomena, it involves big fashion mags such as Vogue and Harpers getting celebs to talk them through their morning or evening routine from beginning to end, all while being filmed and talking to camera. The purpose being to generate an income for the mag via ad revenue on Youtube and affiliate links via the products that the celebs use in their routines.
So far so simple.
The (multiple) problems start when the celebs showing what they do within their routines state things that are not based in science, fact or just plain reason. Prior to Gwyneth’s escapades, the worst example was Bella Thorne sticking her dirty finger into her handmade, preservative-free facial scrub and eating some of it to demonstrate how ‘clean’ and ‘natural’ it was.
Gwyneth and US Vogue last Wednesday.
The video starts inanely enough, ours is not to ask why GP is doing her morning skincare routine in a full face of makeup. Let’s just roll with it.
Of course she starts her day with a nut milk and almond butter protein shake and transcendental meditation with her husband.
Jim brings me two brews in bed (lucky bitch) and then we read our phones together and see which of our kids has texted us in the night asking for money because they’ve gone overdrawn.
Then there’s something about dry brushing and then we’re into the hard sell. Gwyneth says she’s an ‘exfoliating junkie’ and pulls out Goop’s GOOPGLOW Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator (£112.00 for 50ml) and says she ‘can’t live without it’. She then applies it randomly to one cheek, over her blusher, pretends to rub it everywhere else and then ‘takes it off’ with a completely dry, brand new, white towel that has no product, either exfoliator or makeup, on it. Ok then.
Gwyneth then pretends to apply Vintners Daughter Active Botanical Serum (£175.00 for 30ml), ‘just a couple of drops’ over her entire face, neck and décolleté. If you know Vintners, it’s a great product, but two things: one, a couple of drops won’t go that far and two, it’s an oil.
It’s not a water-based serum. It’s an oil.
Then this gem: ‘It’s incredible to know that there are clean, non-toxic products that are really efficacious and really work wonders on your skin.’
Well ‘clean’ literally means nothing and toxicity is dose-dependent so let’s move on.
Then we’re treated to a demo of Jillian Dempsey’s Eye Mask ($75.00 for 10) which she doesn’t appear to apply or use properly which are then massaged through with Jillian Dempsey’s ‘gold bar thingy’ ($195.00) before applying Weleda’s Skin Food as a moisturiser. Weleda Skin Food is great. Jillian Dempsey is lovely but you do not need a $200 gold bar to help your product penetrate.
Now: up until this point, you can pretty much dismiss the foolishness as the atypical wealthy-beyond-privileged-California-actress-nonsense that we are used to.
Then we get to the SPF section and the shit, quite literally hits the fan.
‘So next is sunscreen.
This is a clean mineral sunscreen brand called Unsun ($29.00 for 50ml).
And it’s a 30 SPF.
You know, there are a lot of really harsh chemicals in conventional sunscreen.
So that’s a product that I really want to avoid, that isn’t certified by the EWG, and which is a great website, by the way, if you ever wanna understand how clean a product is, you can go check that out on their website, Skin Deep.’
Clean is meaningless.
Everything is a chemical. That Unsun SPF has 34 ingredients, all of them chemicals, and including beeswax, making it neither vegan nor animal friendly and certainly not sustainable. (It’s a good SPF, it’s supposed to be a complicated formula, I’m merely highlighting how ludicrous the whole ‘clean’ labelling is.)
Certification from the EWG is also absolutely meaningless. Remember those huge Reader’s Digest medical books that your Nan had in the 70s/80s? Every single symptom you looked up had the same outcome: stroke or heart attack. ‘Pain in your arm? CALL 999. You could be having a heart attack!’ ‘Headache? STROKE. CALL AN AMBULANCE.’
The EWG is the online ‘clean’ ingredient version of the Readers Digest Medical Books for the 21st Century.
Except the Readers Digest manuals had more facts in them.
And were, at least, based in some science.
And didn’t have a financial interest in telling you to use the NHS.
But now dear reader, we have reached critical mass. And the reason that I, quite literally, lost my shit on Instagram last week. (Highlighted in my stories under ‘GWYNETH’.)
Paltrow proceeds to say:
‘And I’m not, you know, I’m not a sort of head-to-toe slatherer of sunscreen, but I like to put some kind of on my nose and the area where the sun really hits.’
and proceeds to apply an imperceptible eye cream amount of spf down her nose and across the very top of her cheekbones like a highlighter, and then moves swiftly on.
Everything Gwyneth Paltrow says prior to and after the spf section is basically harmless, because if you follow her advice, you’ll definitely lose money and probably some self-respect, but it doesn’t put your life at risk.
But: GP has 7.5 million followers on Instagram. US Vogue has nearly 10 million subscribers on Youtube, and millions more on Facebook and Instagram, where this was also obviously joyfully shared. This spf section may have done more to set back the proper use of spf, especially among the 18-34 demographic, since the prevalent use of sunbeds in the 80s.
We already know the reluctance shown by young people when it comes to using sun protection. Gwyneth Paltrow has two teenage children. Very pale, very ‘Fitzpatrick 1 skin type’ children. Does she give them this application advice?
GP has very visible sun damage all across her chest and on her face. She clearly does not use, nor endorse SPF in the real world. It is baffling to me that you would go to so much trouble to make your ‘inside’ healthy with all the food nonsense that she’s been spouting for years, and doing transcendental meditation to ‘centre yourself’, only to go and offer up your skin to the nearest melanoma. Botox doesn’t hide hyperpigmentation Gwyneth.
Skin cancer is very real, extremely dangerous and on the increase. Especially among that younger demographic that watch Youtube. They deserve better guidance than this. And better education.
Further along, GP says this:
‘When we started Goop from the content perspective, we really wanted to challenge social norms that existed around silencing women, encouraging women not to ask difficult questions, and things that really kept shame over people. And so we go there, we like to talk about things.’
Excellent. So do I.
- Over-using an exfoliator is not good for you.
- Applying a heavy oil-based serum like Vintner’s Daughter underneath your spf can disrupt it.
- Applying expensive eye products on top of a heavy oil-based serum is pointless and a waste of your money, and trying to get them to penetrate using a vibrating gold bar makes you look like a moron.
- Unless you’re my age, or have chronically dry skin, Weleda Skin Food is probably too rich for you. Start with the Light version.
- Apply SPF all over your face, ears, neck and décolleté if it’s on show. 2-3 full fingers worth.
- Your spf goes on last, not underneath your latest Goop moisturiser. You would know that if you actually used it.
- There is no such thing as ‘clean’ skincare.
- Nothing you can buy over the counter or off a shelf is toxic. The industry is not trying to kill you. Cosmetics and skincare are safe.
- Everything is a chemical. Everything.
- No scientist died and made the EWG God. They make money, and a lot of it.
- The sun ‘really hits’ you absolutely everywhere you absolute full Pizza Hut salad bar.
- There is no antifreeze in skincare. That’s ethylene glycol and you genuinely sound like a moron when you keep saying this.
Misinformation is not entertainment.
Truth is a responsibility.
Shame on you Gwyneth. I think you really do know better, but you’re obsessed with chasing that ‘controversial’ angle. And the money.
Shame on you retailers who cut and paste the Goop product info and claims without challenging them. Your endorsement gives them a more solid standing. Grow a pair FFS.
And absolute shame on you Vogue for continuing to give her access to your huge platform. I hope the affiliates are worth it.
And just a nod to this utter f’ing bollocks towards the end:
“I really wanted to start making beauty products because at the time there really wasn’t a lot available that was kind of beautiful, high-quality, non-toxic products. And there were sort of clean moisturizers that you could find at the health food store. And then there were all of your conventional ones, that some of them, even the really expensive ones, had crazy ingredients in them like antifreeze, literally. So I didn’t want that either. So I saw a big white space in the market for clean, luxurious healthcare. And so the Goop line was born from that.’
Somewhere in deepest Vermont Tata Harper is reading this and saying…
TOMORROW: THE DERMS RESPOND.