Gwyneth Paltrow Didn’t Like the Mascaras on the Market—So She Made Her Own


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“I’m a real tomboy at heart. I’m very light on what I use, and most days, I don’t use anything,” Gwyneth Paltrow says to me. The poster woman for the “clean girl” aesthetic admits she’s not a “foundation person”—and then rattles off a list of everyday makeup products that are not in her routine. Concealer, powder, eyeshadow, lip liner—unless it’s a red carpet moment, you most likely won’t find the Goop founder with any of these items on her face. “I asked [my makeup artist] if there was one thing I have to wear [and she said] you have to put on mascara as you’re getting older. It’s the best thing to do to make your eyes pop and look rested,” she says. This brings us to why we are speaking: Goop is launching its first-ever mascara. Ironically (yet refreshingly), Paltrow isn’t even wearing it on our call. “I’m really proud of it. I wear mine all the time, [but] not today because I’m in the middle of the countryside,” she says.

Goop Beauty Featherlash Lifting Serum Mascara

Featherlash Lifting Serum Mascara

Because it’s Goop, this won’t be just any clean mascara. “I started doing research around what’s in conventional mascara, and it’s pretty toxic. There are byproducts from petroleum combustion and all kinds of crazy stuff in it,” Paltrow says. For $28, Goop gives you a serum-enriched mascara that defines, lifts, volumizes, and lengthens your lashes. It’s made with a biotin tripeptide with provitamin B5 to strengthen your lashes, Tahitian microalgae to enhance lash density, and vitamin E to condition your lashes. It’s a lightweight formula that not only lifts your lashes, but also nourishes them. “I have yet to try a non-toxic mascara that does not drop, except for [this one]. You can really wear it all day,” she says.

danielle james wearing goop mascara

Courtesy of Danielle James

Digital beauty director Danielle James tries one coat of Goop mascara.  

danielle james with goop beauty mascara

Courtesy of Danielle James

Digital beauty director Danielle James tries two coats of Goop mascara. 

So, I did. As someone who’s not into faux lashes unless I’m in full glam, I need a high-performing mascara that accentuates my lashes. However, I am a Goop girl and enjoy using the Youth-Boost Peptide Serum and the 72-Hour Supercharged Hydrating Water-Cream. Suffice to say, I was excited to try this new product. I immediately ripped the two-in-one mascara from its packaging and began applying it to my lashes. My first impression? I really like the wand: a tri-cut tapered brush that’s exclusive to the brand. It easily allowed me to coat each lash without any smudges. I prefer to apply my mascara on the back and front of my lashes. Then, I use the tip to ensure each lash gets covered and to help lengthen and volumize. Paltrow’s makeup artist taught her to apply at the lash line and rub back and forth for the best application. I applied one coat, which gave me a natural-looking lash with no pesky clumps. It didn’t look like I was wearing mascara, even though I was, and while it did make my lashes appear fuller and longer, in my opinion, they could’ve looked a bit more defined.

“Let it completely dry and go back and do it again,” Paltrow advises me. I did as told, and my lashes were instantly more vivid. My preference is two or three coats, but I’m curious to see how long this tube will last. And as Paltrow promised, I didn’t have raccoon eyes at the end of the day.

In addition to talking mascara, Paltrow and I discussed everything from her most extravagant beauty ritual to the skinification of makeup and her approach to her Gen Z children’s skin care routines. Keep reading for more, and discover the treatment she got in Paris that will make you want to book a flight ASAP.

What’s your most extravagant beauty ritual?

I went to a dermatologist in Paris, and he shot my face full of vitamins. Imagine a machine that gives tiny micro pulses of vitamins in these teeny needles. Mesotherapy. It was fantastic. My skin was glowing [and] hydrated for days. It was really good.

I’ve noticed a shift in the beauty industry toward the skinification of makeup. It’s no longer enough for your makeup to look good—it must have benefits. What are your thoughts on this shift, and are there any problems you could see arising from it?

I think [Goop] is helping to drive this conversation. When we did our colored balms, it was so important to me [that] they have skin nourishing benefits like sea buckthorn oil. With the mascara, we put a biotin peptide and vitamin E—things that will benefit the eyelash. Everything we make that is makeup is coming from “makeup as skin care”—that’s how we’re looking at it. When I started doing this 10 years ago, the technology wasn’t really there yet to make clean performance makeup. We keep seeing innovation come along so quickly.

What makes something “clean” to you?

There is a ton of greenwashing in the industry. Until very recently, there hadn’t been any legislation passed around beauty products—what’s safe, what’s not. And then when you get into the clean area, it’s very, very vague. We can say things are natural when they’re not, it’s a free-for-all. So, at Goop, we’ve developed our own internal portal that brands [must] pass through, including our own. We banned 6,000 ingredients that are known to be potentially harmful. I believe we have one of the strictest clean beauty platforms. Everybody defines it differently: Sephora has their own standard; Target has their own standard. We just try to be as clean as we possibly can be, by our own standard, and hold ourselves to that standard.

goop mascara

Samantha Napolitano

How has your definition of “clean beauty” changed since starting Goop?

It’s always evolving. We [must] stay up [to date] on the science and continue to educate ourselves. The Environmental Working Group is a great resource. We once had a product that [was] rated slightly lower on EWG. We ended up sunsetting the product, even though it wasn’t in the red or anything. I think it’s important to always stay agile, open, and understanding. I think it’s always trying to balance: Where is the consumer? Where’s the data around clean? How do we balance that and, as you say, keep on learning?

Where do you stand on the anti-aging conversation and how it’s marketed?

We don’t call anything anti-aging. I think what happens is a phrase like that gets in the vernacular. And so, people are like, “Oh, it’s anti-aging!” But when you really think about what that means, it’s pretty terrible. So that’s why we have youth-boosting. We want to age; we want to age beautifully and gracefully. It’s a blessing to age. You know, the alternative is terrible.

You have Gen Z children. What’s your approach to their skin care routines, and how did you teach them to properly care for their skin and combat all the misinformation online?

They are so ahead of the game. They are research-based consumers. My son [Moses] goes so deep into products, what’s in them, and how they counteract with other things. My daughter [Apple] is very into products, too. We’re living in such a strange time where TikTok will sort of decide something is true, there’s veracity, and this idea, and then everybody gets swept up in it. My children are more circumspect. They do their own research, which I think is great.

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This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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