Shine on Goop goes glossy
It began with a chat between Gwyneth Paltrow and Anna Wintour. As Goop prepares to go glossy, Suzanne Harrington takes an imaginary look through the pages
Are we excited about this latest development — a Conde Nast glossy Goop magazine — inspired by a chat between magazine empress Anna Wintour and Goop’s creator Gwyneth Paltrow? Are we all set to “urge our inner aspect” and “shop with meaning” via the shiny pages of a new lady mag set to combine celebrity, wellness and vaginal steaming? Or should we approach its lifestyle advice with a giant pinch of pink Himalayan salt? Goop sells Brain Dust, Moon Dust and Sex Dust at $38 a jar — does it sell snake oil?
In terms of retail, Goop — named from its founder’s initials — is the gift that keeps on giving, providing you don’t actually want to buy anything. You can only “shop with meaning” if you have considerable means — GP’s Picks currently include trousers for $898, a grey cardi for $920, and a wooden bowl or $380. For skinflints, there’s a $26 deodorant. Or you could splash out on a $2,400 spirit animal ring, or a $700 one that spells the word ‘gratitude’.
Despite selling items like a single earring (for the left ear) for $576, or a wooden spoon for $77, it’s not the ridiculous, aspirational retail which has caused outrage. No, it’s the bad science masquerading as health advice. Goop, a “modern lifestyle brand”, rides the crest of the trillion dollar ‘wellness’ industry, its site promising “clean beauty”, “detox” and “cutting edge wellness advice”. Like apitherapy, where you pay to get stung by actual bees to heal inflammation and scarring.
Divided into Shop, Be, Do, See, Make, Get, Goop highlights have included kale, bone broth, sex bark, jade eggs, aura photography, and IV energy drips. There is a recipe for “GP’s Brain Activating Adaptogenic Drink”, which consists of a variety of ingredients from something called Moon Pantry — $35 mushroom protein, $38 brain dust, $25 maca, $25 macuna pruriens (no, me neither) and almond butter. The mushroom protein is “crafted in small batches with the most potent plant alchemy on earth. Raw, whole grain brown rice is sprouted for bio-activity, producing 20g of easily assimilated lean protein. Cordyceps, Reishi, and Tocotrienols provide enduring benefits.” Basically, it’s a $150 smoothie made from powdered mushrooms and dust.
The latest house perfume, Edition 02 which will set you back $165, is enthusiastically endorsed by GP herself. “The ingredients are ‘real’, and harness the homeopathic and mystical properties that these plants and herbs carry in the natural world,” she said in a press release.
“It smells amazing, but also channels other powers, like joy, healing, and clairvoyance.” Which is quite a claim for a squirt of perfume, but entirely in keeping with the overall tone of misleading hyperbole — alongside articles for wealthy mummies on how to do Paris with
kids, recipes for shiso nori salad rolls, strengthening the “resiliency muscle”, dry brushing, and the ins and outs of anal sex, Goop is home to a whole heap of new age quackery.
So bad is Goop science that a Canadian health law professor, Timothy Caulfield, has written a book titled Is Gwyneth Paltrow Wrong About Everything?: When Celebrity Culture & Science Clash. He is not impressed with the idea of detoxing, an activity which Paltrow and the Goop team undertake each January.
“The human body has organs — the liver, kidneys, skin and colon — that take care of the detoxification process. Toxins don’t build up waiting to be cleansed by supplements and special foods,” he writes. “No evidence suggests that the products sold by the cleansing industry do anything to help clear toxins, parasites or bad karma in a manner beneficial to your health.” Instead, he recommends the Caulfield Cleanse: “Step One: Cleanse your system of all the pseudoscience babble that flows from many celebrities, celebrity physicians and the diet industry.” There is no Step Two.