Gwyneth Paltrow makes everything look easy. Showbiz? Aced it. Cooking? Mastered. Now, the star adds organic makeup entrepreneur to her stacked CV
Whatever “it” is, Gwyneth Paltrow has it. The star touched down in Toronto recently to talk about all things natural beauty in her new role as creative director of makeup for California-based brand Juice Beauty. In an airy white room at Holt Renfrew’s headquarters, Paltrow sat, typing quickly on her iPhone, beside Karen Behnke, the wellness entrepreneur who founded Juice Beauty in 2005. A minute passed, then Behnke took up the task of describing the new makeup collection, an impressive range of foundations, lipsticks, mascaras and more, all made from certified organic ingredients. Paltrow continued typing, golden head catching the afternoon light. Then she put her phone down and smiled, and everyone in the room shivered a little and fell in love. You need a particularly electric charisma to pull that offffff.
Paltrow first connected with Behnke through a mutual friend, and officially joined the brand last year as a self-described very involved consultant. “I’m a perfectionist,” explains Paltrow, immaculate in an all-pink outfit— including blush croc Louboutins—with a tasteful jangle of gold on her left arm. “I said, ‘ If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it right.’”
What sparked your interest in green beauty?
“I was raised by a mom who’s an environmentalist, and when my dad was diagnosed with cancer when I was 25 or 26, I started to delve into how our environmental toxins impact our lives, our health, what we eat. I made the leap to skin when I had my daughter. It’s actually really daunting how much there is to consider. Like, women have fire retardant in their breast milk now because it’s in the atmosphere! It’s terrifying.”
What do you bring to your position with Juice Beauty?
“I’m the health food consumer, and I’m also the high- end luxury fashion consumer. There was no synergy of those two [in beauty]—there was nothing available. I said that for us to succeed, the look and feel had to match the conventional [ luxury] products, because that’s where the natural products in the past have fallen short. We also had to redo the packaging—it doesn’t matter how good the product is if it looks like it belongs in a health food store. We worked for a year until we got it where we wanted it.”
Was there a product that was particularly tricky to get right?
“The concealer! Every woman needs a good concealer, right? I can live without anything, but don’t mess with my concealer! [ laughs] Since there is no petroleum or parabens in it, you had to work it to warm it up so you got that beautiful finish. We’d gone back and forth so many times that I thought, ‘ Should I just approve it and say it’s fine?’ Then I thought, ‘ No, because I’ll go back to using the Laura Mercier one, and I don’t want to. I want this to be better than that.’ So we went back to it, and now it’s as good as any concealer you’ve ever found. Ultimately, you’ve just got to work it until it’s right. That’s where my perfectionism is helpful— and exhausting.”
How important is it for non-toxic beauty to be perceived as cool?
“The other day, this chef stopped me in the street and said, ‘ Thank you for making healthy food cool.’ And I said, ‘ Well, it’s not me, but I’m a piece of that.’ I hopefully want to do the same for clean beauty, the way Stella McCartney has done for fashion. There are people who have a strong value system, and they’re creating businesses around that value system. I’d like to be part of that.”
How would you describe your value system?
“I’m always asking, ‘ How can I be the best possible version of myself?’ If I want to know that, then so do my friends, my colleagues, our daughters. I think it’s an interesting time to be a woman right now. We’re all accepting the responsibility of making our lives the best that they can be. And there’s a weight with that responsibility as well. We know it takes effort. And I’ve always just been who I am; I’ve always been one of the first ones cutting the path and getting scratches and making amazing discoveries at the same time. I fully accept that that’s my role in this lifetime. If that resonates with women, that means so much to me.”
Gwyneth Paltrow is on a mission to popularize non- toxic beauty.