Gwyneth Paltrow we know is the picture of beauty, health and fitness. The creation of Goop, bestie status with workout guru Tracy Anderson and now her partnership with the organic, all-natural cosmetics and skincare label Juice Beauty have only solidified her status as the epitome of these ideals. But, as the 43-year-old blonde shares in her Beauty Story, she hasn’t always felt like it. In fact, she was a tomboy who never cared about beauty at all until her late 30s. We talked with Paltrow about her process for creating Juice’s brand-new makeup collection, how she regulates her daughter’s cosmetics obsession, the ’90s look she most regrets, what she really eats, and the teenage beauty missteps she now laughs about.
Yahoo Beauty: I love your lip color. Can you tell me which one it is?
Gwyneth Paltrow: Thank you. It’s actually, embarrassingly, called Gwyneth. It’s this liquid lip color and it’s very pink. This is one of the great things about Juice Beauty is all the pigment. You know, normally with really natural and organic makeup it’s hard to get that concentration of pigment and so we managed to crush a lot of flowers to get the pigment very bright.
What first drew you to Juice Beauty? How did you find out about the brand?
I first found out about Juice Beauty through a mutual investor. Somebody who invested in Goop and in Juice Beauty thought that we had a lot in common and had very aligned kind of business ideas and thought we might be able to forge a relationship and a partnership and a collaboration. It just turned out to be a really great synergy. Karen [Behnke], who’s the founder of Juice, is an incredibly authentic, hard-working mother and entrepreneur and we both had strong feelings about having incredibly high-performing, beautiful makeup that was also nontoxic. Because most of it is very toxic, which I didn’t think about until I had children of my own and started to read labels and do some research. I’ve been very proud of what we’ve been able to create.
What was your process for developing the makeup collection?
The process for developing the collection was long—it took us over a year, and there was a lot of back and forth. And I was with the chemists a lot. I really saw a huge white space in the makeup, beauty market in that, you know, there’s really nothing that was organic and completely nontoxic that was high-performance and that I could wear on the red carpet. Obviously in my other job I have to wear a lot of makeup. And, you know, to be able to create something that could achieve both is really difficult. Most foundations have lots of silicones and plastics and there’s heavy metals in red lipstick and there’s, you know, carbon black, which is a super toxic dye in eye mascara and stuff like that, so to make a really high-performing beauty line without any of that nasty stuff in it was really challenging.
What were some of your inspirations and references?
There was a conventional benchmark for every single one of these products, so I would bring in my favorite lip gloss from Brand X or my favorite concealer from Brand Y and say, “we have to make our product at least as good as the benchmark.” But there was one for every single one of the products.
Was there anything you looked at for all the colors—anything that inspired you?
The collection is really very inspired by California. Juice is a California company. Goop is half California — we’re distributed between New York and California. And I’m very inspired by bright lip colors as well. I have some girlfriends who wear bright lipstick all the time, and my mom wears bright lipstick. I had been playing a lot with bright colors and that sort of frivolity and just how dramatically it can change your look. And the phyto-pigments, meaning all the fruits and vegetables and seeds and everything that’s used to create the pigments, it was such an incredible process to watch how they do it all and how they’re able to create all these beautiful colors.
Are there any friends you’re excited to give specific lip colors to?
Yeah, well this whole line of the liquid lip — they’re all named after some of my very near and dear friends and family who are living in California, so once I get the samples then I can send them to all my girlfriends.
Obviously you’re not testing on animals, so is it fair to say the products are Gwyneth-tested?
The products are vegan, they’re gluten-free, they’re paraben-free, plastic-free, they’re not formulated with any silicones. They’ve been put through a very stringent process. But yes, they’re definitely very animal-friendly, no testing on animals at all.
Did you try everything out during the process?
I was working very closely with the chemist, so nothing is created that I wasn’t involved with from the very inception.
What sort of differences have you noticed in your own skin since you discovered Juice Beauty and started using the products?
I’m a believer that products that are formulated with good ingredients that aren’t harming your skin are always going to help the outward appearance of your skin. You know, the base of Juice Beauty cosmetics is juice, so there are amazing fruit acids and hyaluronic acid from vegetables. It’s packed with incredible things that are really going to help with fine lines and wrinkles, and so you’re wearing makeup but you’re also helping your skin.
What was the turning point for you in terms of wanting to live a really healthy, organic lifestyle and when did you discover that world?
I think I started to get really engaged in the idea of wellness and health when my father was diagnosed with cancer almost 20 years ago. That’s when I started really researching the impact of environmental toxins and pesticides and all of the things we surround ourselves with and eat and drink every day. It’s actually pretty scary when you really look at the data and look at the effects of some of these pesticides and the endocrine-disrupting chemicals that we have in our beauty products. I’m a believer that the consumer is going to start to regulate the industry, because the industry isn’t regulating for the consumer. I hope that they will, but until they do I think we also deserve to have products that are safe and clean.
What were the first changes you started making in your lifestyle?
The first changes that I started making in my lifestyle were food. I mean, I became macrobiotic for, I think, two years in an effort to heal my father by proxy, because he would not encage in the healthy food at all. And I got into, you know, detoxing and reading about the importance of whole foods and not eating processed foods, and how much sugar and cancer have a link and all these things. So food is really where it started for me.
Are your kids on board with the healthy wellness stuff? Or are there times they’re asking for sugar?
We are a pretty balanced house. I mean, kids eat sugar. That’s how it goes. So we have organic snacks and we have Oreos, too, so… [Laughs]
I’ve read in various places you follow an alkaline diet or a gluten-free diet. Is either true?
I think there’s a lot of misinformation about what I actually eat. I really don’t have any rules. I really believe in delicious food and enjoying life and not saying no to anything. But at the same time, you know, I think it’s important to understand what good nutrition does and make sure you maintain a balance. For me the big things are really processed food and foods that have tons of chemicals and pesticides. I try to stay away from that, but I love French fries and cheese and martinis and all that kind of thing.
Who doesn’t?! What is your approach to fitness?
My approach to fitness is pretty much what it’s been for 10 years. I do Tracy Anderson five days a week. I’m a complete Tracy Anderson fanatic. And I honestly owe her a huge debt of gratitude because she’s the reason that I feel I can eat so much food and still fit into my clothes. (Laughs) It’s true.
Is there anything you’ve tried fitness-wise that hasn’t worked or really resonated?
You know, I’m such a Tracy loyalist that I really haven’t tried any of the upcoming recent trends. I think when you find something that works so well for you and your body you just don’t want to mess with it. But I love swimming and being outdoors, I love hiking. It’s wonderful being in Southern California where you can do both things and be out in nature.
How has your approach to beauty changed since your 20s?
My approach to beauty has changed since my 20s in that now I (laughing) am paying attention. I was such a tomboy for such a long time with skincare, makeup, facials. I just didn’t really bother. You know, no sunscreen. I was just kinda, like I acted like a kid until I was probably 38 years old and then I looked in the mirror like, OK, it’s time to deal with some of this stuff. So now I get facials when I can, I try to look after my skin, you know, wash my face every night—that was a big step for me. And I wear more makeup now. I think when you’re not 25 a little mascara goes a long way.
Were you into makeup and beauty in your 20s at all?
I was never into makeup and beauty in my 20s. My daughter is the exact opposite of me—she’s basically a fledgling makeup artist. She watches YouTube and all that and loves makeup, which is another reason I’m so happy that this line is going to come out because she likes to play with makeup and I prefer it to be nontoxic.
What would be the advice you would give to your younger self?
I think the advice I would give to my younger self would be to not care so much what people think. That’s a blessing you get when you’re around 40, and I wish you got it when you were 20.
Is there anything you regret beauty-wise? Any mishaps?
I saw a movie poster from Sliding Doors the other day, a movie I did in the ‘90s, and those ‘90s eyebrows I could have lived without, definitely. I’m glad that trend has long since past.
So much has come back from the ‘90s though, and you emerged during that time and had people copying your look. It was such an iconic decade for beauty. Minus the eyebrows, what was your favorite look from that time?
At the time I really loved that kind of matte skin and dark lip. At the time it looked great, I don’t know about now, but that’s a very, like, romantic time in my mind, you know, and all the black stretchy clothes.
Do you ever do the dark lip now? It’s come back quite a bit.
I don’t tend to do a dark, dark lip very often. Once in a while, but I think it’s hard to pull that off, a really dark lip at this point.
Do you have any favorite red carpet makeup moments?
My favorite red carpet makeup moments…when people show me pictures of past red carpet days, I think the ones I tend to gravitate towards are when I feel a little bit tan and sun-kissed and like the makeup is more natural and kind of bronzier. I think those are nice.
Do you have any tips for getting that bronzed, tan look without damaging your skin?
A good bronzer. And I like to have a few minutes of time in the sun, you know, for vitamin D. Obviously it’s not good to lie out for hours in the sun, but I like my freckles that come out when it’s summertime.
You said Apple loves makeup. When did she start playing with it and were you OK with it? What have you tried to teach her about it?
I let my daughter wear makeup around the house, because she really loves it, but she also does special-effects makeup and she loves to experiment and she’ll do really wild things or she’ll, like, do some Snapchat person with rainbows down the face. I don’t even know what that is; you’re apparently even too old to know what that is. Sometimes like if we’re going to a party she’ll put on some mascara and then take it off so there’s like a hint. So she’s allowed to do that, but she’s a bit young for, you know, a full face.
Do you have an age in mind when she’ll be allowed to go crazy with it?
I’m not sure what the appropriate makeup age is, probably, I don’t know, 14? Is that too old? Too young? I’ll have to do research I think.
What do you hope to teach her about beauty as a concept, beyond makeup?
I just hope that my daughter always feels beautiful. And I think that absolutely comes from the way you regard yourself and hold yourself. I think there’s [sic] so many women who might not be classically beautiful but who just are so beautiful—they’re so alluring because you can just tell they’re so into themselves, you know, in a good way. So I hope she has that quality.
Do you have any plans for trying to shelter her from the impossible beauty standards that are floating around?
Right now in our culture we have so many different beauty standards. And while I think that some of them are impossible or stupid or unsafe even, we do have now more than ever a much wider range in what’s beautiful. So that gives me hope that as she continues to age that she’ll feel comfortable with whatever body she was given and that she won’t feel shame about it. I think there are so many different role models now—so many different sizes, shapes, colors, and it’s pretty wonderful. It’s not like when I was a kid and we we are all trying to look like, I can’t even remember who, but it was a much narrower ideal of beauty.
Did you always feel beautiful or have people telling you that or where there points where you weren’t confident in your appearance?
Oh my gosh, I think that one of the hardest things about growing up a girl in this society is exactly what you’re referencing, this idea that we all held about how we’re supposed to look, and if you don’t understand how you’re supposed to fit into that it can be difficult and it can be demoralizing. I had periods of time where I really did not feel pretty at all, and especially from about 11 to 14 — that was really brutal for me physically. I had braces, I decided to shave my head and I was really, really skinny and much smaller than everybody else. And it took me a while to shake off that idea of myself, you know, as like the scrawny girl with the bad haircut that none of the boys would ask out. I took a while because it’s such a pivotal time in one’s life.
Did you shave your whole head?!
No, I didn’t shave my whole head. I went for that ‘80s kind of like shelf haircut so it was short to there and shaved in the back. My mother was thrilled.
How was it to grow out?
It was terrible to grow it out. It was just so bad, I don’t know what…and then I had bobby pins in it to try to grow it out. It was bad. And I also thought it was really cool to wear men’s boxers as outerwear in those days, with Dr. Martens.
I hope there are pictures of that somewhere!
There are, I have pictures. It’s terrifying.
Speaking of your mother, what do you feel you learned from her about beauty?
My mother is such an individual and I think she sets the example of just being yourself and the beauty in that. She’s just so funny and eccentric and she’s such an incredible artist. I think she sets the example for me that when you’re really yourself, your integrated self, you’re beautiful.
YB: Who is your beauty icon?
Wow, um, I think I have a few beauty icons. I look at people like Katharine Hepburn and people who are really beautiful but iconoclastic and really brave and doing their own thing. I think she’s maybe my number one beauty idol.
YB: Who are your runners-up?
Probably my girlfriends, you know, the women in my life who are gorgeous and strong and have their own sense of style and they are very accepting of themselves. I’d say them.
What is your daily routine that makes you feel beautiful? Or a beauty ritual you enjoy?
When I get up in the morning it’s pretty much kid time and getting everybody out the door, so really I would say my beauty ritual, I don’t even know if you would call it a beauty ritual, but I take a hot bath every night. To me that’s my beauty and spiritual ritual to kind of wash the day off.
Beyond the bath, what do you do to relax?
In the evenings I’ll have a glass of wine and chill out. Sometimes a massage when I can. Or take a walk. I think walks are really very relaxing, get some fresh air.
How do you define beauty?
I define beauty as being a state of mind more than anything else—true self-acceptance and self-love. And knowing that you are not your mistakes and not carrying shame and guilt around with you. I think if you can do that then you feel beautiful.