To Goop or not to Goop; that is the hot question of the moment. Following the release of Gwyneth Paltrow’s inaugural skin care line, created in conjunction with Juice beauty, many people responded that the prices of the six-item line were unrealistically high and questioned the need for organic, toxin-free skin creams. Ultimately what everyone wants to know is are Paltrow’s products worth the indulgence?
The answer, it seems, is complicated (of course) and depends on your personal skin type, skin care preferences, and budget.
There are six items in the launch line: Luminous Melting Cleanser ($90 for 3.3 oz.), Exfoliating Instant Facial ($125 for 1.7 oz.), Enriching Face Oil ($110 for 1 oz.), Revitalizing Day Moisturizer ($100 for 1.7 oz.), Replenishing Night Cream ($140 for 1.7 oz.), and Perfecting Eye Cream ($90 for .5 oz.). If you buy all of the items in the launch line, it will put a $655 dent in your wallet. Or you can get the Discovery Set ($125 for a few sample sizes). The line sold out initially but has been restocked since launching late last week.
That’s a big investment in products you’re going to use daily. By way of comparison, Clinique’s daily face wash is $17 for a 6.7 oz. bottle at Sephora and the old dermatologist favorite Cetaphil can be had in a 16 oz. bottle for under $12 at nearly any drugstore or grocery store. Usage-wise, that Clinique cleanser will last the average person two months and the Cetaphil will last as long as six, while you’re likely to need a new jar of Goop’s facial cleanser every month, adding up to a yearly cost of $1,080. You do get extras with the Goop cleanser, though: a small spoon to apply the cleanser with and a muslin cleaning cloth for after — this is a luxury product.
The difference between Goop cleanser and a more downmarket cleanser isn’t just in the extras, it’s in the ingredients. While many daily face cleansers are soap and water based at their core, Goop’s ingredients are a mash-up of oils. It makes using this cleanser a very different feeling than soaping up your face, but Jordana Mattioli, the medical esthetician at Complete Skin MD in New York City, says that might not be a good thing. She says she overall wouldn’t recommend them, after reviewing the ingredients in the products. “The daily moisturizer lists ‘Essential Oil Blend: Monarda Didyma (Bergamot) Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, and Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Oil’ in the middle of the ingredient list. I’m sure this makes the product smell amazing, but they are not safe for the face. These are very irritating ingredients which can cause inflammation and damage,” Mattioli says.
If you’re OK with being at a more expensive price point on a few products, however, it might be worth looking at the eye cream ($90 for 0.5 oz.), face oil ($110 for 1 oz.), or exfoliator ($125 for 1.7 oz.) for a splurge. Before you do, though, note that the organic ingredient list for both the eye cream and exfoliator have lemon oil in the top three ingredients, something Mattioli says you should avoid in your skin care products. “It is highly acidic, with a very low pH that’s irritating to skin. It can cause what’s known as a phytophotodermatitis (PPD) upon exposure to sunlight. There is also a volatile fragrance chemical known as limonene, which is abundant in lemon juice,” Mattioli explains. While that acidic texture may be OK for some people in an exfoliator, it’s going to be tough for sensitive skin to handle. It is not present in the face oil, but that’s not a core product for most people nor something Mattioli suggests you need in your daily arsenal of skin care.
Perhaps the biggest indulgence is the nighttime moisturizer, at $140 for 1.7 oz. It promises to both eliminate wrinkles and increase luminosity, while improving your skin texture. All of this and it’s created from 79% USDA certified organic ingredients — although that pesky lemon juice is the second thing on the ingredient list. This is an item which many people are willing to invest at a higher price point; having a moisturizing, repairing night cream is not a bad idea at all. In this department, Goop’s prices and package sizes are comparable with wrinkle and firming-concerned products by high-end brands like Clarins, Shiseido, Caudalie, and Lancome. It comes in as much less expensive than the gold-standard cream, La Mer. As for how well it works, it hits on several of the anti-aging ingredient touchstones that Mattioli recommends, with retinyl palmitate for increased collagen production, vitamin E and C antioxidants to reduce free radicals, hyaluronic acid to prevent moisture loss.
Whether or not using Goop’s line is right for you comes down to three factors: how much money you are willing to put into your discretionary daily skin care, whether or not the ingredients will irritate your skin type, and your personal preference for using organic products. While organic sounds healthier in theory, Mattioli says, “Organic isn’t necessarily better when it comes to skin care. There is no substantiated, published research anywhere proving that organic ingredients are superior to non-organic or synthetic ingredients in regards to skin care.”
She calls the idea that synthetic ingredients are bad and organic are good a “huge misconception.” Furthermore, Mattioli says that food-grade ingredients in your skin care products are not absolutely necessary either. “After a plant is harvested and processed to be included in a cosmetic product, no pesticides remain — not even a trace,” Mattioli says.
Photos courtesy Goop.com