Goop Beauty is the skincare range from the brain of Gwyneth Paltrow, who gave us the lifestyle brand with controversial candles, crystals, and wellness promises. According to the brand, Goop's skincare offering has a focus on "high-performance, active ingredients and clean, non-toxic formulas for clinically-proven results and healthy, glowing skin."
Lydia Burgham and Bethany Reitsma are two writers in their early 20s from the Herald's lifestyle and entertainment desk, who arguably pay too much for rent and spend too much time on public transport. We're here to determine if products from the celebrity brand are worth the hype - and breaking the bank for.
Our skincare routines
Look, I'll admit, I probably spend a little beyond my means when it comes to skincare and cosmetics. Hear me out: I'd rather buy something that is nice to use and has quality ingredients rather than having a bathroom cabinet full of products I kind of tolerate.
That being said, some of the prices of Goop's beauty products stretch far beyond my weekly rent, and I would find it hard to justify shelling out the cash for them unless I was certain they'd actually work. But I decided to give it a go for "science".
I'd say for my three or four step routine I spend on average around $40-$50 per product, which sounds like a lot. It probably is a lot. But I spend less on other things. So it's fine. Not like I will ever afford a house in this economy anyway.
I put in the work to keep my skin clear, and I've dabbled with chemical exfoliants before and find they work far better than the apricot kernel scrubs of my horror teenage past. So Goop's range doesn't scare me too much. However, it does seem like Gwyneth's goal is for us to scrub off a layer or 10 of skin. It's probably not aimed at my early-to-mid-20s face, but no harm in starting early right?
My skin type is what I'd call combination, it gets oily in the t-zone throughout the day but leans dry and dehydrated everywhere else. It's also acne-prone, so I have scarring leftover that I attempt to buff away with an AHA toner a few times' a week. I'm a big fan of a double cleanse (oil cleanser to remove makeup and then a face wash to cleanse away the day).
If it isn't sacrilege to admit it, I don't really have a skincare routine to speak of. I put it down to good genetics that I've never been troubled by acne or breakouts even as a teenager. A colleague once told me, grudgingly, that I have "the skin of a 5-year-old". If anything, it's a little dry and prone to sunburn. But since I left uni and with it the grim world of five-dollar face wipes, I've embarked on a journey into the world of skincare. Granted, without a sense of direction, but I'll get there.
I keep my "routine" pretty basic: I wash my face with just water in the morning and use a foaming cleanser at night after taking my makeup off. So when the chance came up to test Goop skincare well beyond my budget, I was intrigued.
I currently spend between $20-$30 per skincare product - I tend to stick to my Essano products because they're gentle on my skin and smell pretty good. I like a clay mask once a month or so when I need a pamper. And I always invest in a good sunscreen with high SPF which always goes on before my makeup.
GTOX Himalayan Salt Scrub Shampoo ($74 for 200ml)
This is a multi-tasking salt scrub for your hair. A quick glance at the ingredients list shows it's also packed with a bunch of oils, with the brand highlighting moringa oil and rosehip oil as the hero ingredients. It's also a shampoo, so no need to wash your hair twice when you're wanting to give it a deep clean.
GOOPGLOW Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator Mini ($74 for 15ml, $221 for 50ml)
This microdermabrasion-inspired exfoliator promises to polish skin, smooth uneven texture, and give you an instant lit-from-within glow. It includes four "powerful" minerals - quartz, garnet, alumina, and silica to help smooth away dead skin, and glycolic acid to help lessen the appearance of pores, as well as fragrant mandarin, lemon and orange oils.
GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic Acid Overnight Glow Peel ($79 for 4 pack, $221 for 12 pack)
The way this product is described on the website makes it sound like a miracle worker - and also mildly terrifying. It promises its user will wake up with glowing and brightened skin.
The single-use pads come out at an eye-watering $19 a pop, $18 if you fork out for the 12 pack. It's a high strength chemical exfoliant, with 15% glycolic acid, plus Australian Kakudu plum - boasting 100 times more vitamin C than an orange and three molecular sizes of everyone's favourite hydration powerhouse hyaluronic acid.
GTOX Himalayan Salt Scrub Shampoo
I was slightly sceptical about using this product, not least because I haven't read up about the benefits of Himalayan salt. The texture also threw me off - it was more shaving cream than a gritty scrub. Nevertheless, it was hair washing day so I scooped a shampoo-sized amount and spread it through my scalp hoping it would solve my problematic hair and my life's issues with one lather. That's another thing I wasn't expecting: the level of lather. It felt like a thick foaming shaving cream, and a little goes a long way. I hadn't got the memo and my usual shampoo-sized ration overwhelmed my hair a bit.
Then came the frizz: The scrubbing motion left my hair feeling like I had just drowned it in strong purple shampoo for five minutes. So I scrambled for my fail-safe conditioner and doused a thick layer on like a hair mask. I was worried at first my hair wasn't sufficiently clean, and I would wake up at 5.30 the next morning for work with no time to fix my 'do. In both Goop and my generation's TikTok gurus' fashion, I manifested that my hair would look like a Pantene ad the next morning. I was more or less correct.
When I woke up, my hair looked shiny and smooth, particularly near the scalp where I'd concentrated most of the product. I can't say for sure it wasn't also the job of my conditioner and my tactical wide-tooth combing while it was wet. My scalp felt extra clean too, which was a bonus. I gave it a second run later in the week, and I wasn't super floored by it. As I've found with other scalp scrubs, it's difficult to deposit the scrub granules (in this case salt) exactly where I needed it.
Because I chemically treat my hair, I don't mind investing in my hair products, but I usually draw the line at a colour-safe shampoo and nourishing conditioner. It's hard to say without continued use whether the price for this product is worth it, but since you need such a tiny amount I could see it lasting a long time.
I'm not the biggest fan of the packaging: it comes in a basic round glass tub. This makes it a bit flimsy to scoop the product out mid-shower without accidentally getting water into the product. I would have preferred something a bit more practical, but the jar looks nice and minimal next to my usual products.
GOOPGLOW Microderm Instant Glow Exfoliator
At first glance the product was less than appealing. The colour was like oatmeal and the texture, which Gwyneth describes as "marshmallowy", was kind of, well, goopy. The smell wasn't awful, it just wasn't great either. Vaguely citrusy from the mandarin and lemon, but also slightly medicinal. Apparently it should only be used two to three times a week. I don't know if this tiny 15g tub would last that many uses, to be honest - but I applied a moderate amount and used circular motions to apply it over my face and neck according to the directions.
I set a timer for three minutes and wandered around my house waiting for it to go off. A stinging sensation gradually increased as the product dried and became tacky to touch. I definitely wouldn't leave it on for more than three minutes or the tingling becomes a little painful. When I washed it off with water, the mineral particles stubbornly clung to my skin - because they're solid, they don't dissolve like other exfoliants.
But when I'd finally gotten rid of every last bit, my skin did feel incredibly smooth and fresh. I had to give it to Gwyneth, I was glowing.
The product definitely gave me a glow and left my skin super soft. It's hard to tell if a skincare product makes a difference or not unless you use it for several weeks, but after three uses so far, the results are already noticeable.
I like that the products are vegan and cruelty free. The packaging could be prettier considering even the mini version of this exfoliant costs over $70. I probably wouldn't buy this for regular use myself, but my brief venture into the world of Goop was fun while it lasted. And it's sparked an interest in what other exfoliants are out there - maybe I'll be adding another step to my skincare routine before long.
GOOPGLOW 15% Glycolic Acid Overnight Glow Peel
As I am less of a chemical exfoliant newbie, I took one for the team and tried out the intensive chemical glow peel treatment. My skin is reasonably hardy so I wasn't too concerned about turning out like Samantha in that episode of Sex and The City.
The instructions: Brush the face pad over your face and neck after cleansing and follow up with a moisturiser after 15 minutes if you feel like it. Spoiler alert, I did not make it until 15 minutes before dousing my face in moisturiser as if it were a fire extinguisher. I was toughing out the tingling for a while but it bordered on a burning sensation after five minutes.
I woke up the next morning with ridiculously baby soft skin, and as promised my complexion did look brighter, less textured and more glowy. Definitely a product to patch test if you have sensitive skin.
As for whether I'd purchase the product again, my bank account answers a firm and resounding no, but I think this is aimed at the luxury skincare aficionado more than a person in their early 20s with a few acne scars to get rid of. If a deep exfoliating treatment is what someone is after, I'd recommend it. But if you have minimal skin concerns, I think there are other products that would do a better job for the price. If the Gwyneth glow is what you're after, this will for sure give you that. Just beware of the potential for irritation if you tend to experience skin sensitivity.
• Goop beauty products are available from meccabeauty.co.nz. Disclaimer: The journalists were gifted products for review purposes.