Why Gwyneth Paltrow named colors in her Juice Beauty collection after fellow female stars

True to the philosophy of clean living often preached on her lifestyle website, Goop, Gwyneth Paltrow pulls up to Santa Monica's Casa del Mar hotel behind the wheel of a Toyota Prius. The entrepreneur and Oscar-winning actress unassumingly travels solo, relaxed in a striped T-shirt, ripped boyfriend jeans and Birkenstocks before changing into Jimmy Choo pumps and a tweed Chanel jumpsuit for a photo shoot. Imperceptible but possibly most important of all, Paltrow, 43, also wears Juice Beauty's Phyto-Pigments Sheer Lip Gloss in Naked, part of a cosmetics line that she helped to formulate, develop and name — a process that took more than a year to complete.

In 2015, Paltrow announced her roles as shareholder and creative director for San Rafael-based Juice Beauty, founded in 2005 by fitness and wellness executive Karen Behnke. The company now has more than $25million in annual revenue. Juice Beauty, which likewise invested in Goop, offers more than 200 skin care and makeup products formulated with at least 70% — and up to 98% — USDA-certified organic ingredients. A blend of organic botanicals with citrus juice serves as the foundation of the line's formulations, replacing the high water content or petroleum byproducts in most conventional brands.

"California has the most rigorous regulations in the world, which is why you hardly see any organic beauty brands. It is so hard to achieve," says Behnke, whose sustainable practices extend to soy ink and recyclable packaging.

Paltrow's first project, Juice Beauty's Phyto-Pigments Color cosmetics line of 78 lip, eye and complexion products ($20 to $42), developed with the brand's anti-aging, fruit stem cell technology, launched in January. The cosmetics are 100% vegan, substituting plant waxes for beeswax and free of insect-based dyes. Rather, natural pigments from purple carrots, rose petals, Cape lilac, and basil flowers create vibrant color. Goop's first branded product line, a six-piece Goop by Juice Beauty organic skin care collection ($80 to $140), will debut exclusively on March 1.

The minimalist beauty and major business guru (who also invests in beauty and wellness companies Tracy Anderson Method, 3 Green Hearts and Blo Blow Dry Bar) sat down to discuss the news, her thoughts on green living, beauty and what's next.

What sold you on investing in Juice Beauty?

Well, my mom [Blythe Danner] is a real, true environmentalist. I spent my youth at the recycling center here [in Santa Monica] sorting cans, and we were the first ones with solar power in the neighborhood. She played a big part in creating curbside recycling in Santa Monica and New York City. So I grew up, by osmosis, with a consciousness about what we are doing to the planet and to our bodies.... Karen never takes shortcuts; she does things the hard way, so the quality is amazing. I think we're constantly moving forward in the non-toxic world, but there is a part of us vain women that wants products that work. I was really excited by the idea that there could be a line of makeup that was good for your skin and good for you with active ingredients that also last and are what an actress needs on her face.

Were you into beauty as a child?

Not at all. My mother wasn't into beauty when I was young, and it was a different time. If she was getting ready for an awards show, she would do herself quickly and go. She was very low-maintenance so I didn't grow up seeing a lot of the glamorous side. It was more about the craft. It wasn't like today, when a whole team arrives.... It's such a production now. We are doing Apple's homework while someone is doing my makeup. Apple loves makeup.

Any memories of a first beauty product you obsessed about?

My mom wore a perfume by Balenciaga called Quadrille that is discontinued now. I still have an empty bottle just so I can smell it sometimes because it's such a strong flashback.

How are you involved as creative director at Juice Beauty?

The touch, the feel, the slips, everything. I'm very hands-on. If I'm going to do something at this point in my life, it's going to be with 100% commitment. There is no point in slapping your name on something you don't believe in. I think I drove them slightly insane.... We fought really hard to create products that feel luxe and are really effective. It's all well and good to be organic, but you want something that helps fight wrinkles while you sleep and brings out the glow in your skin so you can be the best that you can be.

What about product naming?

I was very inspired by California — words and beaches and themes. I was born here. I'm living here now. So I thought it would be sweet to pay a tiny homage to my favorite California girls. Apple got first dibs on colors. Then I chose Chelsea [Handler], not that I see her wear this [brownish] color so much, but she's daring and represents sex and fun. I love when Reese [Witherspoon] wears red lips; she looks so pretty. Drew [Barrymore] is the freshest-looking, most beautiful California girl. She's got this peachy glow all the time. Bubblegum pink is perfect for Kate [Hudson]. And this is Blythe, after my mom; a very elegant [mauve] shade.

Did being a mom influence your thinking about product toxicity?

When I had kids, I was obsessed with non-toxic, organic products for them, but I was still putting toxic products on myself and breast-feeding.... So I started to get very serious about products I was using on myself. Except a lot of the time, I couldn't find organic products that were really effective. I still can't in hair.

So hair care might be next?

Exactly. We also have [branded] apparel in the works at Goop, and I have a new cookbook, "It's All Easy," coming out April 12.

Any local beauty gurus in your little black book?

I love Striiike and the Streicher sisters. Also, the Beverly Hot Springs for scrubs. I'm really into infrared saunas for circulation but I actually have one in my house now.

How do you define beauty?

Beauty is when I see a woman who loves herself, and you can tell. There's a real self-acceptance and ease in her own skin. I see that in my daughter. I see that in my mother. I see that in Jane Fonda and Oprah. I see that in women who know themselves really well.

Any oops in your daily goop?

Oh, if you only knew. There are so many. I make mistakes all the time. I don't know why I am so driven to do so much. For a while, I thought, "Am I running away from something? Or am I running toward something? What am I doing?" But I have sort of accepted that, for this period in my life, I am just meant to be kind of a workhorse. And I'm going somewhere. I'm not sure where. But there's a big-picture reason for it. Somewhere.

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on March 27, 2016, in the Life+Style section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Paltrow dives into organics with Juice Beauty products" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe


12:49 p.m.: This story was updated to clarify in the headline that the colors named after Paltrow's fellow female stars were part of a Juice Beauty collection, not a Goop by Juice Beauty collection. 

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