Gwyneth Paltrow shares the story behind that candle plus some beauty tips


When it comes to skin-care and wellness trends, Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow is up for trying (almost) anything, which is all the more evident in her new Netflix docuseries “The Goop Lab,” which debuted Jan. 24.

During the show’s six episodes, Paltrow and her team explore everything from psychedelic psychotherapy to energy healing. In “The Health-Span Plan” episode, Paltrow herself participates in a fast-mimicking diet developed by a USC professor and has a vampire facial, in which platelet-rich plasma is extracted from her blood and needled into her face in an attempt to shave 1.7 years off her biological age.

Sure, these treatments might sound very L.A. However, Paltrow’s $250-million lifestyle brand has its share of loyal followers.


Over the years, Goop has come under fire from medical experts who question the brand’s unorthodox approach to wellness. The new Netflix series goes as far as to include a disclaimer that reads: “The following is designed to entertain and inform — not provide medical advice. You should always consult your doctor when it comes to your personal health or before you start any treatment.”

With all of this in mind, we went straight to the source on Wednesday evening to find out what beauty and wellness products and regimens Paltrow actually swears by.

During a dinner party — Paltrow was joined by a list of famous friends including Demi Moore and Kate Hudson at a private L.A. estate — the lifestyle entrepreneur and Oscar-winning actress took time to discuss that candle (you know the one!), why she stands by Goop’s controversial jade egg and the one skin-care trend she’ll never try.

1. Goop’s This Smells Like My Vagina candle caused a stir when it was released in January but it’s a cheeky nod to relaxation. “I always have candles burning. This particular candle came out of a [joke]. I work with this amazing nose, Douglas Little, who has a company called Heretic. He does all nontoxic fragrance — so clean synthetics or natural fragrance. We’re close friends and we always joke around. One day, we were smelling different fragrances, and I was like, ‘Oh! This one smells like my vagina!’ And we were hysterically laughing and I was like, ‘It would be kind of cool to have a fragrance like that. It would be kind of punk rock in the most feminist, awesome way.’ But I was joking. And then he made the candle and gave me one, and I thought he was kidding. Meanwhile, we started selling them on Goop, and then it went beyond viral. So it was kind of an accidental thing that happened, but it’s kind of awesome. I sort of love it. As soon as the sun goes down, I always [light a candle]. Or at work, I have a different Goop candle. I love the Edition 02 scent. I always have it burning in my office. I just think it adds a nice layer of ambience.”

Douglas Little
Douglas Little is an L.A.-based artist and perfumer who took courses at a perfume institute in Grasse, France.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

2. The company’s controversial jade egg is still available on Goop‘s website. After trying almost all of the wellness products on the lifestyle website, it remains a Paltrow personal favorite. “For all the hubbub about it, I think the jade egg is really good. I’m serious. Because there really is something to that practice. There’s something to focusing energy and strength in that area, especially if you’ve had children. There were just one or two [naysayers]. I’d say that women are smart enough to make their own choices about their wellness and their sexuality. There’s never been any issue that’s actually come up around them whatsoever.”

3. Get into good daily skin-care habits. “I don’t do anything in the morning except splash water on my face. And then I exercise and then most of it is in the second half of the day. After I exercise, I’ll take a shower, and then we have an amazing G. Tox [Malachite + Fruit Acid Pore Purifying] foaming cleanser, which I love. I use it in the shower. It smells really clean. I put face oil on, and then in the evening, I’ll either use the [Goopglow 15% glycolic overnight] peel pad, which is amazing, or the Microderm [Instant Glow Exfoliator] in the bath. I put it on my dry skin and I leave it until it gets a little tingly. And then I use the manual exfoliate. And then at night, I’ll use our night cream or Augustinus Bader or Vintner’s Daughter [Active Botanical Serum]. It just depends. I like to rotate [products] depending on if it’s dry, if it’s humid, if it’s winter, if there’s hot heat blowing and circulating.”

Gwyneth Paltrow at the 77th Golden Globe Awards
Gwyneth Paltrow at the 77th Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton on Jan. 5.
(Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times)

4. Skip makeup. Get your glow on instead. “Goopglow’s 20% Vitamin C and the Hyaluronic Acid [Glow Serum] is not a combination you see a lot. It’s super high quality. The serum and the powder come separately because whenever you add liquid to vitamin C, it starts to oxidize and degrade really quickly. So we didn’t want that to happen. A lot of times you’ll buy an expensive vitamin C serum but, by the time you get it, it’s already degrading. So you mix it yourself. It’s really fun. It’s kind of like a science project. You apply it to clean skin, and it gives you the most beautiful, healthy glow.”

5. If you’re feeling adventurous, try the vampire facial, which uses small needles to prick the skin. “I would recommend it. It brought a lot of circulation and fresh cells to my face [for] a nice, smooth skin quality. It wasn’t like a face lift or anything, but it was [beneficial] for skin quality. But it hurts. So that’s my disclaimer. The serum goes back into the skin with a micro-needle. It’s not crazy painful, but it’s not painless. [If it sounds terrifying,] I would say that’s justified. It kind of grossed me out. But I’ve done it twice now. That golden serum that comes from your platelets, it’s kind of gross. But no pain, no gain, I guess.”


6. The dermaplane facial, which removes the top-most layer of dead skin, is another recent Paltrow favorite. “I was skeptical when I tried it. They basically scrape your whole face with a scalpel. It’s like a deep exfoliation. They take all the little peach fuzz off. I’m kind of into that.”

7. Do your research on treatments first and decide what’s right for you. “Is there any skin-care trend that I wouldn’t try? I’m worried about things that could potentially [cause harm], like some of those really strong laser [treatments]. I would be scared to try something like that. Although I know friends who have done it and really swear by it. And then I slightly worry about injecting foreign things into the face. I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it and haven’t done it. I’ve tried things here and there, but as a general rule, I don’t do it. I’m open to it, I guess, but also when you think about having foreign material injected into your face, I don’t know exactly how I feel. I’m sure vanity will win in the long run. There are so many options available. I’m reading a lot about ultrasound for the face. There is an ultrasound machine, [which is noninvasive and helps with skin tightening]. It’s called [Ultherapy]. It’s not a laser. It doesn’t burn or anything. It’s just ultrasound and apparently it really lifts. So that might be something to try. I’m definitely not ready to go under the knife or anything like that. Part of me wants to just let it all go, you know? But we’ll see.”

8. General wellness affects the condition of a person’s skin. “It really does. That’s the truth. You can do all kinds of topical things, but honestly, if you’re eating good food, nutritionally dense food, and you’re breathing and you’re exercising and you’re hydrated, that is going to make your skin look better than anything.”

9. Fasting might help get rid of toxins from the body. “First of all, it’s important to ask your doctor, so that you’re not [putting yourself at risk]. If you have certain conditions, [it may not be for you]. It’s important to know you’re a good candidate for fasting. I personally believe we are constantly breathing and imbibing a lot of unregulated, untested chemicals. There’s plastic molecules in [everything]. Someone told me recently that the average American eats a credit card worth of plastic every week. Our bodies are amazingly natural detox machines, but we have a toxic load that when our bodies were created didn’t exist. I think [fasting is] good to do. I try to do one at least twice a year. I know people who do them more [often]. Some people do them every quarter. Some people do a big spring cleanse. … I definitely believe in it, but I tend to like the detoxes that have food. So you’re not just [starving]. I don’t do just juice or that kind of thing. That doesn’t work for me. … Dr. Valter Longo’s Prolon Diet was amazing. It reduced my biological age by a few years and it was easy to do because everything came in the one box for the whole five days. I lost some holiday weight that I’d been lugging around, and it really stayed off for months, which was fantastic. It was great. I felt amazing when it was done.”