Goop: Behind the Brand

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Gwyneth Paltrow has made an A-list lifestyle out of her acting career in famous movies like The Avengers series and other cameo appearances. She has always been known for her unconventional and high-end health and beauty regimens which she spun into her own life and beauty brand, Goop.

Recently, Netflix picked up her brand to focus on for a short documentary series titled, “The Goop Lab.” In addition, a few of Goop’s products have sparked widespread controversy for sometimes outrageous prices and product names such as the “This Is What My Vagina Smells Like” candle. So, what exactly makes this brand stand out from the rest of the luxury life and beauty brands?

In 2008, Gwyneth Paltrow founded her brand Goop — a play on her initials with two O’s in the middle — as a weekly newsletter with her favorite health, beauty, and lifestyle stories and tips. Since then, the brand has grown to be more than just a newsletter, introducing products ranging from clothes, to beauty products, to home decor — all under the Goop name. On the Goop website, the brand describes itself as “operating from a place of curiosity and non-judgement and we start hard conversations, crack open taboos, and look for connection and resonance everywhere we can find it.” 

Essentially, Goop focuses on testing the limits on what people are afraid to try and use in their daily routines for the bettering of their own health; however, Goop’s products and advice are far from affordable or in reach to the average consumer. For example, Goop’s Perfecting Eye Cream will set you back $90 for 0.5oz, and some of their beauty advice columns call for expensive products and copious amounts of free time in order to use them. The price tag and extravagance have led many of Goop’s critics to denounce it as excessive, unnecessary and only for the elite. 

Not everything within the Goop brand can be considered beneficial to your health or beauty routine. Instead, what the brand does effectively is idealize the healthiest, most beautiful version of a woman’s life and sell that image. Not everyone in the world can afford a bathroom cabinet full of luxury beauty products sourced from the Dead Sea and Japanese cherry blossoms, nor can everyone afford to spend hours of their day meditating and cooking complex vegan meals.

The importance of a brand like Goop is that many women are looking for a concept to model their life after and such a rose-colored, expensive lifestyle can be quite toxic and unrealistic. This isn’t to say that what Gwyneth Paltrow has created is a fallacy of any kind — there is clear passion, purpose and mission behind Goop — but it must all be considered critically and responsibly.

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In the Netflix show, “The Goop Lab,” Gwyneth Paltrow and her team explore various medical and psychological methodologies such as therapeutic psychedelics, energy healing and even a deep exploration into female pleasure. Almost all of these treatments are often considered highly taboo and seem societally forbidden to explore, but Gwyneth and her team take on the burden of trying to make sense of the unknown. When the show was first announced, many medical skeptics warned of the show’s promotion of “dangerous pseudoscience” which could be “undeniably awful for society.”

However, there is an argument to be made against the criticism of the show and its purpose. As Elisa Albert of the New York Times writes:

“If we are interested in having agency over our bodies, if we are open to experiencing heightened states of awareness and emotion, if we are amazed by and eager to learn more about the possibilities of touch and intention and energy…openness to intuitive measures that might help us avoid or ameliorate chronic despair and disease does not make us flat-earthers.”

Although Goop’s experiments may seem crazy to some, the limits of what our bodies and emotions endure is something that has been tested for centuries. Even though Gwyneth’s luxury celebrity complex is what allows her to explore and test new things, the curiosity, experimentation and intrigue is not inherently against medical practice or science. These explorations will continue to push the unknown boundaries, but always should be taken with a grain of salt.

Watch Netflix’s The Goop Lab trailer below, and tweet us with your thoughts @VALLEYmag!


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