Gwyneth would be out in five minutes. "She's not ready yet," one of her people whispered to another one of her people. "Oh, and we need SmartWater."
I was sitting in the corner of the Ulta store where our interview would take place, and when I was offered one of the extra bottles, I accepted without hesitation. If SmartWater was Gwyneth's drink of choice, then today it would be mine too.
It hadn'tВ quite hit me yet, but todayВ I would be meeting with Gwyneth Paltrow in honor of her Phyto-Pigments makeup line for Juice Beauty, which launched atВ JuiceBeauty.comВ andВ Ulta.comВ earlier this year. I've always putВ Gwyneth in a premium category of celebrity; it's hard for me to imagine her living on planet Earth with the rest of us. ButВ Juice's founder, Karen Behnke, guaranteed she isВ very much a real human. In fact, sheВ was appointed as the brand's creative director of makeup for her authenticity. "She walks the walk and talks the talk," as Behnke put it. Apparently, she even drove herself to the interview.
As I waited for the star to appear, I perused the various lipsticks, eyeliners, and foundationsВ fromВ the collection.В "Gwyn's very intoВ namingВ the products," an Ulta representative offered. "All the liquid lipsticks are named after her friends: Reese, Drew, Cameron." To calm my nerves, I swatchedВ CameronВ ($24) on the back of my hand (sheВ was delightfully pigmented for a plant-basedВ lippie) and sipped my $6 water.
Indeed, no more than five minutes later, Paltrow materialized from behind a partition, impossibly tall, blond, and swathed in polka-dotted fabric.
"Nice to meet you," she said with an ear-to-ear smile, and already I was under her spell. The next seven minutes were a blur. I don't remember a single thing that was said. Luckily, my recorder was able to capture the following-what I personally consider to beВ theВ Gwyneth Paltrow-iestВ interview ever.В
To read the most magical Gwyneth Paltrow beauty lessonsВ you'll ever find on the internet, just keep scrolling.George Pimentel/Getty
Lesson #1: When in doubt, add vitamin C.
If the '90s were the decade Paltrow earnedВ her reputation as one of the world's most celebrated entertainers, the aughts have gainedВ her equal respect in the wellnessВ industry. AfterВ launching her lauded lifestyle siteВ GoopВ in 2008 and publishing a number of food booksВ since,В Paltrow has constructedВ one of the mostВ unmistakable identitiesВ in the beauty community-one which can be described asВ devoutly, almost unattainably,В "clean."
Of course,В it's one thing to have a reputation; it's another thing to deliver the goods. Out of the gate, I aimed to put Paltrow's authority as a natural beauty guru to the test.
"Ready for a wellness challenge?" I said.В "If you woke up one day feeling bloated and icky yes, I said the word "icky" to Gwyneth Paltrow and you wanted to make a juice to feel better, what ingredients would you put in it?"
One of my co-workers back at Byrdie HQ doubted Gwyneth would even entertain such a question. But without skipping a beat, she answered. "Something with high vitamin C," she said with poise, like she'd been expecting the question all along. "And maybe something diuretic, like a citrus. Like a grapefruit-basedВ smoothie."
"That's genius," I told her. "I'm going to take that one home."Goop
Lesson #2: Eating clean doesn't have to be expensive.
Another elementВ of Paltrow's beauty identity is shameless opulence. IfВ I were a celebrity of her stature, I can't say I'd do it any differently, but Paltrow famouslyВ spares no expense in her pursuit ofВ top-quality skincareВ and nutrition. AВ report from E! News used her diet book,В It's All Easy,В toВ break down the cost of aВ week's worth of Gwyn-approvedВ meals-the final tally was over $470.
ToВ see if PaltrowВ could handle my meager budget, I posed her another challenge: If she had only $20 to spend on dinner for the family, what ingredients would she buy?
"Mexican food," she said, breezily. "It's inexpensive; it's clean.В You get corn tortillas; it'sВ dairy-free. You get a good protein, some cilantro, onion, chili, and you're kind of done. A can of beans."
PaltrowВ recommended buying theВ ingredients fromВ a natural food store likeВ ErewhonВ in Los Angeles. "Somewhere you can get good-quality organic produce," she said, before adding, "but you know, if you buy an avocado, it doesn't have to be organic.В The skin is so thick, they say it isn't necessary."В
Evidently even Gwyneth makes exceptions.Juice Beauty
Lesson #3:В Treating blemishes at home is easier than you think.
There isn't the faintest memory of a blemish on Paltrow's skin, so I figured she had to have aВ secret at-home remedy. But surprisingly, her favorite breakout treatmentВ is probably sitting in your bathroom right now.В
"I always just use the same pimple thing from the facialist in New York I've had forever-that chalkyВ Mario Badescu," sheВ said.В "I guess you could put toothpaste if it's an emergency, but then they say that it can,В like, eat through your skin and not to do it. Yeah, Mario Badescu is the best one."
Lesson #4: If you aren't alreadyВ dermarolling, it's time to start.
Paltrow is well-knownВ for undergoing outlandishВ beauty treatments, like bee sting therapy and "vaginal steaming." So I was curious to hear what she considers her all-time strangest beauty experience. After taking a long pause to think, Paltrow finally revealed that theВ most unusual beauty treatment she's ever gottenВ isn't really so strange at all.
"One time I had a facial in France where they pricked your skin with little needles and put vitamins in it," she said. "It was like a roller with a ton of teeny needles in it."
"AВ dermaroller!" I exclaimed, giddy to be speaking Gwyneth's language.
"Yes, it was amazing," she said. "It was the only time I've ever done it; it was great. It struck me as very unorthodox at the time."
(Dermarolling is not onlyВ Gwyneth-approved,В but beloved by the ByrdieВ team,В as well.В Click here to learnВ allВ about how to do it at home.)Juice Beauty
Lesson #5:В Hydration should be your #1 priority.
Beauty challenges are all well and good, but as an admitted product junkie, allВ I really wanted to knowВ was what Gwyneth usesВ on her skin.
She told me that staying moisturized is alwaysВ her main goal. "I have the GoopВ organic face oilВ ($110) at all times," she said. "That is my 100%. I'll put some in my hair, on my legs if they're dry, my face-it's the most genius."
Lip balm and coconut oil areВ two moreВ of her must-haves. "I'm a real lip balm person, so I always have a million different lip balms," she said. "I really like theВ Grown Alchemist one. I like theВ Juice Beauty oneвЂ¦ andВ paw-paw ointmentвЂ¦ В And I loveВ coconut oil,В too. I slather my life in coconut oil."
Lesson #6:В Sometimes you have to take your skin into your own hands.
Ever since creating herВ skincare rangeВ for Goop, Paltrow's nighttime routine has undergone a considerable transformation. The line'sВ luminous melting cleanserВ ($90),В instant facialВ ($125), andВ night creamВ ($140) have become herВ go-tos. "I'm literally obsessed with the line," she said.В "I was able to make my dream products.В It's heaven; it totally changed my skin. And I'm not just saying that because I made it."
"If you made it, then it certainly should," I said without thinking.
"Exactly," she responded with a smile.
Lesson #7:В The secret to beauty (and life itself) is sleep, sleep, sleep.
With about a minute left with Paltrow, I asked her the following: "OnВ a typical day in your life, what is the one thing that you look forward to the most and the one thing that you look forward to the least?"
This would be a hard question for me. But Paltrow knew her answer immediately: "On a typical day in my life," she said, "I most look forward to going to bed, and I least look forward to waking up."
First, let's take a moment to appreciate how morbid this sentence is. Under different circumstances, I might have interpreted itВ as a cry for help. But, as someone who's obsessed with sleeping, I knew what Paltrow meant.
"You're a sleepaholic!" I said with a laugh.В
Paltrow truly is addicted toВ sleep. She makes a whole ceremony out of it. As she told me about herВ routine, her eyes glimmered, like a girl in love.
"I take a bath every single night before I go to bed," she told me. "It's my ritual to get grounded and get the energy of the day off. I have all different kinds of salts, and oils, and scrubs. I'm a real bath girl." Paltrow'sВ favorite bath products include salts and scrubsВ from English brandВ Ila, as well as regularВ Epsom saltВ from the grocery store. Though her all-time favoriteВ is House of Intuition'sВ violet water. "I just feel like it clears bad energy," sheВ told me.
I wasn't ready to leave Gwyneth's presence. After all, who knewВ when she would return to Earth next? ButВ alas, ourВ seven glorious minutes were over. I thanked Gwyneth dearlyВ and floated out of the Ulta store, counting down the seconds until I was out of earshot, so IВ could hit the play button on my recorder and live the whole thing over again.
The interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Want more celebrity exclusives?В Don't miss that one time we went on a beauty safari with Shay Mitchell.