Gwyneth Paltrow’s skin carelessness

ICYMI: Gwyneth Paltrow, goddess of Goop, raised the eyebrows of dermatologists and estheticians everywhere this week when she shared her skincare secrets with Vogue. There’s a lot to unpack—like how she applied her routine over a full face of makeup—but today we’re talking about layering skincare, SPF, and why the pros of the skincare world are (rightly) freaking out. You may have seen these kinds of “get ready with me” videos before. This one takes us through Gwyneth’s skincare routine, from beginning to end. She brings up the importance of morning rituals: “I really find that creating a practice or ritual out of something makes it so that you’re investing in yourself fot that time every day.” Love that.

How to not exfoliate

Gwyneth is a self-proclaimed exfoliating junkie, and we get it. Exfoliating feels good and when it comes to seeing quick results it can works as a skincare cheat code. That’s because manual exfoliation, like a cream with scrubby bits, can give you that instant soft and smooth feeling. Chemical exfoliators and retinoids can similarly serve up baby soft skin or help clear out pore-clogging impurities for a clearer, brighter better looking skin.

But you can have too much of a good thing. You should only exfoliate roughly twice a week. NOT every morning. If you do you risk damaging your skin’s lipid barrier, which is what helps keep moisturize in and bacteria out. That can lead to dehydration (tightness, irritation) and even breakouts. So don’t be like Gwyneth. Keep your exfoliation gentle and weekly.

How to layer hydrators

If you’ve spent time thinking about or applying skincare products you may have found yourself wondering whether you’re applying your products correctly. And as Gwyneth’s skincare routine shows us even she, a proprietor of her very own skincare brand, can get it wrong.

You start with cleansing. Simple enough. From there you apply any hydrators from thinnest to thickest. This usually looks something like: toner → serum → eye treatment → moisturizer → facial oil → SPF. Why, you may ask? That’s because, in general, products like toners and many serums are water-based whereas moisturizers and certainly facial oils are formulated with occlusive ingredients like oils, which form a kind of protective layer on your skin. Once that occlusive layer is applied it doesn’t matter too much what goes on after because it’s just not going to penetrate your skin.

That’s why it’s important to read your ingredients labels and also pause to consider the texture of each of your products. Let’s say you’re Gwyneth and you’re showing your viewers how to apply a $185 facial oil. In a perfect world you’d put that after your eye treatments and after your moisturizer. Thanks.

How to use SPF

Up until now the brains of the skincare world were doing some head-shaking. But here’s where the Goopess in chief started an actual firestorm. She noted:

“I’m not a sort of head-to-toe slatherer of sunscreen but I like to put some on my nose and the area where the sun really hits.”

Gwyneth Paltrow

She the proceeded to apply a rolled oat-sized amount of SPF to the bridge of her nose and the very top of her cheekbones. Fin.

She then applied a layer of moisturizer over her SPF. ⁠

Here’s the thing. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States—it’s estimated that approximately 9,500 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with skin cancer every day. Current estimates are that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.1 Skin cancer can affect everyone and anyone—even people with darker skin tones.

But let’s say you’re truly not concerned with skin cancer. Maybe it doesn’t run in your family or you “don’t burn.” You should know that there are two kinds of UV rays and your skin doesn’t have to show signs of sun damage to be damaged. UVA rays can penetrate deep into our skin, destroying its firmness and elasticity. That’s the primary cause of signs of aging, and you’ll probably only see the most significant effects years down the line.

So SPF should be applied from hairline to neckline anytime you’re headed outside, or even if you sit near a window indoors. Still unsure? Just check out the sun damage on Gwyneth’s chest. That’s what sun damage looks like.

When to apply SPF

Just as you need a bit of thought when it comes to properly applying hydrators, you’ll want to think about when to apply your SPF. But there’s good news here; it’s actually very easy. It always goes as your last skincare step. So, you’ll want to avoid what Gwyneth did here too—never ever apply your moisturizer over your SPF. You’ll compromise the protective film you’ve just created, making it as though you never applied it in the first place.

Gwyneth’s skincare learnings

As Gwyneth’s skincare ritual shows us, skincare can be hard. That’s why we work hard to make it easy. We make sure that every custom skincare routine comes along with everything you need for great skin care, including the right cleanser, moisturizer and SPF for your individual needs. Plus, we send personalized instructions on how to make the most of your products.

To get started, head to kuraskin.com and start a Skin Profile.


1American Academy of Dermatology Association.

Katrina Moreno Lewis

Katrina is the Founder and CEO of Kura Skin