The XX Factor

The Goop-iest Goop That Ever Gooped: Skincare Products Nurtured with Chants and Music

Gwyneth Paltrow arrives for the LACMA 2015 Art+Film Gala in Los Angeles on Nov. 7, 2015.

Photo by MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

When an item in Goop begins “At first it sounds beyond out-there,” you know it’s going to be good. Gwyneth Paltrow’s shockingly successful lifestyle brand has previously done straight-faced reporting on whether underwire bras cause cancer and has recommended steam-cleaning one’s uterus and making your own “spirit truffles” to boost “extrasensory perception.” “Out there” in the Goop universe means it would take Neil deGrasse Tyson to calculate the distance from Planet Earth.

Sure enough, the piece in Thursday’s Goop newsletter that opened in this “beyond out-there” key did not disappoint. Titled “The New Secret Beauty Formula: Intention,” it reports on a new trend in the luxury beauty industry: Infusing beauty products with “energy” from music, chants, and blessings.

If three is a trend, this is a bona fide trend story. The anonymous Goop writer—let’s go ahead and assume it was Paltrow herself, because why not?—finds a trio of companies that partake in the practice. At Ila, “healing chants” are bestowed on salts and scrubs. De Mamiel is a line of organic oils and other skincare products that is “treated to extensive prayer, meditation, and music before ever appearing on shelves.” Why settle for drugstore oils that no one has ever even prayed for once?

Here’s how de Mamiel’s founder describes her business:

“It’s about doing anything to increase the energy of the products,” she says. “We put crystals around the oils. As we macerate the herbs, we play music. As we add the base oils, we use more music, crystals, and meditation. Then when we add the flower essences, they sit out with music, too.” She estimates the whole process takes about six to eight weeks. She blends the oils the way a perfumer blends notes: “In the blending room we say blessings of love and grace and gratitude; I add the oils in a certain order, and I chant as I blend them. I like to burn frankincense as I do it, to clear the room—it’s sacred, energizing, and such a pure smell.” Each product has its own chant. Once the blend is ready I meditate. Usually three words of intention come up for me in that meditation, and I like to put those on the label. Then it macerates for two months.”

Meanwhile, at the Australian company Sodashi,

employees meditate with the company’s meticulously crafted skincare as a group together every afternoon. “We want to ensure that the energy going into making the product is the best it can be,” says founder Megan Larsen. They also play an Ayurvedic rain melody in the laboratory to cleanse the space where the luxe, highly active skin treatments are made.

It’s time to shut down Goop, because it can never get Goop-ier. This article has it all: an admiring reference to a pseudo-scientific guru (in this case Masaru Emoto, who promoted the notion that human thoughts could affect the molecular structure of water); a vaguely girl-power quote that upon examination seems downright medieval (Ila’s founder tells Goop that the skin is an emotional organ, and one that “holds particular vitality for women”); an insistence that no, really, haha, I know it sounds a little hippie-dippy, but this stuff really works (“Your skin—and spirit—picks up on the care invested in it and, ever so subtly, responds”); nine uses of a version of the word energy in a 1,000-word piece, plus four “love”s, three “cleanse”/”cleansing”s, and a “harmony.” 

Of course, embedded throughout are links to help you buy all this goop on Goop itself. A wee 1.7-oz. jar of Sodashi “enzyme face polish” will run you $121, while 0.34 oz. of de Mamiel’s “altitude oil” is a mere $44. But take heart: the snake oil is free, and it’s glorious.