SHOT CALLER

Gwyneth Paltrow Is "Very Much a Libra," Approaching 50, and Injecting Toxin in Her Face

The Oscar winner and founder of Goop is the new, porcelain face of the injectable Xeomin.
Gwyneth Paltrow looking very smooth on a blue background wearing a white shirt.

Oscar winner, wellness scion, and cookbook author Gwyneth Paltrow has a lot going through her head — including, as of recently, a miniscule amount of Xeomin-brand incobotulinum toxin A, injected between the eyebrows to sedate forehead muscles into smooth, silky, wrinkle-free slumber.

This morning, in celebration of Paltrow's oven-fresh partnership with Merz Aesthetic, Allure writer Brennan Kilbane was prematurely granted his dying wish: a 15-minute interview with Gwyneth Paltrow her-actual-self on the subject of cosmetic injectables.

Allure: This is the first time you've received a wrinkle-smoothing injection, correct?

Gwyneth Paltrow: No. I tried a different brand a long time ago…. I was turning 40, and I had a total panic attack. I went to this doctor, and it was crazy. [After that] I stayed away, and stayed away. Then three years ago, the frown lines were getting deep. And I'm a natural person; I'm not into heavy stuff. I believe in taking care of your body from the inside out. 

I should say, I was open to a little help. I tried Xeomin, which was explained to me as a purified version [of botulinum toxin], and it was such a nice, natural result, and it made me look like I had a nice, long, good sleep.  [Editor's note: All injectable neurotoxins — Xeomin, Botox, Dysport, and Jeuveau — are purified versions of botulinum toxin type A.] And it wasn't overdone. I'm not an overdone type of person. I've always believed in sharing tips with women, and I think this is great. It's a good, clean formula. It's worked really well for me.

Allure: Can you tell me about your injection experience in as vivid detail as you can muster?

GP: One of my really close friends happens to be a plastic surgeon. His name is Julius Few, and I met him years and years ago through my best friend from high school — they live in the same building in Chicago. I started a conversation with him: "What are people doing that don't want to have major surgery? How are women aging?" More for Goop, I'm always asking these questions. He told me about Xeomin, and I said, "OK, I'll try it." And it was the easiest thing. One teeny, little thing [Paltrow points between her eyebrows], and that was it. It took 90 seconds. It was nothing.

Advertisement

Allure: One thing I am confused about is the toxin portion of these injections, versus the toxins of wellness parlance. Can you explain the distinction a bit? [Another editor's note: Botulinum toxin is derived from the bacteria that causes botulism. According to an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, a single gram of botulinum toxin in crystalline form, "evenly dispersed and inhaled, would kill more than 1 million people."]

GP: I'm not a scientist, but in this case, I believe the toxin is the chemical that helps make the muscle rest. With Xeomin, they've purified the formula — in other anti-wrinkle injections, there are a lot of other proteins in the formula that this doesn't have. You'd better ask a scientist exactly about the distinction. 

[Sorry, one last editor's note: We asked a scientist. According to Kavita Mariwalla, a board-certified dermatologist in West Islip, New York, "When people talk about ‘'oxins' in terms of wellness jargon, they are talking about by-products of normal metabolism in the body. These 'toxins' will not poison you, per se, because your liver filters them out of your body. Your body is literally built to deal with them. When you inject botulinum toxin, you are now introducing a toxin made by another organism, which your liver cannot filter out. At high levels, this type of toxin will poison you. Injectable neurotoxins, however, are safe because they are highly purified and injected in truly minute quantities. For example, less than one gram of purified botulinum toxin type A is enough to make the world's supply of Botox for an entire year. Xeomin is sometimes considered the 'naked toxin' because it doesn't contain the binding proteins that the other brands do. Those proteins aren't harmful, but theoretically they could be involved in cases of so-called 'Botox resistance.'"]

Allure: Has this inspired you to fall deeper into the aesthetic treatment crevasse?

GP: Oh, my God, not yet. I really do think, as we age, we all want to do it as gracefully and easily as possible. I always want to look myself, and I do approach it with amazing products and nutrition and sleep. That's gonna be the cornerstone. 

Advertisement

But I do have to say, having the Xeomin is a nice, quick way to look so refreshed. I don't know that I would go full-bore into other stuff. But I’m not opposed. People have asked me, "Would you do this? Would you do that?" I'm open to anything. I need to gauge what’s right for me at every phase in my life. Women should not judge other women, and we should be supportive of the choices we make.

Allure: After the Xeomin, do you feel at all inhibited in terms of expression?

GP: Not at all. I feel completely expressive and normal.

Allure: Have your thoughts on aging changed dramatically in the past few decades?

GP: It’s so funny — I was having this conversation the other day with a friend of mine. When you're in your 20s, you think, "Oh, she's 50." Like it's a total other planet. And now that I'm getting near to that age, I'm 47, almost 48, I still identify with the way I perceived that 50-year-old when I was 25, but it doesn't feel the way I thought it would feel. I feel the same, if not better, than when I was 25 and chain-smoking — you know what I mean? 

Now I feel so strong and vital. I've come to appreciate the process of aging. I'm healthy, knock on wood, and I've got people in my life dealing with various things, and what I've come to understand is that what you put into your health you get out of it. If you feel you want to commit to good nutrition or exercise, those cornerstones of wellness, you will feel better and you will look better. If you're smoking and drinking a ton of alcohol, in the morning you're going to see it in your face. There are a lot of different environmental [factors] and choices you make that will affect how you age physically, but also really how you feel as you go through it.

Allure: Has greater public health awareness in 2020 changed or accelerated how you think about health?

GP: At Goop, we've always been at the forefront of this. We've been talking about health and wellness for 12 years, when it was still fringe. We have autonomy over our health, and there are all of these modalities you can take part in to change how you feel. I feel happy that the world is catching up to the idea that they can decide how they want to feel.

Advertisement

Allure: How have you been spending the past few months?

GP: In hard-quar. I was in Los Angeles until July, but we have a house on Long Island, which we're so lucky to have, where we've been coming [for] my kids' whole childhoods, and we've been here July, August, September. Maybe we’ll stay for October, I don't know. It's been nice to be on the East Coast, picking vegetables and jumping in the ocean and working from home and watching them surf. It's been a really nice summer. It's been a reprieve. 

We were in Los Angeles when the lockdown happened, and everybody in the whole world experienced this collective shock, and we had to be reactive and figure out what our lives look like in quarantine. We're all globally trying to recover as we brace for what might be another wave of this thing. It's been nice to get steeped in the gratitude of having the people we love close to us. Nothing else matters.

Allure: Now that you're approaching 50 years, have you had any surprising or intrusive thoughts?

GP: Um…I guess, it starts to dawn on you that you're probably halfway through your life, if you're lucky, in a way you don't think about when you're in your 20s. And you really start to get a sense for how precious time is. When I was 38, I started to freak out. I’m not exactly sure why. I don't feel that way this time. It sounds like a big number, 50, but I'm comfortable with who I am and the choices I've made. I'm in a pretty good place. The other part is that my knees are not what they once were.

Allure: When is your birthday?

GP: September 27.

Allure: Is that Virgo?

GP: Libra.

Allure: Do you feel like a Libra?

GP: Very much so. All about balance, maintaining it and going imbalanced. Very about justice, the scales of justice. And I can't make a decision.

Allure: Can I ask what your moon and rising signs are?

GP: I don’t know! Somebody asked me this recently. I had my chart done a few years ago, and I don't know where I put it. I'm sure there's an app I can find that out on.

Advertisement

Allure: There are many apps!

GP: What do you use?

Allure: I think Co-Star is pretty easy.

GP: What about the Pattern?

Allure: I think all of them are pretty good!

GP: Alright.

Allure: Books you've read lately?

GP: I'm in the middle of The Vanishing Half. It's a book about twins. At Goop we always take an annual summer holiday, so I started it then, but this happens to me every year — I get through a chunk of a book, and then I finish it over Christmas vacation.

Publicist: You have one minute left.

Allure: OK, one more question: What is the meaning of beauty?

GP: I think the meaning of beauty is…you are never more enthralled than by a woman who feels beautiful. You want to go sit next to her, you want to go hear her life story. Even if she's not classically beautiful, there's something so appealing and magnetic about that. Beauty is about feeling beautiful and doing the things that make you feel internally beautiful. 

Obviously, there's also the external aspect of that. I always think of women who are older than I am — my mother had this great friend who is no longer with us, [and] she exuded beauty, and you wanted to be next to her. Diane von Furstenberg, she has this aura — you want to sit with her and ask her questions. You can tell she loves herself, and she feels beautiful. That's what I sort of strive for.

This interview is more or less verbatim.

All products featured on Allure are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.


More Talking Beauty:


Now watch a Broadway performer's entire routine:

Follow Allure on Instagram and Twitter, or subscribe to our newsletter for daily beauty stories delivered right to your inbox.