“FOOD IS REGULATED; DRUGS ARE REGULATED; MEDICAL DEVICES ARE REGULATED; BUT WHEN IT COMES TO BEAUTY, NOBODY KNOWS THE THINGS WE ARE INHALING AND SPRAYING ONTO OUR BODIES,” SAYS JEAN GODFREY-JUNE, BEAUTY DIRECTOR AT GOOP in the airy kitchen of her home perched above the Hudson River, only short drive from bustling Manhattan. Godfrey-June, casually barefoot clad in enviably-worn jeans and her GOOP U oversized sweatshirt (very on brand, we might add), is making us an unbelievably fragrant donabe rice bowl in her covetable Japanese clay pot while whipping up avocado toast and poached eggs for herself and boyfriend. “In the beginning, I wrote about every clean beauty person that there was,” says the veteran magazine editor. “I always found them really interesting but it was such a challenge because the the tech wasn’t there yet. Now, they’ve integrated a lot of technology from the conventional beauty industry, but made it clean. We actually turn a lot of clean brands away just because there are so many.” Below, the clean beauty maven opened up her extensive beauty cabinet, er, closet, where she revealed the best non-toxic products, the harmful ones you need to toss right this minute and what G.P. has to say about fragrance.
Photography by Sasha Israel
You have tested every clean product out there. What are your ultimate favorites?
GOOP’s facial oil and the night cream are my favorites. For a nighttime cleanser, I love Tata Harper Cleansing Oil. For a serum, I love Vintner’s Daughter Botanical Serum, I put it on at night instead of like Retin-A. It’s super anti-aging and it’s really good for both acne and aging. It’s fantastic. For body, I love Goe Oil.
What is one tip you’ve learned when comes to taking care of your skin?
I do not believe in cleansing in the morning. Men have better skin because they have thicker skin so it lasts longer—but I also think it’s because they’re not always washing, washing, washing. That’s very drying.
So the key is not over-drying your skin?
If you watch any amazing makeup artist, the first thing they do is, no matter how oily the person’s skin is, they’re putting moisturizer on it to make it full and pretty.
Take us through your morning skincare routine.
I do Vitamin C powder from True Botanicals. I wait a few minutes so the Vitamin C does all of its work. Then I put on Goop face oil and then I put on Ursa Major sunscreen. Every other day, in the shower, I use my Clarisonic mini with the Tata Harper Oil. I asked the founder of Clarisonic if it’s ok to use it with oil and he said it’s the best because it literally makes the moisture go in.
What are some of the worst offending toxic beauty products out there?
Chemical-based sunscreen has some of the most irritating ingredients. Irritation and inflammation are what ages your skin. Sunscreen has chemicals that you have to reapply every two hours because they degrade in sunlight, so by the time you’re actually out in the sun it’s not working. Mineral-based sunscreen, on the other hand, is similar to baby bottom cream. It’s soothing for your skin. It’s the opposite because it not only protects you from sun damage, but soothes too. I use Ursa Major because it’s so light and in my makeup bag, I carry this one from Naturopathica. It’s a little tube and it smells like lavender.
Are there other products we should be swapping to clean asap?
A friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer, and one of the first things they told her (this was at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) was, “Stop using deodorant today.” Schmidt’s is the best clean deodorant. The stuff works. My boyfriend is a musician and he gets drenched in sweat, he uses it. Even my 15-year old son uses it—which is something because teenagers will not go for anything healthy if it doesn’t work.
What’s your favorite form of self-care?
I always get a massage. The best massage in New York is at the Shibui Spa at the Greenwich Hotel. There’s this amazing, tiny, older woman there who’s got to be the strongest person on earth. I’m also a big bath taker. I love bath oils. I’m really into this new brand called Balm Yard. I use that oil as perfume. It’s so pretty and sexy. There’s this other new one by Olverum. It smells like so fresh, which you don’t expect from a clean oil. You kind of expected patchouli and there’s one from Kypris that’s amazing. Tammy Fender makes this lavender one that’s just like, if you want to sleep, it’s amazing.
What was your last beauty product to go from conventional to clean?
The last to go was self-tanner. I am a big self-tanner person and finding a clean one changed my life. Organic Pharmacy makes the best one. It’s light and easy to blend.
What are your favorite clean makeup products?
Beauty Counter Dew Skin #2. If I wear it, people are like, “Your skin looks amazing!” There are many different shades but almost everyone is #2. Juice mascara. I started realizing that when I wanted to look good on an important day, I always chose Juice. The first liquid liner that’s clean and amazing is W3LL people eyeliner. I like to put it just right next to my lash line. It makes it so you use less mascara. Olio E Osso‘s bright pink color called French Melon for lips and cheeks. Everybody looks good in it.
What about hair color, is there a natural alternative?
I did a story for GOOP about hair color and it’s just the worst thing. Bleach has its own issues in ammonia, but it’s not as bad as PPD which is the main ingredient in hair dye. There are two more natural hair color companies I recently tried. The first, it’s called Hair Print and the other is Madison Reed.
What ingredient can liven up any dish?
This yuzu hot sauce from Trader Joe’s makes anything taste better, I swear.
You mentioned sunscreen as one of the things that people should get rid of ASAP if it’s not clean. What are two other things in their beauty cabinet that people should?
The problem with fragrances is that you can’t know what’s in them because there’s a law governing the word “fragrance” as an ingredient. It was created a long time ago to protect perfumers’ formulas so that they couldn’t copy their competitors.
What’s your favorite clean scent right now?
I love our new Eau de Parfum – Edition 2, which is based on shiso for spring.
So we should look out for the word “fragrance” in beauty products?
Yes. If you’re a consumer and you don’t want parabens or phthalates, if you see the word fragrance as an ingredient, there could be 100 ingredients stuffed inside that one thing. Gwyneth put it really well, she said, “I loved perfume. I always used it. Then I realized I was spraying endocrine disruptors all over my skin and inhaling it. Why would you do that?”
So true. What about anti-aging. Are there clean alternatives to botox?
That’s like saying, “How I could I fix my broken leg?” That’s medical intervention. If you take care of your skin, you’ll have beautiful skin. If you want no wrinkles on your face, get botox.
Donabe Ginger Rice With Beef and Vegetables
(Originally featured on GOOP.com)
1 ½ cups short grain sushi rice
1 ½ cups water
1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon olive oil
¾ pound ground beef (omit if making vegan)
Salt and pepper to taste
½ yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon of grated ginger
3 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced on the bias (about 1 ½ cups)
1 ½ cups snap peas, cut into ⅓-inch slices on the bias
1 cup thinly sliced scallions
Smoked soy sauce and hot sauce, to finish
1. Place the rice in a fine mesh sieve and rinse thoroughly in cold water. Add rinsed rice to the donabe rice cooker along with the 1 ½ cups water. Let soak for 20 minutes.
2. While the rice is soaking, heat a large sauté pan or dutch oven over medium high heat and add a teaspoon of olive oil. Season the ground beef with a generous amount of salt and pepper and add to the pan with oil. Use a wooden spoon to break up the meat so it begins to brown all over. Add chopped onions, garlic, thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, and grated ginger, and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.*
3. Add the beef and vegetable mixture to the donabe with rice and cover with both lids, making sure that the holes of the first lid are perpendicular to the hole in the top lid. Place the donabe over medium heat and cook until you see a steady stream of steam coming out of the hole in the top lid. Once you see the steam and can begin to smell the food, cook for another 5 minutes (this should take 15-20 minutes total).
4. Remove from the heat and let rest 20 minutes. While the donabe rests, heat another sauté pan over medium heat and add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the carrots and cook for 3 minutes, until just starting to soften. Add snap peas and diced scallions and sauté another 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. When the rice mixture has rested for 20 minutes, remove the lid and mix in sautéed carrots, snap peas, and scallions.
6. Serve with smoked soy sauce and hot sauce of choice.
*omit if making vegan