From a sweat box to supplements, cactus body brushing and an emotional detox, body+soul’s beauty editor Kelsey Ferencak is converted.
Whether you like her or not, Gwyneth Paltrow has cemented her role as the Queen of the wellness industry, her commitment to the cause and willingness to try literally everything is pretty damn admirable.
Intrigued by her stamina, discipline and what’s really behind the 47-year-old’s glow (not to mention her insane physique) I decided to live like GP for a week. I followed her beauty and wellness routine to see if I could handle the heat – and if it lived up to the hype.
I kick off day one with a cocktail of GP-approved supplements – which was easy for me because they’re already part of my routine. She told Shape“I definitely take supplements. The way the modern food system is, we’re always depleted of nutrients, so I take a good multivitamin, and a fish oil, and then I have other herbs for various things.” Personally, I take fish oil, zinc, magnesium, a probiotic and some Chinese herbs.
After work I unwind like Gwyneth – by dry body brushing and taking a bath. Dry body brushing is exactly what it sounds like. You take an exfoliating body brush like The Body Shop Cactus Long Handle Brush ($19, at The Body Shop) and on dry skin ‘brush’ your body in long, slow strokes. “It’s an amazing way to exfoliate your body. You take the dry brush and, starting at your feet and working up, sweep it all over your body in light, firm strokes, always brushing toward your heart. It’s fantastic for circulation and it helps smooth cellulite. I do it every night before I get in the bath,” she says.
My skin definitely feels invigorated (and a little red-raw). Afterwards I pour about half a bag of Epsom salt into the bath and sit in it for twenty minutes. “At night I always take a hot bath at the end of the day. I pour in essential oils and Epsom salts, which soothe muscle inflammation and are good for detoxifying,” she says. Apparently it’s a ‘low-key’ part of her beauty regime and purifies her skin by getting all the energy of the day off. I agree.
Day two and I slept like a baby (without the whole waking up in the middle of the night crying part). Those Epsom salts definitely worked on soothing any muscular aches and pains and lulled me into deep relaxation.
I start the day with a cold shower, popular amongst bio-hackers it’s said to improve blood circulation (which GP is a huge fan of), boosts your immune system, reduces stress and elevates your energy levels. I stand in the freezing stream of water for as long as I can and surprisingly feel ready to face the day.
GP frequently goes on about the benefits of acupuncture, she’s been seeing her New York-based acupuncturist Paul Kempisty for years and swears by the ancient modality. So, doing what GP does I booked myself in to my local clinic The Dao Health for a healing and restorative treatment – which I think is ideal for getting over the mid-week hump.
Post-session I feel like a very calm, refreshed version of myself. It’s weirdly grounding. Gwyneth likes to include essential oils during and post-treatment so I get home and run another bath and add some lavender and tea tree oil to the running water. She calls it an “emotional detox” and once again, I tend to agree.
Gwyneth has pretty much tried every massage on the market, from energy-readjusting Iyashi massage – Goop’s words not mine, to lymphatic drainage and cupping she’s in the know when it comes to relaxing and detoxifying body treatments. I opt for a High Definition Bodywork Treatment ($285, at Venustus) a lymphatic massage with what I’m sure includes Goop-approved techniques.
It works to activate and stimulate the lymph nodes, moving and draining excessive water and toxins through vigorous massage, body contouring and dry body brushing. The results are pretty wild – you can actually see the difference in a reduction of puffiness and skin tone immediately. It’s the best I’ve felt in a while, both physically and mentally.
To prep for the weekend I use GP’s Goop by Juice Beauty Exfoliating Instant Facial Masque, which I bought from her store when I was in New York earlier this year, but unfortunately can’t buy in Australia (yet). “It’s my all-time favourite product,” she says. “It’s a powerful exfoliant that leaves my skin baby-soft and smooth. And just takes two minutes.”
It’s made from organic ingredients, clean, nontoxic and super active so you need to wash it off after a minute (or less if you’re sensitive). It tingles a little bit but my skin feels super smooth afterward. And I didn’t even need to leave the house.
Apparently even Gwyneth makes sure to get at least nine hours of sleep a night. So I choose to sleep in and don’t feel guilty about it at all. “It plays such a powerful role in determining your appetite and energy levels that I believe it should be your first priority — even before you think about your diet,” she says.
“And it goes without saying that poor sleep is terrible from a beauty perspective. Call it vanity, call it health, but I know there’s a huge correlation between how I feel and what I look like when I roll out of bed in the morning. Although there are beauty tricks that can make a difference, there’s no comparable substitute for good sleep in terms of how it can make you feel.”
I’m a tad hungover. So I Google her rough night tips. She says, “If you had a rough night, dunking your face in ice water is really good. And I love to take an infrared sauna; it’s really detoxifying. It’s a real gift to myself.” I do both. But suggest an infrared sauna – it’s less effort and if you’re like me and prefer the hot to cold it’s way more bearable.
I sit in a sweat box as it rises from around 50 to 60 degrees for 45 minutes and sweat all the toxins out before jumping in a cold shower. I’m backing GP on this one, it’s probably the greatest hangover hack I’ve tried in a long time. Plus, it’s also super beneficial for your skin and immunity.
If you can’t tell, I’m converted. Not only was her ‘routine’ way less intimidating than I thought it would be. It’s pretty accessible. Although it’s quite indulgent to get acupuncture, a massage and hit up the infrared sauna every week I can see the benefits and feel better for it. I’ll probably divvy them up and make them monthly treats but I’m definitely sold.