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Gwyneth Paltrow’s latest gig: Developing organic makeup for Juice Beauty

From sweetheart of the big screen, Gwyneth Paltrow has grown into a force on the retail scene.

Goop, the weekly email newsletter she started in 2008 to share her points of view on fashion, food, travel and health, has evolved into a website where shoppers can buy a Stella McCartney shift dress ($1,960), Pierre Hardy skate sneakers ($475) and more. Paltrow has experimented with pop-up stores in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago and collaborates with designers on goop exclusives.

Paltrow’s most recent pairing goes a step farther: She has signed on as creative director, makeup, for California-based Juice Beauty, which prides itself on clinically validated organic products, centering thus far on skin care. Priced from around $15 to $65, Juice is sold at Ulta stores, as well as juicebeauty.com.

Paltrow wasn’t familiar with Juice until one of goop’s advisory board members introduced her to it.

“I was sent the skin-care products and I was in heaven,” Paltrow said. “The Stem Cellular Moisturizer ($65) is a product that I use every day. It feels very luxurious and the fact that it’s organic, if you see my website, you know that I think that nontoxic products are a very important part of where we’re going in the culture and for a sustainable planet.”

Next, Paltrow met Juice founder Karen Behnke. Their acquaintance led to a partnership in which Paltrow is more than the face of an ad campaign. The two invested in each other’s businesses, and Paltrow is presiding over Juice’s first major foray into color cosmetics, expanding from roughly 8 SKUs to around 80, expected to launch before the December holidays. Paltrow is designing the packaging and testing the products.

“I’m really good with the chemistry part – that’s where I come in,” Paltrow said, joking.

Then, in seriousness: “I’m in a profession where a lot of makeup is put onto my skin,” she said from her hotel suite in Chicago, where she was multitasking at the recent goop pop-up and the national Ulta conference. “The reason that I have never used organic makeup, or infrequently, is I haven’t found anything that’s high performance enough to withstand the red carpet or a movie set or a cover shoot.”

Creating organic color cosmetics is even more challenging than creating organic skin-care products, Behnke said. Formulating mascara that stays put without coal tar or lipstick without lead isn’t cheap or easy.

Paltrow applauds Behnke’s determination to do so, with the help of two in-house chemists.

“I have a daughter who’s turning 11,” Paltrow said, “and she’s incredibly interested in makeup. She watches YouTube tutorials, and her godmother came over to take her shopping for her birthday and she wanted to go to Sephora and buy makeup, and obviously I let her get what she wants at this stage because there isn’t an alternative. Luckily at this age she isn’t wearing makeup every single day; we’re talking about something every once in a while for fun at home. She bought this bright red lipstick and I thought, that’s full of lead, but what can I do?”

Soon she will be able to substitute it with Juice’s lipsticks.

“I’ve never seen color achieved like this in an organic line; it’s such concentrated fruit pigments. And if I gave you this bright-red lipstick to try, you honestly could not tell the difference between it and the most high-end luxury brand,” Paltrow said.

Years in development, Juice’s mascara is another triumph for Behnke.

“Having tried every single natural and organic mascara in the world, this works so well,” Paltrow said. “Because it doesn’t have a bunch of engine oil or God knows what, you have to be sort of precise with it and you get such a great outcome. It doesn’t drop; it stays all day.”

Paltrow wears it daily and will add Juice makeup on goop when it launches, priced from around $25 to $40, with a shelf life of approximately two years. All of Juice’s products are at least 70 percent organic ingredients, meeting California’s strictest standards for organic labeling.

Over the past decade, people have become more aware of what they’re putting in their body, and the food industry has responded with healthier options. (Even Kraft macaroni and cheese is eliminating artificial dyes next year).

Now, Paltrow and Behnke think people are becoming more aware of what they put on their body. Clinical research shows skin absorbs about 64 percent of what’s put on it, Behnke said.

“The benefit of the Internet is, we’re all getting really, really smart as consumers,” Paltrow said, “and there’s a huge hole in the market for this.”