Gwyneth Paltrow Feels Most Herself Without Makeup: 'I Was Always a Little Bit of a Tomboy'

The star says she enjoys the feeling of "clean skin" and shares her secret for a natural dewy finish in PEOPLE's Beautiful issue, out now

While some might be intimidated by the idea of posing barefaced, Gwyneth Paltrow says she actually prefers the no-makeup look because, at heart, she’s always been a “little bit of a tomboy.”

“I’ve never been a makeup person really. I always love not wearing makeup. For me, makeup has always meant that I’m going to work,” the actress, 47, tells PEOPLE in the new Beautiful Issue, where she appears makeup-free alongside stars like Sarah Paulson, Salma Hayek and Rita Wilson.

Paltrow continues: “I went to an all-girls school and we didn’t wear makeup. We weren’t dressing up for anyone. All through junior high and high school, makeup never became part of my routine. And I think part of that is because I was always a little bit of a tomboy. I like the feeling of having clean skin.”

And Paltrow carried that same skin-first philosophy into her ultra-successful lifestyle brand, Goop — particularly her best-selling beauty line GOOPGLOW — because she “really wanted to create clean products” that would give a youthful, lit-from-within look.

gwyneth paltrow
Courtesy Gwyneth Paltrow

“You can use them if you wear makeup and your makeup will look even better, but the GOOPGLOW line is really fantastic for people who want to get their skin to a place where they look naturally glowy and dewy and don’t have to wear makeup,” she says of the collection, which includes an overnight peel, a serum, an exfoliator and more.

Watch the full episode of The Beautiful Issue: Barefaced Beauties streaming now on, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite device.

As the mother of a teenage girl (Paltrow shares 14-year-old son and 15-year-old daughter Apple with ex Chris Martin), The Politician star has seen first-hand how the world’s perception of beauty is changing. Barbie’s blonde hair, blue eyes and slim figure represented the perfect woman when she was growing up in the early ’80s, but today, more “body types, skin colors, hair colors and cultures are included in that ideal,” the actress tells PEOPLE.

“When I was in my formative years, we were told that beauty was basically a Barbie doll; by the time my daughter was in her formative years, that had changed tremendously,” Paltrow says. “And I’ve always thought that’s real progression. When I think about me being a kid in the early ’80s and what I was shown as examples is much different than what she was shown. As we continue to become more inclusive around our ideas of what is aspirational beauty, we all win.”

Reflecting on what she’s learned about beauty over the years, the star says, “The more you know yourself and accept yourself, the more you accept who you are and what you look like wholeheartedly.”

“I always think there’s sort of an irony that when you really accept yourself — physically — is when you have gray hair,” she shares. “I do think there’s a truth to that.”

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