Index - Malin+goetzThe morning that I met Andrew Goetz and Matthew Malin, the well-scrubbed couple behind the beauty line Malin+Goetz, I washed my hair with Frederic Fekkai protein shampoo. I followed this with Terax conditioner, which I left in for three minutes because I'd been at the beach over the weekend. Then I washed my face with Caudalie gentle foaming cleanser, and exfoliated with Dr. Brandt's Microdermabrasion in a Jar. I scrubbed my body with a Philosophy liquid soap whose bottle exhorted that I love myself - at once! Out of the shower, I applied a Mario Badescu cucumber astringent and, with my ring finger, dabbed Astara eye cream on the bags. Then I applied Cr?me de la Mer lotion all over my face, allowing that to soak in before covering it with La Mer UV shield, SPF 18. From the neck down, I moisturized with Frederic Malle Lait du Corps. Once I toweled off my hair, I worked a little Kusco-Murphy Lavender Cream into the roots.
"How sick am I?" I thought to myself as I walked towards the Malin+Goetz shop on Seventh Avenue at Twentyfirst Street.
Andrew and Matthew make me think of Susan Powter, that crew-cut diet guru from the 1990s who wanted to "Stop the Insanity!" Their beauty line has one face wash and one face moisturizer, one shampoo and one conditioner, one body scrub and one body moisturizer, three liquid body soaps, and a lip balm. Period. "We just thought about what we actually needed," says Andrew, "and the fact that we're often in a rush."
I immediately liked Matthew and Andrew. They are friendly, charming, and just goofy enough. And they really love their bulldogs. I will confess that I didn't initially believe that, by adding another line of well-packaged, good-smelling, chemically sound beauty products to the world, they were adhering to an ethos of simplicity. But they are very convincing.
Andrew previously ran the New York branch of Vitra, the sleek German modern furniture company. Matthew had worked for a number of beauty outfits, including Helmut Lang and Kiehl's. But when Kiehl's sold out to L'Oreal, Matthew departed, envisioning an opportunity to create a small, niche brand. "Kiehl's was bound to get bigger," explains Andrew. "But we could be small and neighborhood-based."
"We took a very serious, clinical approach to the treatments," Matthew explained. He suffers from eczema; Andrew says his skin occasionally gets a little oily. A salesperson for any selfrespecting beauty line would be aghast at the notion that Andrew and Matthew would share a cleanser, let alone a moisturizer. Why, after all, make one sale when you could just as easily make two? But Andrew and Matthew were determined to make products that would work equally well for both of them. "We want everyone to be able to use our whole line without the risk of irritation," says Matthew. "We kept it really basic and effective." And unisex. "We love the idea of couples sharing," Andrew emphasizes. Not only would the regimen be basic, but the ingredients would be kept simple, too. No heavy waxes or perfumes - the fresh botanical scents wash away completely, leaving the customer fully prepared for a spritz of fragrance.
Andrew and Matthew opened their chic, antiseptic shop on Seventh Avenue in March. Even though Chelsea is hopping with restaurants, bars, and clubs, it's not a luxury retail destination like Soho. Andrew and Matthew prefer to be at a slight remove from the mobs that throng to beauty meccas like Sephora and Ricky's. All the same, Chelsea is not Siberia.
If nothing else, it's a hotbed of grooming activity.
In keeping with their pureand-simple concept, Andrew and Matthew built the sparest, most meticulous store imaginable. The space has been stripped down to a raw shell of exposed brick, within which they have set a white box of Corian. A single counter running the length of one wall displays the products. Andrew's brick-walled office is in the back of the shop, where he (cringe) 'Works outside the box."
Early adapters have responded. The brand has been glowingly reviewed everywhere - from W to InStyle. The very discriminating Rescue Spa in Nolita stocks Malin+Goetz products. A chic new hotel in Mexico City has commissioned Andrew and Matthew to design their "amenities program," including shampoo and soap. And, there's the inevitable celebrity fan Janet Jackson loves their stuff. Now that I've tried the products, I can vouch for them. They smell nice while you use them, but the scents don't linger. Their soaps, cleansers, and shampoos lather into a satisfying foam and then rinse away without a trace. And the body and face moisturizers kept me from becoming shiny or sticky, even on a merciless July day in Manhattan. After a full regimen, I felt squeaky clean.
Their products are already sold in twenty stores, and customers are begging them to get a little less simple, asking for eye cream and exfoliant. Andrew and Matthew are considering all options, so long as they remain "basic." "Maybe a toothpaste and toothbrush," Matthew offers. I considered my own overstuffed bathroom, wondering how I will ever work "simple" into my daily routine.