The phrase ‘celebrity makeup artist’ may be bandied around a lot, but few come with the sort of pedigree Gucci Westman has. Take note (if you’re not a beauty junkie and don’t therefore recognise her name immediately) that last year she did the wedding day makeup of one Gwyneth Paltrow. Yes, really. And that auspicious occasion just may have been the unofficial debut of her very own edit of clean beauty makeup essentials, Westman Atelier. Gucci took the time to chat with us about how she got her start in beauty, the profound influence her mother has had on her personal life and career, and, as a bonus, we may have just twisted her arm hard enough for her to reveal her favourite product from her line.
“I have never been into this over-the-top Instagram look – it is really not for me.
I believe skin should look like skin, and that philosophy really is the beginning and the end of everything I do. To me there’s nothing more beautiful than healthy, glowing skin and that is something I have become known for during my career.
I first really discovered makeup because my mom didn’t allow me to wear any, so obviously I rebelled and had to explore everything to do with beauty.
After graduating in Sweden, I decided to go abroad for a year and became an au pair for a fashion critic and journalist. I loved it because she would take me with her to all the shows in Paris and also give me the makeup she was sent by brands, and that is how it all really started. My time there also had a lasting impact on my style, as I still love anything Chanel – their jackets or dresses instantly smarten you up, yet you still look super chic and not overdone.
Before I do anything in the morning, I start by meditating. Then it’s time for skincare.
I love using Sarah Chapman Skinesis Ultimate Cleanse, as it leaves my skin clean and fresh, as well as soothed. I also love using Dr Hauschka Rose Day Cream – it really does the trick of keeping my skin hydrated and moisturised. And before I leave the house, I will always cover my face in La Roche Posay Anthelios.
As for the evening, I suffer from redness so I may use Mother Dirt cleanser to help reduce this. Then my go-to products are Georgia Louise Honey Sheet Masks with her Pulse+GLO device, which uses galvanic currents to boost circulation and refine pores. Dr Devgan Platinum Hyaluronic Serum is amazing for face and neck, followed by a dab of SK-II Facial Treatment Essence.
My own beauty look is mainly skin focused. I start with my blush or contour because I’m always rushing, and I feel like if I do that step first, it makes everything else quicker.
I then use Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick to correct any type of irritation or uneven texture. I always use two foundations – a lighter shade around the t-zone and a deeper shade around the perimeter, finishing by blending the two together. I like using my Westman Atelier Super Loaded Tinted Highlighter on cheeks to add warmth and definition, as well as my bronzer to sweep across forehead, cheeks and eyelids. I finally pop a bit of colour on my lips dabbing on one of my Baby Cheeks – they are super versatile!
I have worked with other brands before as an ambassador or artistic director, and in those roles I learned the process of creating products – from both the creative side and formulation – and have always found it so interesting.
I wanted to create my own line that was luxurious and efficacious, however, was also consciously-crafted. As a lifelong vegetarian and someone who lives a very holistic lifestyle, I knew I wanted products that were kind to skin and improved skin health, as well as aesthetically beautiful.
I am working with the best lab and continuously challenge them on the ingredients we choose to ensure we deliver a product that meets my exacting performance standards. This kind of involved process makes it a longer lead time from inception to delivery but that is the magic of having my own brand – I can make sure I am always staying true to myself and what I believe in.
When I was working as an au pair for the journalist in Paris, I asked her for recommendations for makeup schools, and ended up going to Christian Chauveau. There, I was taught how to apply makeup using products in a stick format, and have used those ever since, including now in my own collection.
I wanted to make products in this format not only because they have always been second nature to me, but because it is important for my line to be easy to use, and a stick is just so accessible. In terms of the look of the packaging, I was inspired by fragrance atomisers designed for travel. I love the idea that products can be small and portable but still beautiful and functional. I wanted to translate that into makeup, so the packaging feels special and luxurious but still easy and understated. To me, beautiful travel objects have an inherent air of excitement, like you might be heading off somewhere amazing.
I always find it so hard to pick a favourite product, because I created each of them with different purposes in mind. However, I did selfishly create one that would hopefully help the health of my skin and not just cover it up, so I’d have to say my Vital Skin Foundation Stick.
In the last couple of years I’ve developed rosacea, so I wanted a product that really benefited my troubled skin, as well as one that could deliver the performance of a makeup artist-quality foundation. My foundation is packed with ingredients that help with many skincare issues – from coconut oil for hydration to phytosphingosine to combat redness. In terms of how it works as makeup, I prefer foundation to have a creamy, blendable formula. It must be something that ultimately keeps skin looking like skin, and this product does just that.
I usually aim to get facials around once a month and love to have them with Georgia Louise. She uses non-invasive techniques and a lot of technology in her facials, such as galvanic currents to boost circulation and refine pores.
Whenever I am in London, Anastasia Achilleos is a must see. Time with her is so much more than a facial. Her approach aligns the central nervous system by releasing the connective tissues, and it leaves you looking and feeling so good!
To keep my hair and colour looking healthy and fresh, I go to David Mallett’s salon in NYC regularly. Then at home, I rely on the Rahua Color Full line, which is plant-based but still effective. I also think Christophe Robin sea salt scrub treatment is awesome for keeping your scalp healthy.
My mom didn’t allow me to wear makeup every day. I actually got caught by her once when I was a teenager and working at our local grocery store, wearing full black eye makeup!
A lot of her advice has now transferred into what I am known for as a makeup artist, so things have come full circle. Seeing her natural beauty, and seeing how her features were enhanced by the makeup she occasionally used was a powerful influence and I now share this aesthetic – that less is more when it comes to applying makeup. And she passed on some excellent habits, like teaching me to never wash my face with soap, but to remove makeup with water, olive oil, or both.
All of the amazing lessons or advice my mother has passed onto me are injected into my adult life and continually impact the decisions that I make, both in my personal life and in my career. I have always had this hyper awareness to wellness throughout my life.
I learned to always be aware of the ingredients I’m eating, and I still have this outlook today… with an 80/20 balance. I meditate every morning with my husband, as well as going for runs regularly (when I’m not travelling for work). I make my own nut milk smoothies, and am known for my Strawberry Hemp Milk Smoothie. I also love to make WelleCo Peruvian Chocolate Shakes and take their Libido + Hormone Support supplements.
My mom has really shaped, or rather, passed on to me, my lifestyle philosophy – and it’s a mindset that extends itself to beauty. I truly believe in amplifying, not transforming. I want people to feel beautiful yet still feel themselves.
Products should do more than just cover; they should improve your skin. It’s important to know that you’re using good, clean ingredients that are correcting, yes, but ultimately enhancing your natural beauty.
I love making my clients and customers feel more confident in their skin. I don’t believe we should cover ourselves up, but rather enhance what we do have. If someone is wearing my products and feels more confident, and at the same time they know that the ingredients on their face are clean and actually helping the health of their skin, then this is what I love the most.”