How the makeup artist created a clean and luxurious line to “fill the holes” in her beauty routine.
Written By AMBER KALLOR
VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers because of their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit.
“I want to eradicate the notion that clean has to mean boring,” says Gucci Westman, a celebrated makeup artist known for painting A-list faces (including Jennifer Aniston, Drew Barrymore, and Cameron Diaz) and developing Westman Atelier, a cosmetic range created with consciously crafted ingredients. “The verb ‘luxuriate’ really speaks to me. I want the women who buy Westman Atelier to luxuriate in our makeup.” In addition to adhering to the European Union’s strict standards for clean beauty and infusing her buttery textures with potent, plant-based actives, Westman is committed to making her products equally as beautiful on the outside. The custom packaging—inspired by everything from fragrance atomizers to the paint splashed across Westman’s living room walls—instantly elevates any vanity.
“Early on, I went shopping for inspiration and I came home and said to [my husband and business partner] David [Neville], ‘I don’t like how the makeup looks, but I love fragrance objects,’” she explains of the brand’s sleek and sophisticated aesthetic heavily influenced by Westman’s travels. “The paint in our living room—it’s called Lamp Shade Grey—inspired the color of our Baby Cheeks Blush Stick. This summer, we picked up a hunting flask and two shot glasses with a beautiful silver detail from London, which will become something too,” she says. “It’s our company, so we live and breathe it—from the size of the font to the formulas.”
That said, Westman hasn’t always lived and breathed beauty. Growing up on ashram, she learned more about living off the land than lipstick—which of course made it all the more intriguing. Adept at art from a very young age, the makeup artist quickly transitioned to painting her friends’ faces on the bus as a child. “I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup at home, so I got my rocks off by doing theirs!” she laughs. Her schoolyard side-hustle quickly skyrocketed into a superstar career that involved working “non-stop for Vogue on covers and shoots” alongside boldface names like Grace Coddington and Annie Leibovitz, as well as a stint in France as the artistic director of Lancôme. After a lifetime of experiences, four years of development, and a lot of trial and error, Westman Atelier was born. “The idea of merging wellness and luxury felt like a natural evolution for me,” she says.
Here, Westman reveals how froyo funded her early days in beauty, the most nerve-wracking move she’s ever made (Britney Spears is involved), and why a trip to the hair salon is her favorite way to hit the reset button.
First thing you do when you wake up?
I try to meditate, but sometimes I look at my phone if I’m waiting on urgent emails.
Not long—five minutes.
Typical skincare regimen?
I like to exfoliate regularly and do a good face mask. The SK-II Overnight Miracle Mask is nice. It always imparts a healthy glow. I believe in using facial devices to activate my skin and provide effective lymphatic drainage. The Koyo Rantania Miracle K is great for that—I get it in Japan. Lately I’ve been layering an oil from Beboe underneath Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream for extra hydration and the quality of my skin has visibly improved.
Hair situation in the a.m.?
I get blowouts once a week in the city. I can put my hair up when I’m doing yoga and it still looks good when I let it down. Out East in Amagansett in the summertime, all bets are off!
At home on the Upper West Side, I go to CorePower Yoga with Dustin [Maxwell]. In the Hamptons, it’s beach boot camp with Jimmy Minardi.
Go-to breakfast and a.m. beverage?
In the summer, toasted gluten-free bread with Rejuvenative almond butter, honey, cinnamon; a side of blueberries or kiwi; and a homemade almond milk latte. During the rest of the year, I like making a WelleCo Nourishing Protein Peruvian Chocolate Shake. I add blueberries, almond butter, and hemp seeds.
Foolproof self-care move?
Getting my hair done at David Mallett. When I’m done, I feel so good. Then, it’s just a countdown to when I go back!
I don’t wear perfume. I prefer fragrance from candles. I love Manon from Cire Trudon. The scent of amber is really nice, too. It reminds me of going to Paris when I worked with Lancôme. It was the beginning of something that has led me to where I’m at today.
An expensive-but-worth-it product or treatment?
A fascia release facial with Anastasia Achilleos. She’s awesome.
The Nue Co. Sleep Drops. My Dosist Calm pen. A glass of water. Yogi Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea.
Read and brush my teeth.
Coco Chanel. I love her vision of fashion and beauty. She mastered the art of pairing masculinity and femininity. What she started, and what the brand has continued to do in fashion and in beauty, is so desirable and empowering.
This one! As the founder of Westman Atelier, I create products that I believe in 1000%, stand by, and can be completely transparent about.
Working at 21 Choices, a frozen yogurt place, when I was trying to make money for makeup school in California. I got two promotions that were only title changes and nothing monetary. I was only making $60 a week.
The process is the reward.
Now. The present moment. I’m proud of where we’re at today.
In the very beginning of Westman Atelier, it was difficult to put everything into motion. Initially, I felt pretty stuck. There are so many pieces: partners, product development, supply chain, and packaging. When I got my office space in Chelsea, my husband said, ‘You just need to go in every day and the ideas will come.’ At first, I wanted to do organic makeup and that wasn’t working—there was no performance. It was a disaster! After eight or nine trials of the first foundation sample, I sat down and said, ‘I need the ingredients to be absolutely safe but it also has to perform.’ So, we started focusing on clean [formulas] and building around the idea of beautiful, radiant skin.
My first Vogue cover with Britney Spears.
I’m a great impressionist! I also speak five languages: English, French, German, Spanish, and Swedish.
Westman Atelier $58