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  • Writer's pictureKaren Lee

Westman Atelier Introduction (Video Swatches)

Updated: Jul 11, 2020

I have gone on a two year long journey to learn all about cosmetics. From drug store, DTC, to prestige brands. I can't say I've tried them all, but I have tried a lot. This month... I round out my journey at the top end with the most luxe side of things. I started out with basically no knowledge of the beauty industry, and now I have the product knowledge of a beauty guru. I hadn't dabbled into the luxury world because the brands available didn't appeal to me, but Westman Atelier came onto my radar and well... here I am, many dollars later. I am literally not buying any more makeup after this. I am overwhelmed by the amount of product I have amassed and once I have a good understanding of the kinds of formula/technology/innovation on the luxury side of things, I am taking a step back.

Gucci Westman is the third major celebrity makeup artist to start her own line in the 2010s. There was the first wave of celebrity makeup artist brands in the 90s - Bobbi Brown, Laura Mercier, Laura Geller. Now we’re in a second wave. First was Charlotte Tilbury, who is all about Hollywood glam, and then there was Pat McGrath, who’s style is haute couture.

These brands, born in an era of social media, have really leveraged the personalities of their name sake founders. I love Charlotte’s energy (“dah-lings!”) and Pat McGrath’s calm, regal sensibility (she’s called Mother for a reason). Gucci Westman is like the every day working mom who is just trying to figure out social media. I love her mom-awkwardness in her IGTV videos. Not like a social-awkwardness, but rather a social-media awkwardness that comes from not being a digital native. It’s not like I identify with her per se, but she’s familiar to me, in the way that chatting with your mom is familiar to me. I love chatting with my friend’s parents.

For me it’s really exciting because there’s finally a celebrity makeup artist line that really speaks to me and how I like to approach makeup. I love the aesthetic and values. I am fully aware that I am not at all the target market. I wasn’t born an old soul, but a middle-aged one.

I was, after all, the child who would beg to go into every Neiman’s I passed to browse and touch all the luxe goods. I never shopped at Urban Outfitters, but rather gravitated to Anthropologie. I’m just trying to illustrate that the middle-aged aesthetic has always been fully my thing.

I’ve been a fashion fiend since I was little - following the runways and street style blogs. So naturally I have been so lusting after Pat McGrath’s line, but eyeshadow mystifies me, so I literally could not justify purchasing a $170 palette in any twist of logic. However her new skin fetish system really did appeal to me. I almost bought the whole system. If the $440 kit wasn’t sold out, I would have been very tempted to purchase it during the spring sale.

What has really grounded me and my purchases has been trying to focus on the ingredients. I’m an anxious/neurotic type and my health issues have made me extremely aware of how the things I put on/in my body has an effect. I think as people get older they become more aware of their health and it becomes less of something you take for granted. I fully went through a mid-life crisis before most even have a quarter-life crisis. My approach and philosophy towards life is admittedly a middle-aged one.

So, I was investigating into Pat’s formulations and I just wasn’t comfortable with using her products on my face as daily products. My preference is just for cleaner formulations (100% non controversial ingredients + non bioaccumulative in the environment and body) for my every-day products.

And if I’m spending $90 on a foundation, I better be using up every single last drop.

It’s not like a pair of designer shoes. If I take care of them, my shoes will last years. It doesn’t matter how much you pay for makeup, whether is drug-store or luxury, one day it will expire. There’s no way to maximize the cost per wear when it comes to luxury makeup other than making sure you actually use up the product.

Side note: I can’t believe in this context Charlotte Tilbury is the most affordable makeup line 🤦‍♀️ .

Let me just say that, I am someone who prefers in investing in one good thing, over having many things. So consuming less doesn’t mean necessarily mean spending less.

When I drop $800 on a bag, I know I won’t even be tempted to buy another purse for at least a couple years. No accumulation of $30 “vegan leather” bags. (Also, I despise the term vegan leather, because it makes it seem good for our planet, when really they are made out of plastics.) It’s also knowing that I already have the best of something that puts a stop to buying more.

So anyways, this will literally be the end of makeup purchasing for me because I could not live with myself if any of these products went bad before I was able to use them. The guilt would be unreal.

The only thing I wish that this line had is sustainable/refillable packaging from the start, and a bigger shade range. However, from the production side of things, as a self-funded brand it would have been crazy expensive to launch with that many SKUs, considering the amount that has been invested in the product development (formulations and packaging). Also, I believe the fact that they launched at Barney's had an impact on why refillable and a broader shade range wasn't the number one priority.

For my whole first impressions and swatches go see this video:


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