World-renowned makeup artist Gucci Westman is one of those women that sets the bar high when it comes to life accomplishments (and no, we’re not talking about her marriage to Rag & Bone’s David Neville, though that certainly doesn’t hurt). With countless magazine covers, runway shows and ad campaigns under her belt as well as two lengthy stints as artistic director for mega beauty brands Lancôme and Revlon, it’s hard to believe Westman’s idyllic weekend Instagram updates are real. How could she possibly have time for backyard gardening and horseback riding too?! As Westman transitions into a new phase in her career (April 15 marks her last day at Revlon), we sat down with the multi-hyphenate beauty pro to talk about career milestones, skincare essentials and her typical day balancing life as a mother, creative leader, wife and more.
Get To Know Gucci
Her First Internship
“I worked at a modeling agency in Stockholm where I grew up. I think the most important thing I learned there was to always be ahead of someone asking me to do something. I always wanted to be on top of what was going on in the situation, and I wanted to be ahead of the game."
Her Role Model
“Grace Coddington. She gave me my big break in the fashion world. The passion she has for what she does and her resilience is remarkable. She’s in her '70s, and she never sits down. I tend to look for a chair when I’m on set all day, but she’s always standing up and always runs when something needs to happen quickly.”
The best career advice she’s ever received
“You have to have passion for sure, you can’t fake that. And staying focused is really important. I always found it helpful to have a goal in my head and try to stick to it.”
Her typical day
"Gratitude board". Photo: @gucciwestman.
“I opened an office in July, and it’s really cute. It has a good vibe. When I’m not shooting I wake up and meditate for 10 minutes. My husband and I do that together most mornings when we’re not super jet-lagged. Then I take the kids to school. If I’m not working on a shoot I’ll go to an exercise class (it’s called The Class) and head to my office and work on a few things there—future projects and what I want to see happen."
I don’t work on weekends generally unless it’s super important. That’s the rule in our family.
The Best (And Worst) Part Of The Job
Gucci on set with Drew Barrymore and Cameron Diaz. Photo: @gucciwestman.
“My favorite thing is the diversity of people you work with and being creative. The downside is you can never plan things in advance. You’ll inevitably get a really good opportunity when you have a vacation or a trip planned. That’s my least favorite thing—not having any certainty. I never liked that aspect of the business."
How she finds inspiration for a shoot or show
Taylor Swift in Vogue, February 2012. Makeup by Gucci. Photo: artandcommerce.com.
“Usually you have a little meeting, and the editor will show you the clothes. They typically have a sense of what they want to do and what the storyline is. It usually takes very little for the hair and makeup to understand which way to go. It just clicks, and you go from there.”
Milestone moments in her career
Emma Stone for Revlon. Makeup by Gucci. Photo: ExposureNY.com.
“I’m very proud of working with Lancome for five years and then Revlon for seven years. I really enjoyed working on products because it’s something that touches everyone. Every woman loves makeup and skincare products to some degree.
Also, Women’s Wear Daily gave me an award for Influencer of the Year. That was mainly for my work with Revlon and bringing more of a sense of fashion to the brand through runway shows and strong color stories in the product lines—that was really fun.”
Hopefully, I'm still working on milestones.
Her favorite Revlon launch
“The lip category is the most important for Revlon—it was fun to participate in developing it. I had a big box of products I thought they needed, different textures and colors. I found all these sheer lip colors I had and liked and thought we should do something more sheer, like a whole category. And then the Lip Butter came.”
Her favorite spring makeup trend
Prada, Spring 2015. Photo: Getty Images
“All the shows had a '60s feeling. It felt relevant. It didn’t feel retro. That’s exciting for summer: the pastel lips and bold eyeliner. The free spirit approach to beauty from that era is really inspiring.”
The hero product every woman should own
W June 2013 trends supplement. Makeup by Gucci. Photo: Models.com.
“A good foundation that addresses your skin’s needs. Foundation is something that can be really helpful for teenagers with problem skin or more mature women with blotchiness and brown spots. You can make any skin type look healthy and luminous with the right foundation.”
I do contouring—not in a super strong way—but it is part of my routine. A little cheekbone never hurt anyone.
What she does when she wants to feel glamorous
Gucci on her wedding day. Photo: @gucciwestman.
“If it’s a big event like the Met Gala I’ll go get a facial from Georgia Louise. I’ll have my hair blown out, and I do my own makeup. I always do an eye but never really a strong lip. I like a transparent smoky eye with black eyeliner rimming the lashes and then just mascara. Or I’ll do a rusty, brown eye with a little burgundy in it because I have green eyes. Sometimes I’ll add color underneath my lashes on the bottom. It depends on the color of my skin, if I’m really pale or not. If I have a little color I tend to wear less makeup.”
Her real tan vs. faux tan philosophy
“I was staying in Jackson Hole the week before last, and you can’t really avoid the sun there. I did get pretty tan, which was fun but my skin can’t do with the sun anymore, which is depressing. I've tried different self-tanners, but I’m just not sure what’s in them that makes you tan so I don't do it regularly. If I’m going on a beach holiday I might do a self-tanner the night before I go out in a bikini because we’ve had a long winter here in New York, so a little tan is definitely helpful.”
Her fashion uniform
“I wear a lot of jeans. Rag & Bone, obviously. I wear jeans, trainers and either a button-down shirt or a T-shirt. I’ve been really liking Isabel Marant shoes lately. And I love Celine sweaters. I also really like a striped top.”
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Her travel beauty essentials
Gucci's beauty haul. Photo: @gucciwestman.
“I like Rahua and Davines for my hair. I usually bring my own shampoo and conditioner because my hair will turn orange if I wash it with normal stuff. For skincare I like this brand called Kinara. I also like Gaelle Organic—she has a toner and a cream for sensitive skin that’s really nice. Drunk Elephant has a really nice vitamin C serum, and I like the colostrum gel from Environ. I have so much skincare—I tend to switch it up a lot.”
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Her trick for achieving work-life balance
“I try to really be present when I’m with my kids and not be distracted by work. Weekends are very important to us. My husband and I try to have one of us at home if the other one is traveling. It’s not always doable but we try.”
One of her favorite day-off rituals
“In a perfect world it would be in Bedford riding my horse."