Striking the right balance between skincare and makeup is always a delicate matter in December—when endless champagne-fueled holiday parties call for a supernatural complexion and striking accents. Fortunately, when it comes to bridging the gap between luminous skin and strategic touches of glamour, there isn’t a more fruitful meeting of the minds than fellow beauty pros (and friends!) facialist Georgia Louise and makeup artist Gucci Westman.
Introduced over a decade ago by Linda Evangelista inside the legendary supermodel’s Chelsea apartment (“Linda was like, ‘Come over! You have to meet this girl,” laughs Westman, recalling how her and Louise first became acquainted), the two have been close confidantes, navigating the industry and spreading the gospel of a lit-from-within-glow together, ever since. So when Louise decided to start selling makeup inside her Upper East Side facial atelier last year, it’s only natural she looked to Westman Atelier, Westman’s range of creamy, featherweight, and most importantly clean foundations, highlighters, blushes, and bronzers meticulously infused with skin-benefitting ingredients.
In the spirit of party season, here, Louise and Westman join forces for a definitive guide to gorgeous, glowing, blindingly good skin and how to enhance it with a well-calculated touch of the right makeup.
Start Prepping Your Canvas Now
“For big events, you’ve got to do some prep work,” insists Louise. “If you want your skin to look and feel flawless, you’ve got to exfoliate gradually at least a week before so you don’t have dryness or flaking.” A go-to facialist for celebrities, models, and editors, Louise instructs her clients to avoid abrasive scrubs and use a gentle enzyme cleanser such as Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Enzyme Cleanser, which is spiked with oil-absorbing maltodextrin and brightening Vitamin C. “You get the exfoliation without the aggression,” she says.
Massage, Massage—and Massage A Bit More
According to Louise, the most beneficial DIY alternative to professional microcurrent treatments is a nightly facial massage. Whether using your fingertips or using her cult Gua sha-inspired rose quartz Butterfly Stone, massaging along the forehead, cheekbones, and jawline will sculpt, depuff, and stimulate the growth of collagen with both instantaneous and longterm effects. “No matter what age you are, always spend a minimum of five minutes a day massaging your face, even if it’s just [kneading] in your cleanser or night cream,” says Louise. “It’s key for longevity in our skin cells.”
Supercharge Your Skin the Week of a Big Event
The days leading up to an event should be dedicated to drenching it in hydrating, antioxidant-packed, anti-inflammatory ingredients—and that’s where Louise offers the ultimate hi-tech, at-home solution: Her GLOPulse Deep + Quick Ion Enhancer. The headphone-like device is equipped with two electrode, galvanic current-administering cheek plates designed to bolster the sheet mask experience in tandem with her custom-formulated Green, Aqua, and Honey formulas—the latter of which is spiked with game-changing soothing propolis and centella asiatica.
Think Play Up—Not Cover Up—When it Comes to Makeup
“The goal is to look great and feel confident with minimal effort,” says Westman of her personal approach to holiday beauty. “I mean, obviously there can be visible effort, but you want to blow people’s minds with how you look without it looking like you’re wearing too much, you know?” A no-brainer jumping off point is stocking your makeup bag with Westman Atelier’s robust, yet nearly imperceptible Vital Foundation Stick, which glides on smooth and protects the skin from environmental damage with camellia and coconut oils. From there, apply it to the center of the face outwards, only as needed. “It looks less cosmetic, and more sumptuous,” insists Westman, adding that you can target certain areas of the face with a light contour with a shade or two darker of foundation or her Face Trace Contour Stick.
Radiate From the Inside Out
When it comes to blush, Westman sticks to a tease of a warm glow by blending one of her Baby Cheeks Blush sticks (most often in the universally-flattering, blue-tinted pink Pop It) on the apple’s of the cheeks with her fingertips, sometimes adding a touch of the pretty pigments into the eye sockets as well. “I always feel like you have more control with your fingers,” she says. “So I dab it where I want, then usually blend it down with a brush after that. At the end of applying all your face makeup, you should always diffuse it with a blending brush.” Finding the right highlighter (silky and noticeably iridescent, but not over the top) is key—but you must use it strategically. Or better yet, sneakily. “I like creating a highlight from underneath the skin,” says Westman, clarifying she’ll even swipe some underneath moisturizer and foundation, as well as on top when sweeping along the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, brows bones, and Cupid’s bow. “It’s all about the skin looking almost liquid-y.”
Build a Better, Thicker, More Believable Brow
“Something that always adds to a youthful, fresh face is a thicker, groomed brow,” says Westman, underlining that she doesn’t mean drawn-in “Instagram” arches. First, she brushes on ultra-fine, hair-like strokes of Chanel’s Stylo Sourcils Waterproof Defining Longwear Eyebrow Pencil to fill in sparse areas, then carefully extends the shape of the brows before brushing them through with the spoolie brush. “The tips are always the most tricky part, getting that angle right,” says Westman. “So spend a little extra time and check them out from multiple angles in the mirror.”
Make a Soft-Focus Lip Your New Signature
In place of traditional lipstick, Westman loves to repurpose her blush stick as a vivid pigment for the mouth. After lining and adding a little plumpness with a neutral lip liner, she presses a single pop of rich color, like her fuchsia-tinged shade in Poppet, into the center of lips, then presses them together to blend. “It brightens up the face, adds a nice contrast to the skin, and awakens the highlight,” she says of the more saturated shade. Because during that most magical time of the year, minimal should never translate to mediocre.