Gucci's Guide to Cleaning Out Your Makeup Bag in 2020
“I like things to be edited—having clutter in my personal makeup bag drives me crazy,” says Gucci, who is often asked about how to simplify a morning beauty routine in the age of Marie Kondo mania. A clear system to streamline all life’s stuff is something she developed over years of acquiring products as a professional makeup artist, then eventually applied to her own off-duty beauty staples, too. The ultimate goal, she says, is a simple ritual that sets the tone for a productive day, or a stress-free evening out: “Too many choices, too many products, too many steps actually makes it harder to find the right balance of what really works.”
That's why when developing Westman Atelier, she set out to create a "makeup wardrobe" of thoughtful, beautifully made foundations, blushes, and more that would work together effortlessly in different combinations but still offered the excitement and experimentation of the best accessories. It's a philosophy that also guides the products she cherry picks from lines like Chanel and Nars and mixes into her daily routine. In the spirit of the New Year ahead, Gucci shares her favorite makeup bag staples and the decluttering system she swears by.
ORGANIZE YOUR MAKEUP ESSENTIALS BY HOW OFTEN YOU USE THEM
For a fresh perspective on an out-of-control makeup wardrobe, Gucci takes a cue from Kondo’s famously rigorous method in The Lifechanging Magic of Tidying Up and lays everything out within view. “You’re able to assess that ‘gosh, I have so much clutter, when was the last time I used that?’” she says. Products can then be organized into the essential staples that you use every day versus those you break out on weekends or special occasions. “I keep a pretty tray in my room with a nice brush holder,” says Gucci. “Only the products that I really use at home live in the brush holder and on the tray.” That includes favorites like Augustinus Bader’s The Rich Cream to prep the skin for makeup, Omorovicza’s Lip Balm, Boy De Chanel’s ashy grayish brown brow powder, and a chocolate Nars eyeliner pencil, along with all her Westman Atelier go-tos especially the Vital Skin Foundation, Super Loaded Tinted Highlight, Beauty Butter Bronzer, and Eye Love You Mascara.
The rest of her arsenal gets edited down to the products she reaches for often—but not on an everyday basis—and stowed somewhere out of sight but still easily accessible. “I have a small toiletry bag that I bring with me on the weekends of the Friday and Saturday stuff that I always use, like a favorite matte brown eye shadow for evening.”
YOU ONLY NEED A FEW GOOD MAKEUP BRUSHES
“I still use these Japanese J. Andre sponges that I learned how to do makeup with—you wet them and they expand, so when you apply foundation to the face you aren’t dragging, it’s a much softer experience,” says Gucci, who also swears by her favorite Q-Tips. “You can get them at drugstores, they’re pointy on one side, and rounded and flat on the other side which makes it easier to clean up liner.” From a fine-tuning perspective, the ivory-bristled brushes she developed for Westman Atelier make blending on contour, bronzer, and foundation foolproof and give a supernatural, real skin finish. “I don’t curl my lashes, but if you like to, Shu Uemura makes a really good one,” she says. “And I sometimes for a party or big night, I use one of the skinny lash curlers to get into the lashes at the inner corners.”
A TINTED HIGHLIGHTER IS WORTH A THOUSAND OF EVERYTHING ELSE
Multi-tasking products like Gucci’s favorite Super Loaded Tinted Highlight—a universally flattering rose gold shade that gives warmth, definition and contour while plumping skin with hyaluronic acid—can be used as a bronzer, blush, and even a luminous cream eye shadow. "If you just want to look more refined but not makeup-y, it looks so good,” says Westman. She also loves blending Becca’s liquid luminizing creams with an everyday body moisturizer to give arms and legs a bit of healthy glow.
KEEP A GOOD EYE PALETTE ON HAND FOR EVENING
For a touch of color that goes from day to night fast, Gucci suggests an eye shadow palette that contains slight variations of the same shade. Currently, she’s loving Chanel’s Les Beiges Healthy Glow Natural Eyeshadow Palette, which comes in a variety of soft browns from a creamy taupe to a lush mahogany. “I usually go with a matte brown on my eyes, but sometimes depending on the season I might prefer a deeper tone. I like to have it in one palette so it’s all together in one place.”
SET HEALTHY LIMITS WHEN IT COMES TO LIPSTICK
When dealing with a sea of lipsticks, think about the color you reach for constantly—not the ones you plan to wear someday but never actually do —and consider letting the outliers go. Three shades (or less!) on that everyday tray is a good number. “I think most women have an understanding of what colors look good on them,” Gucci says. Photos can also be a great gauge, as well as pinpointing that failsafe shade that somehow always gets compliments. “If wear a red stain, I’ll go with a bricky undertone instead of blue red,” Westman says of knowing which hue lights up her own skin. A neutral tint can also help create subtle definition. “I really love the NARS pencil in Bahama—if you’re over 40 and your lips are a little bit diffused, it’s nice to give yourself some shape—it’s just giving back a little bit of color.”
THE PERFECT MAKEUP BAG IS A CLEAN ONE
For those everyday essentials that you really won’t leave the house without, a small pouch is key. If it always ends up in a bottomless state of disarray, the issue may be a size phenomenon. “I don’t think there is a ‘perfect’ makeup bag—it all ends up being impossible to find and then you accumulate things that you never use,” says Westman. Keep the dimensions small—only large enough to hold two or three favorite items. And whether it’s a cheerful fabric print or a simple vinyl zip, keep it clean. “Once a bag looks dirty,” says Gucci, “I’m ready to swap it out.”