Maria Cornejo has been a bastion of sustainability in fashion since well before “upcycling” and “carbon offsetting” became industry buzzwords. “When I opened the [Zero +Maria Cornejo] store 24 years ago…my daughter was six-and-a-half,” recalls the Chilean-born, Manhattan-based designer. "I became very aware of what we were doing to the planet." Her striking silhouettes—beloved by the likes of Julianne Moore, Michelle Obama, and Tilda Swinton —are locally made with luxurious repurposed fabrics, eco-certified cottons, and untreated denims. “Next fall we’re experimenting with mushroom leather!” she says of continually pursuing new materials that push boundaries and reduce environmental impact while delivering on the perfect form-flattering drape.

Today, Cornejo, who is dressed in a camel corduroy jumpsuit of her own design, has just slid a Beauty Butter Bronzer compact out of its Westman Atelier linen pouch. “I’m going to reuse all these little bags for my earrings!” she exclaims, as she prepares to sweep the subtle terracotta powder over her complexion. The instant warming effect neutralizes sallow undertones in her naturally tan skin during the winter, when she gets less sun. Because these days, she adds, it’s all about “wearing makeup lighter, more gently.”

That soft-focus philosophy extends beyond makeup. After a lifetime of embracing jet black hair, Cornejo recently went so stylishly gray that she inspired a legion of converts.  The striking silvery-white shade, which acts like its own kind of makeup, has ushered a few new tweaks into her daily routine:  Black eye liner is a must now along the lashlines for definition. And for special occasions, she'll layer on inky black mascara. "Oh my god, it looks like I've got false eyelashes!" she exclaims after swiping on Eye Love You mascara—the clean formula packed with conditioning ingredients and zero parabens, PEGs, and phthalates.  Always one for a bold pop of color, Cornejo finishes with a tomato red lip color from the Les Rouges compact. The feel-good effect is instantaneous: “I think I need more lips!” 

Here, she sits down for a clean makeup lesson in the art of less-is-more layering and talks how going grey has made her rethink her beauty arsenal. Watch the full video now - and by the way, we’re obsessed!  



For more episodes of The Face, starring Poppy Delevingne, Chriselle Lim, and more, check out the full series!

Need holiday gifting ideas? The ultimate merry-making beauty guide is here! Shop Westman Atelier's best festive picks, from little luxuries to gilded splurges that bring the wow.

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Beauty Butter
Beauty Butter Powder Bronzer View product
Lip Suede: Les Rouges
Lip Suede: Les Rouges Lip Suede View product
Eye Love You
Eye Love You Mascara View product
Vital Skin
Vital Skin Foundation Stick View product
Lit Up
Lit Up Highlight Stick View product