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  • Writer's pictureKaren Lee

Westman Atelier: A Really Thorough Makeup Review

Updated: Mar 25, 2022

More in this series:

Introduction post

Brushes review!


The WA packaging is bar none. I would even place bets that this line will end up in the MoMA archives. As a design nerd I’m living for this packaging. Truly no detail was overlooked. Even on the underside of the caps, there’s the brand name or logo etched into it. There was an Apple level of product design going into the packaging. Every product feels good in your hand. It’s an inviting tactile experience. Even the twist-up mechanism feels like well-oiled machine. Like, this is peak engineering for beauty packaging. It’s minimalist without feeling brutalist. It’s industrial without feeling unapproachable or cold. There’s a refreshing elegant masculinity to the approach.

Products Overall

I feel like a broken record saying how blendable these products are. I thought I knew super blendable products, but no. It’s crazy how the products are this seamlessly blendable without silicones. There are trace amounts of silicones as part of their biomimcry technology, which means that the pigments that give the products their punchy pigmentation are encapsulated in silicone, to act as a barrier between your skin and the pigment particles. Why do we care? Well, in the pigment producing process there are heavy metals involved and they're not great for the body.

And while I didn't fall head over heels in love at first sight upon using these products, the more I use them over time, the more I've come to appreciate how fantastic the formulas are. It's not a hard, fast love, it's the long-lasting slow burn kind.

The performance of the products have been very good on my skin. While most of the foundations in my collection never look bad by the end of the day, my skin isn't as plump at the end of the day because it's been quite a few hours since I last put on my skincare. My skin tends to get oily at the end of the day and the acne scarring becomes more apparent when my skin is dehydrated. Not with this makeup! Yes, I'm a little dewier 12 hours later, but I'm not left feeling greasy or like I have some layer on my face I want to rinse off. Sometimes it's not the makeup, that's just how my skin is throughout the day. So, the skin-sceptic in me is a believer now. Gucci isn't lying when she says the actives are at efficacy levels. My skin only looks like this with skincare. It feels like, yes, this stuff has science behind it, as opposed labelling it all as "magic".

I get why this stuff is expensive. There have been no short-cuts taken to get these products out. The packaging is beyond luxe. The formulas are concise yet efficacious and can hold their own against conventional formulations in terms of performance. I get it. I get why it's priced like this. This is what I would call the complete package. Every aspect of the user experience has been thought through. That's luxury.

I do not recommend buying the products from this line if you're looking for pure product performance. You can find that elsewhere for much less. But if you're looking for a complete luxury experience that truly raises the bar, you've found it here.

Improvements to be made:

I believe that it's important to point out shortcomings of brands, without calling people to arms to cancel/boycott them. I think Westman Atelier is doing a lot of things right and with the right intentions. Their customer care is well done and is appropriate for their price level. There are lots of resources and content online to make their products feel approachable. The published content never takes the fear-mongering route that is common with clean beauty brands. They acknowledge that X ingredient isn't 100% proven to be bad for Y reason, but to be safe they've left it out. They have also had promotions where 100% of the proceeds from a product goes towards a charity. One hundred percent. That is people over profit in action. With their brand positioning I think it's absolutely appropriate that their promotions are about donating money rather than dollars-off for the customer because it means those dollars are being reallocated to people in need.

Shade diversity:

They might not have a big shade range right out of the gate, but I believe they did what they could with the given resources at the time, and are now prioritizing doing better. I think as long as they did the best they could for the situation, and they are actively trying to be better, we can cheer them on to continue on the right track.

The Face Trace and Bronzer are two products that really need new shades for medium-dark skintones.

I know that they are working on expanding the foundation line ASAP, but it'd be nice to know an approximate timeline and what shades they are working on. Also the Vital Skin Foundation needs many more shades in general. Fourteen just isn't nearly enough. I also found it disappointing that they don't have the undertones listed under the darkest 4 shades. I can't stand when companies don't put a real shade description and just use a shade name. Like, I have no idea what "butterscotch" or "caramel" means and what the difference is.

Refillable packaging:

I know that this is in the works, but I wish they fought harder to have this from the beginning. I know there was probably a lot of pressure to please Barney's, but look who isn't around anymore. It's hard to balance wanting to do what feels right with what the big boss man is demanding.

Me wearing all the WA products right after my masterclass on how to use the Eye Pods with Gucci Westman