Gucci Westman on midlife makeup

In my teens, I bought an eyeshadow palette in pastel pink, mint green, baby blue and soft yellow. I wore all four shades at once. Cringeworthy? Yes. But I was having a blast.

I’m not suggesting we take a Rainbow Brite approach to, well, anything, but it’s easy to forget how much fun makeup can be. At this stage, trying something new and colourful can be intimidating.

It doesn’t have to be. When Gucci Westman, the glamorous global artistic director for Revlon, was in Toronto recently, she had a roomful of hard-to-impress beauty editors worshipping at her well-travelled feet. Westman, who just celebrated her milestone 40th birthday, gave me the gospel about midlife makeup, starting off by saying there are “no rules.”

“Okay, I don’t think pink eyeshadow works on mature women; save it for the runway.”


“Know your face and use common sense. It’s great to try new things, but if you’re going to go with a new colour or type of product, do it sensibly. For example, if you want to try a new, bolder lip colour, start with a stain. Walk around at home with it and gradually build the confidence to really wear it well. You don’t want to wear anything self-consciously. Actually, that’s my rule: Be confident with it.”


“I know women over 40 often hold back from using colour, as they remember it from the first time around. You can definitely wear colour on your eyes, but it has to be done in a chic way. For example, if you usually use a dark grey shadow, try working in a little dark blue shadow, which can look very elegant in the evening. You can also try a wash of colour across your lids; just blend well and keep it sophisticated.”


“Dark plum. It’s not flattering and it thins the lips. Go bright with a bluish red instead.”

“I often use a white or flesh-coloured eyeliner on the inside of the eyes, then follow with a tiny bit of brown eyeliner gently dug along the lash line. (Brown is much softer than black.)

Follow with mascara and you’ve got a quick, classic ‘open’ eye.”