Refinery29 caught up with Sweeney over Zoom recently to talk about her new beauty contract with BIC's Soleil razor, her work with HBO, how she's grown into her own off-camera, and the beauty products that she uses in her real life — including a hair crimper and a lash serum that gets her eyelash compliments on the regular.
Refinery29: Hi! I’m excited to chat with you. I’m a huge fan of The White Lotus — your character Olivia is fascinating to me. What was it like playing that role? Did you relate to the character at all?
Sydney Sweeney: White Lotus was one of those crazy blessings — especially during such an insane year. I was beyond petrified, starstruck left and right. I couldn't believe I was in Hawaii filming a show during a pandemic with such talented comedians. I think that every girl can relate to Olivia in terms of the bickering, the relationship between mother and daughter. But my actual personality, I would have been scared of her.
Refinery29: Olivia's personal style was so purposeful and of-the-moment, like her aviator reading glasses and bucket hats. Did you like the fashion and hair and makeup you wore on set?
Sweeney: What's fun is that I actually had a lot of control over how I wanted Olivia to look. I wanted her to be very different from Cassie, my character in Euphoria. They're both on HBO and airing in the same world, same times. So for Olivia, I loved that we did wavy, crimped hair, not that long, blond poofiness. I wanted her makeup to be more minimal and not trying too hard.
Refinery29: Very cool that you had some creative input — what kind of crimper did you use?
Sweeney: I actually have this big crimper; it's three large clamps, and gives you those cool waves. Then for the makeup, we were in Hawaii and it was so hot, so we didn't wear foundation. We wore concealer, blush, minimal mascara, and that was basically it.
Refinery29: In your real life, off set, what does your beauty routine look like?
Sweeney: Makeup depends on how my skin looks. Usually I just use NARS concealer and then a bit of Charlotte Tilbury Pressed Powder, because I do get shiny. I love the Glossier blush. I use Anastasia clear gel on my brows. If it's for red carpet or work, that's a whole different world. We usually use the Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. Finding a foundation that works for my combination skin has been a battle. But this one doesn't split on my face, it stays, it works for my skin. I love it.
Refinery29: Have you ever struggled with acne or skin issues?
Sweeney: Horribly! Middle school through high school I would beg my mom not to send me to school because I was embarrassed of my skin. My T-zone is very oily but dry, so I would get really bad cystic acne on my forehead or chin, or in the crevices of my nose. I could not, for the life of me, not pick. I would dig and dig and have these terrible scabs on my face.
Refinery29: Hormonal acne is the worst. Did you find anything that helped or do you think you grew out of it? Your skin is gorgeous now.
Sweeney: I think it was a mixture of growing out of it and not putting makeup on my acne. For school, I would cake on makeup to cover my skin, and when I got home, it would be all crusty and much worse. When I got to my first year of college, I think I stoped caring so much and stopped wearing so much makeup. What helped me a lot with the picking — and probably why I don't have scars, which is crazy — is that I would mix Neosporin and aloe and put that on my face until everything healed.
Then I found products that didn't throw my sensitive skin out of whack. I wipe my face with Bioderma water before cleansing. I mix an exfoliator with my gel cleanser. Then, SkinCeuticals, I love their oils, I use a bunch of them. I have this collagen cream from Avène that I use. Also, for my body, I use BIC Soleil Sensitive Advanced razor. When I was younger, I used to get terrible bumps and rashes. Now, I don't have to use shaving cream, which used to break me out.
Refinery29: What about nails? Any colours or designs you’re into right now?
Sweeney: My nail artist Zola is unbelievable. Usually every two weeks she does my nails. Right now they're dark blue, but then they have a cat eye. Zola got this new thing where you hold a magnet to the nails and it creates a design. It's fun, like another part of your style where you can express yourself. I bring ideas and mood board before every appointment.
Refinery29: Where do you think your beauty and style inspiration comes from? Do you use TikTok or Instagram to get ideas for hair and makeup?
Sweeney: I love watching all the videos and reading articles that have tips. I find and follow people who have skin like me and try to order things that might work. But now that I've kind of figured out my products, I really just watch and read the fun stuff. I saw this TikTok of this girl who uses this eyelash serum, and I ordered it, and my eyelashes started growing like crazy.
Refinery29: Which serum? I need it.