The #ITGTopShelfie interview series focuses on the beauty routines of Into The Gloss' lovely, accomplished, and loyal community of readers. Submit your own on Instagram—post your Top Shelfie (tag us @intothegloss!) and include the hashtag #ITGTopShelfie for a chance to be featured on ITG.
“Hi! I’m Sydney (@sydney_sweeney). I grew up in Spokane, Washington, which is on the border of Washington and Idaho. Ever since I was really little, I’ve loved movies, and I always thought it was a lot of fun to pretend to be other people. When I was about 11 this very small independent movie came to town. I begged my parents to let me audition. My family is very traditional—my dad was a pharmaceutical rep and my mom was a lawyer and then a stay-at-home mom. They had two kids, a son and a daughter, put us in every sport possible, and education was always number one. My parents thought wanting to be an actor was like wanting to be a princess. It was this completely unrealistic dream. I presented my parents with this five-year career plan for what could happen if I auditioned, they let me do it, and I ended up booking the movie. I started acting more seriously in eighth grade, and then my entire family moved to LA. It was very hard on them because they were leaving all they knew behind, but at the same time it was such a fun, exciting world.
At a certain point, everything fell in place all at once. I had Sharp Objects and Handmaid’s Tale literally come out at the same time—just a month after Everything Sucks. And then about two or three months after that, I booked Euphoria. Euphoria pushed my career over the edge, for sure. When I was younger, I used to only want to do movies. But now I think TV shows are more impactful—they’re these beautiful, elongated versions of movies, and they reach so many people because of all the streaming services. It’s also fun because you work on a series for six months plus, so you really grow close to the cast and crew. I’m filming a show in Maui right now, and it’s been pretty unbelievable. I’ve also learned there are so many opportunities in film that don’t involve being in front of the camera. I’m the person where, if we were supposed to do a group project in school, I did it all myself. I really enjoy diving into different parts of the industry and just seeing what else I can be a part of. I started my own production company called Fifty-Fifty Films, and I’m excited to build that out. If I were going to make another five-year plan, I’d add in the production company, a house, and a good private life. I want to balance it all.
I have really sensitive, combination skin—I get oily and then I get dry and then I get cystic acne. It’s just this horrible mixture. Makeup has a difficult time sitting on that. I saw multiple dermatologists, and they would all put me on pills and topicals… nothing worked. It was also all really strong. I was experiencing breakouts on my arms, and whatever I was using actually left me with a chemical burn. Honestly, I think it was just my hormones, and my body growing up. You can’t control those things. I just had to wait for my body to balance itself, and eventually it did calm down. I was terrified to stop taking the medication that they gave me, but I was on it for too long and I had to. That’s how I figured out my face doesn’t break out like it used to anymore. And by the time I stopped taking the medication I had also figured out the right skincare and makeup products. It was good timing, I guess.
I use two different face washes. I start with a Caudalie cream exfoliant because I get horrible blackheads when my skin is dry. And then I use the Avène Gel Cleanser. It’s blue, it’s great, I love it. Afterwards I put on this French Embryolisse cream. I used to break out horribly from different lotions, and when I was filming Voyeurs in Montreal this time last year, my makeup artist used Embryolisse on me. For the first time my skin wasn’t breaking out, so I ordered it, and it’s all I use now.
My body is also sensitive—my chest and my arms will break out. I’ve been using this really amazing body cleanser from Ouai, which smells so good. And then I read somewhere that coconut oil is really good for sensitive skin, so for lotion I use that. The Virgin Coconut Oil Cream by Naturewell was one of Amazon’s top purchases, and it was a great price so I got it. I’ve been using that for a year now. I use the EltaMD sunscreen on my face, but for my body I just use whatever spray one is available. Right now I’m using the Neutrogena spray. It’s for skin types prone to acne, so it works for me.
I didn’t wear makeup until I came to LA. When I look back at pictures from when I was in high school, my face looks orange and I have way too much powder on. I’ve learned so much about my skin and so many makeup techniques from working on different projects, and I really enjoy it now. I’ve been working with the same makeup artist, Melissa Hernandez, for about three years. She is just my saint. When someone knows your skin and your face, and how you want to look, it makes you feel so much better. She knows that I love my thick eyebrows and when my skin just looks clean, I like full lips, and I like when my eyes don’t look too crazy. There have been so many times when makeup artists have tried to put fake eyelashes on me, and that’s not me. Melissa knows how to make me feel comfortable, which is why we can explore different looks.
When I do my makeup, I always start with a primer. I did not know how important primers were until recently. I get oily in my t-zone and I don’t like being shiny there, so I use Tarte Poreless. It has a matte finish. Then I use two different shades of the Glossier Perfecting Skin Tint. One time I saw Melissa mixing up foundation for me, and I was like, ‘Wait, you can mix them?’ That’s really important because I’m not just one color. Depending on how tan I am, either I mix G11 and G10, or I do G11 and G9... I always have two or three different shades of foundations with me. And I either apply it with my fingers or a dampened Beautyblender, which is my savior. For concealer, I usually bounce between Stretch Concealer in G9 or G10, but if I’m really pale I switch over to the Yves Saint Laurent Radiant Concealer in 1, which is high coverage. I use it under my eyes, under the sides of my nose, and then if I have a zit or a spot—I pick my zits, so then they turn into spots—I put it on there, too. I dab Charlotte Tilbury’s pressed powder wherever I get shiny, and I also use their Filmstar Bronze and Glow, which is a little duo of bronzer and highlighter. I’ve seen so many videos of where to put Glossier’s Cloud Paint, but I always just put it on the apple of my cheek and blend upwards, and then a little on the bridge of my nose to bring the color through my face. I like Puff, the very pink one.
I absolutely love mascara. Glossier Lash Slick looks super natural, and I love how it spreads out all of my eyelashes and makes them look full. If I want more of a statement, I’ll put that on first and then a coat of Maybelline mascara on top to make it look clumpier and thicker. I’ve never plucked my eyebrows, and I like to use Boy Brow in Blond on them. For more of a structured look I put the Anastasia clear gel on top of it. That makes my brows look thick and wet, and I can truly structure them however I want. To finish I just use the classic Burt’s Bees chapstick on my lips.
At night I take my makeup off with Bioderma Sensibio micellar water. I used to use makeup wipes, but they were so harsh on my skin. After that I wash my face with the Cleansing Gel again and then apply Vintner's Daughter and Skinceuticals’ C E Ferulic. I tend to get really red and dry around my mouth and the creases on the sides of my nose. I used to use Nivea but that would break me out, and now I use this Collagen Calming Relief Lotion from Algenist. It’s in a small tube and it just calms everything. I use the Sisley Eye Contour which, I don’t know if it actually works. And then I actually use a little Neosporin. I almost never get huge zits anymore, but two years ago it was awful—when that happens, I just put a little Neosporin on and it makes them go away.
I have had quite a battle with my hair. I grew up with long beautiful brunette hair, and I started adding highlights when I was 18. And when I booked Euphoria, they wanted me to go full blonde. I see Flo, who also does Hailey Bieber’s hair. I think her blonde is just legendary so I’m always like, ‘Just make me blonde like Hailey.’ His blonde is like no other blonde, and he’s so much fun—his personality is this incredible bundle of joy. He also cuts it once a year, whenever I’m forced to get a trim. When I was 16 my hair was almost down to my belly button, and I went to get just the dead ends cut off and the stylist… I don’t know what happened, maybe she got too excited? She cut my hair almost to my shoulders and it’s never grown back. Plus, even though I love being a blonde, the bleach kills my hair—because it’s so fine it breaks off really easily. I haven’t colored my hair all quarantine, so finally it’s growing out.
I have to color it again in a few months, and I’m really working on getting it stronger in the meantime. I’ve been using a mixture of all different hair masks and putting oils in my hair, just hoping that it grows. I use Olaplex shampoo and conditioner, and I’m hoping that helps. I also use the Olaplex hair mask two times a week, plus a bunch of others. I read a lot of beauty sites and I’ll just order whatever I read about, hoping it’ll make my hair grow. I try to leave masks in for as long as possible—if I’m going to work out I’ll just put it on and put my hair in a bun, or I’ll mask when I’m just sitting around the house. I always try to keep it in for at least an hour. I also use the Oribe Gold Lust Hair Oil and then, especially before work, I always spray this In Common Magic Mist. That’s a heat protectant.
My natural hair is straight—I always feel like when you have straight hair you wish it was curly, and when you have curly hair, you wish you had straight. I usually curl my hair with one of those big barrel wands that doesn’t have a clamp. I also started using this big barrel crimper from Babe Waves—I hadn’t been able to find one, and then I saw this one on Instagram for like 40 bucks. It gives me a soft, beachy wave—it doesn’t look like I crimped it, and it doesn’t look like I curled it. I love it a lot. If I don’t want to heat style my hair, I just french braid it before I go to sleep. When I wake up, it’s curly.”
—as told to ITG
Photos via the author