Star of the big screen, small screen and a regular on the red carpet, Sydney Sweeney is in her first flush of fame and it suits her. An undoubted talent with a disarmingly sweet attitude, Sweeney feels like someone you know or, at the very least, someone you'd like to know.
Her skincare routine is an important part of her day thanks to a period of difficult skin as a teen. 'There's no picture proof – because I don't want it out there – but I used to have really, really bad skin,' she shares in a nighttime skincare routine video by Harper's Bazaar.
'I am so grateful and thankful that I don't have acne scars because I am a picker and I dug into my face. I had terrible mounds everywhere. I would make myself bleed. I could not figure out my skin for years and years until I was like 19 [or] 20 years old.'
Tying her hair back, Sweeney begins with a cleanser that melts make-up away without overly drying her skin in the process: the Laneige Cream Skin Milk Oil Cleanser.
'It's amazing, I take off all my make-up with it. I actually put it on my face dry and I don't put water on my face first. I hope that's correct,' she laughs. Have more faith in yourself, Syd! You're absolutely right. Applying an oil cleanser to dry skin helps it effectively break down make-up, SPF, old skincare and general environmental dirt and pollution. After you've finished massaging, emulsifying it with water helps to wash it away.
Unlike other oil cleansers I've tried, this one looks similar to PVA glue. Very nice PVA but big Art Attack energy, nonetheless. Creamy and smooth on the skin, I could feel how much it was hydrating while cleansing. After, there was none of the classic 'squeakiness' associated with gel or foaming cleansers of yore – just plump, hydrated skin.
A surprising next step, Sweeney reaches for a jumbo tub of Vaseline, smearing it around her eyes to remove stubborn mascara and eyeliner. Then, using what looks like a reusable cotton pad, she gently wipes it away.
''Once all my make-up is off – usually once a week – I try to do a facial peel,' she says. 'I have really terrible combination skin. I get oily, dry, cystic acne and if there's a lot of buildup on my face, I will break out more. So I will use this Dr Dennis Gross Universal Daily Peel.'
A two-part system, the Dr Dennis Gross peel works by blending an exfoliating acid with an anti-ageing formula. Designed to slough away dead skin, smooth texture and clear congested areas, the at-home peel is one of the brand's bestsellers.
Having attempted a Dr Dennis Gross peel in the past, I knew the powerful two-step system was too strong for my fickle, post-cold skin. Instead, I removed the dull, dead skin covering my face using the Oskia Renaissance Mask – a butter-like exfoliation balm that works wonders without aggravating my very sensitive skin.
Next step, back to the holy grail, Laneige. An ambassador for the Korean beauty brand, Sweeney has long reported the hydrating, nourishing results the gentle-yet-effective products give her.
'I love putting [the Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Serum] as a base for any and all skincare because I think it just really nourishes my skin,' she says. 'And because I do typically get dry [skin], I think it just helps [to] neutralise everything.'
Sweeney follows the serum with the Solawave Advanced Skincare Wand, a red light therapy and microcurrent device designed to improve skin tone, treat active pimples and reduce inflammation. A small thing, the Solawave is about the width and height of a ballpoint pen, which makes it ideal for someone traversing the globe regularly like Sweeney.
'I feel like it really helps even out my skin tone and if I have a cystic acne pimple coming, it disappears. I do it on my cheeks and then my forehead and my neck. I use this [serum] as a base,' she explains.
I'm a big fan of both microcurrent and red light technology and have used the Solawave for a while. For someone like Sweeney, a small device like this makes the most sense. It can fit into a handbag or be stashed in carry-on luggage. For most budgets, £100+ spent on a skincare tool this small is a stretch and, for a similar price, full-face red light masks are available. This one, by Sensse, is a brilliant option. If you travel regularly or want to combine a few types of therapies in one, the Solawave is still a solid choice.
On to moisturisation. Sweeney picks the Laneige Water Bank Blue Hyaluronic Cream Moisturiser, explaining that during a particularly dry period of filming in Albuquerque, New Mexico, it saved her skin from dehydration disaster. Sealing it in with the Laneige Water Sleeping Mask (which she describes as a 'drink' for thirsty skin), Sweeney finishes by popping a semi-thick layer of Vaseline under her eyes.
'I was finding that a lot of under-eye creams or oils or whatever products were not working for me. It would make my make-up sit strange and I felt like my eyes were getting dry or it wasn't right. I started doing this [using Vaseline] and it's been a life changer,' she says.
A version of slugging, sealing all of those moisture-rich products in with an occlusive balm like Vaseline is a smart move and I was surprised at how bouncy and full my skin felt, even with an under-eye full of petrolatum jelly. Like Sweeney, I find that most eye creams irritate my sensitive skin, but this didn't. It felt like a nightcap for my eyes.
Finally, Sweeney uses the perpetually sold-out, bestselling Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask, an obsession of hers. She has them in every flavour, you know. Beloved for how soft and supple it leaves the lips, I head to bed feeling like a ripe, juicy plum – rich with moisture, dew and a rekindled love for Vaseline. Sweet dreams, Syd!