Is there anyone more in demand at the moment than Saweetie? As we await her debut album, she just released her latest single, “Icy Chain”, and performed it on Saturday Night Live. She’s been in attendance at every major red carpet event of 2021. She’s even had her own McDonald’s meal. (It included “Saweetie ’n Sour” sauce, naturally.) A huge beauty lover, Saweetie was also recently named a global ambassador for MAC Cosmetics, and in addition, she’s an ambassador and frequent collaborator with SinfulColors nail polish — a brand she’s loved since high school. Above all else, she’s also done it all looking absolutely glamorous. Over Zoom, she opened up to NYLON about what goes into keeping up with all of her showstopping appearances.
Perhaps the biggest shock of the conversation was when she admitted her often crazy-long nails are, at least for right now, press-ons. Since she’s started taking piano lessons, she’s prioritized having short nails in her personal time. But she’s still constantly changing and evolving her look, using an ever-growing stash of inspiration on her phone. “On Instagram, we're able to study beauty and fashion and people don't even know it,” Saweetie said. “That's how I view social media– it's like an ongoing, everlasting mood board.” She manages to take in inspiration from all around and turns it out to create a statement all her own.
Below, Saweetie talks with NYLON about her “airplane eyebrows,” how long nails are better for pimple popping, and the TV show that inspired her current hair color.
What’s your earliest memory of playing with beauty products?
I remember getting in trouble. My mom used to be a makeup artist and she had the classic big silver MAC kit. She had hella lipsticks in there and, being curious, I went through her makeup bag and I took all the lipsticks and drew on the mirror. I thought it was artistic.
What's your favorite party of beauty now?
I'm really into skincare. I love a good charcoal mask. I wear a lot of makeup because I work a lot. I think it's important on my days off, or even just when I have time, to put on a charcoal mask and get all the gunk out of my skin. I feel like if I wasn't a musician, I'd be an aesthetician because I enjoy giving myself a facial. I think my favorite is at night because I have time to sit in front of the mirror and I have the magnifying glass and I have at it. I have all the tools to pop pimples and to get white heads and black heads. It sounds really nasty, but it's fun. I'm like an aesthetician for real.
Do your nails get in the way?
I operate better with longer nails. I've been wearing long nails for a long time, so they don't get in the way. Actually, long nails make a good tool for pimple popping.
Day to day, what does your beauty routine look like?
My makeup routine is really light. I try to get ready in under 30 minutes. I'll put a timer on my phone so I'm not in the mirror for a long time, because makeup is like an art to me. I can do my makeup for two hours because the blending, contouring, and trying out different colors is fun to me. But I'm so busy, I try to just keep my routine down to 30 minutes. It's just foundation. I do my eyebrows. I think what gets the most attention are my eyebrows. I'll contour my eyebrows, but everything else is just really quick. And then I put my hair into a bun and throw a hat on. I'm a MAC girl. All my makeup is pretty much MAC Cosmetics.
How does that change when you’re performing? What goes into creating those looks?
It depends on where I'm going and my mood. Sometimes I'm natural and sometimes I'm hella glittery. It just really depends on how I'm feeling. I try to plan with mood boards, but I really dress and I do my makeup based on how I feel. You just never know what you're going to get with me.
Do you have a favorite tip that you've picked up from a makeup artist you’ve worked with?
Everyone does my eyebrows different, but what I really like is when they elongate my eyebrows. I feel like it changes the shape of my face. Eyebrows are really important. I think doing your eyebrows is like doing surgery in 15 minutes. Depending on how you do them, you can change the shape of your face.
What’s your ideal brow shape when you do your makeup?
I would call them airplane eyebrows, because they kind of come out straight and long.
Right now you have this red hair that’s amazing. What's your favorite hair color you've ever had?
Honestly, I'm really feeling this one. And what's crazy about my hair color is that everyone thinks that I'm wearing wigs, but I'm actually dyeing my real hair every time. Right now I'm using Olaplex, but my hair's gone, girl. When I go on my healthy hair journey, I'll let you know.
What inspires you to change your hair color?
Everything is based on my mood. I have an ongoing mood board on my phone. I just look at my vision board of beauty and if I see something I like, I'll just switch over to that.
What was the inspiration behind your red hair?
Squid Game. When he's about to go on the plane, I was like, “I like that color and I'm going to do it.”
Where do you pull your inspiration from for your mood boards on your phone?
All the fly girls on Instagram. Shout out to all the women who keep me motivated. Even girls I don't know. Sometimes I’ll end up on a girl's page and she has like 500 followers, but she’s just hella fly. On Instagram, we're able to just study beauty and fashion and people don't even know it. But that's how I view social media– it's like an ongoing, everlasting mood board.
Let's talk more about your nails. How did your relationship with SinfulColors come about?
It was kind of a no brainer because I've been using SinfulColors since high school, I used to wear hot pink and turquoise as my staples. All I'd wear was hot pink and turquoise and the brand has just always been hella affordable. And I love how the colors have always been bold. So this Made On Mars Collection, I believe, is my third collection. They're supposed to be like extraterrestrial– I thought the alien vibe was cool.
How often do you get your nails done?
Honestly, I try to do once a month because it takes at least five hours to do my nails. Cleaning, maintenance, and then design. I always have design on my nails. I used to get them done once a week, but that's just really draining. I try to get them done once a month, or every three weeks.
What goes into deciding what design you're going to be wearing for three weeks to a month?
Well, my nails are short right now because I'm learning how to play the piano. Because my nails are short, I try to get creative with color and bling. For special occasion I'm going to pop some press-ons on. Temeka Jackson is my nail tech, her Instagram is @customtnails.
How is learning to play the piano?
I'm actually loving it. I'm addicted to my new hobbies– I’m playing the piano and I just got a camera. I don't want to say I'm vlogging, I'm more like a cameraman because I capture everybody. I'm just capturing life and playing instruments. I've always been into instruments and I remember I was playing around on the piano and I liked how it made my body and my soul feel. I'm actually getting lessons now and I just ordered one for my house. I feel like playing the piano is kind of like therapy.