Bea Sweet

World Renowned Makeup Artist

Takes us Behind the Look of her retro GQ cover shoot!

From favourite makeup products to her best beauty advice…we chat to the fabulous Bea Sweet as she goes ‘Behind The Look’ of this stunning GQ shoot with Adwoa Aboah! We just loooooove her!

Can you tell us about the Adwoa Aboah for GQ look? What was the inspiration for it?

For me, the makeup I deliver is less about the trend and more about the embodiment of the person who’s wearing it.  The kind of woman that would wear this makeup is the kind of woman who is making waves, who other people turn to for guidance and support, a person who isn’t afraid to be the face of a movement.  And you can see this reflected in Adwoa in who and what she is as an individual and activist, through her messages in her podcasts & her open-armed support of other people, and just through her visibility.  This makeup was about visibility, we wanted an iconic makeup for an icon!

What products did you use to create the look?

I used all Marc Jacobs Beauty.  I prepped skin with Under(Cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer & a little Under(Cover) Perfecting Coconut Eye Primer around the eyes.  I sketched the shape out with Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in Blacquer and then went over it with Magic Marc’er because it’s waterproof & helps to get that solid, deep black line.  I used this to create the shapes under the eye as well.  I used Velvet Lash Primer underneath the mascara to help maximise the effects of the mascara, with Velvet Noir Volume Mascara over the top for the most drama in the lash.  I finished the look with a little Lip Lock Moisture Balm.

Any tips for anyone at home wanting to recreate a similar look?

When drawing the socket line keep your head at eye level looking straight forward because that’s the position this makeup will be viewed by other people & so that’s the angle your socket lines should look best at.  And always start in the middle and work your way out, it’s easier to keep to an even line if you do that

What was the vibe like on set? Can you talk us through the day?

It was super fun! Adwoa is such a chill energy to be around & every inch the professional, she sat like an angel through makeup & was completely present for every image, she works incredibly hard & it was great to see her working and in her zone.  Luke Day, the stylist is probably one of the most utterly gorgeous men you’ll ever meet and he had pre-planned all the looks so he had rails with the clothing laid out into styling options, in the end he dressed her in Bottega Veneta for the cover.  Buzz White was the Photographer, he was so much fun & a natural in getting Adwoa to be able to relax and laugh for the camera, I think it’s a tribute to the success of the cover that we were so blessed with such an amazing team, this cover is one of my proudest moments so far

What would you say your signature beauty look is?

Something wearable, cool, new.  I’ve described it before as being “a look to the future with a nod to the past”

Do you use cruelty-free beauty products in your kit?

Transition from using cotton wool pads to reusable cotton cloths, it takes a bit of getting used to but when you think about how much stuff you’re no longer putting to landfill that should be enough to help spur the change.  Also only use cotton buds that have biodegradable stems, so ones that are made of paper or bamboo, then that way you can put them in your food waste or compost bins

What would you be doing if you were not a makeup artist?

An Opera singer.  I am a classically trained Mezzo Soprano & I’ve sang since I was 7, I can also play the piano, guitar & alto-sax. But I’d actually like to be in an all-female Heavy Metal band, I love metal music.

"My hero products are the Moisturising Colour Tints, they're sheer & balmy so they're just enough. I've used the Sweet Potato Pigment on my eyelids with Elderberry on my lips, it looks super cute!"

What items should everyone have in their kit?

A very good lip balm, a lip scrub, a transparent eyebrow gel, a heavy duty body moisturiser, hand sanitiser & breath mints

Who is your dream client?

Someone fearless & fearlessly female.  Solange, Billie Eilish, 1990’s Missy Elliott, Alek Wek, Sasha Lane, St Vincent

Do you have any career highlights so far?
Working with Kelly Rowland was pretty incredible, I paid for myself to get to Paris just to do that.  I thought, not many people get this opportunity – so go & take it!  I try to take every opportunity I get.  Working with Dua Lipa was amazing & travelling the world with her was also amazing, I went all around Europe & to the Algarve where I stayed in a hotel right near the beach.  I had the best ever time with Charli XCX (who I love so much even now) we’ve been to Glastonbury Festival together, to a super yacht in Cannes, Amfar, Club Plastic in Milan!  Working with Erykah Badu is also a massive, huge highlight.  She’s so iconic, her energy is deep, she’s one of the kindest and most respectful, beautiful people I’ve ever met.  So many great experiences & genuinely living my best life.

What is a day in the life like for you?

A beautiful, ordered chaos.  If I’m shooting I will have fully prepared the kit the night before, I will have planned my looks, called in products from PR’s if I needed to & be ready, waiting outside with the kit bags for when my car arrives.  I like to arrive early for every shoot so it gives me time to get an oat latte, every day starts with one of those.  I’m usually nearly always one of the first on set, and I’ll probably be one of the last ones to leave because I stay to clean my models face off from the makeup at the end of the shoot, I think it’s important to do out of respect for their skin.  And then you have to pack the kit back down again exactly the same as it was when I arrived, I do have assistants so I don’t do this alone!
If I’m not on a shoot, I’ll either be going on meetings, prepping for a shoot, organising the kit, emailing clients back, answering interviews, planning meetings & scheduling calls, chasing invoices, sending invoices or working on moodboards, face charts, sketches & ideas.  I could also be arranging hotels, flights, transport and travel.  I don’t have an agent, so I do it all myself, it’s a lot of work but honestly I’m very, very organised and touch wood, I get it all done.  I heard something once which said, if you want something done, ask someone who’s busy!

What is the best piece of beauty advice you ever received and what is the best piece you could give?

The best piece I’ve ever received was to wash my makeup off at the end of the day, and this is what I have done for years thanks to my Mum.  She loves a foaming gel cleanse followed by a twice-weekly clay or peel mask.  I love an oil-based cleanser to make sure I lift off all the mascara that I wear, and I don’t do masks (my skin is far too sensitive).  I never, ever use wipes on my face, not only are they non-sustainable but they will never fully remove all of your makeup.  I moisturise my face, neck and decollatage every time after I have cleansed it in the evening, putting this bit of love back in to your skin is a lovely way to thank yourself for the hard work you’ve done that day. My best advice is to invest in a good eye cream, and apply it using your ring fingers because they are the fingers that apply the least amount of pressure on the sensitive tissue around the eyes.  Our eyes take a lot of makeup, we probably wear more makeup on and around our eyes than we do on our whole face, so it makes sense to pay a little extra attention afterwards to this area.  Never be afraid to spend good money on a good eye cream.