What do Hailey Baldwin, Elisabeth Moss, Hailee Steinfeld, Chrissy Teigan, Chris Hemsworth, and Lana Del Rey have in common? Their hair has all been touched by Sunnie Brook, celebrity hairdresser, educator, and businesswoman extraordinaire.
What started as a desire to "be creative and help people," has transformed into a 15 year career with Sunnie Brook at the forefront of the hair and beauty industry. An experienced educator for Paul Mitchel, salon owner, and Head and Shoulders' go-to celebrity stylist, Sunnie's signature "Relaxed Luxury" style has landed her as the feature stylist for Guess, Pacsun, Stella McCartney and more. We caught up with Sunnie to learn more about her hair care secrets, her favourite celebrity clients, her charity work with Two Wings, and her dream client. Read on...
What was your “big break” in the hair industry?
After being behind the chair for almost 10 years and owning my own salon, I won a national photoshoot contest. Lucie Doughty, the editorial director of Paul Mitchell, was running the contest and the prize was a fully paid editorial shoot collaborating with her. This was my first experience doing a high fashion shoot and it opened many doors for my career.
What are the most challenging things about your career?
Managing it all! Sometimes it’s hard to know what the next best step is or how to get from A to B. Having a schedule that changes all the time has it’s perks but it can be hard to make plans for the future.
What is the most rewarding thing?
The transformation process has always been rewarding . . . over the years its evolved and become about being able to “dress” such talented people that influence in the world and seeing them use their platforms for good.
Tell us a bit more about what it’s like working as the hairstylist for Head & Shoulders.
I’ve been with the brand for 6 years now. It’s a product I have been using since I was a kid. Back then it was because I had (and still do have) dandruff. But now it’s more because I really care about my scalp health and my clients hair health as well. It’s so affordable and I really believe we should not only have beautiful shiny manageable hair but also be protecting our scalp for the future. It’s the number one selling shampoo in the world and it’s been incredible to work with a brand that’s been around for over 50 years. My favorite thing so far with them has been spending time in their labs seeing how the product is made and all the detailed research that goes into each product launch.
What has been your most memorable learning experience?
I think being an educator for Paul Mitchell for 5 years. I got to work with some incredibly talented artists and having to teach others challenges you to own the information in a deeper way. Owning my own salon for 5 years taught me A LOT about business. Within the first few months of opening I enrolled in an 11 week course that paired me with a mentor and taught me the nitty gritty of growing a business.
Who are some of your favourite clients to work with and why?
I love working with Sarah Silverman (she’s hilarious and heartfelt). Elisabeth Moss is an incredibly talented and kind person. She’s always game to try new hairstyles and loves to have fun so it makes me job very enjoyable.
What are your fave hair trends at the moment?
Currently I am seeing very shiny, minimal hair with a bend. A style I like to call “Water Waves.” as they look like ripples. Lots of black french girl bows on ponytails and half up looks as well.
What trends do you foresee for 2018?
For styling I think polished looks. Less matte beachy textures. Elevated waves that are proper sets in the hair but then brushed out for a softness and finished with high shine sprays. For haircuts and colors more geometric bold statements. One length styles with pops of hidden colors.
Any styling secrets for those at home?
If you have wavy or curly hair brush it in the shower when the conditioner is in it. When you get out of the shower don't brush it! Just towel blot with a 100% cotton towel to remove moisture. Use your favorite serums or creams to polish the waves. The shower makes your hair clump together for a less frizzy finish. When you brush after the shower it can break your waves or curls up too much and look unkept as it dries.
What’s your ultimate go-to “2 minute” hairstyle on a busy day?
A high and tight ponytail. It’s like getting a face lift. Tightens the face and elevates everything! I like to call it my 'Power Pony!'
What is your favourite way to use hair extensions?
Hair extensions are magical! I love tape in’s as they are more seamless if the hair is moving around and they are less bulky. I like to not only use them for fullness and length but to add color or dimension to hair that may seem flat or need warming up or blending.
What is your number one must have hair accessory?
Anything from Jennifer Behr. Her pieces are gorgeous!
Who is your favourite hair stylist at the moment or someone you would like to work with?
Eugene Souleiman. I’ve always admired his work. What he creates makes me feel deeply.
What made you decide to launch SB Loves Beauty Shop?
I had a lot of clients asking for my advice on what to buy for their hair. But even more so they wanted to know how to do their own hair. So I created kits that they could buy along with how to hair videos for them. Plus a percentage of the proceeds went to a nonprofit called Two Wings which helps trafficked women get education and job placement.
Can you tell us a bit more about Two Wings and why it is such an important cause to you?
I wanted to invest my time and money into a local organization that was empowering women and making a difference where I lived. It’s a cause that hit my heart because my mom was someone who used her body to make money and I saw the effects of that.
"To be able to help other women change their life path is an incredible gift." - Sunnie Brook
Who is your dream client?
Julie Roberts - ever since I saw her in Pretty Woman I’ve admired her and her amazing hair!
Who is your “hair muse?”
Claudia Schiffer! She never had bad hair. She did relaxed luxury hair and then could va va glam it up to the next level. I often pull her and Cindy Crawford as my hair references.
What advice do you have for any newbies starting off in the industry?
Find a good mentor doing and being what you aspire to be and keep those close to you who encourage and believe in you. The best advice my Dad ever gave me was that life is like climbing stairs. Its hard to jump to the top of the staircase and your very likely to fall if you do. But if you take one at a time you will enjoy the journey and make it to the top!
-As told to Luxy Hair