Sunnie Brook Jones is no stranger to serendipity. In fact, it was somewhat by chance that she got mixed up in the wild world of celebrity hairstyling. Before she was whisked away by — unbeknownst to her at the time — one of Britain's top stylists, Craig Mason, Brook Jones hadn’t given much thought to A-listers and runway models.
Instead, she’d enrolled in beauty school at 17 with hopes that her craft could help other women feel their best. “I knew from a young age that being creative and helping people made me happy,” she recalls. “I had no idea that I would one day be working in the fashion industry or doing celebrities’ hair.” She has since risen to eminence in the celebrity stylist landscape, one red carpet ‘do at a time, even scoring an official partnership with Head & Shoulders®.
Below, Brook Jones shares exactly how she made the transition from beauty school to schooling us all — plus, her unexpected tip for extending a blowout, the skincare routine she lives by, and the celebrity hair look she’s most proud of.
Spotlyte: Was there an “aha” moment when you realized that hair was going to be your passion?
Sunnie Brook Jones: There have been a few. One was a day in beauty school when we gave makeovers to women from the local shelter. The transformation that took place in my chair was the greatest joy I had ever felt in my life. I saw the expression of the woman in my chair shift from defeat to confidence. As she looked in the mirror, her face lit up with so much admiration and self-love, and I thought, “This is how I want to spend my life, helping people see what a beautiful gift they are to the world.”
Spotlyte: How has your outlook on your role in the industry changed over time?
SBJ: In the beginning, I just cared about being able to pay my rent; but over time, I began to learn of all the different career paths that the beauty industry offered. After working for five years behind the chair, I had a serendipitous meeting in England with the British Hairdresser of the Year. At the time, I had no idea who he was. I had walked into his salon looking for a job and he hired me on the spot to assist him. After working for him for a year and attending Toni & Guy® extended education, I moved back to California and opened my own salon.
Spotlyte: How did you make the leap from salon owner to celebrity stylist?
SBJ: Five years [after I started my own salon], I was introduced to the editorial world through [stylist] Lucie Doughty. I entered my [work] in a contest she was doing — and I won. As the winner, I received a fully-funded photoshoot with wardrobe, models, photographers, and a makeup artist [to showcase my work]. After this first shoot, I realized I wanted to focus on editorial work. Job by job, I met people, built my portfolio, and eventually began getting referrals to work with celebrities.
Spotlyte: How would you describe your artistic style? Is there a “look” you’re prone to creating?
SBK: My “vibe” is “relaxed luxury.” I love texture and how silhouettes can transform the face. The simplest look can be elevated by the amount of volume you choose to give hair, or the way you mold the hair to contour the face.
Spotlyte: What are some of your favorite looks you’ve created, and why?
SBJ: I’m very critical of my work and am constantly looking at how to improve. Every head is a new canvas — even if it’s someone I’ve worked with many times. Hair can be affected by water, climate, body temperature, etc. When all of the pieces come together — hair, makeup, wardrobe, and clients’ energy — and they all sing in harmony, that’s when I’m happiest with a look.
One of those memories was with Elisabeth Moss at the Cannes Film FestivalTM;. She is an incredible person and really trusts me when we collaborate. As an artist, having no limitations allows me to do my best work. That’s when I’m most satisfied.
Spotlyte: Any upcoming hair trends you’re anticipating for this year?
SBJ: Hair gel is going to make a comeback. From sleek to sculpted looks, less touchable hair (at least in fashion), and more strong silhouettes are things I’d expect.
Spotlyte: What does your haircare routine consist of?
SBJ: I love clean, healthy hair, and wash my hair every other day. One of the staples in my routine is the Head & Shoulders® Smooth & SilkyTM; Collection — the products gently cleanse, rejuvenate, and nourish the scalp, and provide 24-hour frizz protection. I always use the shampoo and conditioner together to lock in the scalp care benefits. Additionally, once a week I use Biolage® HydraSource® Deep Treatments because the water in LA dries my hair out, and the product keeps my waves soft.
Spotlyte: Do you use styling tools on yourself? If so, which ones?
SBJ: I use the T3® blow dryer and their Twirl TrioTM; curling irons. The blow dryer is lightweight and fast, so it’s easy to use on myself. I love that these irons are compact, give multiple options, and truly heat evenly so my waves last all day long.
Spotlyte: Any tips for extending a blowout?
SBK: I recommend using a silk pillowcase or silk hair turban to keep the cuticle of your hair smooth. If you find your blowout going flat, pull your hair into a loose bun on top of your head while you’re taking a shower. The heat from the shower will lift the roots of your hair and give you added volume. The key is to let the hair completely cool before taking the topknot down.
Spotlyte: How important is skincare and/or beauty to you? Do you spend a lot of time on your routine?
SBJ: I possibly spend more time on my skincare routine than my haircare routine. I have a morning and evening skincare routine that I consistently do, which involves a lot of time masking! To me, skincare is the most important part of your beauty routine. Healthy skin is the foundation for every look.
Spotlyte: Which skincare products are you loving right now?
SBJ: I have sensitive skin and have used Epicuren® products for 10 years now. Their Eye AliveTM; Serum gives you a fresh “I slept eight hours” look instantly. I also love iS Clinical® Reparative Moisture Emulsion, which provides hydration with no grease.
Spotlyte: Any facials/lasers/treatments you swear by?
SBJ: I go to Rescue Spa℠ in NYC. I love Diana — she gives the most incredible microcurrent facial. You’ll leave feeling and looking like you got a face lift. She is so knowledgeable and will educate you on your personal skin needs. In Los Angeles, Cynthia Franco is a skin magician! She has a wealth of knowledge and is transparent about what truly works. She was the only person I trusted to prepare my skin before my wedding. She is also a licensed massage therapist, so she immediately puts you at ease. Additionally, for the past few years, I have done a laser facial called [Laser] Genesis®. It helps the skin to produce collagen, helping with fine lines and wrinkles.
Spotlyte: What is your stance on cosmetic injectables?
SBJ: I am glad there are noninvasive options for women and men. However, I personally love wrinkles and laugh lines, as they tell stories. But, I also think it’s great to have the option.
Spotlyte: Do you talk to your friends about injectables?
SBJ: Yes, we talk about it. Many of them ask me about it. As a hairdresser who works with celebrities, I get the inside scoop. There are also alternatives, so I tell my friends to do their homework prior to trying anything to see what the best options are for them.
[Editor’s note: Injectable wrinkle reducers temporarily smooth the look of moderate to severe wrinkles in certain areas of the face, including the forehead, frown lines, and crow’s feet; they should not be used more frequently than every three months. Injectable filler is a temporary treatment that adds volume to areas of the face such as the lips, cheeks, and laugh lines. Like any medical treatment, both injectable wrinkle reducers and injectable fillers have potential risks and side effects. Talk to a licensed provider to see if they’re right for you. And learn more now by chatting with a trained aesthetic specialist.]
Spotlyte: Desert island beauty product?
SBJ: Does water count?! I should say sunscreen, but I think my Lucas PapawTM; ointment would come in more handy!
Spotlyte: When you’re not working, what are some of your favorite pastimes?
SBJ: I love traveling, exploring new places, and experiencing and expanding my knowledge of architecture and design. Additionally, I enjoy long delicious meals conversing with friends, spending time at our home in Palm Springs reading, or having time and space to let my creative mind find inspiration. And I can’t say no to cuddling my dogs for hours in pajamas while drinking coffee.
Spotlyte: Do you have any beauty icons?
SBJ: Julia Roberts was the first woman I was truly captivated by. Watching her in Pretty Woman . . . she sparkled. I was obsessed with her wild curls, even to this day. Also, Sophia Loren, one of the greatest female stars of classic Hollywood cinema.
Spotlyte: When do you feel your most beautiful?
SBJ: When my husband or a good friend that truly knows me, knows all my stuff, looks at me with love and acceptance. Then, in that moment, I feel beauty in all its fullness.
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