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#MWITSCHOOL Live – Styling with Sarah Black

Our reigning It List It Girl joined us live on Instagram for a very special edition of #MWITSCHOOL, showcasing some seriously cool real-time styling. Watch the full session here on IGTV.

From discussing her life in colour and career highlights, to social media and her experiences of working on editorial shoots, #MWIT19 champion Sarah covered it all while creating a gorgeous dusty-peach look, exclusively for Creative HEAD. Anna Samson, editor of Creative HEAD Ireland, hosted proceedings and got the inside scoop.

Sarah had to think creatively from the off, challenged with the limitations of products immediately available in her home (as is the case with so many of us), so her vision was of beautifully styled, “simple, beautiful, cool hair, taking some inspiration from that sort of ‘60s It Girl” – with the help of a block head and a peachy wig.

Sarah quickly made a name for herself as one of Aberdeen’s go-to colourists at the multi-award winning Linton&Mac, securing a residency at Ky Wilson’s The Social whenever she was down south, and has just joined the team at Adam Reed’s brand new eponymous salon. Her L’Oréal Colour Trophy 2017 win made her colour skills the talk of the town, but she carries the same character inspiration through to her styling. As she prepped, she realised this has been the longest period she hasn’t used colour since first donning an apron. “I don’t know how long I can cope!” she joked.

“We’re talking Brigit Bardot, Bond girl-esque hair, with this look” she explained, before admitting that she’d already come up against setbacks in her plan before she’d even begun. “Because what I wanted to create was the colourful side of the ‘60s… prepping it all yesterday, I realised a few of my wefts I’d found to use were a little bit synthetic, and they won’t actually set.” We’ve all been there! Realising she couldn’t get the exact look she wanted, Sarah shrugged it off and set to work: “These things happen!”

Producing ‘60s inspired hair is all in the details, which help to set it apart from another copy-cat, pastiche style. “The key to this look is how I’ll actually finish the hair,” Sarah explained. “That’s how you make or break a look – when you dress it out the wrong way, too much, it loses its shape.”

The BaByliss Pro 32mm Dial-A-Heat tong was her tool of choice as she worked in alternate directions, leaving the ends of sections out, and not allowing the heat to sit too long and set. “When I was researching I always had an idea in my head of [’60s looks] being a lot more perfect, but actually it really wasn’t like that at all,” she mused.

As she worked, talk turned to her win at last year’s Most Wanted and It List Awards. “It was such an incredible night, I really didn’t expect it,” she recalls. “I was up against such fierce competition but it’s such an honour to be recognised for your work. You spend a lot of time with clients, but when you’re doing extra work at home, pulling all-nighters and early mornings, flying back and forth… I enjoy all of it, but it really was ‘This is why I’m doing it’, because I love it and someone’s recognised me for it.”

Once lockdown eases, Sarah will be seeing another big change to her life as she shifts her focus to London, flying back up to Aberdeen every six weeks in a reversal of her previous routine. This way she gets to keep her long-term clients (and ensure they stick to regular colour maintenance while she’s at it!) and see her family, while taking her career to new heights. “It’s not about ‘this’ or ‘that’” she explained, “it’s having the option to design the career and the job you want.”

As Sarah eased the curls out, with hairspray spritzed over a bristle brush, she spoke about the importance of authenticity on social media, and how the ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ approach simply doesn’t work for some people, including her. How being the new person on set or in a team for London Fashion Week can be intimidating, especially if you’re not a particularly boisterous type – and how that’s perfectly fine.

But back to the look – “I wanted to get this airiness into it,” she explained, before moving on to the classic ‘60s sweeping fringe shape, and explaining why she never cuts fringe shapes into wigs until it’s on the model: “You could just end up wasting a lot of expensive hair!” A distinctive volumised bump at the back, with less lift around the front but steering away from beehive territory, followed. “When it comes to styling I’m a mix’n’matcher,” she admitted, talking her way through her (limited) kit choices and how she makes them work.

“If I was shooting this I’d have shot it before putting the body in top,” she decided as she put the finishing touches to the look. “This is something I’ve learned from Ky [Wilson] – shoot it, then go back in, shoot it again, then go back in… then you’re never going to go too far.”

Click here to watch the full #MWITSCHOOL styling session, only on Creative HEAD’s IGTV!