The Queen of Texture herself talks air dry-versus-blow dry, New York versus Los Angeles and her new 24K product line. Plus, her technique for achieving effortless and lasting volume.
Interview by Olivia Perez
Images by Greg Mitola
Olivia: Describe your hair routine for us.
Sally: If I’ve already done my hair, I’ll let it be. I love second day hair. If I’m doing shoots, I like to blow dry it and wave it. If I’m by the beach, it’s much more piece-y and sultry. My routine is pretty natural.
O: Air dry or blow dry?
S: Both. Depends on the day.
O: A loaded question—New York or LA?
S: I started working in fashion with Steven Meisel and I think my career just moved more towards [New York]. I felt like LA was getting a little stale during that time… I actually like the beaches better here than those in LA.
O: One hair trend you wish would disappear?
S: I hate that over-processed hair look… where it’s tapered in towards your face and very stick straight.
O: What inspired the 24K products?
S: I went into mass production five years ago, CVS and all of that. I was with John Frieda, and I helped him develop his line for ten years. I developed the first beach wave that ever came out—I was always a surfer and knew how genius hair looked when you came out of the ocean. During that time I was working with Herb Ritts in the Eighties and all the models, from Cindy Crawford to Tatjana [Patitz], had a disheveled look. I was known as the Queen of Texture. I was going to do a line with John Frieda, but they ended up selling the company, and the whole economy was changing. From there, I knew I couldn’t do expensive products in mass production. I’ve always been the most expensive hairdresser. I’ve always charged more than anybody and worked at the most expensive salons. There was a disconnect between my brand and I. I’m not mass market—we’re more luxury and high-end. Because of this, I’m able to get better ingredients.
I started with the 24K Texturizing Paste, and I knew I had to have that with me when I was styling. I had my hair care [team] make 5,000 of these and they sold out instantly. I went on HSN just with that and it also sold out. I knew I had something. From there I met with people to try and expand. Sephora ended up seeing the line, flew in overnight, and bought it that day.
O: How do you feel the line is different than anything else out there?
S: First off, I don’t think anyone has a better mousse than this.The mousse just has a grip without going sticky. The same with the Root Lift—they give you the kind of hair you want, and are invisible. It’s all about getting results. I feel like my products are like putting me in a jar. The products embody me as a stylist.
O: What feedback have you received?
S: We checked Sephora’s website today and we’ve gotten five stars on everything—besides the Dry Shampoo, which got four stars. It’s definitely not a standard Dry Shampoo. Mine is a three-in-one. It’s a dry shampoo, a dry volumizer, and a dry hair spray. I took all thewater out. A lot of products’ first ingredient is water, but in my experience, the last thing you want to do after you get your hair done is put water back into it. My product is dry and effortless. Especially when I’m on a shoot, it’s all about capturing a moment. It’s about a gesture in that moment that makes iconic hair. I always prep, but sometimes I just run my hands through the hair to create moments like that. I’ve always been known for a Kate Moss look: sultry and cool hair.
O: Are you looking to expand the line?
S: Definitely. I actually have my hair care office here, so I’m able to go back and forth and have direct oversight. I want to be connected to it, I’m really hands-on. I’m also going to do a line of blow dryers and irons. I know what I need hair to do. I want to expand the line to between twelve and fourteen items (there are eight now). We have Liquid Assets coming out—it’s a Keratin spray, plus a lot of other things launching in October.
My career with [Richard] Avedon, Herb [Ritts], and Annie Leibovitz—it’s all about working. You need to look in the mirror and see what needs it. Hair is like fabric. You need to know the basics, but it’s not always methodical.
"Right now I’m going to put in my Supreme Body Volumizing Mousse. This just gives your hair guts and holding power. It has lasting power, so it’ll stand for a few days, and it’s heat-activated, so if you run your curling iron through it, it reactivates the mousse. Throughout my whole career, I’ve always used mousse, no matter what hair type. It just beefs it up without being sticky or heavy. After that I’m going to put in my Root Lift, which you’re going to live for. You just spray it in at the roots while lifting up the hair. If your hair is fine, like yours, you don’t want to put too much in.
I’m always saying less is more—you can always layer more product on. What I love about the mousse is that it’s super light and very cushion-y. Most mousse is really tacky and sticky. I work it into my hands and rub it through right at the hairline. Then I brush it through so that it distributes evenly through the hair. Now we’ll rough dry your hair.
While [my assistant] is drying you, I’m just wrapping your hair. You can do this yourself—take these clips and section your hair off, curl them up, and clasp them. I’d get around 8-10 in your hair. They’re so easy to do—you’re just twisting it. This really beefs up your hair. The more you do, the fuller it gets.
After drying and styling, I like to apply the 24K Texturizing Paste. It’s super dry, like putty. There’s also the Dry Shampoo, which is less like a shampoo and more like a volumizer/hair spray… three-in-one! Once your hair is dry, flip your hair upside-down and add the spray and the paste all around your hair. It adds texture and volume to your hair. You don’t want the curls to be too perfect. It’s all about building texture.
Lastly, we have a Dry Oil. As with the Root Lift, less is more. I hate having oil in my hair because it makes it too limp. Oil is great for thick hair: you can put it in mid-day and re-blow dry your hair for more texture. If you ever want to reactivate it, you just throw some mousse in along with the clamps and blow dry again. I love long, disheveled hair, like yours and mine right now. It needs to be loose and sexy. Go with your curl."