We fell in love with her way back when we saw her lifestyle videos (her makeover with a young mom of two made us feel all warm and fuzzy inside) and knew we had to learn more about the products this California girl uses, what inspires her beautiful work, and even what she thinks about Kardashian curls (hint: She's not a fan). Read on to learn all about Sunnie and her awesome beauty tips — we promise you'll end up seriously inspired.
What was your journey from beauty lover to hair and makeup pro?
"My first memory of being introduced to beauty was from my mom, who was a dancer. I would see her get all glammed up and she would take me to do beauty pageants when I was little. I think that is where my passion for playing dress-up began. It was my mom who suggested I go to beauty school because it would give me a skill set that would help put me through college. The idea of playing with hair and makeup and making people feel good was very appealing.
I assisted in a salon for a year and then moved to England for love and adventure and serendipitously met the art director of Toni & Guy and ended up training with him for a year. Then, I moved back to San Luis Obispo, CA, the town I grew up in (voted happiest place in America by Oprah!). My best friend Harmony and I opened a salon together. Through owning the salon, I began training as an educator for Paul Mitchell and traveling around the country teaching their hairdressers cutting, color, and styling techniques. I eventually won Paul Mitchell's National photo-shoot contest and got to do my first photo shoot with Lucie Doughty, artistic director of Paul Mitchell. She inspired me to start my print portfolio and build a clientele in Los Angeles.
I eventually sold my salon in SLO, moved to L.A. and worked my booty off building my portfolio. After a year, I was signed to Celestine Agency and have been growing a clientele that includes celebrities, commercial brands, musicians, and athletes.
A year ago, I started my beauty blog as a way to stay connected to my clients in other cities and continue to help them."
What are some of your favorite go-to beauty looks?
"Dewy skin with a pop of color on the lip and soft, wavy hair. I think children's skin and hair are so beautiful. I pull a lot of inspiration from my two goddaughters. They are soooo pretty!"
What are your must-have products for hair, skin, and makeup?
"For hair, I love Neil George Leave-In Conditioner and Neil George Indian Gooseberry Treatment Oil — it smells incredible and leaves my ends frizz-free. Philip B Maui Wowie Beach Mist is amazing for on-the-go waves or for an amped-up blowout. For skin, I'm loving Epicuren Herbal Cleanser, Epicuren Glycolic Lotion, and Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Sun Defense For Face SPF 50. When it comes to makeup, I adore Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer, Smashbox Fusion Soft Lights in Dusk, Dior Diorshow Mascara, Stila Convertible Color in Fuchsia, MAC Eye Kohl in Teddy, Smashbox Eye Beam Double-Ended Brightener, and Smashbox Brow Tech in Taupe."
What does an average day in the life of Sunnie Brook look like?
"My day always starts with coffee or tea and music. Every day is different because I work freelance. Some days, I'm at a studio doing hair and makeup, or on location in the middle of nowhere shooting a music video, or at a client's home getting them ready for a premiere. Some days, I'm flying to do an appearance or makeover for a brand. I spend time each week answering emails, beauty questions, and working on my blog. When it's time to play though, I love a good meal with friends and to plant in my garden, or hang out at the beach."
Photo: Courtesy of Sunnie Brook
"Some of them come out of problem solving when I'm on set or working with clients. I'm always trying to find an easier, quicker, simpler, more inspiring way of creating looks. Keeps things challenging and fun!"
Which three beauty products do you think every girl needs in her beauty arsenal?
"Healthy skin and hair are number one so my three must-haves (dang that's hard! only three?) would be: Egyptian Magic, an amazing night cream, lip balm, eye cream, wound-healer, and more (Madonna swears by it); Head & Shoulders Damage Rescue Shampoo and Conditioner because it's affordable, and keeps my scalp healthy and my hair ready for styling, and Karuna Hydrating Mask, which I use once a week. It renews my skin and calms redness."
When did you decide to start blogging? What made you start?
"I started blogging in January of 2011. Initially, it was a way to stay connected with my clients in other parts of the world and continue to help them with their beauty needs by sharing my knowledge and experience. I also used it as a place to put all that I was continuing to learn, explore, or thinking about as a beauty artist. Next month, I'm excited to be launching my 'Sunnie Brook Loves' beauty shop!"
Who has been your favorite celebrity client that you've worked with and why?
"It's so hard to pick a favorite! I've worked with some very inspiring celebrities and some hilarious ones, too...Mumford and Sons have a dear place in my heart. I nicknamed them endearingly 'The Lost Boys' from Peter Pan, and they said I could be Wendy."
Have you come across any new products or beauty trends recently that you're dying to try?
"I just met a woman this morning at my coffee shop that started Ilia beauty. They have an organic mascara that she was telling me about that I'm interested in trying. Their lipsticks are so creamy and hydrating. There's one called Voila that I really want to try."
How do you describe your style?
"I'd say my style is 'moody.' Ha! It's based on how I want to express myself that day. When you put on clothes, a hairstyle, or makeup, it's a visual communication of you. Some days, I want to dress like a gypsy in a full skirt and bling. Other days, I love throwing on a dress and my Converse shoes. I tend to be drawn toward effortless, fun style. I let my hair air dry most days or wear it in a low chignon and put on minimal makeup. It's my skin and food that I spend most of my beauty routine on...unless I'm playing dress-up; that's a whole other story!"
Which beauty trends are you most excited about? Are there any that you absolutely hate?
"I'm excited to see hair color moving away from extreme ombré to a shinier, more subtle look right now and makeup being more about sculpting your face and less about wearing so much eye makeup — more of a softer, cleaner feel all around. Hate? Can't say I'm much of a fan of women shaving the nape of the neck super-short...bad memories from the '90s! Also, I get a bit twitchy when I see overly perfect Kardashian curls. I just want to get my hands in there and shake it out a little bit so it feels more approachable!"
What was the last thing that inspired you to create a new hair or makeup look?
"The other day, I was looking at this pretty cashmere sweater and loved the texture of it. It had this warm come-cuddle-me feel to it. So, last week I shot a how-to video showing how to create a similar texture to the well-known bun or top knot. A fun twist on a familiar look we are all wearing so much these days. It will be live on the site next week."
What is the best piece of beauty advice you've ever been given?
"'Your best asset is your smile. Use it.' I'm always encouraging my clients and friends to embrace and express who they uniquely are."
Photo: Courtesy of Sunnie Brook