Model Sara Cummings is known for breaking down barriers. From her career-launching campaign with Diesel to ruling the runways of New York Fashion Week, Cummings has never let gender norms define her. Her rock ‘n’ roll attitude has made her one of the edgiest models in the fashion world today. Now as the face of the #NoLabelsNoLimits campaign for Redken, Cummings sat down to discuss everything from her background as a hairdresser to how her personal style has affected her modeling career.
Everyone has a different relationship when it comes to their hair. What does your hair mean to you?
Sara Cummings: I like to keep it simple. Since I started modeling full-time and prefer to go as many days as possible between washing my hair, I have to keep a default look for castings and showing up to work. Having a fluctuating schedule throughout different seasons, I focus more on keeping my hair in its best condition, so that the stylists on set can have strong, durable material to work with.
Redken Mega Masks work great to maintain my hair’s health and are my go-to rescue after shoots that require lots of hot tools or heavy-handed stylists. Also, on my days off, I like to use the Extreme Mega Mask wrapped under some plastic wrap or a shower cap while doing a face sheet mask and scroll through memes on Instagram or as I send cute animal videos to my mom! After the mask has soaked in, I rinse in cold water and comb through a wet/dry product that can be used for air drying or styling if I feel like it. Once my hair is dry, I use Outshine 01 Polishing Milk if I want my hair totally smooth and soft or Rough Paste 12 if I want more grip to it.
It’s not easy for me to stick with one look after all the cosmetology school experiments! A versatile cut is a must for me since I can part my hair anywhere or wear it combed back or forward when I get bored.
Who are your biggest style influencers when it comes to your hair?
SC: IDK. The singer of Placebo, Brian Molko? Shirley Manson from Garbage? The Sneaker Pimps music video for “Spin Spin Sugar”? Brody Dalle from The Distillers? I could go on and on.
Also, I love the hair stylists who view their work as an interpretation of architecture and geometry. The ones can really understand the variety of head shapes and textures in order to create a unique style for each individual person - the intuitive type stylists. Stylists who continue their education throughout their career and attend workshops, regardless of how many years of experience they have, inspire me. It’s an industry with big personalities and sometimes an ego can take over and cause burn out. That is when they stop caring and fall into the routine of the same familiar techniques on every client and the passion disappears. I never want that.
What styling products do you find yourself reaching for?
SC: One of the first products I ever started using was the Redken Rewind 06 Pliable Styling Paste! I think in the early 2000’s when I cut my waist-length hair for the first time to a mid-length layered look. I was going for that trendy Y2K pop star vibe with the slightly upturned, pieced out flicks all over. I would rub Rewind in my hands and then hold them next to my head and shake my hair like crazy, so the product grabbed onto random ends of the layers perfectly! I always find different ways to work with it. Now, I love it, because I prefer to add more weight to my hair while keeping the separation. My fine hair gets very fluffy when it’s clean and a day of running around through NYC’s gusty wind tunnels can make it difficult to keep styled without its flexible control. Plus, it is easily refreshed by using damp hands and tossing through your hair when necessary.
What would you say to someone who might be afraid to try a new style?
SC: If the time feels right, then go for it! Embrace the shift that happens after the change. Guido Palau’s work is iconic and his reputation of transforming so many model’s looks that end up launching their careers is a perfect example of the possibilities that trying a new style can have on someone’s confidence and courage. More often than not, taking the risk of a big change is totally worth it when you’ve found a stylist who can listen and connect
How has your background as a stylist influenced your relationship to beauty?
SC: I think it is underestimated how much hair styles can influence a person’s identity and how trying out various styles could allow one to explore a different part of their personality. For me, it could act as a tool to explore and learn how to transition between edgy styles to more commercial looks, depending on different shoots I am working on and help to broaden the range of projects I can cast for.
What are a few of your favorite beauty tips/tricks that you learned when training as a stylist that you still use today?
SC: To keep haircolor fresh in between retouches, I add a small amount of semi-permanent or temporary haircolor to my shampoo and conditioner when washing my hair and use cold water to seal it in.
Want to see more of Sara Cummings? Check out @Redken for the latest updates with our muses, influencers, and spokesmodels!