'I never wanted to move to New York City—I never even wanted to visit. I always wanted to live in LA, but it’s super different and I never really fit in. I felt like I couldn’t be myself, but I was 18 and I didn’t really know who I was either. Plus, LA is hard because you have to drive. I couldn’t go out at all and I lived with a scout from LA Models and I slept on an air mattress for four months. When I moved to New York, I was so miserable though—I actually dyed my hair dark the first day I came here. My hairdresser Ali [Fares] did it at Salon Ishi uptown...I'm actually going there tomorrow. When I go in there, it feels warm and welcome, so that means it’s not super bougie. It works for me even though I'm not a super fancy Upper East Side lady. That’s why I love Brooklyn because I feel like I can be myself. I like to go to Spa Castle, but I hate going to these spas in places like that because I feel like everyone is judging me. I try to avoid those places all together, but Salon Ishi is like home.
In my second season, Guido [Palau] cut only my bangs. So he cut them really short, but they grew out finally, and then this past season Guido cut my hair again at Wang. It’s one thing if I get a haircut—I don’t really care—but bangs are a big thing. My hair grows so fast, but you just have to deal with it. It’s grown so much and my bangs are super long so I’ve just started pushing them to the side, and eventually they’ll just start blending in with my hair. This season we are doing nothing! I can’t deal with any more hair cuts!
My color gets super faded super quick, which kind of sucks, but if I’m not working, I don’t wash my hair because I want it to stay healthy. When I do wash my hair, I use the Bumble and bumble Quenching Shampoo and Conditioner. It did wonders for my hair—so expensive, but it’s totally worth it. It’s all I use and it works fine with my hair. If I’m not working I’ll wash it like twice a week, max, but if I am working I’ll wash it whenever I get done with work, which could be every night.
If I’m going out, I’ll usually leave it natural or I wear it in a low bun that’s super loose with wavy, natural hair—very relaxed and pretty. Every once in a while, if my hair is a little flat, I’ll use a sea salt spray, which gives it a little bit of heft and wave and texture, but for the most part I don’t do anything to it.
SKINCAREI’ve always struggled with acne. It’s mostly hormonal acne on my jawline and on my chin. I was always trying new shit and it never worked out, so eventually I was like, ‘I’m just gonna cut the crap and do something super basic.’ I got a Cetaphil Antibacterial Bar and I started washing with that. At the same time, I got the Kate Somerville EradiKate...and they have a Clarifying Treatment Toner and then I’ll use the Oil Free Moisturizer. But the spot treatment is the most important. My friend who is a makeup artist, Lisa Aharon, introduced me to the brand, saying, ‘I’ve had so many clients use that stuff and it really works.’ I’ve literally been using it for three weeks and this is the best my skin has looked when I’m not wearing makeup in two years. I’m really fair and my skin has like pink tones in it so I get redness even if I’m not broken out, but the toner helps with that. The moisturizer is really thick and creamy, but not too heavy. It makes me glow—it’s the perfect product. Oh, I also have the ExfoliKate from her as well, but I’ll use it maybe once a week, max. Every time people say, ‘Oh you should try this or that,’ and I never do, but a lot of people told me about Kate Somerville and I tried it and it worked.
When I'm doing my makeup—I don't do this every day—I’ll use the Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Invisible Cover Stick, followed by the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Radiant Light. When I got it the salesguy said that most people use it as a setting powder, but for me it’s a bronzer. I put it on my cheekbones to shape my face a little. I like to use this Sephora Pro-Stippling Brush or their Airbrush Sponge. Together, the products give me a little bit of color and shine, too. If I don’t feel like doing the Make Up For Ever, I’ll use the Givenchy Mister Light Corrective Pen. I use it only in certain areas like under my eyes because it makes it brighter. Then, I have the Hourglass Mineral Primer, but I’ll only use it if I’m going out and want to look amazing. It’s not heavy and it helps my concealer stay better. If I’m going out and drinking and sweating, it really helps. I don’t use it very often, but it’s supposed to look amazing in pictures.
If I need an eyelash curler or mascara, I’ll just go to CVS. Last time I was at ITG, I got the Make Up For Ever Smoky Stretch Mascara and I like it because it’s not super chunky and it makes my lashes really long and thin. I’m also crazy about Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick Rose Velvet right now. Also, my mom does this thing where she wears this reddish-brown lipstick and I’ve just been super inspired by her lately and the whole '90s thing. Think Winona Ryder–super dark hair, pale skin, blue eyes. I see these girls wearing a matte brownish lip, so I got one. But I have to be careful with colors because my skin tone is hard to work with. Like, I’ve always loved a smoky eye, but I feel like I’ve learned [from makeup artists] what looks good, what to do, what not to do. I’ve strayed away from that and instead do very simple lips or eyebrows because I feel like it draws too much attention, especially with my style. I feel like I can’t go too crazy with my makeup.
My brows are really thick and curly, so the shape can get kind of wild. It’s about shaping them and dying them. They wash out really easily and turn a weird greenish color, though. I use the Sephora Waterproof Retractable Brow Pencil in Midnight Brown. It has a little brush at the end and I have to brush my brows because they’re crazy. That’s all I really do for brows. They’re pretty dark, so that’s a statement. My inspiration is Joan Jett. She’s a fuckin’ bad ass and she wears whatever she wants and she’s not afraid. She’s not a girly girl and she’s not going to dress like that for men–she’s gonna wear whatever the fuck she wants and I love that! It inspires me to be myself and wear whatever I want.”
—as told to ITG
Sarah Brannon photographed by Tom Newton at her home in New York on January 13, 2016.
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