Hairstylist and queen of balayage Samantha Cusick shares the haircare and skincare she uses on repeat
Stylist Samantha Cusick, 33, has tended to the tresses of Instagram’s biggest names, from Zoe Sugg to Tanya Burr, creating head after head of picture-perfect balayage and providing endless hair inspiration posts for her 76,000 followers.
She opened her first salon, Samantha Cusick London, in Notting Hill in 2016 and this summer opened her second space in Fitzrovia. “My main drive behind opening Samantha Cusick London was to create an environment that isn’t pretentious or intimidating that clients and staff could enjoy. I want the women who visit my salons to leave feeling empowered and with the hair that they actually want and that works for them."
Originally from Nottingham, Samantha grew up around hairdressing; her mum is also a stylist. She began her training in her hometown when she was 17, then eventually left Nottingham eight years ago when her fiancé’s job moved them to London. “I never thought I would leave Nottingham but looking back it was an instrumental part of expanding my career and I just love living in the capital.”
Here Samantha tells us about her day to day life and the beauty she always uses
My typical workday
“I wish I could say I was one of those morning people that get up at stupid o’clock and have their inbox cleared before most are out of bed but I am definitely not. I usually get up around 8 am spend ten minutes trying to get by British bulldog Sid to get off my bed and go downstairs for his breakfast before I jump on my Peloton for a spin .
“In the last few years I've had to find ways to keep on top of my anxiety levels and starting the day with a 30-minute ride with the instructor Cody Rigsby works for me. I’ll make myself a little decaf (thanks anxiety) flat white with oat milk for while I get ready to head to the salon for 9.30 am.
“My working weeks are quite varied as I have days in the salon doing hair for my lovely clients, which on those days is my sole focus. I’ll check emails as and when I can but ultimately my time is theirs. There are days that are totally admin focused where I spend time on all things to do with running a business and strategising with my incredible team. Then there are the days where I am away from the salon on shoots or press events for brands or filming social content for their platforms or ours, there is never a dull day to be honest.”
“I try to make the most of my weekends, though on many occasions I end up working in some capacity or another; one of the perils of being a business owner I guess. When I do have downtime in London I love to hang out at home. We have just renovated our entire house and it's just so nice to have a space to relax in. At least once a month I try to head back to Nottingham to see my family, especially my nephew Ted who’s one and just brilliant. Being an auntie is the best!"
Wellness from the inside
“For the past six months, I have been plant-based with my diet and it's honestly been the best thing I have ever done. Not to sound preachy but it has been such a positive change for me. My skin, hair and nails have never looked so good and I sleep so much better.
“In the past I've been guilty of being so work focused that I neglected spendiing time with friends and family, even if it just making ten minutes to be present on a FaceTime or to meet a friend for a glass of wine and catch up.”
My best tip or best advice I’ve been given
"About seven years ago my friend Tanya Burr said to me ‘Sam, you really should be posting your work online.' I took her advice and began posting my clients' hair on my Instagram profile. I didn’t do anything especially crazy, just took a photo of the back of their hair after I had coloured and styled it for them and posted it.
“Very quickly my following grew but most importantly new clients were finding my profile and booking appointments with me to have their balayage done. Thanks to Tanya’s advice and the power of social media I soon found myself in a position to be able to open Samantha Cusick London and had a voice to do things my way."
Samantha Cusick’s beauty and wellness essentials
1. Le Labo Santal 33, £60
“A client of mine wore this every time she came to see me for her colour and I loved the smell. Now I never wear any other perfume."
2. GHD Glide Hot Brush, £139
“This brush is honestly the best for sorting your hair in a hurry. It brushes your hair straight so you look like you have your life together. I made a video on it I loved it so much.”
MORE GLOSS: The best hot brushes for bouncy blow dries at home
3. Olaplex No.8 Bond Intense Moisture Mask, £26
"This launched earlier this year and it's the best hair mask I have ever used. It leaves hair feeling so strong and soft but doesn’t weigh it down at all! I just pop it in for ten minutes after shampooing once a week. If you haven’t tried Olaplex No8 yet you need it in your life."
4. Sunday Riley UFO Oil, £34
"For some reason this year my skin decided it wanted to be spotty. Using this every other day and even mixing a bit in with my tinted moisturiser totally sorted that issue."
5. Drunk Elephant T.L.C Sukari Babyfacial, £67
"I also discovered this on the quest for clear skin. It’s a Resurfacing mask that honestly makes skin so smooth. I just use it once a week."
6. Peloton bike, from £12.99 per month
"I was apprehensive about buying my Peloton because they are so damn expensive but I use it almost every day and I love it! A 30-minute class a day really helps me manage my anxiety and gives me so much energy."
7. My Tangle Teezer, £12
"I HATE brushing my hair, it's just not fun but with a Tangle Teezer it's not something that makes me want to scream. Pro-tip; always start brushing your hair at the ends and work up towards the roots."
8. Sol Janeiro Dry Shampoo, £14
"The best smelling dry shampoo ever! I use this on non-hair wash days. I spray it into my roots and then blast them with my GHD Helios dryer , £159, so there is no powder residue."
9. Drunk Elephant’s Slaai Makeup Melting Butter Cleanser, £29
“I always take the time to properly take my makeup off in the evening. I’ve just discovered and it's insanely good!”
10. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate, £41
"I love this, you can see a difference every morning!"
11. Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream, £66.69
"I'm still in search of the perfect daytime moisturiser but at the moment I am really enjoying this."
12. Olaplex No 0 Intensive Bond Building Hair Treatment, £26, and No 3 Hair Perfector, £26
"It’s super important not to neglect your hair in your beauty routine so I have a weekly ritual where I use these two before shampooing my hair with my Redken Color Extend Blondage Shampoo , £15.30, to make sure my blonde never goes brassy."