5 steps celebrity hairstylist Sam McKnight swears by for healthy hair

Jodie Comer, Adele and Gigi Hadid’s hair wouldn’t be the same without this advice

BEAUTYcrew Beauty Editor / August 01 2022

Celebrity hairstylist Sam McKnight possesses a calibre of talent that’s strictly reserved for A-listers. 

His extensive clientele includes the likes of Jodie Comer, Adele, and Gigi Hadid, and chances are if you saw a supermodel in the ‘90s strutting down a catwalk with amazing hair – he probably did that too. He was even responsible for Princess Diana’s royally trendy chop. 

After five decades in the industry, undoubtedly the man has gained some indispensable wisdom when it comes to styling hair. Woman & Home recently spoke to the hairstyling legend and it turns out there are just five steps behind his secret to healthy hair…


Wash less frequently with a soap-free shampoo

According to McKnight, healthy hair starts with your hair washing routine. He recommends against “shampooing too often” and to use “a soap-free, high-quality wash when you do.” Why? Well, sulphate-free formulas help to maintain “your hair's natural oils without stripping them away.” Makes sense. 

We recommend: Olaplex No.4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo ($54 at Adore Beauty)


Leave-in conditioner

With the clean girl aesthetic keeping us all firmly in a chokehold and subsequently our hair slicked back into tight buns, McKnight advised using leave-in conditioners for the job. “Good quality leave-in conditioners are great if you’re slicking your hair, instead of using harsh, and drying gels or waxes,” he explained.

We recommend: OUAI Leave In Conditioner ($43 at Sephora)


Heat protectant

This one seems like a no-brainer to us, but apparently folks are still out here heat styling sans a heat protectant. Listen to McKnight’s advice please: “Using a heat protectant is a must if you’re styling with direct heat, as this is when most damage occurs.” 

We recommend: Kérastase Chroma Absolu Thermique Treatment ($54 at Adore Beauty)


Water-based sunscreen

Heat damage ain’t the only thing you need to worry about when you’re styling your hair. McKnight has also advised applying “SPF lotion on your hair when you’re out in the sunshine, especially at the beach, or around the pool. You can literally use any water-based sunscreen lotion on your hair.” 

Worried all that sunscreen is going to grease up your strands? The hairstylist said you can always dilute the formula with water and spray it onto your scalp. “It makes such a difference to keeping your hair healthy for prolonged sun exposure.”

We recommend: SUN BUM Protecting Scalp & Hair Mist SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray (was $20.99 now $14.69 at Priceline)


Lightweight hair oil

McKnight loves using a lightweight hair oil “before styling as a smoother, and after styling for additional shine and silkiness, or even before bed for some nocturnal nourishment.” 

We recommend: JVN Complete Nourishing Hair Oil Shine Drops ($34 at Sephora)

When it comes to beauty, the best advice comes from the professionals. Selena Gomez’s makeup artist says this is how to apply under-eye concealer.

Main image credit: @sammcknight1

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).