Senior Sasser pursues hairstyling, explores new art form


Courtesy of Sara Sasser

Senior Sara Sasser cuts Senior Piper Martinsen’s hair. Sara began cutting her own hair during COVID and has since expanded to styling her friends’ and family’s hair too.

Shay Bowman

Senior Sara Sasser has always been bursting with creativity. From playing the violin and viola, to excelling in photography, to cooking delicious dishes, her imagination shines through, something true of her newest artistic pursuit as well: hairstyling. 

In ninth grade, Sasser started cutting her own hair, following disappointing outcomes of her haircuts at salons. After practicing on her sister’s and her own hair during quarantine, Sasser expanded her service to her friends.  

“I ended up doing my own hair most of ninth grade, and at some point, people saw how my hair looked and my friends were like, ‘Okay, your hair looks fine; you’re not ruining anything; I’ll trust you with my hair,’” Sasser said. “I also don’t charge people money for it, so, it’s just like a free sort of experiment for both of us. They get a free haircut, and I get experience.”

Senior Noah Rudisch received a drastic haircut from Sasser, cutting her long hair to just below her chin. Rudisch was pleased with the result.

“She is a very good hairstylist,” Rudisch said. “If you tell her what you want, she will deliver on that. My hair was very long; I think it was like halfway down my back. She cut it to below my chin, and she did a great job of cutting off all that length and made it look really good.”

Ashley Sasser, Sara’s sister, has enjoyed having her hair cut by Sara and has noticed her improvement overtime.  

“It’s been great having Sara do hair, especially at the beginning when she was excited to try new things, and I was more down for anything,” Ashley Sasser said. “It’s especially nice if I ever want dye; I’m sure it would never come out as nice if I did it myself. I’ve seen some pictures of her dying her friend’s hair, and the complexity has definitely risen from where she started, it’s really cool to see how much better she’s gotten so quickly.”

One of the unique aspects of Sasser’s service is the flexibility and comfortable environment that is created for the haircuts. Senior Anna Rafferty enjoyed the personal feel that the haircut offered.

“She came over, and we played music, and she just cut my hair right in my kitchen,” Rafferty said. “It was great, and it was a lot more simple than making a salon appointment.”

Sasser performs these haircuts wherever the customer feels the most comfortable, putting emphasis on being flexible with schedules and locations. 

“It’s really a mixture of whatever the other person prefers,” Sasser said. “I try to make people as comfortable as they can be. If they want to do it at their house, I’ll cut their hair there, or if they’re more comfortable at my house, they can come to my house, and I’ll cut their hair in my bathroom.”

For senior Piper Martinsen, Sasser’s ability to listen and be understanding adds to the positive experience.

“One of the bonuses of having a non-professional do your hair is that you don’t need to know any technical terms,” Martinsen said. “You can just show pictures, and there’s no judgment if you stumble over explanations of what you want.”

The artistic side of hairstyling is what really sparked Sasser’s interest in it. The different shapes and textures of hair allow her to experiment and try new techniques.  

“I view hair almost as an artistic medium because you can make such beautiful intricate shapes, and it has such a good texture in it, and there’s so much variance in what you can do with it,” Sasser said. “It feels like an endless form of creativity that’s also 3D and comparatively, to my other artistic forms of expression, it’s more tangible.”

Her friends are grateful for her willingness to style and cut their hair and view it as a symbiotic relationship.  

“Sara is a very generous person,” Rafferty said. “She’s doing this because first of all, I think she likes helping people feel good about their hair, and also, she’s an artist in a sense, and every artist needs to build a portfolio and build experience. So, before she goes to cosmetology school or actually starts professionally cutting hair, I know she wants to gain experience.”

Despite having practice, Sasser is still looking to improve, experimenting with new techniques and styles. Sometimes, she makes a mistake that she has to adapt to fix. 

“Every now and then, when I’m trying a new technique, I’ll mess up the start of it and it’s immediately concerning to me because usually I’ll accidentally mess up on someone else’s hair,” Sasser said. “But, I figure out a way to blend it into whatever I’m doing and kind of hide the mistake as best as possible.”

Martinsen sees the ingenuity Sasser possesses in artistic mediums with Sasser constantly coming up with new ideas.   

“Sara is always good at figuring out cool new ways to do things,” Martinsen said. “This is present whether it’s through her photography, her cooking or her hair styling. She’s willing to try new things and work at it until she improves.”

Sasser’s passion for hairstyling is not lost on her friends. Rafferty thinks Sasser has a bright future ahead of her.

“She’s really passionate about it,” Rafferty said. “I think it’s very much a creative outlet for her, and I think she probably will take this with her in some form into her future. Even if she doesn’t end up pursuing hairstyling as a career, I think she’ll continue to do it on her own.” 

Sasser hopes to continue hairstyling in the future and is thankful for the experience she has gained so far. She plans on expanding her social media outreach to gain more customers.

“Right now, it’s a lot of word of mouth,” Sasser said. “I have posted pictures of people’s hair that I’ve done in the past on my personal Instagram, but at some point, I would like to market to more people and be able to do more peoples’ hair than what I’m doing right now.”