Whether she’s turning a celebrity into a manic pastel hue, prepping a socialite for the red carpet, or creating bombshell blondes for her salon clients, Sarah Conner is a versatile colorist and extension specialist who has paved her way through Hollywood at Meche Salon Beverly Hills. We’ve referred to Sarah’s expertise on multiple occassions- whether it comes to dramatic hair changes, her natural cascading beachy highlights, or extension maintenance, Sarah always gives the piece of advice we’re looking for. She was kind enough to sit down with Mane Addicts and give us a glimpse behind the color bowl. See what she had to say below.
How did you get your start in the industry?
I’ve been fascinated with all things hair and make-up for as long as I can remember. As a little girl in the 80’s I would spend hours watching my teenage cousin “get ready,” wildly teasing her hair and painting on a full mask of make-up to Billy Idol approved standards. Watching the transformation go down is what hooked me.
Literally the day after receiving my cosmetology license I started working at a rock n’roll barbershop that also did color. From the start, cutting came naturally for me, but when it came to color, I was clueless and realized I was going to get nowhere quick without assisting first.
My career path was forever changed the day I walked into Neil George Salon and began assisting Kacey Welch, who specialized in color and hair extensions. I worked with her for two years before I went on the floor there doing the same. Since the opening day two and half years ago, I’ve been at Meche Salon in Beverly Hills continuing to specialize in hair color and hair extensions.
What was one of your biggest career challenges and how did you overcome it?
One of my biggest career challenges was making a total career change to get into the beauty biz in the first place. Though hair was always what I wanted to do, coming from a small town in Iowa where “only the girls who couldn’t finish high school went to beauty school,” I was under the misconceived stereotype that I was “too smart for beauty school.” So I went to college and became a 6th grade school teacher instead. Finally after years of contemplating I grew a pair [so to speak], resigned from teaching and went to beauty school at the age of thirty, which in reality was the smartest thing I’ve ever done.
Who are some role models who have inspired you?
At the time I started assisting at Neil George it was like being under one roof of incredible talent- I was in awe to be working in the same space as people that I had only ever read about- Tracey Cunningham, Lorri Goddard, Justin Andersson, Neil Weisberg, Amanda George, Cervando Maldonado and so many others worked under that roof at that time. I remember thinking this is nuts and I can’t believe I’m so lucky to be here.
Today I’m beyond inspired by Howard Mclaren-he reminds me that I got into this business for the creativity, first and foremost!
Do you have a signature look or style that you are known for?
I’d say I’m best known for being versatile and honest with my clientele. In the salon you have clients of all ages and all personal styles so it’s important to think beyond the trends and transform your client into the best version of themselves.
Which hair products or tools are always in your kit?
Sheila Stotts Removal Brush– a must for all hair types, extensions or not!
Olaplex- When it comes to hair and hair color, it really is a hair life saver!
Davines Oi All in One Milk– a spray that detangles, acts as a heat protectant, and gives shine- again amazing for all hair types and extension hair. This product also replaced my love for the Neil George Oil which is no longer made r.i.p.- you’d think I know some people to talk to about this loss to the hair community.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?
Ten years ago I was still teaching school. So the advice I would give myself then would be sheeze, stop talking about doing it (beauty school) and just do it already. You can’t be afraid of change. Everything will work out the way it’s supposed to, it always does with a little faith and gusto!
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received? What advice would you give to new stylists?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is- a client is only YOUR client while they’re in YOUR chair, which I believe Kacey told me, and I think Justin who she assisted even told her. At the end of the day, it’s a client’s choice as to who they want to do their hair. It’s up to you to keep them wanting to come back. For new stylists, I’d say be careful with any sense of entitlement. In other words, work your ass off! It’s so important to pay your dues and respect the work of the people that paved the path before you- learn, see, and do as much as you can while you’re assisting.
What is the next chapter for you?
The next chapter for me is finding balance. I’ve happily only been eating, sleeping, and breathing hair for the past 9 years. Now I want to eat, sleep, breathe hair AND live, love, and travel too because in this biz it can be a fine line between being tired and being burned out. Creatively, I don’t ever want to cross that line!
How would you describe your beauty and hair philosophy?
My beauty and hair philosophy is see the beauty in yourself with confidence. Being the best version of your self is what is truly beautiful and sexy!
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