We’re talking hair! Everyone (usually) wants to go light for Summer, but this season, why not go dark? Sarah Conner, color and extension guru at Meche Salon in Beverly Hills, spent the day with Style Station and educated us on her expert process for color.

Lifestyle writer and Mommy of two, Stacey Suaya, was our model. Stacey had been bleach blonde for as long as she can remember. Wearing a severe cut and stark blonde. Over the last year, Stacey slowly took down her tone to more of a dirty blonde. When this great opportunity came to shadow Sarah, She thought “lets go dark, for summer!” Quite the contrast to what you have been seeing all your life with summer ads and bleach blondes, but since were all about creating new looks, Sarah and Stacey went for it. The inspiration was a vintage photo pf Katherine Hepburn with her dark espresso blunt cut bob.

Having your hair bleached for so many hears, makes your hair porous and damaged. Because of this Sarah could not just put dark color onto Stacey’s hair. There was a 4 step process that took several hours of precision, science, and professional experience. Sarah is very well known and in high demand for hair color. When you go to Sarah, you are paying for the confidence of knowing your hair will look your best.

Step one, is called “filling the hair” by replacing the pigments that have been stripped out by the previous bleaching. This is done by filling the hair with an all over gloss which processes for 20 minutes. Sarah then dried her hair to get a true look at the tone of what was a reddish brown color. Now she is ready to go on to step two – which is applying the dark espresso color, which is the final color. Sarah put a layer of espresso that began at her roots and was pulled down to the mid shaft of her hair. Cotton was strategically placed over the last few inches of Stacey’s extra porous hair to protect it from absorbing too much color. After a few minutes, Sarah strategically pulled the espresso through – all the way through for an even tone.

It has to be scary and fun at the same time to be able to transform a person look with color and extensions, the other skill Sarah is highly sought after for. Sarah is is regularly working with celebrity clients. She keeps Paris Hiltons hair (always) looking like a silky blonde, the Kardashians are both color and extension clients, and the 1% fly Sarah around the globe to keep them looking natural and healthy. She also work on tv sets and phot shoots as a must hire request.

I had the opportunity to speak in depth to Sarah about how she made it to where she is now, and it clearly came along with a lot of hard work. Sarah was originally a school teacher but had always thought she wanted to be in hair. Something that didn’t seem like a lucrative career, but then the desire to create won, Sarah found herself assisting in a salon in Beverly Hills. She had thought she originally wanted to be a hairstylist, but the opportunity to shadow a top tier colorist was her way in.

In case you didn’t know, at the best hair salons, you either work as a color specialist, or a hair stylist, which is cutting and styling. This was something that was a difficult choice for Sarah, as she naturally has the skill and the artistry to style hair, but after she does her clients color, they usually go to an additional stylist for cut and finishing. Unless the client gets extensions and Sarah will complete the entire look.

Sarah has sacrificed a lot to get where she is at. You don’t get to the top without a hard grind. You deliver your best work – and make sure it’s perfect!. She spends 10+ hours 5 days a week to keep up with her demand and shoots or private clients on her days off. One of Sarah’s assistant, Andrea, shared what it was like working for Sarah. “We know what she expects, there is no room for error, and she commands excellence!” We just know we have to deliver professional work in order to continue learning from Sarah.

After rinsing out the espresso color, which she then dries again to make sure the hair was colored evenly. it’s time for step three. A hair gloss for brightness and shine is added as third process. Even though Sarah took Stacey darker for Summer, it is not just putting on a dark tone and go! Sarah carefully put the time in to make sure each process was perfect. It is important to treat your hair with good products and why Sarah’s step four was to use the Virtue® restorative treatment mask to lock in moisture. This specific mask is made with Alpha Keratin, which is patented form of the human keratin, and quality moisturizers equal top skin care products. It’s perfect to use as the last step as it will give Stacy the boost she needs and rehabilitate her previously bleach blonde hair. The mask sits for 10 minutes and then it is time for the final rinse and blow dry.

Sarah is very particular about what brands she uses for her clients. That’s part of the reason why she is an expert, she knows what works. She picked Virtue® as it a line developed by scientists and formulated with creative director and celebrity hairstylist, Adir Abergel.

Who would have ever thought going dark for Summer would be a hot look. Stacey looks beyond beautiful and the resemblance to starlight Katherine Hepburn is electrifying. Stay tuned for the follow up on how to Style this look!

Written by: Melissa Meister