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8 Questions with Blonding Queen @saramay_level10

Sara Helfand-Pestella

In anticipation of our upcoming Master Classes, we are running a series of interviews with our guest educators so that you can learn more about them and walk away with tips that you can use to improve your salon business.

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This week, we sit down with blonding queen Sara Helfand-Pestella (@saramay_level10), who gives us a look at her career and offers tips for getting the perfect blonde balayage!

1. What inspired you to pursue a career behind the chair? Did you have a different career before pursuing hair? If so, what finally helped you take the leap?

This one is pretty deep rooted. 

I’ve struggled to find beauty within myself since I was a child. I looked at the dancers in my dance class who were always on the front row because of their beauty and grace, and always wondered what that must feel like. So I would try all the things to get that feeling. 

I got really good at makeup and started doing makeup and hair for my dancemates and my friends. I got addicted to the feeling of making others feel beautiful, since at the time I didn’t know what that felt like. It was so cool to see. From Day 1, I always did what I call “the reveal”—yes, for my clients and friends to be surprised, but also for me to feel that feeling: Holy shit I am beautiful, I feel beautiful. 

I tried college but my heart was always in the beauty industry.

2. What advice do you wish you had when you were first starting out? / What’s one mistake that you see new stylists make all the time?

I wish someone would have told me that in order to serve others, you must first take care of yourself. This is something I have learned along the way, but it would have been helpful in the beginning. 

Mistakes I see stylists doing all the time is comparing their success to others. We are each on own path to success and happiness. Don’t be so hard on yourself!

3. If you could change one thing about your career’s trajectory, what would it be?

My career is just getting started, so I don’t think I would change anything at this moment. The struggles are real, but I am learning so much.

4. What (if any) role does social media play in your business? Has the way that you use social media changed at all in the past few years?

Social media is a huge marketing tool for my business, and most stylists could probably agree that most of our clients find us through social media.

5. Did you ever doubt or question whether or not you were cut out (no pun intended) for this business?

Oh my god, I still sometimes question myself!

I often feel like I am not the best fit for my own business, because I am so shy and mostly introverted. (This especially applies to the educating part of my business.) But I love what I do, so that always shuts down any fear or doubt. I know I am where I need to be.

6. Sometimes clients come in asking for results that are totally doable—if only there was enough time. But when there’s a time constraint it can be tricky to get them where they want to be in time. What do you recommend when a guest comes in asking for something like this?

When I couldn’t control my booking I would have this scenario a lot. I would always use the time to have an in-depth hair consultation to better understand exactly what the person wanted and, if time allowed, do the haircut and pre-treatment. Then we would rebook for the appropriate amount of time for the actual treatment.

You can’t rush the process—especially in my chair—and it’s important for your clients (and receptionists/staff!) to realize this.

7. Can you speak to your awesome Power Blonde Technique? What makes it work so well?

My power blonde technique is something that I started doing when clients would book for partial foils. It's called “power blonde” because its a simple, yet powerful way, to blonde using intentional placement. 

On my books, a partial is just a certain amount of time—not a particular technique. Power blonde makes every client look like they got a full refresh, regardless of how much time was booked, because everything that a client is wanting out of a service is accomplished. The whole hairline, pops through ends, the Mohawk, etc. They will have the best part pony in all the land (haha).

8. Can the same general rules and principles used in the PBT be used for guests with other hair colors?

Oh my god, absolutely!. The power blonde technique is basically all about placement, so once you use it and master it, it’s possible to apply to virtually any client. Power blonde, power brunette, power red—you name it! 

It’s pretty amazing, and pretty easy, too!

Want more tips for getting the perfect blonde balayage? Purchase our online Blonde Bombshell Tutorial Bundle, four classes that will teach you everything about blonde balayage, including:

  • How to get the brightest possible results
  • How to pair teasy lights with fringe
  • How to lighten a fringe
  • Creating interior depth with lowlights
  • And so much more!
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