Color for the World!

IMG_6179It’s a new year, and you are looking to change up your look a bit but have NO idea where to start. The task deems even more daunting for women of color as questions of our hair’s strength and durability begin to circle our minds.

Hair comes in many shapes and forms; from wavy to kinky and everything in between. Texture, formation and other curly-girl concerns need to be taken into consideration when color is being applied. It is important for your well-educated colorist to know the full history of your hair, (i.e. Has your hair ever been chemically treated? Has color ever been applied to your hair? What type? When? And by whom?), to ensure a positive, time-saving and safe application.

So, you’ve arrived to your appointment, excitement has settled in and is quickly turning into anxious energy. Relax you are here to be pampered! To ease your mind a bit our Lead Colorist, Michelle Sadler, has answered 3 of the most important questions that you should arm yourself with to make certain your color goes off without a hitch:

  1. What color do you think would look nice on me? “What I usually do is take a look at your skin tone and eye color to create a formulation that is as unique as you!”
  2. What is the maintenance involved with my desired look? “It depends on how quickly your hair grows and its natural state. For example, women with more than 50% gray will need a color retouch every 6-8 weeks. For women that do not have a concern for gray coverage, may opt for a color pattern that only needs maintenance three times per year.”
  3. What home care will I need? – “Currently my favorite shampoo and conditioners are from the Wella Care & Styling Brilliance and Enrich lines. These products are infused with Apricot Oil & Orchid Extract that help to maintain the overall health of your hair. A key ingredient of Brilliance is Diamond Dust, perfect for adding shine and moisture, while preventing your color from fading and shifting.”

Now that you’ve educated yourself on hair texture and consultation advice, here are a few more things that you should do before you show up for your COLOR appointment.

1. Come to the salon with your hair free of anything that will delay your appointment or inhibit color services:

  • Braids and twist should be removed prior to arrival.
  • Hair typically worn in a natural style should be detangled prior to arrival. Doing this can reduce the salon time by 50%.
  • Hair with product buildup such as coconut oil, olive, and heavy brown gel prohibits the stylist/colorist to see tonal value of natural hair color.

2. For first time color application, it may be a good idea to allow the stylist/colorist to finish with at least a blow dry. Because hair looks darker when wet, you will most likely be unable to experience the true and end results of your new fabulous do’ without it!

Check out a few more of Michelle’s favorite products for color treated hair below:

wella products color of the world


Michelle Sadler is the Lead Colorist for the Color Bar at Cole Stevens Salon. She has over thirty years of experience with coloring all hair textures. Michelle stays current on industry trends through research and education. Her clients are her biggest inspiration as she uses skin tones and eye color to formulate one-of-a-kind looks for each of her guests.

If you would like to schedule a consultation with Michelle, please call us at 301.345.0033 or email us at 


Diane Cole Stevens About Hairdressers at Heart

Hairdressers at Heart is an initiative of Procter & Gamble to “empower stylists throughout their careers.” As the CEO of Cole Stevens Salons, and Founder and of The Cinderella Foundation, Diane and her staff of stylists will participate in the Wella “Supports Your Cause” competition to help amplify their contributions to charity of their choice within the local community. Here, Diane speaks to Maggie Mulhern from Modern Salon about her pillar for the Wella Hairdressers at Heart program.

Your Hair & Exercise: You’re Going to Sweat!

by Diane Stevens

After a great workout with my personal trainer, Kuti, I feel great; but my skin feels sweaty and dirty.  So I head straight to the shower. What about my scalp? Isn’t my scalp an extension of the same skin on my face? Yes! What does the salty sweat do to my scalp and hair?

Before we get started, there are some hair FACTS you should know about the structure of your hair. Hair has strengths and weaknesses and the more knowledge you have about your hair the healthier your hair and scalp will become. Hair is composed of keratin, a sulfur-rich protein that provides the hair with the strength it needs to withstand flat ironing, blow drying, combing, brushing, and chemicals. Each strand of hair emerges from a tiny tube-like pit in the skin called the follicle. At the base of the follicle is the papilla, the hair’s source of blood, oxygen, new cells, and other nutrients. The cells multiply in the papilla and become an individual hair with three separate layers..

The outer layer is the cuticle and its main job is to protect the inner layers from moisture loss; just inside the cuticle is the cortex which contains the pigment that gives your hair color; and the innermost portion is the medulla and its small core of cells run the length of the hair shaft.

So the question is what does salt and sweat do to my hair and scalp? Let’s start with what happens to the scalp. Your scalp naturally produces sebum from the sebaceous glands. In fact, sebum is responsible for keeping the skin and hair moisturized. On silky, straight hair, the sebum travels down the hair shaft and many people with straight hair have to shampoo every two days because the sebum makes their hair look oily and limp. Not so much with African-American hair. The sebum is unable to travel down the ridges of the curly hair shaft and the oil remains at the root area. Then, add in the factor of environmental residue–dirt likes to collect more dirt. This is one reason why many clients have aging skin-scalp and dermatological issues because the pores and follicles become clogged. For my African-American guests that work out frequently, we schedule an in-salon treatment called Nioxin Scalp Renew every 6-8 weeks. This treatment is a scalp treatment that gently exfoliates the scalp, removes build-up around the hair follicle and helps regenerate the scalp. (If you’re not close to one of Cole Stevens Salon locations, go to to find a Nioxin accredited stylist in your area.)

Now, what does sweat do to the hair? The sebum cannot travel down the hair shaft to protect and moisturize the strand, and to add insult to injury, the salty sweat travels immediately down the hair shaft to the porous ends and causes the hair to become dehydrated, dry and brittle. This causes damage and can shorten the life of the hair strand.



I always do my cardio workout and intense workouts on early Friday morning and early Saturday morning (which causes me to really sweat). Then I have my salon experience at CS on Saturday and my hair is hydrated, bouncy, and beautiful. I do low impact workout Monday and Wednesday and I use 2 two pumps of Sebastian Liquid Gloss or Wella Mirror Polish from mid shaft to ends to protect my hair from any salty sweat.

One fact is your hairstyle will change when you sweat. Wearing your hair in a straight style and expecting it not to change when you sweat is unreasonable. Prior to your workout, apply two pumps of Sebastian Liquid Gloss or Wella Mirror Polish to the hairline, root area, mid shaft to ends, then pin curl hair. Wear a cotton sweatband to absorb sweat around hairline–such as Save Your Do Gymwrap. Leave hair in pin curls until hair is completely dry. Products with light amounts of avocado oil, shea butter and/or jojoba oil are also recommended.

The best quick fix would be:

1. Cleanse, optimize and treat with Nioxin System 5 (, which has Smooth Plex, a unique blend of Kukui Oil and silk amino acids, gives hair moisture, shine and smooth control.
2. Treat hair with Nioxin’s Diamax hair Thickening Xtrafusion Treatment at roots (8-10 pumps)
3. Use Nioxin Silk Elixir as a leave in conditioner and smooth hair into a ponytail (even add a bun or draw string ponytail).

Stay away from pure olive oil, pure coconut oil and other pure form kitchen oils and home remedies as they are not water soluble enough and over time build up a filmy residue on the hair and will quickly attract environmental residue and dirt. When guests come into the salon with this build up it is impossible to remove in one salon visit and hair remains dirty.

Rather than always wearing your hair in a straight style, opt for a style with more texture. Flexirod sets, perm rod sets, two strand twists can hold up better throughout the week. The images below are of flexirod sets done by Renee Williams and Camille Austin, Senior Stylists at Cole Stevens Salon.

Braids are hot this season! The newest way to incorporate the braided texture is with a smooth, clean texture on top, very deep side part, and the loose braid low around the hairline. Use Nioxin Silk Elixir to smooth hair with a blow dryer. Before braiding, apply 2 pumps Sebastian Liquid Gloss or Wella Mirror Polish to the hairline, root area, mid shaft and ends, the loosely braid on both side and create a chignon or braid in back with remaining hair. Products with light amounts of avocado oil, shea butter and/or jojoba oil are also recommended.


Your Hair & Exercise: A Word from Our Trainer

Clients often ask Cole Stevens (CS) stylists, “What do I do to my hair if I want to work out?” Well, we sought one of the best trainers and Diane’s personal trainer, Kuti Mack, to encourage your fitness pursuit without letting your hair hold you back!


with Kuti

As a Personal Trainer/Nutritionist, when I’m acquiring new female clients (ESPECIALLY women of color) I often get challenged by them about being able to exercise regularly while maintaining their hairstyles. So I figured that I’d share with you what I find myself constantly telling them…

I GET it. I truly do. As a man that truly appreciates a well groomed woman, believe me when I say that the benefits of exercise outweigh the hassle of keeping that new hairstyle that you spent good, hard-earned recession-era money on. Why look good, but be unhealthy? You can fix your hair MUCH faster than you can your health and if your BODY looks good, you can get your hair to catch up. If your hair’s whipped but your body’s not healthy, TRUTHFULLY your priorities are out of whack. Heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol are amongst the controllable life threatening conditions ESPECIALLY for women of color that nutrition and exercise will help you correct or avoid altogether. (Now, morticians do great hair from what I’m told…but why find out the hard way, dig?)

Research at the Mayo Clinic quickly points out at least 7 major ways exercise improves your life. See for yourself: Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity . If you’re worried about your hair after benefit No. 6, I can understand…lol!

Remember: there’s NOTHING you can’t do without a lil’ planning. Wrap or put your hair in a ponytail before you workout; manage your perspiration with a towel or headband during the workout; allow your hair to dry post-workout then style with the appropriate products recommended by your Expert Stylist at Cole Stevens. You can also speak to your Stylist about what sorts of hairstyles as well as which conditioning and washing regimens are best for YOU to keep your “wig tight” while you’re getting your “body right”!

At the End of the Day, a healthy lifestyle leads to healthy hair…not the other way around.


If you have questions for KUTImack you can contact him!

FALL Back in Love with Your Hair

It’s that time again. The leaves are changing colors. The temperature is dropping. Cole Stevens Salon welcomes back clients who went on “straight-hair hiatus” for the summer and rocked their beautiful wash-n-go styles. With the change in seasons, and more and more women concerned about their textured coils, the best, Diane Cole Stevens, wants to hear from you and personally give you answers!

All of the questions and answers women of color have been looking for will be right here! Answers for the RELAXER hair cult, answers for the NATURAL hair cult–talk to us! We have solutions! Email your questions to

Diane, and her team of expert stylists will address hair breakage, including around the hairline; thinning at the temples and the crown, design principles, and products for thicker, fuller, denser looking hair using Nioxin. And much more!