Coloring Outside the Lines

by Amy Daniels

Sara McCarn, owner of Crystal & Sage Beauty in Winterville, NC.

Turning a passion into a business is at the heart of entrepreneurialism and was the catalyst for behind the opening of Crystal & Sage Beauty in September of 2019. Sara McCarn spent 13 years as a hair stylist in other salons while balancing body waxing and permanent make-up as a mobile side business. Opening her own full-service salon became a necessity as her appointment schedule overflowed.

“It just got to be too much, you know, trying to be in two places at one time and work and raise a kid and do all the things that we as women are expected to do every day,” she says. “It was just way too much. I needed to simplify my life and offer all of these services out of one space. It’s better for me and better for clients because we’re a one stop shop.”

After 4 months of planning, renovating, decorating, and searching for her team, Crystal & Sage Beauty opened in September. An advocate for equality, creating a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere for clients and guests was at the center of McCarn’s design plans.

“I want a space that is inclusive,” McCarn explains, “for anybody to feel like they could walk in the door and get service here. Man, woman, gay, straight, anywhere between. I want everybody to feel like they can walk in here, leave your baggage at the door, step into a space and have a little bit of time for yourself.”

McCarn’s passion for helping her clients feel good about themselves goes beyond hair styles and cosmetology. Acknowledging the ‘comparison trap’ culture fueled by current social media practices, McCarn says her goal is to help people feel confident about who they are so that they can take on whatever life throws at them.

“I want to focus on how we make people feel and not what people think they need to look like. We don’t want anybody to compare themselves to anybody else when they come in here.”


The salon space at Crystal and Sage Beauty includes separate rooms for permanent make-up and waxing services, as well as four salon chairs for resident stylists. In addition to McCarn, the Crystal and Sage Beauty team includes Duncan Neas, blonding and vivid color specialists; Ashley Kite, “southern chic” stylist; and Claire Flinchum, specializing in formal style and blow-outs.

“We will always have a diverse team that can accommodate the needs of any client, regardless of their style,” says McCarn.

McCarn is very selective with her stylist team. More than just attracting clients with their amazing skillsets, McCarn is interest in finding stylists who share the same vision and dedication to clients as McCarn herself holds. 

Although McCarn opened Crystal and Sage Beauty to allow her to dedicate more time to her permanent make-up and waxing clientele, she still enjoys being a hair stylist.

“I love what I do. I love being behind the chair and doing hair, but if you don’t diversify your services a little bit your clients are at a disadvantage.”


Hair – The talented stylists at Crystal and Sage Beauty offer full cut, color, and styling services in addition to specialty services such as balayage, Brazilian Blowouts, HotHeads extensions and Vivid Hair.

Permanent Make-Up – Using state-of-the-art tattooing techniques, McCarn offers permanent make-up for eyebrows and eyeliner. To hone her craft, McCarn has attended tattoo and permanent make-up classes, intensive workshops, and conventions in addition to hours of training. She has taken courses with Tina Davies, Perma Blend, and Brow Daddy—all prominent names within the permanent make-up industry. 

“I took my obsession with eyebrows and my obsession with tattoos and I combined them to start offering permanent makeup.”

McCarn’s permanent make-up offerings include microblading, in which individual hair strokes are tattooed to create a very natural look, ombre brows, powder brows, and upper and lower eyeliner.

In spite of being called “permanent make-up” the results of the tattoo application are not actually permanent; the coloration lasts approximately three to five years.

“Permanent makeup pigments are designed to slowly fade over time,” McCarn explains. “Most people get a touch up every year to two years.” 

Waxing – Crystal and Sage Beauty is one of the few locations in the area that offers head to toe waxing services for women and men. Waxing options include all regions of the face, arms, legs, underarms, chest, back, feet, bikini area, and full Brazilian. The newly renovated salon space includes a dedicated waxing room for client privacy and comfort.


Crystal and Sage Beauty carries a variety of beauty products, all hand selected by McCarn. Offering brand names such as DevaCurl, No Nothing, Design Me, Joico, and Brazilian Blowout. McCarn wants her clients to have quality products with which to maintain their newest look.

A self-proclaimed “crunchy momma,” McCarn also carries a line of body scrubs, moisturizers, and salves which she formulated herself using all natural ingredients. Her best seller is her “Magic Body Butter,” which she created to treat her son’s eczema. Other products in McCarn’s repertoire include a coconut and lime body scrub, coffee scrub, and a TLC salve with tea tree, lavender and calendula oils, using calendula oil McCarn infuses herself.

CBD products from Carolina Organics, a local company which sources from farms in Kinston, will soon be available.

Crystal & Sage Beauty is located in the Tree Tops Center at 105D East Fire Tower Road in Winterville. Call 252.364.2981 or visit to schedule an appointment. Follow @CrystalAndSageBeauty on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with specials and inspiring before/after photos. Walk-ins are welcome but not guaranteed.

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