A pioneering concept combining influencers, ambassadors and top salon clients from across the globe, L’Oréal Professionnel Hair Fashion Tour brought together hairdressers from the floor to the frontline for a knockout series of both skill and strategy seminars, writes Cameron Pine.

With locations as diverse as the languages spoken, the universal notion of hair came together in Dubai over October 1 and 2. As one of the world’s most fascinating cities and a gateway to Europe –  while it’s still a fair trek for Australians, the Australian contingent were as enthusiastic as ever, with our very own Peter Thomson from the Chelsea haircutters taking centre stage teaching the bespoke Balayage we are known for.

Answering the needs of hairdressers and salon owners across the globe – L’Oréal Professionnel has seen a huge demand for hands-on education and tutorials that provide real bottom-line benefits to salon owners and spun a global platform into a more concentrated palette of mini conferences, to suit  specifically current needs and trends.

Steven Herteleer

So with little expectation of the exact format yet with hundreds of devotees to the popular L’Oréal Professionnel Business Forum more than 30 salon owners just from Australia joined more than 200 other stylists to take part in a two day intensive hair fashion celebration on the heart of what hairdressing today is all about.

Firstly L’Oréal Professionnel’s Global Education Manager, Phillip Zemmit amped up guests on the true meaning of what it is to share skills and influence not only clients but hair trends that become a global phenomenon – it all starts with Hair Fashion Tour.

But despite the overarching global philosophy for consistency of trends and influence, guests were encouraged to scale down even closer to their home and salon and connect on a micro-influencer level (influencers that engage and exist on their own local level).

“Top trends across the world are LA French and Balayage. French hair and French Balayage are the most googled hair words globally,” said Zemmit. “French today is the California of 30 years ago. Every salon will benefit if they use these kind of words on google and on social media. We propose our ‘LA French’ trend as a global movement, but it’s a reason to be, a reason to scream from the heart.”

Anh Co Tran

From ‘Colour me French’, ‘French Balayage’ to ‘Editorial’, Hair Fashion Tour was just as much about growing together technically as well as on the socials – and it wouldn’t be a hair event without a party soaking up the balmy nights of Dubai at Cielo rooftop.

Part of the Hair Fashion Tour strategy was not just to leave guests with new techniques and skill, but develop a common standard – but an elevated level of applying and promoting their skills to the world, and all exclusively under the L’Oréal Professionnel banner.

“Whatever you want to specialise in, you have to make it obvious what you do on Instagram and social and that will be your main money earner,” Zemmit said.

Making your signature your social voice became the backbone for what ensued over the next few days – each step leveraging guests to become masters and not just stylists.

Models with Dali from Australia

Then it was onto the incredible line up of global talent that everyone had access to hands on, Philip was all about getting guests amped up about the exciting 110 years of L’Oréal Professionnel in 2019 – giving away one lucky guests a free trip to Paris and backstage at fashion week to whoever had the best social post relevant to the conference content tutorials by the end of two days.

It was all about how to understand the importance of having your best nine pictures on your landing page, so everyone who finds you sees your best work, and only that.  Ultimately up against a global trend towards home-hair services according to L’Oréal Professionnel salons are up to 38 per cent less attractive to consumers than they were just five years ago.

Bringing an incredibly ‘outsider’ to the L’Oréal Professionnel fold, Steven Herteleer – a photographer/influencer with a deliciously emotive reportage of travels and some of his favourite landscapes – has a signature that can be understood just by looking at his page, and he is completely enveloped in the image when it comes to portraits. Steven talked guests through how to post, what to post, how to create meaning in posts, what statements to use and how to define your brand page so it looks to put it simply, better than everyone else’s.

Guests were then given an incredible Balayage tutorial by our very own Balayage king and brand ambassador, Peter Thomson from The Chelsea in Wollongong. “Good Balayage is diffused, it’s lived in and makes the hair look very lived in. It’s natural colour,” Peter said.

Peter Thomsen

Creating shadows underneath and lightness on the top and using hair padding to separate sections, every colourists walked away with some new Balayage money making tips.

Giving colour as much voice as styling and cutting, we then heard from one of the UK’s top celebrity colourists, Jack Howard.

“A lot of people think Balayage is a trend that’s just for teenage girls – it’s a quick and effective tool in the salon. When I think Balayage I think ‘natural’ in inverted commas – a real sun-kissed look but depending on what you want you can really go anywhere with it from super heavy blondes to super natural.”

As a head colourist at Paul Edmonds salon, Jack is a ‘brand within a brand’. “One of the reasons I joined with Paul is that we work on a lot of television celebrities and super models who thrive on constant colour transformation,” Jack said.

Having started hair colouring in the 80s, Jack moved to America in the 90s when he discovered the commercial success associated with colour (what he likes to call ‘making money’).

Also embarking on his own education – ‘Jack Howard Education’ he stands by a true passion for colour, having made his first education video in 2017 resulting in a huge demand for ‘celebrity colour’.

“This is why people don’t choose hair colour from a box. This is our reason to be, our reason to scream from the heart,” Jack said. “You have an LA Blonde, a London Blonde and Sydney and Melbourne for example also have a different taste level and as a colourist you have to work to these tastes.”

We also had some one on one time with Michelle Azar, the woman responsible for L’Oréal Professionnel’s global Instagram (@lorealpro) who executes everything from country specific take overs to working with influencers but ultimately, “Our goal is to showcase the hair artists. Yes, we have the product but we also need the human element, to create content with them,” Michelle said.

In just four years since Michelle has been working on social with L’Oréal Professionnel the Instagram has grown from just 18k to almost 1 million.

Anh Co Tran is perhaps one of the most humble hair artists to join the L’Oréal Professionnel artist line up – known for lived in hair and from the home of that California style, Los Angeles based Romerez Tran salon is one of LA’s most talked about salons and having come on a boat as a refugee from Vietnam, his story is a touching one. A bit of an earth warrior and connected to the land, Anh is all about promoting good energy. “There’s a lot going in the world right now. My hair reflects a lived-in look – celebrities in particular always ask for texture and waves,” he said.

“At the same time everyone I teach wants to learn about the soft undercut – a really efficient way to remove weight and give hair movement.” Ultimately for Anh it’s all about customization and hence is site, curated cutting has launch – also offering online classes to the more intensive hands on look and learns but all with a strong human element to his work.

“If I wasn’t doing hair I’d definitely go out into nature more. Beauty is just as much about recharging and taking in what is around us,” Anh said.

French classic star, Laurent Decreton has long been linked to the signature L’Oréal Professionnel aesthetic and the goal for him at Hair Fashion Tour was really to push editorial looks.

Having been hairdressing for 30 years and with a renowned French luxury salon with 20 employees, Laurent as it the fore of fashion. Bringing volume looks from Paris Fashion Week, the hair designer’s focus is always soft and chic with modernity and a touch of creativity.

“Hair is an art and the heart of education.  I love fashion – everything I do with hair has a fashion element – editorial is at the heart of true creation,” he said. “Hair Fashion Tour is inspired by looks you can wear in the salon but also with a strong link to magazine and fashion editorial.”

Throughout two days of intense and inspiring education that could not just be seen and heard but touched and felt, guests also learnt from editorial creatives Frances Schroembges, and Chelsea Vonne James – together with an international reach and experience of epic proportions.

Stevern Herteleer, Laurent Decreton, Francess Schoembges, Jack Howard and Anh Co Tran

Not only advancing technical skill but creating content and in a world where content is king – L’Oréal Professionnel certainly has their finger on the pulse with a concept that is sure to only grow in popularity, popping up all over the world with hairdressers from our own backyard to Brazil.

For more information visit www.lorealprofessionnel.com.au