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Q and A with Candy Shaw Ahead of Hair Expo 2019

Balayage queen (or the ‘Balay Lam’a, as she is formally nicknamed) Candy Shaw will be back at HAIR Expo this year, from June 8-10 in Sydney, lining up another set of education sessions to inspire Aussie attendees. The American hair sensation has a storied history with hairdressing and a legendary influencer in the global industry. Hair Expo sat down with Candy ahead of her Australian trip to talk about her career highlights, her motivation and what you can expect from her come June. Enjoy!

Where did your journey in to the hairdressing industry start, and what were your early years like?

My journey in the hair industry started in grade school where I traded haircuts for homework. I’m dyslexic, so as a kid I struggled mightily to read, write and do math.  But as a budding entrepreneur, I quickly learned I could trade haircuts to get through school. I was the only kid who didn’t go on to college, but for our 25th reunion when the school wanted a Jumbotron (giant TV screen) for our new football stadium, guess who they called? That’s right, the hairdresser.

Aside from school, I was fortunate to have been introduced to the world’s greatest hairdressers by my father, Jamison Shaw, a former world-champion competition hairdresser.  He took me to the most prestigious hair shows in the world; in Paris, London, New York and Milan at a very early age where I fell in love with the hairdressing industry. And so from the very beginning I knew that hairdressing was exactly what I wanted to do.

Balayage is one of the most sought-after looks in salons, and has been for years now. Why do you think it’s taken the industry by storm in this way?

One of the reasons balayage has taken the industry by storm is because the consumer has figured out how much younger they look with balayage highlights. Also it has the added benefit of being a faster service so guests are not spending as much time in salons for lengthy hair color services. For the hairdresser, it enables them to ‘work smarter not harder’. It’s also enables them to make more money through the power of the paint brush.

You’ve had such an amazing, celebrated and expansive career. What has been your biggest career highlight?

Although some might say that winning an award like ‘Educator of the Year’ would be the greatest highlight of their career, for me it’s the students’ lives that I touch and change that’s the highlight.  Just recently at America’s Beauty Show in Chicago, sixty teenage beauty school students drove eight hours on a bus to see me all dressed in black with yellow headbands that said “Baby Llamas”.  They brought me a yellow headband that said “Mama Llama” (my nickname is the ‘Balay Lama’).  It literally brought me to tears and made me realise that my mission and teachings are real and that the balayage revolution I’ve been leading is changing people’s lives every day.

Do you see balayage as being relevant and on-trend in the industry for many years to come?

Absolutely!  I see balayage staying relevant and on trend for many years to come. What people don’t understand is that balayage is a technique.  Many still confuse it with ‘hombre’ which is simply one of a multitude of looks that can be achieved with a balayage hair painting technique. I can do anything with a paint brush that someone else can do with a foil. The difference is I can do it in a fraction of the time so I don’t think the trend is going anywhere any time soon. Balayage is more natural looking, as it ‘reawakens hair’s natural brilliance’™.  Balayage creates child-like hair color.  People ultimately like the look, the feel, and more importantly the efficiency of the whole process.

Who is the number one person you’d love to have as a client?

The number one person I’d like to have as a client is my mother. She passed away almost eight years ago and I think about her every day.  She was not only a make-up artist she was also the CFO of our business and ‘back in the day’ she was my father’s model for all of his hair competitions. She’d be the greatest client I could possibly have because my mother was always my biggest cheerleader and greatest supporter.

You have such an incredible stage presence and exude energy at all times! What motivates you?

What motivates me as an educator is the ‘Power of Learning’. When I see someone have a light bulb go off over their head, I know that I really am making a difference in their overall hairdressing education and that gives me tremendous energy and excitement.  I am always motivated by the student that comes to me at the end of a class and tells me about their journey about how balayage has changed their life, and their bank account! It motivates me to know that I’m helping a budding entrepreneur become their best self, and more importantly, I’m helping them have a greater life and ultimately a greater career.

What makes your session a must-see at Hair Expo this year?

I’m actually doing two must-see sessions at Hair Expo this year.  First, I’m doing back-to-back, three-hour, Hands-On workshops on Sunday from 9-12 and again from 2-5, with limited seating.  As well as a jammed pack two-hour ‘Look & Learn’ on Monday afternoon from 1:30 -3:30. Our Hands-On workshops focus on the latest tips, tricks, tools and techniques in the world of hair painting including mastering such cutting edge colouring skills as Color Melting, Bowlayage™, Skimming, Backfolding, Pancaking, Foil Conversion, Minking™, ‘Riding the Ridge’ and so much more. Our Hands-On session is not to be missed, whether you’ve taken one of our courses before, are an expert painter, or even if you’re new to balayage! Our mission is to help you improve your skills and ‘Paint Your Way to Financial Freedom!’  Be sure to sign up early, because just like in Melbourne, these sessions are sure to sell out. Monday’s ‘Look & Learn’ is geared to provide a comprehensive overview to all painters, at every level, to help simplify their technique and re-direct their focus on the key fundamentals of the perfect balayage: Consistency, Brush Stroke and Saturation.  Based on our solid, ‘grass-roots’ foundation, you will see why our curriculum and techniques are considered to be the best in the business. All three sessions will help you up your highlighting game beginning the moment you set foot back in your salon.

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