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Redken Symposium ‘19: What You Missed

Every two years a forever building tribe of Redken hairdressers, artists and creatives hit Las Vegas not only to witness the trends and techniques to grow the industry, but to revel in a boundless culture and an infectious attitude of celebration that in hairdressing knows no equal, writes Cameron Pine.

Upheld by an inimitable culture and an education platform with a commercial sensibility beyond the common realms of a professional hairdressing brand, the Redken Symposium continues to manifest a reputation as the leading brand for both salon culture and street style across the globe.

Spread across 4 days at the iconic Vegas Mandalay Bay Hotel (Jan 19-22) Redken delivered a signature series of seminars, look and learns and up-close and personals with the barriers broken down like only Redken knows how – the platform and the purpose built on trends, ensured it was upfront and accessible for everyone.  An extension of the world-renowned Redken Exchange culture, it was, as always, a refreshing sigh of relief to the commonly ego driven hair show circuit.

Underpinned by the essence of some of our world’s most influential cities such as New York, celebrity and fashion, workshops and seminars ranged from Redken around the world and on the streets to the anatomy of awesome and whether you wanted to  ‘dress it up’, master ‘bonding and balayage’ or better understand ‘behind the chair’. The program was expertly created to meet every touch point of being a professional hairdresser. Really connecting with why do you want to be you and what are your strengths? It was what you took away that became a different reality for all.

The grand opening kicked off with vice president education worldwide, Sheri Doss, welcoming the global audience of almost 10,000 hairdressers. Highlighting Redken’s 5th Avenue, New York roots, the show was themed into sections featuring different New Yorkers  and their alter egos – all told from the perspective of a New York cab driver! The cab driver videos were broken by high energy dance and roll play as the taxi driver made his way through the diversity and in and out of the lives of various New York sub cultures. The hero of all hair looks were an army of Gatsby bobs at a 1920s speakeasy bar, dreadlocks at a punk fire show, (Cirque de Soleil meets Redken)  and urban-inspired looks with a customised rap battle. Set to the words of the Redken’s  ethos, ‘Learn Better, Earn Better, Live Best’ mantra, it was true entertainment meets inspiration.

A Redken experience wouldn’t be the same without a hefty involvement from Australia and our leading artists – Phil Barwick and Justin Pace both presenting in ‘Hot off the Press’ and ‘Hair Hacks’ respectively transporting guests with a blast of Australian accent fused with a no-nonsense an highly creative approach to hairdressing. It’s this approach that is more based on the feeling in the hair rather than the process that sits so well alongside a detail driven program like Symposium.

Philip Barwick

The Australian Artistic Team assisting the global team throughout various shows  – Ben Martin, Sheree, Knobel, Dmitri Papas, Marie Cain, Rachel Busby and Anthony Staltari all worked overtime throughout the program to be apart of a culture of learning and sharing and grow as individuals. Not always shadowing but also taking presence on-stage to translate our take on the Redken culture.

The ‘Hot off the Press’ seminar was all about sharing some simple tips to create beautiful editorial images that often look complex but aren’t. “Work with what you can see in a shot and don’t worry about what you can’t. You can create the look of loads of volume even if there’s no hair left at the back,” Phil said.

Phil drew reference from the old classic sci-fi movie, Alien (Avant Garde shapes that morph with the body) to impart a true editorial aesthetic made for the camera.

Drawing inspiration from almost anything with almost extra terrestrial levels of volume and celebrity couture turned crazy contrasts, Phil, Lindsay Olson and George Joao showed why shooting editorial doesn’t have to be just for glossy magazines, the images can (and should) be used for salon marketing and social media content. The team explained that although hairdressers are normally focused on styling hair for a 3D world, images are 2D so there’s no need to focus on the whole head (before showing to a surprised audience that the back of a model’s head was covered in bobby pins) Star products for the editorial styling included Redken Triple Dry Dry Texture Spray and Pillow Proof Two Day Dry Shampoo Extender. The team also had some take-away tips for finishing, such as not just applying hairspray directly on top of hair. They explained that as hairspray builds up on fly-aways it produces a flash-effect, so needs to be sprayed from underneath or from behind in editorial.

Leading international artist Tracey Cunningham filled one of the biggest rooms on site – ‘Times Square’ had standing room only and spoke a language that made their countries proud.

Tracey Cunningham

Talking ‘Hollywood Hair’ and everything in between to the most commonly asked colour question, ‘brunettes wanting to go lighter’ Tracey spoke about using colour to frame rather than change. “Balayage is like a frame. Colour has to sit right and frame the face and you have to make sure the frame is perfect.”

“It’s also about how we get more shine into the hair. Often we look at hair as 2 dimensional but if we add more light to the hair we can see the importance of shine and tonality to create more volume in hair,” she said.

Tracey put a really approachable spin on the fact that you don’t need to be in the major cities of New York and LA to succeed, ‘it’s not just about celebrity hairdressing and our cities’. Tracey provided the audience with some brilliant and comedic quotes on stage. “Hair colourists are fighting red, not crime,” she joked.

The talk also saw her invite her whole team onto the stage, showing attendees that it’s not all about her. She was keen to point out that in this industry you need a loyal and dedicated team behind you. She also advised attendees to treat their clients like VIPs. “Why not give them a couple of face-framing highlights for free. Not everything is about Instagram, it’s about word of mouth recommendations too.” Tracey proved yet again to the audience that she is down to earth and always realistic.

“To get noticed no matter where you are you just have to kick some ass. Put in the work and get noticed in your community wherever people will see your work. How I built my career was via word of mouth, but most of us are on our phones all the time,” Tracey said.

Hair Hacks featured our humble colour master Justin Pace, taking guests on a 360 degree journey of in-salon situations and techniques with something in there for everyone for work behind the chair. In Australia when we think hack, we think ‘take over’ or ‘disrupt’ but in this sense it was very much about decoding the professional experience so the client comes back and understands how to look after their hair in between appointments.

“We are working with weight in the haircuts to then soften it with the colour. Colour can look so dense and heavy with such a small triangle but here we help you to create dramatic results in less time, resulting in more appointments and more money for you,” Justin said.

Justin Pace

The Colour Movement seminar had everyone reaching for their Redken ‘Blur brush’ and focused on key 2019 trends and referenced the Pantone Colour of the Year, ‘hot coral’ and multi-dimensional hair throughout the program were the  ones to watch. Redken artist Tara Gardiner showed us a coral colour that had everyone reaching for their phones and left guests pondering if that’s the new take on colour root colouring for the year. It’s these questions and feedback in every seminar that become synonymous with the Redken DNA.  In general we are seeing a trend where roots are being coloured in vivid, rather than natural tones. Some colourists even advised salons to back lowlights against highlights to achieve the stunning look.

Some of the biggest names in the brand’s history were back again with the likes of Sam Villa, George Garcia, Ruthe Roche (The Pureology Approach) and Sheri Doss, Redken Vice President of education worldwide, who interviewed Global Color creative director Josh Wood.

“Hair colour trends from the catwalk starts a conversation,” he explained. “It opens the door to being able to have a conversation with your bread and butter clients. It moves colour from an afterthought [and gives it] more of a fashion-forward focus. We can sell our clients colour that they may not have thought about before.”

Industry Stalwart Anne Mincey hosted an ‘Art of Listening’ talk filled to the doors with guests all searching for that sometimes elusive heartbeat within what they do, it’s no wonder she received a standing ovation for representing the Redken brand to an iconic level. Most importantly the overriding theme was for every one of the thousands of artists to embrace what they can do and not what they can’t and use this power to ensure clients are walking around as referral cards for what the individual is good at.

The Redken Gallerie was open for the entire program – akin to the ultimate fantasy land for hairdressers, with products, inspiration and executions you’d expect from the fairy godmother of team culture you could take a slice of whatever pie you wanted. Whether it was the Grooming Room (two full days of some of the best men’s cutting available) or the softness and luxury associated with sister brand, Pureology – the Redken Symposium celebrates a new level of collaboration and collective mindset.

See, working together achieves so much more, so it’s no wonder the Redken mantra will result in living best.

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