The hairdressing community was in full force this weekend, celebrating the biggest event on the hairdressing calendar – Hair Expo 2018. Back in Melbourne at the Convention and Exhibition Centre for the event’s alternating schedule, hairdressers from every corner of the country – and the globe – showed up to learn, teach and discover in a long weekend dedicated to networking, education and the power the hair community holds.

On the frenetic floor, there were almost too many highlights to choose from. From atop the two-story Excellent Edges stand you could catch a view of the entire expo, while picking a duck out of a claw machine provided plenty of fun over at the Matrix stand. Dyson was set up next to their sponsored Styling Stage showcasing their revolutionary new professional dryer. The Haircare Australia stand was a more a city as they showed off the latest innovations from #mydentity, Olaplex and more, while hundreds of other brands offered their latest products and innovations throughout the expo. Hair care, styling, tools and salon software were all presented in every permutation. Live music and an updated food area only added to the festival vibe.

The expo floor was dominated by its three stages on different sides of the floor. The Main Stage was a constant anchor, always filling seats and presenting educators from Australia and beyond. Out of the education classrooms, brands and salons often brought their final hair looks onto the stage to show them off to the enthralled crowd. The Men’s Stage provided the most dapper contingent, showing off three full days of versatile men’s hair education in an all too-cool barbering haven, while Dyson’s styling stage educated on tools, techniques and looks in a creative, intimate setting. Best of all – the stage education was entirely free.

Matrix on the Main Stage

INSTYLE were there too at stand #1022, offering very affordable subscription packages and inviting you to join our community, with a photo and quotes to be featured in the publication. Thanks to everyone who picked up a magazine, joined our hub or just said hi as we immersed ourselves entirely in the Hair Expo scene.

Beyond the expo doors and into the education rooms, a series of packed out classes educated the industry at large about creative endeavours, business acumen, dedicated men’s hair and more. International headliner Angelo Seminara was a particular highlight, using his workshop and stage show to show off a new hair imprinter in order to manipulate colour, shape and texture like you’ve never seen it before. Candy Shaw taught her balayage skills to a full room and in a personalised workshop, while business insights into social media, retail, leadership and solo operation ensured there was something to learn for any willing student. On Monday a full day of men’s education, with rotating educators, including Educator of the Year Jules Tognini, showed just how far and varied men’s hair has become.

Candy Shaw

At night, the event proved there was no rest for the wicked (or just those attempting to get absolutely everything out of expo) with evening functions such as the inspiring GenNext Gala, sponsored by Matrix and INSTYLE, showcasing a bold selection of talented emerging hairdressers in eight conceptual shows. Matrix Playground finished the night with their own live Playground extravaganza, including playful dances, runway shows and live hair creation. On the final night, the Hair Expo Awards honoured 20 inspiring hairdressers and businesses in the pinnacle of the event at large, giving out the major prize of Australian Hairdresser of the Year to local industry leader Joey Scandizzo. Beyond that, companies such as Matrix, Haircare Australia, the Australian Hairdressing Council and ELEVEN Australia hosted parties and after parties to ensure Hair Expo was a 24 hour affair.

It was certainly an all-encompassing event, one to improve your business, build your skills, stock your supply cupboard and empty your wallet all in one foul swoop. Thousands of hairdressers ran on pure adrenaline to ensure they made it to the next stage show, education class, event or stand in the name of truly maximising the biggest weekend on the hairdresser agenda. For that, we salute you, and know you’ll be back with just as much enthusiasm in Sydney next year.

We’ll be covering each of these facets of Hair Expo – the stages, the awards, GenNext, education and more – online and in INSTYLE July August. Keep an eye out for every detail.

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