Since this was to be my first Salon de la Beauté I invited along my cousin, Carmen Dubeau, who happens to be a hair stylist herself; so I brought along an expert. For those of you who have never been to the Salon I will let you know that it is huge. The largest hair care and aesthetics exhibition in Canada takes place in the Palais des Congres and upon entering you are a bit overwhelmed by the sheer size and amount of booths there are. What a treat it is to have all these professionals here in Montreal under one roof! Every major player in the hair style and/or products industry is there and some beauty products companies. Among the hair products oriented booths Rusk, L'Oreal, Matrix, Redken, Aveda, Schwarzkopf, Sebastian, and Paul Mitchell were represented there. Booths concerning beauty products included O.P.I., Pinnacle Cosmetics, Distribution Dinair, Europe Cosmetiques, and Flair Beauty Products. There were also booths with salon furniture (Orbit Beauty Furniture), tanning salons/equipment (Tanning Technologies), tooth whitening (Tooth Fairy), and even insurance companies (Nal Path Insurance Brokers Inc.).
The show offers the public not only a great opportunity to see what is new in the hair industry and to buy high quality styling or hair care products at wholesale prices, but it is also an educational exhibit. Many hair styling or hair cutting demonstrations went on and there was also information about hair styling/cutting courses that were to take place in Montreal and surroundings. Each of the two days had several hair styling and cutting competitions, such as Styling for Evening on Long Hair for Women (won by Alain Page from Deneuville Coiffure), Cut and Style for Men (won by Adrian Minella from Trenz Hair Salon) and D'Avant Garde Cut and Style for Women (won by Marie-Eve Morin from Pierre Lague Phase II). They even had a Spring Nail competition on Monday morning.
Carmen and I went to the Salon on the Monday and it was fairly typical of what to expect from this Salon, according to Carmen, compared to previous years. Carmen focused on the hair care booths as she has a vested interest in that industry. She started at the large Redken booth. Redken has hair care products for men and women including shampoos, conditioners, treatments, and styling products. Carmen stated that for her Redken has always symbolized both perfection and innovation. They offer courses and draw a huge influence from the music scene. The people at Redken are truly artists. For her this was in evidence at the Steve Racine cutting demo. She said that his cutting style is very precise and masterful. His use of solid lines and flair for texture made Carmen want to jump up and get her hair cut. This is pretty high praise from someone in the industry! Her next stop was the Saco Salon/Academy. This is a company that is fairly new to Montreal, opening up not too long ago, and is setting the city on fire with its innovative approach. The owners of Saco are from the U.K. and bring with them a fresh style and approach to cutting. They offer exclusive courses, which will run you anywhere from $350-$450 per day, on colouring, styling and cutting. The owners really draw their inspiration from the U.K. music explosion and the trends in the year 2006 will continue to look towards musicians for guidance. Their hair salon is located at 420 Notre Dame Ouest in Old Montreal. Check out their website (www.sacohair.com) for prices, etc. Compared to these two companies, Carmen found the rest of the industry is racing to keep up. Lastly, she visited the American Crew booth and found it full of very typical hair care stuff. The presentation of their line was not as solid as the previous two companies and they kind of missed the mark this year. They do have a solid line of products and a classic style, but nothing fresh or innovative.
All in all this is a great and informative event for Montrealers, especially of interest to those in the hair care profession. They even had a party on Sunday evening at Time Supper Club on St. Jacques St., where people were invited to come (entrance was free with your Salon de la Beauté ticket stub) and kick back in an informal atmosphere with members of the Salon. It is a large but organized event, which gives us an indication each spring what are the upcoming trends in the beauty/hair care industries.