Every year that I attend the ABA (Allied Beauty Association) organized Salon de la Beauté I am amazed by all the hustle and bustle. The activity level at this event that deals with everything beauty with a special focus on the hair industry is never low. There are always a ton of things going on at the same time and people hustling breathlessly from booth to booth trying to catch everything.
You can tell from the moment you enter the room that everyone there is very passionate about what they do. The energy level of the very large room at the Palais de Congres is high, high, high. It is also obviously a very prestigious and important event within the beauty community. Everyone who is anyone is there. All the large hair companies like Redken, Schwarzkopf, L’Oreal, Matrix, and Joico had booths which were more like stages along the sides of the room where there were demos being done by the biggest names in hair styling in Quebec and the world. Errol Douglas (England) of Matrix, Pietro D’Aquila (Quebec) of Redken and Steve Racine (Quebec) of Redken were on stage giving little demos or tips to the enraptured stylists/colourists seated in front of their stages.
Pietro D’Aquila’s presentation was especially interesting as he not only divulged the exact colours he mixed to obtain a particular colour of hair, but he was also giving tips on how to run a better business. Simple things like in recognition of the economic slowdown how to book a client for their next appointment while they are in your chair as opposed to waiting until you have finished with them and they are on their way out of the salon.
The only problem with the large demos is that they were happen one beside the next and the stylists/colourists found themselves competing with what was going on next door. As a result you could not always hear clearly what they were saying. But those on stage were aware of the difficulties and made the extra effort to be extremely clear or repeat what they were saying.
In the middle of the room were smaller booths from companies like American Crew, Moroccan Oil (which has totally blown up over the past couple of years) and Pureology. These smaller, more intimate demos you could get up close and personal to the stylist as they worked.
In the middle there were also booths with reps from all the companies there at the disposal of beauty professionals who wanted to order quantities of their products for their salons. Plus there were my favourite booths like Star Bedard and Cosbec, which are stores that sell the products from all the companies. Great deals to be had there. Large industrial sized bottles of American Crew (for men) and d:fi conditioner were on sale for $4.00. I stocked up on that!
This was the first year at the Salon that they did a little spotlight on style/hair trends for Spring/Summer 2011. Sunday night after the Salon closed there was still stuff going on in this area. A fashion/hair show that went on featured hair by top stylists and clothes from some of the most prestigious fashion designers in Quebec. This show really highlighted the link between hair and fashion.
The usual hair competitions also went on periodically over the weekend. On Monday at the huge L’Oreal booth we saw the top 5 semi-finalists in Avant-Garde hair for women compete against one another for a place in the finals. It was amazing to see them start from scratch to create the hairstyle they planned in a set amount of time. Over the course of the weekend there were also competitions for Women’s Trendy Cut & Style, Men’s Avant-Garde Cut & Style, Evening Long Hair Elegance, and others. We really got to see the work of some of the up and coming stylists in Montreal.
The whole idea behind the Salon de la Beauté is that they make the latest products and beauty experts available to those in the industry. It is a time that they get together with education and knowledge being really focused on. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran there is something for everyone.
Photos by Carmen Dubeau